Exploring the reasons why the Second World War broke out in September 1939 and why a European conflict developed into a war that spanned the globe, The Origins of the Second World War 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 who wanted large empires of their own.
This fourth edition has been revised throughout, covering the origins of the war from its background in the First World War to its expansion to embrace the Soviet Union, Japan and the United States by the end of 1941. Creating a comprehensive and analytical narrative while remaining a succinct overview of the subject, this book takes a thematic approach to the complex range of events that culminated in global warfare, discussing factors such as economic rivalry, rearmament and domestic politics and emphasising that any explanation of the outbreak of hostilities must be global in scope.
Containing updated references and primary source documents alongside a glossary, a chronology of key events and a Who's Who of important figures, this book is an invaluable introduction for any student of this fascinating period.
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.