Visions of Victory: The Hopes of Eight World War II Leaders

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Visions of Victory explores the views of eight leaders of the major belligerents in World War II - Hitler, Mussolini, Tojo, Chiang Kai-shek, Stalin, Churchill, de Gaulle, and Roosevelt - and compares their visions of the future assuming their side emerged victorious. While the leaders primarily focused their attention on strategies for fighting and wining the war, these strategies were often shaped by their aspirations and hopes for the future. Weinberg assesses how subsequent events were impacted by their decisions and examines how their visions for the future changed and evolved throughout the war. What emerges is a startling picture of postwar worlds: Besides the extermination of the Jews, Hitler intended for all the Slavs to die off and for the Germans to inhabit all of eastern Europe. Both Mussolini and Hitler intended to have extensive colonies in Africa. Churchill hoped to see the reemergence of the British and French Empires. De Gaulle wanted to annex the northwest corner of Italy (but Truman forced him to back down). Stalin wanted control of eastern Europe, and he got it. Roosevelt's vision of the future was the closest to being fulfilled, including, importantly, the establishment of the United Nations. Weinberg's comparison of the individual portraits of the war-time leaders is a highly original and compelling study of history that might have been.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Since imagined outcomes are essential to understanding WWII's actual result, Weinberg's experienced analysis is vital to the WWII collection." Booklist

"Based on his unrivalled knowledge of the war-time policies of the main belligerent leaders of World War II as well as on newly published material, Professor Weinberg has combined scholarship with imagination in reconstructing their individual visions of the post-war world. The result is a book, written for a wide circle of readers, that throws new light on unfinished debates about the chief winners and losers of a truly global war." Zara Steiner, Emeritus Fellow, New Hall, Cambridge University

"Weinberg, the leading American scholar of World War II, presents a masterful overview of the postwar hopes and aspirations of the major leaders of history's greatest conflict. The scale of the fighting and the level of destruction made it impossible to wage that war for the purpose of restoring the status quo. Highlights among the eight leaders Weinberg profiles include Hitleras brutally dystopian visions, Stalinas aggressive imperialism, Charles de Gaulleas hopes of France restored to great-power status, and Winston Churchill's image of the British Empire as a force for peace and stability . Weinberg, however, credits Franklin D. Roosevelt with the most comprehensive, most generous vision of the postwar world. The US and the UN may not have succeeded entirely in implementing FDR's belief in international organization —but they came close enough to avert further comprehensive catastrophes. " Prof. Dennis Showalter, Colorado College

"Visions of Victory is a beautifully written and wide- ranging synthesis of a large and burgeoning literature...It is a masterpiece of historical writing that should be read by anyone interested in the origins of the world in which we live." Financial Times, Vernon Bogdanor, Professor of Government at Oxford University

"A look at the evolution and influence of the war aims of the leaders of the principal warring powers — Hitler, Mussolini, Tojo, Chiang, Stalin, Churchill, de Gaulle, Roosevelt—and how close they came to realization. In a well-written book, Weinberg shows how each leader's personality and the culture and politics of his society helped shape his goals and his conduct of the war. Arguing, rather persuasively, that most of these leaders had essentially nineteenth century views of the world, Weinberg concludes perhaps not suprisingly, that the leader who came closest to achieving his goals was FDR...More surprisingly, he concludes that second place must be accorded to Chiang...A very important book for anyone interested in the World War II or the grand strategy of the twentieth century" - The NYMAS Review

"[The Book] will provide readers with an excellent brief overview of the world of each of these leaders wished to create, and it is highly recommended for general as well as academic audiences." - Mark A. Stoler, University of Vermont, The Historian

"Overall, scholars will find that Weinberg's treatment is fair and his research exhaustive. His chapter on Hitler is ultimately the strongest; it is a remarkable and concise exploration of Hitler's radical vision that did so much to nearly destroy the world. Finally, no scholar is more qualified than Weinberg to write this compelling, approachable, and highly original book." - Jeff Demers, Massachusetts School of Law

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521708753
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 9/30/2007
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 316
  • Sales rank: 705,656
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.71 (d)

Meet the Author

Gerhard L. Weinberg is Professor Emeritus of History at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He is the author of numerous books and articles on the origins and course of World War II, including A World At Arms: A Global History of World War II (Cambridge University Press, 1994), which won the George Louis Beer Prize of the American Historical Association, and Germany, Hitler, and World War II (Cambridge University Press, 1995).

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Table of Contents

1 Adolf Hitler 5
2 Benito Mussolini 39
3 Tojo Hideki 57
4 Chiang Kai-shek 77
5 Josef Stalin 95
6 Winston Churchill 135
7 Charles de Gaulle 161
8 Franklin D. Roosevelt 175
9 The real postwar world 211
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