The Origins of the Second World War

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9781405824699: The Origins of the Second World War

The book explores the reasons why the Second World 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 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.

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From the Back Cover:

The Origins of the Second World War explores the reasons why the Second World War broke out in September 1939 and not sooner, and why a European war expanded into world war by 1941.

Richard Overy argues that this was not just ‘Hitler’s War’ but one that had its roots and origins in the decline of the old empires of Britain and France and the rise of ambitious new powers in Germany, Italy and Japan. Any explanation of the outbreak of hostilities must be multinational in scope taking into account the basic instability of the international system that had still not recovered from the shocks of the Great War.  

In this third edition:

·         The role of Italy in the approach to war has been re-evaluated

·         Overy addresses recent revelations about Soviet policy in the 1930s, particularly exploring Soviet military planning and preparations

·         Arguments about Chamberlain and his policy of appeasement are rethought and reassessed.

This new edition has now been completely overhauled, updated, expanded and reset. With a comprehensive documents section, colour plates, guide to who’s who, a chronology and lists of further reading, The Origins of the Second World War will provide an invaluable introduction to any student of this fascinating period.

Richard Overy is Professor of History at the University of Exeter. He has authored 17 books on the Third Reich, the Second World War and air warfare which include:The Air War 1939-1945 (2nd ed, 2006),Why the Allies Won (2nd ed, 2006) and The Dictators: Hitler’s Germany and Stalin’s Russia (2004) which won both the Wolfson and the  Hessell Tiltman Prizes for History in 2005.

About the Author:

Richard Overy is Professor of History at the University of Exeter. He has authored 17 books on the Third Reich, the Second World War and air warfare which include:The Air War 1939-1945 (2nd ed, 2006), Why the Allies Won (2nd ed, 2006) and The Dictators: Hitler's Germany and Stalin's Russia (2004) which won both the Wolfson and the Hessell Tiltman Prizes for History in 2005.

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Overy, R. J.
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