World War II: A Short History / Edition 4

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Overview

Author Michael J. Lyons has drawn from the vast array of new historical literature to update this fourth edition. He has increased his coverage of the Holocaust as well as German occupation policies along with both collaboration and resistance among various European peoples. Readers will find an expanded chapter on the home fronts of the leading belligerent powers, greater attention to Japan 'n the period preceding the war as well as a discussion of the bitter hatred that characterized the conflict between Americans and Japanese in the Pacific. Lyons also focuses more fully on the Allied D-Day landings along the coast of Normandy in June 1944 and on the hardships of the common fighting man during the conflict.

In addition to numerous photographs, thirty-five revised maps contribute to the reader's understanding of military campaigns. The extensively revised bibliographical essay provides a wealth of suggestions for additional reading.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
An overview of the political, diplomatic, economic, military and human aspects of the war. Covers the events that triggered the conflict and the effects of the defeat of Germany and Japan. Presents an account of the European and Pacific theaters and the connection between them. This second edition features a section on total war and the home fronts and an updated chapter linking the war with the transformation of Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union in the late 1980s-1990s. Includes maps and b&w photos. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780130977694
  • Publisher: Prentice Hall
  • Publication date: 6/19/2003
  • Series: MySearchLab Series for History Series
  • Edition description: Subsequent
  • Edition number: 4
  • Pages: 372
  • Product dimensions: 6.98 (w) x 9.18 (h) x 0.83 (d)

Read an Excerpt

When the first edition of World War II: A Short History appeared in 1989, the conflict had already inspired over 70,000 volumes. The number has risen steadily since then. In this fourth edition, I again have incorporated material from the vast array of new literature, along with suggestions from readers. In particular, I have increased coverage of the Holocaust as well as German occupation policies and the issues of collaboration and resistance among European peoples. I have also expanded the chapter on the home fronts in the chief belligerent countries and have devoted more attention to Japan in the period preceding the war as well as in regard to the Japanese biological and chemical warfare program. In addition, I have dwelt to a greater extent on the intense hatred between Americans id Japanese that marked the war in the Pacific and set it apart to some extent from the conflict between the Western Allies and Germany. I have added a section on early efforts to break the German cipher that eventually enabled the Allies to read enemy messages on a regular basis, the process known by the code name "Ultra." In the light of new research, I have modified my analysis on the German victory in the West in 1940 to a certain degree. I have also focused in greater detail on the Allied landings in Normandy. Finally, I have interjected as much material as possible to illustrate what it was like to be a fighting man during the war. I have tried to accomplish all of this without expanding the book to un-manageable length. It is, after all, billed as a short history. By its very nature, it cannot cover everything in the detail one might like.

My basic purpose in this edition is still the same as that which prompted me to write the first: to satisfy the needs of the college student in the classroom as well as those of the general reader. At the same time, I have sought to provide a relatively brief synthesis of the work of other scholars that the professional historian will find useful. With these aims in mind, I have endeavored neither to overestimate the reader's knowledge of the subject nor to insult his or her intelligence by being too elementary. In pursuit of this elusive goal, I have attempted to fashion a book that is readable, informative, understandable, and interesting. Each reader will determine how well I have succeeded.

Though focusing primarily on the Second World War, I have examined the many factors that combined to cause that terrible calamity as well as the most significant effects of the conflict. Obviously, in a work of this scope, it has been necessary to deal selectively and summarily with the highly complex history of the decades preceding the outbreak of hostilities in 1939 and the period that followed the defeat of Germany and Japan in 1945. I have also striven to present a balanced account that does justice to both the European and Pacific theaters of operations and the connections between them. The global conflagration gave birth to innumerable controversies, and I have done my best 'to analyze the most important of these while often presenting my own views as to the best interpretations to place on them.

Any author incurs numerous debts in writing and publishing a book. Mine start with the late Professor Harold C. Deutsch, whose masterful course at the University of Minnesota kindled my fascination with the Second World War. Thanks also go to the many students who enrolled in my own World War II course at North Dakota State University during a period of over two decades. Their obvious interest helped stimulate my dedication to this project. Professor Archer Jones offered encouragement and advice during his years as dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. I must also acknowledge my discussions, not to mention arguments, with Professor James D. Sadkovich, which helped to alter my view of Italy's performance in the war to some extent. My good friend and colleague Professor David B. Danbom provided me with inspiration by example as well as strong personal support. I also greatly appreciate the encouragement and suggestions of Professor A. Harding Ganz.

I am indebted, too, for the many valuable suggestions offered by the readers who found my manuscript worthy of publication. These include James P Shenton, Columbia University; Joseph W Bendersky, Virginia Commonwealth University; David Detzer, Western Connecticut State University; John Maxwell, West Virginia University; Robin F. A. Fabel, Auburn University; Donald L. Layton, Indiana State University; Robert Maddox, Pennsylvania State University; Charles L. Ponce de Leon, SUNY Purchase; Nancy Wingfield, Northern Illinois University; and Neil Heyman, San Diego State University.

My gratitude for their encouragement also goes with much affection to my children—Mary, Mike, and Nancy Finally, I must pay tribute to my late wife, Joan, whose generous and constant support during my labors on the first three editions was sorely missed this time.

I have done my utmost to eliminate mistakes from the following pages. Any errors that have eluded these efforts—whether in fact, interpretation, or otherwise—are solely my own.

Michael J. Lyons

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Table of Contents

Preface.

