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World War II Re-explored

Some New Millenium Studies in the History of the Global Conflict

Edited By Jarosław Suchoples, Stephanie James and Barbara Törnquist-Plewa

This volume is a collection of thirty papers written by authors from around the world. The writers focus on topics related to their own research interests. As a result, readers obtain a worldwide perspective on World War II from academics working on nearly every continent, proving that World War II was, probably, the first ever truly global experience for humanity. Present are many and different perspectives on the war. Eighty years after the end of World War II, these academics share their knowledge and reflections about a gruesome, but still not very remote time. In the new millennium, their studies should remind readers that the ‘end of history’ has been an impossible illusion and warn that peace and stability in international relations are not a given.

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Introduction

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The Second World War, which broke out ‘officially’ on 1 September 1939 and was ‘officially’ terminated on 2 September 1945, could be symbolized by pictures of two warships. The first is a picture of a rather obsolete German battleship Schleswig-Holstein, a typical First World War warship, its best years over long before 1939, firing the first salvos of World War II on Westerplatte, a small Polish outpost in the harbour of Danzig. The second image is that of the then ultra-modern American battleship, the USS Missouri anchored in the Bay of Tokyo during the ceremony when the instrument of Japan’s surrender was signed. However, these pictures symbolize not merely the beginning and the end of World War Two, but rather the changes which occurred during this 6-year-long orgy of killing and destruction. If we only compare the weapons used at the beginning of the war and at its end, the difference is almost as big as that between the Schleswig-Holstein and the USS Missouri. However, this observation, although true, is rather superficial. The more important fact was that the war, which began as a relatively local conflict in Europe (very similar to the World War One scenario), evolved, and after slightly more than two years became a real global conflict (probably the first global experience in modern times). This conflict which witnessed not only German, Czechoslovakian or Australian troops fighting in Africa, not only Soviet tanks rolling in Pyongyang, but also Brazilian or Nepalese Ghurkha soldiers fighting in...

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