The Oxford University Press originally published this book by R A C Parker in 1989. He intended that it should be a relatively concise study of the events before, during, as well as after the Second World War. It is not just meant to be a military account of all the battles, campaigns, defeats, and victories of the most costly conflict in recorded history, even though it more than adequately does that in any case. For these 300 or so pages also astutely examine the various causes of the war, plus succinctly evaluating its outcomes, and their consequence for the post – war world.
Parker contends that the most important causes of the Second World War largely but not exclusively relate to Germany, and how many of its citizens wanted to avenge the humiliating armistice and the harsh (in their opinion anyway) terms of the Treaty of Versailles the Germans had to sign in 1919 or face a resumption of fighting. He also notes why the Italians had felt cheated after the First World War despite been on the winning side. Japanese resentment about its lack of gains in 1918 is mentioned in a later chapter.
After the opening chapter has covered the lead up to the outbreak of war in September 1939 the next two chapters examine the stunning German victories of 1939 and 1940 aided by the pact with the Soviet Union, and then studies how Britain carried on fighting with only the aid of its colonies and dominions. Chapters three and four related to the Soviet and American entries into the war in the aftermath of attacks from Germany and Japan respectively. The opening of the Eastern Front and the Pacific War shifted the scale and the scope of the conflict to a truly global level.
The last chapters describe and analyze how the Allied powers eventually overcame the Axis and how the Second World War finally ended in September 1945 after the first use of atomic, and how the Cold War began.