World War II was the greatest single catastrophe humankind has inflicted upon itself. Few people alive at the time escaped its impact; its consequences still visit those unborn at war's end in 1945 and will continue to shape our future. This readable analysis and ready-reference guide is designed to help students and interested readers to understand the causes, interrelated events, and implications of the war, and to provide a wealth of material for student research. A detailed timeline of events traces the history of the war. An introductory overview essay puts it in historical, political, and social context. Based on the most recent scholarship about World War II, Lee, a nationally known expert historian of the war, provides four topical essays on key aspects of the war and a concluding essay on its continuing significance. The text of 17 primary documents, lengthy biographical sketches of important figures in the war, a glossary, and an annotated bibliography of books suitable for high school and college students provide ready-reference value.
The four topical essays examine: the relations among the Allied powers and how their decisions affected the shape of the postwar world; how emerging technology changed the nature of war; the effect of the war on the homefront of the warring nations; and the importance of resistance movements in Europe. A concluding essay examines the impact of the war on the fifty years that followed. Primary documents include the text of speeches, telegrams, official declarations, and treaties. Biographical sketches include some highly placed participants about whom little has been written. A section of photographs complements the text. Because it is based on the most recent scholarship and written for the high school and college student researcher, it is the ideal companion to a study of World War II.