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Explanations for why the Allied forces were able to prevail over Germany, Italy, and Japan during World War II in campaigns at sea, the eastern front, the air war, and the "amphibious" assault on Europe.
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Having won an unprecedented series of victories and acquired huge new territories in 1942, Germany and Japan seemed poised to dominate most of the world. A year later both empires were reeling back in the face of Allied assaults. The rapid turnaround, King's College history professor Richard Overy writes, came about largely as a result of technological innovation and structural responsiveness. The Allies were able to convert their economies to a war footing with few institutional fetters, while the Axis powers imposed layers of bureaucracy that often competed internally. In fact, Overy writes, at one point during the war, the Luftwaffe had more than 425 different aircraft models in production, the result of different state agencies' and manufacturers' vying to push their models into the order of battle. The defeated Axis powers' conversion to their foes' economic model enabled them, according to Overy, to become technological leaders in the postwar years. His study is full of detail, and it makes for very good reading.About the Author:
Richard Overy is professor of modern history at King's College, London.
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