The Origins of the Second World War, by A.J.P. Taylor, proposes and investigates unconventional and widely disputed theories as to the underlying causes of World War Two. Taylor is British historian who specialized in 20th century diplomacy, and in his book claims that as a historian his job is to “state the truth” as he sees it, even if it means disagreeing with existing prejudices. The book was published in 1961, a relatively short time after the war, and as a result of his extreme unbias the work became subject to controversy for many years.
Studying history through his lens of objectivism, Taylor’s theory is that Hitler’s design wasn’t one of world domination; rather his methods, especially his foreign policies, didn’t differ from his predecessors. However, when confronted with a strict policy of appeasement, by both the French and the English, the stage was set for a Second World War. Taylor constructs a powerful and effective argument by expelling certain dogmas that painted Hitler as a madman, and by evaluating historical events as a body of actions and reactions, disagreeing with the common idea that the Hitler had a specific agenda from the start. The book begins with the conclusion of the First World War, by exploring the idea that critical mistakes made then made a second war likely, yet not inevitable. Taylor points out that although Germany was defeated on the Western front, “Russia fell out of Europe and ceased to exist, for the time being, as a Great Power. The constellation of Europe was profoundly changed—and to Germany’s advantage.” As a result of the war, Russia was severely weakened, which greatly upset the balance of power in Europe. Taylor claims ...
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...War." The Origins of the Second World War. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996. 28. Print.
Taylor, A. J. P. "The End of Versailles." The Origins of the Second World War. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996. 68. Print.
Taylor, A. J. P. "Peace for Six Months." The Origins of the Second World War. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996. 203. Print.
Taylor, A. J. P. "The Half-armed Peace." The Origins of the Second World War. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996. 108. Print.
Taylor, A. J. P. "The Abyssinian Affair and the End of Locarno." The Origins of the Second World War. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996. 99. Print.
Taylor, A. J. P. "Anschluss: The End of Austria." The Origins of the Second World War. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996. 137. Print.
Taylor, A. J. P. "The War of Nerves." The Origins of the Second World War. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996. 216. Print.
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