Distinguished historians explore developments in the study of World War II.
To say that the contributors will change how we view the war might be overstating it, but their outlooks, with the benefit of new and broader information, will give many readers pause. Edited by European Academy of the Sciences and Arts member Overy (History/Univ. of Exeter; The Bombers and the Bombed: Allied Air War Over Europe 1940-1945, 2014, etc.), the book breaks apart facets of the war, first looking at the beginnings of the Italian, German, and Japanese aggressions. The Italian foray into Africa, the Second Sino-Japanese War, and Germany’s use of President Woodrow Wilson’s self-determination principle all show how early the signs of war appeared. The contributors examine the commonly held belief that air and naval powers dictated the results—the English discovered that they could mitigate the U-boat threat by using convoys, something it took some time for the Americans to accept, at great cost—and they explore the Lend-Lease program, through which the United States supplied desperately needed materiel to both England and Russia. They also delve into the varied aspects of life in wartime, including economic considerations, the politics of food (e.g., imposed famine), the use of civilians and prisoners in war and production, the broad proliferation of propaganda, and the vast cultural differences among the war’s participants. Throughout, they bring out fascinating aspects of the war’s tactics, such as the use of one theater, especially Italy, to subordinate action by tying up armies needed elsewhere. In addition to Overy, other contributors include David French, Patricia Clavin, and Geoffrey Roberts.
A good choice for new insights into aspects of the war we never knew, such as the “other” D-Day in the Marianas and the great significance of the Eastern front in the final outcome.