Book

War Aims in the Second World War

Victor Rothwell

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print March 2005 | ISBN: 9780748615025
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748651283 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.3366/edinburgh/9780748615025.001.0001
War Aims in the Second World War

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This is the first study of the aims that motivated the major powers – the United States, the Soviet Union, Great Britain, Germany, and Japan – to fight in the Second World War. The book shows how some war aims were constants, unlikely to be abandoned except as a result of total defeat, while others arose as a result of the fortunes of war. The author sheds light on the wartime transition of the United States and the Soviet Union to superpower status. He shows that consistency of purpose is most evident in Great Britain, content with the international pre-war status quo, and Nazi Germany, intent on replacing it with a new order in which all liberal and civilized values would be annihilated. The author examines the origins of the Second World War, from the flawed peace settlement of 1919 to the start of the true world war at Pearl Harbour in 1941. Reflecting current historical understanding of the subject, he discusses, within a chronological framework, the underlying issues, such as the clash between ‘have’ and ‘have not’ states, as well as their relative military and economic strengths. Did the cause of peace advance in the 1920s, only to be stopped in its tracks and threatened with reversal by the economic depression that began with the Wall Street crash in 1929? What was the nature of Nazi thinking about war, foreign policy and the (primarily British) policy of appeasement, which sought to accommodate the Third Reich? Why did Britain itself for long prefer appeasement to collective security?

Keywords: major powers; Second World War; superpower status; status quo; Nazi Germany; new order; 1919 peace settlement; Pearl Harbour; 1941; military strengths

Book.  256 pages.  Illustrated.

Subjects: International Relations

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Table of Contents

War Aims in Modern History in War Aims in the Second World War

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Germany and Italy in War Aims in the Second World War

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Britain and France in War Aims in the Second World War

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The United States in War Aims in the Second World War

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The Soviet Union in War Aims in the Second World War

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Japan and the Grand Allies in East Asia in War Aims in the Second World War

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Conclusion in War Aims in the Second World War

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