The origins of the Second World War in Europe


The origins of the Second World War in Europe

P.M.H. Bell

(Origins of modern wars / general editor, Harry Hearder)

Longman, 1997

2nd ed

  • : pbk

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Includes bibliographical references and index



In this famous book Philip Bell examines the European origins of the Second World War from three different angles: first, he sets out the various explanations which have been offered for the war, and discusses the historiographical debates to which they have given rise; he then analyses the major underlying forces - ideological, economic and strategic - that were at work in Europe during the 1930s; and in his final section he traces the course of events from 1932, when Europe was visibly at peace, via the initial oubreak of hostilities in 1939, right through to June 1941, when the German attack on the Soviet Union marked the climax of the acceleration into general conflict. P.M.H.BELL is Senior Research Fellow at the University of Liverpool. Longman recently published his two-volume study of Franco-British relations in the twentieth century, as France and Britain 1900-1940: Entente and Estrangement and France and Britain 1940-1994: The Long Separation.


PART ONE: INTRODUCTION: PROBLEMS OF INTERPRETATION 1. On war and the causes of war. 2. A Thirty Years War: The restoration of Europe. 3. The case against a Thirty Years War. 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. 11. The Role of Strategy and Armed Force. 12. Armed forces, strategy and foreign policy: Italy, Germany and the Soviet Union. PART THREE: THE COMING OF WAR 1932-1941. INTRODUCTION. 13. From peace to the eve of war 1932-1937. 14. War postponed 1938.15. Decisions for war 1939. 15. The expanding war 1939-1940. 16. Germany and the Soviet Union 1940-1941. Conclusion. Further reading. Maps. Index

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