OXFORD HANDBOOKS SERIES
OXFORD HANDBOOKS SERIES
World War II dramatically transformed human life and society, resulting in the deaths of 100 million people and shaping the worldview and psyches of generations. The Oxford Handbook of World War II broadens traditional narratives of the war and in the process changes our understanding of this epic conflict.
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World War II left virtually no nation or corner of the world untouched, dramatically transforming human life and society. It prompted the unprecedented mobilization of whole societies and witnessed a scale of state-sanctioned violence that staggers the imagination, with more than 100 million casualties. The war resulted in an almost complete collapse of any norms geared toward avoiding the unnecessary loss of civilian life and shaped the worldview and psyches of generations. The Oxford Handbook of World War II broadens traditional narratives of the war and in the process changes our understanding of this epic conflict.
Organized both chronologically and thematically and with particular attention to the pre- and post-war eras, the Handbook revises and extends existing scholarship. With chapters on the rise and fall of Nazi Germany, the land war in Western Europe, the Battle of Britain, the impact of war on the major combatants (Great Britain, France, the United States, Japan, and China), the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the decision to use the atomic bomb in 1945, and the cultural responses to the war, the chapters span much of the twentieth century. They suggest areas of scholarly consensus, identify interpretative clashes, and propose agendas for further scholarly investigation, with an emphasis on interdisciplinary inquiry. For example, the end of the Cold War had a profound impact on the way World War II was understood. Many formerly closed records in the former Soviet Union and China were opened to scholars, facilitating a more complex view of the Soviet war effort and suggesting that Stalin's army did not simply triumph by overwhelming German forces with sheer numbers but mastered the demands of a vast and logistically demanding front.
In conceptualizing the volume, editors Kurt Piehler and Jonathan Grant also sought out contributions on lesser known aspects of the war, such as the Bengal famine in India, the treatment of prisoners of war, the role of Middle Eastern nations, and the activities of non-governmental organizations in ameliorating suffering. Spanning the rise and fall of the Versailles system to the postwar reintegration of veterans and the eventual commemoration of the conflict and its victims, The Oxford Handbook of World War II marks a landmark contribution to the historical literature of war.