‘This is comparative history on a grand scale, skilfully analysing complex national debates and drawing major conclusions without ever losing the necessary nuances of interpretation.’
Stefan Berger, University of Manchester, UK
Remembering the Road to World War Two is a broad and comparative international survey of the historiography of the origins of the Second World War. It explores how, in the case of each of the major combatant countries, historical writing on the origins of the Second World War has been inextricably entwined with debates over national identity and collective memory.
Spanning seven case studies – the Soviet Union, Germany, Italy, France, Great Britain, the United States and Japan – Patrick Finney proposes a fresh approach to the politics of historiography. This provocative volume discusses the political, cultural, disciplinary and archival factors which have contributed to the evolving construction of historical interpretations. It analyses the complex and multi-faceted relationships between texts about the origins of the war, the negotiation of conceptions of national identity and unfolding processes of war remembrance.
Offering an innovative perspective on international history and enriching the literature on collective memory, this book will prove fascinating reading for all students of the Second World War.
'… an important contribution to our understanding of how historical writing works, and how it is worked.' – English Historical Review
"Finney’s book, then, is a triumph of the application of some aspects of postmodern theory to the practical business of writing history (…) it is also a major contribution to the modern schools of memory and identity studies." - Reviews in History
Introduction: International History and the Memory of the Second World War 1. On Virtue: Stalin’s Diplomacy and the Origins of the Great Patriotic War 2. On Guilt: The Federal Republic of Germany and Nazi Aggression 3. On Complicity: Italian Foreign Policy, Fascist Ideology and the Axis 4. On Decadence: French Foreign Policy and the Fall of the Third Republic 5. On Folly: Great Britain, Appeasement and the Romance of Decline 6. On Liberty: FDR, American Intervention and the Empire of Right 7. On Tragedy: The Dark Valley of Imperial Japan Conclusion: History, Identity, Memory