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World War II, Origins/Bibliography

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A list of key readings about World War II, Origins.
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  • Adamthwaite, Anthony. "France and the Coming of War" in Patrick Finney, ed. The Origins of the Second World War (1997)
  • Adamthwaite, Anthony. Grandeur and Misery: France's Bid for Power in Europe, 1914-40 (1995) 276 pp
  • Bell, P.M.H. The Origins of the Second World War in Europe (3rd ed. 2007)
  • Boxer, Andrew. "French Appeasement: Andrew Boxer Considers Explanations for France's Disastrous Foreign Policy between the Wars." History Review v. 59 (2007) pp. 45+. online edition
  • Boyce, Robert, and Joseph A. Maiolo. The Origins of World War Two: The Debate Continues (2003) excerpt and text search
  • Boyce, Robert. French Foreign and Defence Policy, 1918-1940: The Decline and Fall of a Great Power (1998) excerpt and text search
  • Deist, Wilhelm et al., ed. Germany and the Second World War. Vol. 1: The Build-up of German Aggression. (1991). 799 pp., official German history
  • Dutton, David Neville Chamberlain, (2001) ISBN 0-340-70627-9.
  • Duroselle, Jean-Baptiste. France and the Nazi Threat: The Collapse of French Diplomacy 1932-1939 (2004)
  • Eubank, Keith. The Origins of World War II (2004), short survey
  • Henig, Ruth. The Origins of the Second World War 1933-1939 (2nd ed 2005) short survey excerpt and text search
  • Finney, Patrick. The Origins of the Second World War (1998), 480pp
  • Goldstein, Erik & Lukes, Igor, eds. The Munich crisis, 1938: Prelude to World War II, (1999) ISBN 0-7146-8056-7.
  • Hildebrand, Klaus. The Foreign Policy of the Third Reich, (1973).
  • Imlay, Talbot. "Democracy and War: Political Regime, Industrial Relations, and Economic Preparations for War in France and Britain up to 1940." Journal of Modern History 2007 79(1): 1-47. Issn: 0022-2801
  • Jackson, Peter. "Post-War Politics and the Historiography of French Strategy and Diplomacy Before the Second World War," History Compass Vol. 4, August 2006 online edition
  • Jackson, Peter. France and the Nazi Menace: Intelligence and Policy Making, 1933-1939 (2000)
  • Kaiser, David E. Economic diplomacy and the origins of the Second World War: Germany, Britain, France and Eastern Europe, 1930-1939 (1980)
  • Lamb, Margaret and Tarling, Nicholas. From Versailles to Pearl Harbor: The Origins of the Second World War in Europe and Asia. (2001). 238 pp.
  • Leitz, Christian. Nazi Foreign Policy, 1933-1941: The Road to Global War (2004) online edition
  • Lukes, Igor. The Munich Crisis, 1938: Prelude to World War II (1999), 416pp excerpt and text search
  • Mallett, Robert. Mussolini and the Origins of the Second World War, 1933 - 1940 (2003) excerpt and text search
  • Overy, Richard. The Road to War (2nd ed. 2000) excerpt and text search
  • Overy, Richard and Timothy Mason, "Debate: Germany, 'Domestic Crisis' and War in 1939" Past and Present, Number 122, February 1989. pages 200-240
  • Parker, R. A. C. Chamberlain and Appeasement: British Policy and the Coming of the Second World War. (1993). 388 pp.
  • Prazmowska, Anita J. Eastern Europe and the Origins of the Second World War. (2000). 278 pp.
  • Ragsdale, Hugh. The Soviets, the Munich Crisis, and the Coming of World War II. (2004). 234 pp.
  • Read, Anthony and Fisher, David. The Deadly Embrace: Hitler, Stalin and the Nazi-Soviet Pact, 1939-1941. (1988). 675 pp.
  • Record, Jeffrey. The Specter of Munich: Reconsidering the Lessons of Appeasing Hitler (2006) excerpt and text search
  • Rothwell, Victor. War Aims in the Second World War: The War Aims of the Key Belligerents 1939-1945 (2005) excerpt and text search
  • Salerno, Reynolds Matthewson. Vital Crossroads: Mediterranean Origins of the Second World War, 1935-1940. (2002). 285 pp.
  • Strang, G. Bruce On The Fiery March: Mussolini Prepares For War, (2003) ISBN 0-275-97937-7.
  • Taylor, A J P The Origins of the Second World War (1961). 368pp. highhly controversial in Britain
  • Tooze, Adam. "Hitler's Gamble?" History Today 2006 56(11): 22-28. Issn: 0018-2753 Fulltext: Ebsco, economic causes
  • Tooze, Adam. The Wages of Destruction: The Making and Breaking of the Nazi Economy (2007) influential emphasis that Hitler began to rearm in 1933
  • Watt, Donald Cameron How War Came: The Immediate Origins of the Second World War, 1938-1939, (1989), ae major survey ISBN 0-394-57916-X.
  • Weinberg, Gerhard L. A World at Arms: A Global History of World War II (1994). Overall history of the war; strong on diplomacy of FDR and other main leaders online at ACLS e-books
  • Weinberg, Gerhard. The Foreign Policy of Hitler's Germany: Starting World War II, 1937-1939, (1980) ISBN 0-226-88511-9.
  • Young, Robert J. France and the Origins of the Second World War (1996) excerpt and text search


