Overy, Richard. with Wheatcroft, Andrew.


1st ed., 1989. Xiii + 364 pp., photo-plates, maps + cartoons. D.j., 24 x 16cm. FINE. This book sets out to ask, without resort to hindsight, why the world's great powers found themselves at war in 1939 and it shows that the answers are not as simple as usually assumed. It gives the story of how various countries/states reacted to the crises of the 1930's, the story of their road to war. It shows that there are no easy answers in foreign policy, least of all in the 1930's with the shadow of economic recession, social conflict and violent nationalism. This book is more than an explanation; it recaptures the concerns, anxieties and prejudices of the statesmen of the 1930's and of the people they led. It shows how close were the links between domestic politics and the great issues of foreign policy in an age of mass society; it shows how much economics mattered – as much as diplomacy and statesmanship. This is a controversial book, as challenging and thought-provoking as its subject deserves and was accompanied by a major television series.

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