World War II in Europe: A Concise History, 1st Edition

  • Marvin Perry Baruch College, City University of New York
  • ISBN-10: 1111836523  |  ISBN-13: 9781111836528
  • 352 Pages
  • © 2013 | Published
  • List Price = $ 84.95
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WORLD WAR II IN EUROPE: A CONCISE HISTORY offers readers an engaging, clear, and comprehensive overview of the war that includes all of the key concepts, recent scholarship, and, where applicable, conflicting interpretations, while avoiding the complex data and schemata that tend to overwhelm non-specialists. Special attention is given to the human experience during the war, including extensive coverage of the Holocaust, and numerous quotations from relevant primary sources are integrated throughout the narrative, bringing the events to life. The text also covers the war's lasting effects on European history as well as population transfers, the treatment of collaborators and war criminals, the ordeal of Jewish survivors, changing German responses to the Nazi era, the emergence of the Cold War, and steps toward European integration.

Features and Benefits

  • This text covers all of the key concepts, recent scholarship, and, where applicable, conflicting interpretations related to World War II, while avoiding the complex data and schemata included in other WWII books that tend to overwhelm non-specialists.
  • Special attention is given to the human experience during the war, including extensive coverage of the Holocaust, which includes the involvement of non-Germans in the Final Solution and the responses of the Allies and the Vatican to the Jewish tragedy.
  • Numerous first-person accounts and quotations from relevant primary sources are integrated throughout the text, bringing the events to life and creating a highly readable, engrossing narrative.
  • In the concluding chapter, "The Aftermath, Legacy, and Meaning of World War II," considerable attention is given to the war's wide effects on European history. Among the topics discussed are population transfers, the treatment of collaborators and war criminals, the ordeal of Jewish survivors, changing German responses to the Nazi era, the emergence of the Cold War, steps toward European integration, and the impact of the war on European consciousness.
  • A brief chronology is included in most chapters and outlines the progression of key events, helping students to place everything in context and reinforce their reading.

Table of Contents

The Legacy of World War I. The Rise of the Nazis: The New German Republic; Adolf Hitler: The Early Years; Hitler''s Worldview. The Nazis in Power. The Breakdown of Peace: Hitler''s Foreign Policy Aims; Tearing Up the Versailles Treaty; Czechoslovakia: The Apex of Appeasement; Poland: The Final Crisis.
The Invasion of Poland: Mechanized Warfare: A New Military Tactic; The Defeat of Poland. The Conquest of Denmark and Norway. The Low Countries and France: Prewar French Strategy; The German Offensive; Through the Ardennes; The French in a Rout; "The Miracle of Dunkirk"; The Fall of France; Reasons for France''s Defeat. The Battle of Britain: Fighter Command and Britain''s Air Defense; Nazi Germany''s First Defeat.
The Balkans First. The Opening Phase: A War of Annihilation; German Successes. Soviet Resilience and German Miscalculations: Russian Tenacity and Courage; Unforeseen Challenges; Stalin''s Continued Terror. The Wehrmacht Thwarted: Moscow and Leningrad: At the Gates of Moscow; A Soviet Counterattack; The Epic Siege of Leningrad. The Tide Turns: Stalingrad: More German Conquests; Operation Blue; Urban Warfare; The Death of the Sixth Army. Kursk: Germany''s Last Offensive on Soviet Soil: Soviet Preparations; A Stalled German Offensive; No Prospect of A German Victory; Hitler and His Generals; The Momentum Changes.
Exploitation and Terror: Forced Labor; Occupied Poland; Occupied Soviet Union. Extermination: Porajmos "The Devouring" of Gypsies and Shoah "The Devastation" of Jews: The SS Mentality; Mobile Death Squads; Extermination Camps; The Uniqueness of the Holocaust. The German People and the Holocaust: Germany; Austria. Europe, America, and the Holocaust: Complicity; Righteous Gentiles; Bombing of Auschwitz Controversy; The Vatican''s Policy of Silence. Collaboration with the Nazis in Occupied Europe. Resistance Movements.
Battle of the Atlantic, 1939-1943: The U-Boats'' "Happy Time"; Coping with the Threat. The North-African Campaign: Rommel and the Afrika Korps; Containing the Desert Fox; American Entry; Driving the Axis from North Africa. The Italian Campaign: Invasion of Sicily; Rome under Nazi Occupation; Invasion of the Mainland: Salerno; Anzio: Bloody Stalemate; Cassino: Costly Breakout; The Italian Campaign: A Wasteful Diversion?. The Air War: 1941 to D-Day: Precision and Area Bombing; Was It Worth It?; The Home Front; Sustaining Morale and Coping with Hardship; The "Blitz"; The War and Women.
The Landing At Normandy: Preparation; D-Day; Rommel and the Atlantic Wall; Omaha Beach: A Near Disaster; Allied Success. Struggling to Break Out: Cherbourg and Bocage Country; Caen; The Falaise Gap; Liberation. Temporary Stalemate on the Western Front: German Recovery; German Military Resurgence: Market Garden, Aachen, Huertgen Forest, Metz. Battle of the Bulge: Hitler''s Last Gamble: Hitler''s Goals and Strategy; Initial Success; American Resistance and German Defeat.
Red Army on the Offensive: Operation Bagration; Beyond the Soviet Union''s Borders. The Drive into Germany from the West: The Rhineland; Montgomery''s Crossing of the Rhine; Saturation Bombing; The Ruhr and Beyond; Victory in Italy; Unconditional Surrender: Prolonging the War?. Liberating Concentration Camps. The Drive into Germany from the East: The Vistula Offensive: Poland and the Reich; Soviet Retribution and German Flight. To the Bitter End: Soviet Advance and Goebbels'' Desperate Appeals; Nazi Terror; The Bunker: A Delusional Hitler; The Storming of Berlin: The Last Battle; The End of Hitler and His Third Reich.
Death Toll. Material Damage. Population Transfers and Ethnic Cleansing. Retribution for Collaborators. War Crimes Trials. Jewish Survivors. The New Germany: Overcoming the Past: The Reality of Total Defeat; Konrad Adenauer: Architect of the New West Germany; Facing Responsibility; Enduring Myths: A Defensive War and the Wehrmacht''s Clean Hands; The German Clergy in the Confession Booth. Emergence of the Cold War. European Unity. The Demise of European Imperialism. The War and Western Consciousness.