I. THE ORIGINS OF WORLD WAR II.

1. World War I: The Great Turning Point.

2. The Legacy of World War I.

3. The Rise of the Dictators.

4. The Road to War.

II. GERMANY'S MARCH OF CONQUEST.

5. Blitzkrieg in the East, Sitzkrieg in the West.

6. Complications in the North: Finland, Denmark, Norway.

7. The Fall of France.

8. Britain Is Still an Island.

9. The Plot Thickens: The Mediterranean and the Balkans.

III. THE WAR BECOMES GLOBAL.

10. Operation Barbarossa: Dream of Lebensraum.

11. Hitler's New Order in Europe.

12. America Enters the War.

13. Japan Triumphant, December 1941-May 1942.

IV. THE TIDE TURNS.

14. The Tide Turns in the Pacific.

15. The Tide Turns in Europe: Stalingrad and El Alamein.

16. The Second Front Question and the Invasion of North America.

17. Probing the Underbelly: Sicily and Italy.

18. War in the Atlantic.

19. Target Germany: The Allied Bombing Offensive.

20. Total War and the Home Fronts.

V. THE TRIUMPH OF THE ALLIES.

21. Russia Moves West, 1943-44.

22. Cross-Channel Invasion at Last: D Day to the German Border.

23. The End of the Thousand-Year Reich.

24. Island Hopping in the Pacific.

25. War on the Periphery: China, Burma, India.

26. The Collapse of Japan.

Aftermath.

Additional Reading.

Index.

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Preface

When the first edition of World War II: A Short History appeared in 1989, the conflict had already inspired over 70,000 volumes. The number has risen steadily since then. In this fourth edition, I again have incorporated material from the vast array of new literature, along with suggestions from readers. In particular, I have increased coverage of the Holocaust as well as German occupation policies and the issues of collaboration and resistance among European peoples. I have also expanded the chapter on the home fronts in the chief belligerent countries and have devoted more attention to Japan in the period preceding the war as well as in regard to the Japanese biological and chemical warfare program. In addition, I have dwelt to a greater extent on the intense hatred between Americans id Japanese that marked the war in the Pacific and set it apart to some extent from the conflict between the Western Allies and Germany. I have added a section on early efforts to break the German cipher that eventually enabled the Allies to read enemy messages on a regular basis, the process known by the code name "Ultra." In the light of new research, I have modified my analysis on the German victory in the West in 1940 to a certain degree. I have also focused in greater detail on the Allied landings in Normandy. Finally, I have interjected as much material as possible to illustrate what it was like to be a fighting man during the war. I have tried to accomplish all of this without expanding the book to un-manageable length. It is, after all, billed as a short history. By its very nature, it cannot cover everything in the detail one might like.

My basic purpose in this edition is still the same as that which prompted me to write the first: to satisfy the needs of the college student in the classroom as well as those of the general reader. At the same time, I have sought to provide a relatively brief synthesis of the work of other scholars that the professional historian will find useful. With these aims in mind, I have endeavored neither to overestimate the reader's knowledge of the subject nor to insult his or her intelligence by being too elementary. In pursuit of this elusive goal, I have attempted to fashion a book that is readable, informative, understandable, and interesting. Each reader will determine how well I have succeeded.

Though focusing primarily on the Second World War, I have examined the many factors that combined to cause that terrible calamity as well as the most significant effects of the conflict. Obviously, in a work of this scope, it has been necessary to deal selectively and summarily with the highly complex history of the decades preceding the outbreak of hostilities in 1939 and the period that followed the defeat of Germany and Japan in 1945. I have also striven to present a balanced account that does justice to both the European and Pacific theaters of operations and the connections between them. The global conflagration gave birth to innumerable controversies, and I have done my best 'to analyze the most important of these while often presenting my own views as to the best interpretations to place on them.

Any author incurs numerous debts in writing and publishing a book. Mine start with the late Professor Harold C. Deutsch, whose masterful course at the University of Minnesota kindled my fascination with the Second World War. Thanks also go to the many students who enrolled in my own World War II course at North Dakota State University during a period of over two decades. Their obvious interest helped stimulate my dedication to this project. Professor Archer Jones offered encouragement and advice during his years as dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. I must also acknowledge my discussions, not to mention arguments, with Professor James D. Sadkovich, which helped to alter my view of Italy's performance in the war to some extent. My good friend and colleague Professor David B. Danbom provided me with inspiration by example as well as strong personal support. I also greatly appreciate the encouragement and suggestions of Professor A. Harding Ganz.

I am indebted, too, for the many valuable suggestions offered by the readers who found my manuscript worthy of publication. These include James P Shenton, Columbia University; Joseph W Bendersky, Virginia Commonwealth University; David Detzer, Western Connecticut State University; John Maxwell, West Virginia University; Robin F. A. Fabel, Auburn University; Donald L. Layton, Indiana State University; Robert Maddox, Pennsylvania State University; Charles L. Ponce de Leon, SUNY Purchase; Nancy Wingfield, Northern Illinois University; and Neil Heyman, San Diego State University.

My gratitude for their encouragement also goes with much affection to my children—Mary, Mike, and Nancy Finally, I must pay tribute to my late wife, Joan, whose generous and constant support during my labors on the first three editions was sorely missed this time.

I have done my utmost to eliminate mistakes from the following pages. Any errors that have eluded these efforts—whether in fact, interpretation, or otherwise—are solely my own.

Michael J. Lyons

Read More Show Less

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