World War II in Europe, Africa, and the Americas, with General Sources: A Handbook of Literature and Research

World War II in Europe, Africa, and the Americas, with General Sources: A Handbook of Literature and Research

World War II in Europe, Africa, and the Americas, with General Sources: A Handbook of Literature and Research

World War II in Europe, Africa, and the Americas, with General Sources: A Handbook of Literature and Research

Synopsis

A broadly interdisciplinary work, this handbook discusses the best and most enduring literature related to the major topics and themes of World War II. Military historiography is treated in essays on the major theaters of military operations and the related themes of logistics and intelligence, while political and diplomatic history is covered in chapters on international relations, resistance movements, and collaboration. The volume analyzes themes of domestic history in essays on economic mobilization, the home fronts, and women in the military and civilian life. The book also covers the Holocaust.

Excerpt

Over the past half-century the Second World War has engendered an historical literature of enormous size and complexity. That is hardly surprising given the scope, nature, and consequences of the conflict. World War II involved entire populations in total war efforts, and it resulted in an unprecedented death toll. It also refigured the world in ways we are still trying to understand.

The generation that fought the war clearly recognized the enormity and importance of the conflict, and it produced an extensive number of works seeking to witness and commemorate, as well as detail, explain, and understand, what had taken place. The children of that wartime generation were equally impressed by the war, even though they often disagreed with their parents' assessments, and throughout the 1970s and 1980s they added substantially to the existing literature. The results by 1989 were volumes numbered in the tens of thousands. That figure expanded enormously with the publication deluge accompanying the fiftieth anniversary of the war. Today the numbers are in six rather than five figures, and they continue to grow with each passing year.

Surprisingly, however, the enormous literature on World War II does not include any comprehensive historiographical analyses. This volume and its projected companion seek to rectify the gap and in the process provide scholars, students, and the general public with a broad, comprehensive overview of past histories, interpretive disputes, changes in emphasis, new approaches, and avenues for further research.

The sheer number of chapters and sections in this and the companion volume makes clear not only how extensive the literature is, but also how many areas of human endeavor the war encompassed. These chapters also make clear the numerous historical controversies and new approaches to the war that have developed over the past half-century, and the areas that . . .

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