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    The Cambridge History of the Second World War
    • Online ISBN: 9781139524377
    • Book DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CHO9781139524377
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Book description

War is often described as an extension of politics by violent means. With contributions from twenty-five eminent historians, Volume 2 of The Cambridge History of the Second World War examines the relationship between ideology and politics in the war's origins, dynamics and consequences. Part I examines the ideologies of the combatants and shows how the war can be understood as a struggle of words, ideas and values with the rival powers expressing divergent claims to justice and controlling news from the front in order to sustain moral and influence international opinion. Part II looks at politics from the perspective of pre-war and wartime diplomacy as well as examining the way in which neutrals were treated and behaved. The volume concludes by assessing the impact of states, politics and ideology on the fate of individuals as occupied and liberated peoples, collaborators and resistors, and as British and French colonial subjects.

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Page 1 of 3


  • 9 - Europe
    pp 209-216
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CHO9781139524377.012
  • View abstract
    Summary
    In Italian and German propaganda, the 'axis' was celebrated as the joining of forces between two long suppressed but now re-emerging empires, with shared histories and superior cultures, as well as common foes who sought to prevent them from assuming their rightful place among the world's great powers. Against the background of continuing friction and half-hearted coordination between the three major Axis powers, Germany, Italy and Japan, this chapter discusses what it was that actually held the 'axis' together. All three regimes shared a common belief in the superiority of some kind of authoritarianism over liberal democracy and the desire to create new orders, both at home and abroad, notably through an expansionist foreign policy that would revise the Paris Peace system established in 1919. In all three countries between the later 1930s and 1945, 'empire-building' played a significant role, either as a source of radicalization (as in Japan) or the result of it (as in Germany and Italy).
  • 10 - Asia-Pacific
    pp 217-252
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CHO9781139524377.013
  • View abstract
    Summary
    This chapter discusses the wartime ideology of the Western Allies, chiefly Britain and the United States, but also France. It considers ideology through prism of war aims. The first part examines the war aims of Britain and France from outbreak of European war in September 1939 to Germany's military victories in West in 1940. The Phoney War had witnessed a rising tide of anti-communist sentiment in France and Britain, egged on by the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, Moscow's diplomatic and economic aid to the Germans, and the Red Army's unprovoked attack on Finland. The second and longer part considers the war aims of Britain and the United States from 1940-1945. The Churchill's challenge is apparent from history of Atlantic Charter, the single most important statement of Allied war aims. The charter was less a declaration of war aims than it was a spur for the Allies to define and impose their own views regarding the stakes of the conflict.
  • 11 - The diplomacy of the Axis, 1940–1945
    pp 253-275
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CHO9781139524377.014
  • View abstract
    Summary
    On the eve of the Second World War, the Soviet Union and the communist movement had reached their lowest point in terms of prestige, support and ideological influence. The chapter shows how a dramatic change took place during the war, and how ideological and political bases were consistent and durable at the start of the post-war era. The Nazi attack of 22 June 1941 had the immediate effect of radically changing the official language and image of the Soviet Union and the Comintern. G. D. H. Cole and Harold Laski had firmly criticized the Communist Party of Great Britain for its alignment to the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact and its inclination to put British imperialism on a par with Nazi Germany. Soviet wartime myth-making was supposed to provide the proper synthesis of national appeal and class vision. Certainly, the prestige of Soviet Union had never been so high and, unlike the pre-war years, the communist movement had become powerful international factor.
  • 12 - The diplomacy of the Grand Alliance
    pp 276-300
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CHO9781139524377.015
  • View abstract
    Summary
    The significance of propaganda in the Second World War cannot be found in its contribution to victory or defeat, but in the way key narratives shaped the subsequent representation of the war, particularly for the victors. State propaganda circulated in a complex and unpredictable environment, alongside rumours, gossip, informal news networks and enemy propaganda, all of which affected the reception of particular appeals. Its success was also determined by its correlation with fundamental values, ingrained belief systems and individual subjectivity. This applied in both liberal democracies and totalitarian dictatorships. Propagandists faced a difficult task in September 1939: the memory of the Great War contributed to a lack of enthusiasm about the prospect of another, and most people entered with a sense of 'reluctant loyalty'. After 1945, propagandists re-mobilized the master narratives of the war in the service of new conflicts or to mitigate change.
  • 13 - Spain
    pp 301-323
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CHO9781139524377.016
  • View abstract
    Summary
    In the First World War, frontline censorship had been particularly systematic. Totalitarian and authoritarian regimes had an obvious edge when trying to control war news. The Japanese government moved increasingly to rationalize the media, working with the Newspaper Union to force mergers, while also licensing only those journalists whose stories grasped 'the national spirit'. Japanese newspapers had been producing special war editions ever since the Manchurian Incident. Across the Channel, with a possible German invasion imminent, British censorship remained stringent. America's entrance into the war initially exposed a major tension between the desirability of publicity and the necessity of censorship. Engaged in 'liberating' territory, the Allies launched a succession of amphibious assaults against Pacific, Mediterranean and Normandy targets.
  • 14 - Sweden
    pp 324-348
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CHO9781139524377.017
  • View abstract
    Summary
    In September 1939, the nationalism which characterized politics in the 1930s gave way to the internationalism of war. The project of international organization was primarily, but not exclusively, the concern of Grand Alliance: Britain, the USA and the USSR. Among the Axis powers, only Germany showed any interest in building institutions that would promote fascism internationally. This chapter shows how many of ideas, practices and people who designed and populated the United Nations Organization and its related agencies borrowed heavily from League of Nations. It underscores the significance and deep engagement of the United States with the project of international organization. Alexander Loveday spent twenty-six years in the service of the 'League of Nations'. The most important' reason for dedicating the best part of his working life to organization, he claimed, was 'belief in the value of the work that has to be done'.
  • Part III - Occupation, Collaboration, Resistance and Liberation
    pp 349-374
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CHO9781139524377.018
  • View abstract
    Summary
    The Nazi regime's genocidal policies evolved as a result of the dynamic interaction between racial ideals, societal interests, systemic paroxysms and structured violence. The importance of Second World War for Third Reich's extreme destructiveness can hardly be overestimated mass violence occurred predominantly between 1941-1945 in regions earmarked as future German 'living space'. The systematic killing of civilians under the Nazi regime involved decisions oriented toward military conquest and a radical restratification of German society. In the ongoing attempt to explain the Holocaust, scholars have long stressed the importance of the Nazi leadership's persistent commitment to bring about a 'Final Solution of the Jewish question', based on their racial hatred and a societal tradition of anti-Semitism. Anti-Semitism and material interests made some Axis regimes more amenable to German pressure, as in the case of Slovakia: in March 1942, its government was the first to agree to the deportation of the country's Jews.

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