This book offers a genuinely comparative analysis of the dictatorships that launched the Second World War: their origins, nature, dynamics, and common ruin. It seeks to understand their similarities and differences historically, without recourse to failed generic concepts such as 'Fascism.' The result is an unconventional and compelling analytical overview from territorial unification in the 1860s to national catastrophe in 1943/45 that places Fascism and Nazism firmly in the tradition of revolutionary mass politics inaugurated in the French revolution. Set within that overview are three chapters that interpret and explain Mussolini's poorly understood foreign policy and the character and performance of the military instruments upon which Fascist and Nazi success chiefly depended - the Italian and German armies. The chapter on the German army and the conclusion - which dissects the causes of the notable disparities between the two dictatorships in expansionist appetite, fighting power, and staying power - argue that a unique synthesis of Prusso-German military tradition and Nazi revolution prompted Germany's fight to the last cartridge in 1944-45.
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(228mm x 152mm x 18mm)
Cambridge University Press
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
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Author Biography - MacGregor Knox
MacGregor Knox has served as Stevenson Professor of International History at the London School of Economics and Political Science since 1994. He was educated at Harvard College (BA, 1967) and Yale University (PhD in History, 1977), and has also taught at the University of Rochester (USA). His writings deal with the wars and dictatorships of the savage first half of the twentieth century and with contemporary international and strategic history, and include Mussolini Unleashed, 1939-1941 (1982); The Making of Strategy: Rulers, States, and War (ed., with Williamson Murray and Alvin Bernstein) (1994); Hitler's Italian Allies: Royal Armed Forces, Fascist Regime, and the War of 1940-43 (2000); The Dynamics of Military Revolution, 1300-2050 (ed., with Williamson Murray) (2001); and To the Threshold of Power: Origins and Dynamics of the Fascist and National Socialist Dictatorships (2007). Between his undergraduate and graduate studies he spent three years in the U.S. Army, and served in the Republic of Vietnam (1969) as rifle platoon leader with the 173rd Airborne Brigade.