The Origins of the Second World War
Edition 2 ed
Publication Date 1 Jan 1998
Overview"Seminar Studies in History...provide a means of bridging the gap between specialist articles and monographs and textbooks. They are written by acknowledged experts on the subject who are not only familiar with current thinking but have often contributed to it. Their format, well-tried and effective, combines information, analysis and assessment effectively. The selections of documents, included from the outset of the series when document work was hardly in vogue in schools, not merely illustrates points made in the text but provides an effective medium for discussion on the issues raised. The further reading guide has stimulated countless students to take their interests further. The structure of the series may not have changed through time but the format has, with attractive four-colour covers and larger pages...Seminar Studies are still, despite all the opposition, a market leader."Teaching History. First published in 1987, this highly successful Seminar Study has now been completely overhauled, updated, expanded and reset. With its dozen additional documents the book now provides a fuller range of essential sources, making the book even more useful for teaching purposes. The bibliography has over thirty new entries and the main text has been fully updated to take account of the writings on the subject since the mid 1980s. In particular, new material has been added on the Munich crisis and on Japan but the most significant change is to be found in the treatment of the Soviet Union. Since 1989 knowledge of Soviet foreign policy has been transformed, and this is reflected in a complete redrafting of the sections covering Soviet actions from the Czech crisis in 1938 to the final showdown with Germany in 1941.The strength of the new edition lies, as before, in the broad analytical approach and its accessible style. Professor Overy explores why the war broke out in September 1939 and not sooner, and why a European war expanded into world war by 1941. The war has usually been seen simply as Hitler's war and yet the wider conflict that broke out when Germany invaded Poland was not the war that Hitler wanted. He had hoped for a short war against Poland; instead, Britain and France declared war on Germany. Richard Overy argues that that any explanation of the outbreak of hostilities must therefore be multi-national and he shows how the war's origins are to be found in the basic instability of the international system that was brought about by the decline of the old empires of Britain and France and the rise of ambitious new powers, Italy, Germany and Japan keen to build new empires of their own.R. J. Overy is Professor of Modern History at King's College, University of London.