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Cry Havoc

Cry Havoc

How the Arms Race Drove the World to War, 1931-1941

Did the arms race of the 1930s cause the Second World War?

In Cry Havoc, historian Joseph Maiolo shows, in rich and fascinating detail, how the deadly game of the arms race was played out in the decade prior to the outbreak of the Second World War. In this exhaustively researched account, he explores how nations reacted to the moves of their rivals, revealing the thinking of those making the key decisions — Hitler, Mussolini, Chamberlain, Stalin, Roosevelt — and the dilemmas of democratic leaders who seemed to be faced with a choice between defending their nations and preserving their democratic way of life.

An unparalleled account of an era of extreme political tension, Cry Havoc shows how the interwar arms race shaped the outcome of World War II before the shooting even began.
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Genre: Nonfiction / History / Military / World War Ii

On Sale: December 4th 2012

Price: $19.99 / $23 (CAD)

Page Count: 504

ISBN-13: 9780465032297

What's Inside

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Reader Reviews


The Rusi Journal
“Joe Maiolo's beautifully written book about the arms race is a...narrative awash with trenchant insights and profound observations. This superb, multilateral analysis of the interplay between key leaders of the different states is based on an exhaustive use of sources from Britain, the US, France, Italy, Germany, the USSR and Japan — and Joe Maiolo reads all these languages, except for Russian. The language flows so smoothly and the words are so judiciously chosen that this is a riveting read…”

Richard Bosworth, Times Higher Education Supplement
“As I am an old (critical) fan of A.J.P. Taylor's The Origins of the Second World War, it is great to read a replacement volume, written by Maiolo in the same trenchant manner, with the same refusal to endorse cliched interpretations and with more determination to ensure accuracy than its predecessor.”
Richard Overy, author of Why the Allies Won
“The issues surrounding the rearmament of the major powers before World War II are immensely complex, bound up not only with the conventional problems of international security but with domestic politics and the rapid and often unpredictable pattern of technical change. Joe Maiolo has succeeded in juggling all these many balls in the air to produce a master synthesis of one of the major forces driving the world once again to total war. This is a book of great learning and intelligence.”

Odd Arne Westad, Professor of International History, London School of Economics, and author of The Global Cold War
“By placing arms races in central positions on the road to war, Maiolo has helped develop our understanding both of the international history of the 1930s and the cataclysm that followed. This is a hugely impressive book, full of material that will enlighten general readers and that historians will make use of for a generation to come.”

Professor Sir Lawrence Freedman
“Joe Maiolo has taken one of the most studied periods in international history and managed to find a completely new angle, not by denying the role of the national leaders but by stressing the remorseless logic of rearmament and military mobilization in shaping their choices.”
Chris Barsanti,
“Last year, Joseph Maiolo's Cry Havoc: How the Arms Race Drove the World to War 1931–1941 [burrowed] deep into the historical archives to show how government planners created an inexorable tide of armament that essentially made the Second World War inevitable.”

“[An] incisive reexamination of the interwar arms race.... Maiolo has much to offer that is new, and his book is certain to become both a standard reference and a departure point for subsequent scholarship. It is grounded by impressive scholarship in archival sources, presents a balanced and nuanced international perspective, and is cogently argued and convincingly written. It offers its readers… a thoughtful, accessible text that is enjoyable and erudite.  The author displays an enviable ability to delineate and explain the most complex aspects of diplomatic policy and military technology.. ..Essential.”
Publishers Weekly
“Maiolo makes a strong case that by 1939 the Axis's enemies had taken a sufficient lead that Italy, Japan, and Germany sought to create windows of opportunity using what they had. The result was a global, total war--and continuation of the arms race in thermonuclear, superpower contexts that continued until the U.S.S.R.'s implosion.”

History Today
“A compelling read.... While this is an academically informed book, Maiolo's skill rests in his ability to distil complex, and at times technical subjects, into very readable prose.... The book is important because it provides a thorough examination of a neglected aspect of the cause of the Second World War.”

Kirkus Reviews
“Provocative examination of modern history, showing that World War II was all but inevitable given the military-industrial-political complex of the day.... A fruitful, timely work in an era of ever-increasing military spending.”
The Michigan War Studies Review
“[Cry Havoc] reminds us of the benefits of careful integration of international history with the study of domestic pressures and threat perceptions; it incisively explores the role and direction of state power in the history of the violent twentieth century.... The resulting narrative and analysis are wonderfully lucid and comprehensive.... It will force students of the interwar period and of World War II to rethink old assumptions about appeasement and to consider the interactions of the great powers from economic, diplomatic, political, and military angles. This truly international history will richly reward not only scholars but any reader interested in the Second World War or the genesis of the military-industrial-political complex.”

Time Out for Entertainment
“[Maiolo argues] the war was preordained by a self-perpetuating, overriding, and impersonal force — rearmament. It's an interesting hypothesis and Maiolo makes it forcefully and readably.”

Contemporary Review
“Dr. Maiolo follows a chronological approach as it was a chronological phenomenon based on action and reaction and this allows him to show how each step forward affected others. This is an excellent example of revisionist (as well as comparative) history that will do much to shape future generations' understanding of the war.”
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