The Origins of the Second World War / Edition 3

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The Origins of the Second World War explores the reasons why the Second World War broke out in September 1939 and not sooner, and why a European war expanded into world war by 1941.

Richard Overy argues that this was not just 'Hitler's War' but one that had its roots and origins in the decline of the old empires of Britain and France and the rise of ambitious new powers in Germany, Italy and Japan. Any explanation of the outbreak of hostilities must be multinational in scope taking into account the basic instability of the international system that had still not recovered from the shocks of the Great War.

In this third edition: The role of Italy in the approach to war has been re-evaluated, Overy addresses recent revelations about Soviet policy in the 1930s, particularly exploring Soviet military planning and preparations, Arguments about Chamberlain and his policy of appeasement are rethought and reassessed.

This new edition has now been completely overhauled, updated, expanded and reset. With a comprehensive documents section, colour plates, Guide to Who's Who, and a Chronology, The Origins of the Second World War will provide an invaluable introduction to any student of this fascinating period.

About the Author:
Richard Overy is Professor of History at the University of Exeter

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781405824699
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 9/6/2008
  • Series: Seminar Studies Series
  • Edition description: REV
  • Edition number: 3
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 943,953
  • Product dimensions: 6.70 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Richard Overy is Professor of History at the University of Exeter. He has authored 17 books on the Third Reich, the Second World War and air warfare which include:The Air War 1939-1945 (2nd ed, 2006), Why the Allies Won (2nd ed, 2006) and The Dictators: Hitler's Germany and Stalin's Russia (2004) which won both the Wolfson and the Hessell Tiltman Prizes for History in 2005.

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Table of Contents


Who's Who



Pt. 1 Background 1

1 Explaining the Second World War 3

Pt. 2 Analysis 11

2 The International Crisis 13

3 Economic and Imperial Rivalry 31

4 Armaments and Domestic Politics 46

5 War Over Poland 62

6 From European to World War 82

Pt. 3 Assessment 93

7 Hitler's War? 95

Pt. 4 Documents 101

1 The Treaty of Versailles and Germany 102

2 The Covenant of the League 103

3 The search for a settlement 103

4 American 'appeasement' 104

5 Stalin anticipates war 104

6 The 'Hossbach memorandum' 105

7 Preparation for war before Munich 106

8 The Munich Conference 107

9 The Munich Agreement 108

10 Economic pressure on Japan 109

11 Mussolini's vision of empire 110

12 Hitler's dream of world power 111

13 Economic appeasement 112

14 Britain and Germany in the Balkans 112

15 The Four-Year Plan 113

16 Economic dangers for Britain 114

17 The crisis in France 114

18 'Peace for our time' 115

19 The change of mood in the west 115

20 Hitler plans to crush Poland 116

21 Chamberlain guarantees Poland 117

22 The Franco-British 'war plan', 1939 117

23 British intelligence on Germany 118

24 Stalin warns the west after Munich 119

25 The Franco-British failure in Moscow 119

26 The Soviet reaction to German advances, 1939 120

27 The German-Soviet Pact 121

28 Hitler gambles on western weakness 122

29 The last gasp of appeasement 123

30 Bonnet's doubts about war 123

31 Poland in the middle 124

32 The last days of peace 125

33 Chamberlain's 'awful Sunday' 125

34 Berlin proposes peace 126

35 The Tripartite Pact 127

36 Preparation for total mobilization in Germany 128

37 The Barbarossa Directive128

38 The German attack on Russia 129

39 Russia raises the price for co-operation 129

40 Japan decides on war 130

41 Creating the new world order 130

References 133

Index 145

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