  • Martel, Gordon, ed. The Origins of the Second World War Reconsidered: A.J.P. Taylor and the Historians, (2nd ed. 1999) excerpt and text search
  • Neville, Peter. "The Origins of the Second World War Revisited." European History Quarterly 2005 35(4): 569-582. Issn: 0265-6914 Fulltext: Ebsco
  • Young, Robert J. French Foreign Policy, 1918-1945: A Guide to Research and Research Materials. (1991)

United States

  • Barnes, Harry Elmer. Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace: A Critical Examination of the Foreign Policy of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Its Aftermath (1953). "revisionist" blames FDR for inciting Japan to attack.
  • Burns, James MacGregor. Roosevelt: Soldier of Freedom (1970), vol 2 covers the war years. online at ACLS e-books
  • Casey, Steven. Cautious Crusade: Franklin D. Roosevelt, American Public Opinion, and the War against Nazi Germany (2001) excerpt and text search
  • Cole, Wayne S. "American Entry into World War II: A Historiographical Appraisal," The Mississippi Valley Historical Review, Vol. 43, No. 4. (Mar., 1957), pp. 595-617. in JSTOR
  • Dallek, Robert. Franklin D. Roosevelt and American Foreign Policy, 1932-1945 (2nd ed. 1995) scholarly survey of foreign policy excerpt and text search
  • Feis, Herbert. Road to Pearl Harbor: The Coming of the War Between the United States and Japan (1950) influential classic
  • Heinrichs, Waldo. Threshold of War. Franklin Delano Roosevelt and American Entry into World War II (1988). excerpt and text search
  • Kimball, Warren. The Juggler: Franklin Roosevelt as World Statesman (1991)
  • Langer, William and S. Everett Gleason. The Challenge to Isolation, 1937-1940 (1952). The Undeclared War, 1940-1941 (1953) online edition. highly influential two-volume semi-official history
  • Russett, Bruce M. No Clear and Present Danger: A Skeptical View of the United States Entry into World War II 2nd ed. excerpt and text search(1997) says US should have let USSR and Germany destroy each other
  • Schmitz, David F., and Richard D. Challener, eds. Appeasement in Europe: A Reassessment of U.S. Policies Greenwood Press, 1990 online edition


  • Barnhart, Michael A. Japan Prepares for Total War: The Search for Economic Security, 1919–1941 (1987)
  • Bix, Herbert. Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan (2000), based on Japanese left-wing interpretations
  • Butow, Robert J. C. Tojo and the Coming of the War (1961)
  • Dallek, Robert. Franklin D. Roosevelt and American Foreign Policy, 1932-1945 (1995).
  • Feis, Herbert. The Road to Pearl Harbor: The coming of the war between the United States and Japan. classic history by senior American official.
  • Horne, Gerald. Race War! White Supremacy and the Japanese Attack on the British Empire. (2003). 432 pp.
  • Kawamura, Noriko. "Emperor Hirohito and Japan's Decision to Go to War with the United States: Reexamined" Diplomatic History (2007) 31 (1), 51–79. online at Blackwell-Synergy]
  • Sun, Youli. China and the Origins of the Pacific War, 1931-1941. (1993). 244 pp.
  • Tarling, Nicholas. Britain, Southeast Asia and the Onset of the Pacific War. (1996). 434 pp.
  • Thorne, Christopher G. The Issue of War: States, Societies, and the Coming of the Far Eastern Conflict of 1941-1945 (1985) sophisticated analysis of each major power.
  • Tohmatsu, Haruo and H. P. Willmott. A Gathering Darkness: The Coming of War to the Far East and the Pacific (2004), short overview.
  • Utley, Jonathan G. Going to War with Japan, 1937–1941 (1985)
  • Wetzler, Peter. Hirohito and War: Imperial Tradition and Military Decision Making in Prewar Japan (1998), chaps. 2, 3;
  • Yomiuri Shimbun. Who Was Responsible? From Marco Polo Bridge to Pearl Harbor (2007) ISBN 4643060123 review