From a vast amount of available data on the many aspects of this question, a case can be built which will probably only be filled in and amplified when secret diplomatic documents are ultimately released. Hostile political cultures -- the struggle for economic control crisis in religion, Occidental vs Oriental cultures -- these are a few of the aspects with which they deal. This is not historical survey in chronological form, but a study of the flow of modern life tending towards world organization or away from it. The first world war and its settlement, the League of Nations and the forces against it, the boom period underlaid with the destructive factors that challenged European recovery, the seeds of anarchy that bred fascism and nazism, and the long period of and American isolation which gave the Axis powers their chance for building an offensive weapon and launching their blitzkreig. The authors, through this survey, show the origins and backgrounds of the present war embedded in political, economic and cultural life. A stimulating book, but one which is for thoughtful students, rather than for the average reader who wants to be shocked out of his lethargy.