Learning Resource Bundles

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Bundle: Text + CourseReader 0-30: 20th Century World History Printed Access Card

ISBN-10: 1133426271 | ISBN-13: 9781133426271

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Efficacy and Outcomes


"The quotes from the primary sources are informative at a level that secondary narrative and analysis cannot provide. They bring one face to face with the suffering and inhumanity, and occasional humanity, of those experiencing these events. Most students would undoubtedly cite these quotes as among the most interesting aspects of the book."

— Joseph Bendersky, Virginia Commonwealth University

"I would have no trouble whatsoever in teaching with this text. It addresses the important topics and provides an excellent overview of the war. There are areas which do not appear in other brief histories, i.e., the war against the Jews, the Allies, and the controversies generated by the action (or inaction) of various groups."

— Stephen Balzarini, Gonzaga University

“Perry (Baruch College, City U. of New York) has done a superb job of condensing the immensely complicated events of the Second World War into a short, readable narrative, in part through a long focus that extends from the rise of Hitler through the aftermath of the war and its impact on European thought, politics, and culture. The Holocaust is treated as a separate 'war' within Hitler's many wars, with discussion of all the elements of how the extermination was carried out, the European attitudes towards Jews, and the ideology of National Socialism, demonstrating the historical context that allowed Hitler's ideas to prevail. The separate campaigns of the war are described concisely, with sections that address related issues, including later interpretations of each campaign's effect on the overall war. Each chapter concludes with a chronology summarizing the events described."

— Annotation ©2012 Book News Inc. Portland, OR

Meet the Author

Author Bio

Marvin Perry

Marvin Perry, now retired, taught history at Baruch College, City University of New York. He has published several successful Cengage Learning texts, including WESTERN CIVILIZATION: IDEAS, POLITICS, AND SOCIETY (senior author and general editor); WESTERN CIVILIZATION: A BRIEF HISTORY; the leading Western Civilization reader, SOURCES OF THE WESTERN TRADITION; AN INTELLECTUAL HISTORY OF MODERN EUROPE; SOURCES OF EUROPEAN HISTORY SINCE 1900 (senior editor); HUMANITIES IN THE WESTERN TRADITION (senior author and general editor); and WORLD WAR II IN EUROPE: A CONCISE HISTORY. His scholarly work includes ARNOLD TOYNBEE AND THE WESTERN TRADITION (1996); coauthor of ANTISEMITISM: MYTH AND HATE FROM ANTIQUITY TO THE PRESENT (2002); coeditor of ANTISEMITIC MYTHS: A HISTORICAL AND CONTEMPORARY ANTHOLOGY (2008); and coeditor of THE THEORY AND PRACTICE OF ISLAMIC TERRORISM: AN ANTHOLOGY (2008). Dr. Perry's scholarly work focuses on the history of ideas.