In a new edition featuring a new preface, A World of Arms remains a classic of global history. Widely hailed as a masterpiece, this volume remains the first history of World War II to provide a truly global account of the war that encompassed six continents. Starting with the changes that restructured Europe and its colonies following the First World War, Gerhard Weinberg sheds new light on every aspect of World War II. Actions of the Axis, the Allies, and the Neutrals are covered in every theater of the war. More importantly, the global nature of the war is examined, with new insights into how events in one corner of the world helped affect events in often distant areas.
In the first history of World War II to provide a truly global account of the conflict that encompassed six continents, Weinberg sheds new light on practically every facet of this devastating war. 23 maps.
"This is an extraordinary book. Moral and human feelings underpin his copious scholarship at every point, giving admirable depth and dimension to this monumental intellectual performance." Paul Fussell, The Washington Post
"...a coherent--in fact, hypnotic--narrative offered up in a single, handsome volume... surely the finest one-volume history we have of the most important event of the century." American Heritage --
- Publisher's Weekly
Beginning with the German invasion of Poland and concluding with the Japanese surrender, this majestic overview of WW II concentrates on the tactical decisions made by Allied and Axis leaders and the interrelationship among the various theaters. Weinberg ( The Foreign Policy of Hitler's Germany ) depicts the struggle to control the oceans, the effort to halt the German and Japanese advances and the development of postwar plans which influenced the course of battle. In his well-documented study, Weinberg shows the linkage betwen grand strategy and diplomacy, highlights intelligence gathering and tactics. He describes how the conflict affected the economies and morale of the countries involved and offers a revised estimate of deaths and casualties suffered by the belligerents. Rich in content and sharply interpretive, Weinberg's book is a stunning achievement. History Book Club main selection; BOMC dual selection. (Feb.)
Weinberg's unrivaled command of archival sources combines with a smooth writing style to produce a definitive one-volume history of World War II. Weinberg balances well his coverage of the western theater and the Russian front; Europe and the Pacific; and land, sea, and air operations with equal facility. The focus of the work, however, is on the war's human factors. Weinberg is particularly critical of German and Japanese leaders for lacking a global perspective for a global war. Allied generals and leaders had significantly broader visions, which contributed significantly to their success in producing large, efficient citizen armies. Weinberg's conclusion that World War II demonstrated humankind's potential for organizing constructive programs and policies, as well as establishing its capacity for self-destruction, makes this work a signpost to the future as well as a guidebook to the past.-- D.E. Showalter, U.S. Air Force Acad., Colorado Springs
At once accessible, concise, and comprehensive: a masterful overview of WW II. Drawing on previously unavailable archives as well as standard sources, historian Weinberg (Foreign Policy of Hitler's Germany, etc.; Univ. of North Carolina) begins his chronicle of the great conflict with an analysis of the post-WW I events that led to a second world war. Getting down to business, he documents the fundamentally different intentions of latter-day belligerents like the Axis partners, Nazi Germany, and Imperial Japan, whose objectives encompassed a total reordering of territory, resources, and populations, while by contrast their WW I counterparts had fought mainly to preserve traditional balances of power. In pursuing his enormous theme, the author focuses on the strategic why rather than the tactical how of major clashes, leaving the details of such landmark engagements as the Battle of Britain to others with less lofty ambitions. This isn't to say that Weinberg shortchanges his readers in any substantive way. In addition to assessing the global implications of big-picture campaigns, for example, he offers short-take perspectives on action in hitherto neglected theaters. Cases in point range from the Allied seizure (from the Vichy French) of Madagascar on to so-called sideshows in Burma, Eastern Africa, and Iraq. Covered as well are the roles played by intelligence operatives, diplomats, Wehrmacht bureaucrats responsible for the Holocaust, civilians in scores of countries, and scientists recruited to develop the atomic bombs that helped hasten V-J Day. Weinberg's chronological narrative occasionally verges on the kaleidoscopic, but, this cavil apart, the author offers an authoritativesurvey of a huge conflict that, he suggests in an affecting afterword, might just have saved a weary world from even more destructive hostilities. The text has over 20 helpful maps. (Book-of-the-Month Dual Selection for March; Main Selection of the History Book Club)
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 Visions of Victory: The Hopes of Eight World War II Leaders (Cambridge, 2005) and Germany, Hitler, and World War II (Cambridge, 1995).
1. From one war to another; 2. From the German and Soviet invasions of Poland to the German attack in the West, September 1, 1939 to May 10, 1940; 3. The world turned upside down; 4. The expanding conflict, 1940–1941; 5. The Eastern Front and a changing war, June to December, 1941; 6. Halting the Japanese advance, halting the German advance; keeping them apart and shifting the balance: December 1941 to November 1942; 7. The war at sea, 1942–1944, and the blockade; 8. The war in Europe and North Africa 1942–1943: to and from Stalingrad; to and from Tunis; 9. The home front; 10. Means of warfare: old and new; 11. From the spring of 1943 to summer 1944; 12. The assault on Germany from all sides; 13. Tensions in both alliances; 14. The halt on the European fronts; 15. The final assault on Germany; 16. The war in the Pacific: from Leyte to the Missouri; Conclusions: the cost and impact of the war.