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The Origins of the Second World War


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Table of Contents

Preface List of figures List of tables Maps Chronology Who's Who PART ONE BACKGROUND 1 EXPLAINING THE SECOND WORLD WAR PART TWO ANALYSIS 2 THE INTERNATIONAL CRISIS The collapse of the League France and Britain America and the Soviet Union From the Rhineland to Munich 3 ECONOMIC AND IMPERIAL RIVALRY The imperial powers The `have-not' powers The failure of `economic appeasement' 4 ARMAMENTS AND DOMESTIC POLITICS Rearmament Finance, industry and labour Rearmament and domestic politics 5 WAR OVER POLAND The aftermath of Munich The Soviet factor The outbreak of war 6 FROM EUROPEAN TO WORLD WAR The war in the west Barbarossa The coming of world war PART THREE ASSESSMENT 7 HITLER'S WAR? PART FOUR DOCUMENTS 101 1 The Treaty of Versailles and Germany 2 The Covenant of the League 3 The search for a settlement 4 American `appeasement' 5 Stalin anticipates war 6 The `Hossbach memorandum' 7 Preparation for war before Munich 8 The Munich Conference 9 The Munich Agreement 10 Economic pressure on Japan 11 Mussolini's vision of empire 12 Economic appeasement 13 Britain and Germany in the Balkans 14 The Four-Year Plan 15 Economic dangers for Britain 16 The crisis in France 17 `Peace for our time' 18 The change of mood in the west 19 Hitler plans to crush Poland 20 Chamberlain guarantees Poland 21 The Franco-British `war plan', 1939 22 British intelligence on Germany 23 Stalin warns the west after Munich 24 The Franco-British failure in Moscow 25 The Soviet reaction to German advances, 1939 26 The German-Soviet Pact 27 Britain's Probable Attitude 28 Hitler gambles on western weakness 29 The last gasp of appeasement 30 Bonnet's doubts about war 31 Poland in the middle 32 The last days of peace 33 Chamberlain's `awful Sunday' 34 Berlin proposes peace 35 A Demand for Peace 36 The Tripartite Pact 37 Preparation for total mobilization in Germany 38 The Barbarossa Directive 39 The German attack on Russia 40 Russia raises the price for co-operation 41 Japan decides on war 42 Creating the new world order GLOSSARY REFERENCES INDEX

About the Author

Richard Overy is Professor of History at the University of Exeter. He has authored and edited more than 30 books on the European dictators, the Second World War and the history of air power, including The Air War 1939-1945 (2006, second edition), Why the Allies Won (2006, second edition), The Dictators: Hitler's Germany and Stalin's Russia (2004), which won both the Wolfson and the Hessell Tiltman Prizes for History in 2005, and 1939: Countdown to War (2009). His book The Bombing War: Europe 1939-1945 (2013) won a Cundill Award for historical literature.


"This remains the stand-out single volume account of the origins of the war, presented here with important `fourth edition' updates. Overy summarizes and surveys a vast literature with consummate perspicacity, to the benefit of readers from all backgrounds."

Ashley Jackson, King's College London, UK

"The fourth edition of this classic text, carefully revised and refreshed, is extremely welcome. Overy guides readers masterfully through the complex historical and historiographical terrain of the road to war, offering a clear but sophisticated interpretation."

Patrick Finney, Aberyswyth University, UK

"The latest edition of Richard Overy's classic text constitutes an invaluable guide for teachers and students - as well as for anyone else interested in understanding how the Second World War came about. Precise, accessible and engaging throughout, the book highlights Overy's powerful command of the subject."

Robert Crowcroft, University of Edinburgh, UK

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