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Cry Havoc: The Arms Race, and the Second World War 1931-41.

Cry Havoc: The Arms Race, and the Second World War 1931-41. Joe Maiolo. John Murray. [pounds sterling]30.00. xix + 460 pages. ISBN 978-0-7195-6519-9. This is Dr Maiolo's second book on the background to World War II. How the arms race which Nazi Germany began in 1934 contributed to the outbreak of war is the question investigated here. The accepted view of the 1930s (weak democracies [upsilon] rearming dictators) ignores the arms race which was 'an independent, self-perpetuating and often overriding impersonal force that shaped events' in this period. The overall picture was far more complicated. The 1930s arms race assumed a growth in state power over economies regardless of a country's political constitution. While Germany led the way, there were underlying, wider forces including the lessons learned between 1914 and 1918. Dr Maiolo follows a chronological approach as it was a chronological phenomenon based on action and reaction and this allows him to show how each step forward affected others. This is an excellent example of revisionist (as well as comparative) history that will do much to shape future generations' understanding of the war. (T.B.)

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Publication:Contemporary Review
Article Type:Book review
Date:Dec 22, 2010
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