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The Origins of the Second World War in Europe

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Table of Contents

Chronology PART ONE: INTRODUCTION: PROBLEMS OF INTERPRETATION 1. On War and the Causes of War 2. A Thirty Years War? The Disintegration of Europe 3. The Case Against a Thirty Years War: The Restoration of Europe 4. History and Historians PART TWO: THE UNDERLYING FORCES. The Role of Ideology 5. Italian Fascism 6. German Nazism 7. Parliamentary Democracy: France and Britain 8. Soviet Communism Economic Issues and the Coming of War 9. The Great Depression and International Relations 10. Economic Problems and the Coming of War The Role of Strategy and Armed Force 11. Armed Forces, Strategy and Foreign Policy (1): France and Britain 12. Armed Forces, Strategy and Foreign Policy (2): Italy, Germany and the Soviet Union PART THREE: THE COMING OF WAR 1932-1941 13. From Peace to the Eve of War, 1932-1937 14. War postponed, 1938 15. Decisions for War, 1939 16. The Expanding War, 1939-1940 17. Germany and the Soviet Union, 1940-1941 Conclusion Who's Who Bibliography

Promotional Information

A classic of its kind, PMH Bell's famous book is a comprehensive study of the period and debates surrounding the European origins of the Second World War.

About the Author

PMH Bell is honorary senior fellow at Department of History, University of Liverpool.


"At last we have a good survey of Europe's route to World War II. P.M.H. Bell's study is a worthy sequel to its distinguished predecessor, James Joll's The Origins of the First World War. On the whole the accuracy, precision, and balance are outstanding. Bell's words are carefully chosen, and he has produced a remarkable synthesis, complete with concrete detail and intelligent but not excessive use of statistics. The resulting work is reliable and judicious, very erudite but never ponderous." "Sally Marks, American Historical Review" "Bell's new book transcends (A.J.P.) Taylor and can replace him. Bell has delved more thoroughly into the intricate problems they both treat. He handles the evidence more fairly, and is less sure that he knows all the answers." "M.R.D. Foot, Albion" "This is a vast topic, and all one can do, by way of brief review, is to commend the masterly equity, lucidity and inclusiveness of Philip Bell's survey of its bewildering complexities." "Martin Fagg, Times Educational Supplement" "lucid, balanced and sane" "Eric Summers, History Teaching Review"

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