Global Great Depression and the Coming of World War II: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Global Great Depression and the Coming of World War II

1st Edition

By John E. Moser


238 pages

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The Global Great Depression and the Coming of World War II demonstrates the ways in which the economic crisis of the late 1920s and early 1930s helped to cause and shape the course of the Second World War. Historian John E. Moser points to the essential uniformity in the way in which the world s industrialized and industrializing nations responded to the challenge of the Depression. Among these nations, there was a move away from legislative deliberation and toward executive authority; away from free trade and toward the creation of regional trading blocs; away from the international gold standard and toward managed national currencies; away from chaotic individual liberty and toward rational regimentation; in other words, away from classical liberalism and toward some combination of corporatism, nationalism, and militarism.For all the similarities, however, there was still a great divide between two different general approaches to the economic crisis. Those countries that enjoyed easy, unchallenged access to resources and markets the United States, Great Britain, the Soviet Union, and France tended to turn inward, erecting tariff walls and promoting domestic recovery at the expense of the international order. On the other hand, those nations that lacked such access Germany and Japan sought to take the necessary resources and markets by force. The interplay of these powers, then, constituted the dynamic of international relations of the 1930s: have-nots attempting to achieve self-sufficiency through aggressive means, challenging haves that were too distrustful of one another, and too preoccupied with their own domestic affairs, to work cooperatively in an effort to stop them.


“With this bold and far-reaching interpretation of the economic interplay and its political consequences among the world’s great powers during the first half of the twentieth century, John Moser takes his place alongside such eminences as Charles Kindleberger and Barry Eichengreen. He has given us a landmark work in international history.”

—Alonzo L. Hamby, Distinguished Professor of History, Ohio University, and author of For the Survival of Democracy: Franklin Roosevelt and the World Crisis of the 1930s

“The thesis of this book is that the ‘global great depression’ between the wars turned several major powers decisively against liberal capitalism as well as socialism and toward imperialistic ‘third way’ policies, which led to the breakdown of international order and the onset of the Second World War. This is a provocative claim and one that is likely to attract wide interest in view of the continuing fascination with the Second World War and the relative paucity of book-length studies that focus upon economic origins. The author’s clear, concise, non-technical English makes this potentially rebarbative topic accessible to a broad range of potential readers and his wide-ranging study displays maturity and balance.”

—Robert Boyce, London School of Economics and author of The Great Interwar Crisis and the Collapse of Globalization

Table of Contents

1 A Return to Normalcy? The United States, 1920-1928

2 The Victors Diverge: The "Haves," 1920-1928

3 Liberalism and Its Discontents: The "Have-Nots," 1920-1928

4 The Crisis Begins: The United States, 1928-1933

5 A Tale of Two Countries: The "Haves," 1928-1933

6 Dancing on a Volcano: The "Have-Nots," 1928-1933

7 Beggar Thy Neighbor: The United States, 1933-1936

8 The Unraveling of the Western Alliance: The "Haves,"1933-1936

9 Recovery through Nationalism: The "Have-Nots," 1933-1936

10 Stumbling toward Internationalism: The United States,1936-1939

11 The Economics of Appeasement: The "Haves," 1936-1939

12 Taking the Plunge: The "Have-Nots," 1936-1939

13 War for Plunder, 1939-1941

About the Author

John E. Moser is Professor of History at Ashland University, where he teaches courses on modern European, American, and East Asian history. His previous books include Twisting the Lion's Tail: American Anglophobia between the World Wars (New York University Press, 1999), Presidents from Hoover through Truman, 1929–1952 (Greenwood Press, 2001), and Right Turn: John T. Flynn and the Transformation of American Liberalism (New York University Press, 2005).

About the Series

United States in the World

This series focuses on the United States’ interaction with and impact on world societies in key sectors of activity, with an interdisciplinary bent, in the globalizing 21st century. With relatively short books written at the college level and popular for the general public, as well, United States in the World places key topics in US history in international perspective, seeking to address the questions: What special contributions or limitations have resulted from US activities during a period when it has maintained a preeminent power position in world affairs? Has there been an "American flavor," for better or worse, to US efforts? Has there been a gap between apparent US intentions and actual results and reception in various parts of the world? How have international efforts in the sector affected internal developments in the US during the period?

These books do not assume US superiority or unchallenged dominance. They do identify areas where American people, ideas, and institutions have deliberately sought a global role in recent decades, assessing the nature and quality of their results and their interplay with other regional and global actors. Considering appropriate, variable historical focuses, books include a final section on the relevant current situation in the topic area. Historians with an interest in the contemporary period will be crucial contributors, but the series also recruits historically-minded scholars in Communication Studies and the various social sciences, especially Politics and International Studies. College courses from all those areas and beyond will be the natural home for these books.

A variety of topics are explored

Race, Gender, Religion

Human & Civil Rights

Trade & the Global Economy

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Engineering, Technology, Public Health

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