The Outbreak of the Second World War: Design or Blunder?

By John L. Snell | Go to book overview

FOR AND AGAINST ITALIAN RESPONSIBILITY

L. B. NAMIER

The British historian Lewis B. Namier distinguished himself well before the outbreak of World War II by intensive and original studies of British politics in the eighteenth century. After 1945 his research and his crisp style were brought to bear on the causes of the Second World War. In articles and in three books he offered critical analyses of the events that led to war. This reading is representative of these works-- which reviewed new memoirs, documents, and secondary studies--in that it is an essay on German-Italian relations, occasioned by the publication of a study of the subject by another noted historian, the Italian scholar Mario Toscano. Toscano made use of records left by Count Galeazzo Ciano, Mussolini's son-in-law and Foreign Minister, and documents from the archives of the Italian Foreign Ministry. Namier made the essence of this material available to English readers. Like Elizabeth Wiskemann, Namier shows how largely Mussolini had become by 1939 a satellite of Hitler. After reading this selection and others in this booklet you should be able to assess the degree to which Mussolini's Italy helped to encourage or prevent the outbreak of war in 1939.

THOUGH the Pact of Steel was a symptom rather than a factor in the history of 1939, the moves and methods of the Powers concerned are revealing; and the story of those negotiations is told with meticulous care and thorough knowledge by Professor Mario Toscano,1 now Historical Adviser to the Italian Foreign Office and vice-president of the commission entrusted with the publication of the Italian diplomatic documents, 1861-1943. He has been able to supplement the material contained in Ciano Diary and the published Ciano Papers, in the Nuremberg documents and those of the International Military Tribunal for the Far East, with unpublished Italian diplomatic telegrams and dispatches (among which those from Attolico, Ambassador in Berlin, are of outstanding interest), and with information derived from Italian survivors of those years. . . .

In May 1938, during Hitler's visit to Italy, Mussolini, who had just concluded an agreement with Great Britain and was negotiating one with France, thought of a pact which would give new contents to the Axis; or else people might start talking of its demise and of a return to Stresa. But the Italians were not prepared as yet to go the whole length of "a pact of military assistance, public or secret," as proposed by Ribbentrop. Ciano wrote in his Diary on May 6:

Ribbentrop. . . is exuberant and sometimes shows levity. The Duce says he is of the type of Germans that disgrace Germany. He talks right and left of war, without fixing either opponent or objective. Sometimes he wants, jointly with Japan, to destroy Russia. Or again his bolts strike France and England.

____________________
From L. B. Namier, Europe in Decay: A Study in Disintegration, 1936-1940 ( London, 1950), pp. 129-144. Reprinted by courtesy of Macmillan & Co. Ltd., and by permission of Lady Namier.
1
Mario Toscano, Le origini del patto d' acciaio. Sansoni. Firenze. 1948.

-46-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Outbreak of the Second World War: Design or Blunder?
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
/ 107

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.