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Cry Havoc ebook

by Joe Maiolo


The arms race, on the run up to the Second World War, followed the faultless logic of paranoia

The arms race, on the run up to the Second World War, followed the faultless logic of paranoia.

Xiv, 460 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : 25 cm. "In Cry Havoc Joe Maiolo shows, in detail, how the deadly game of the arms race was played out in the decade prior to the outbreak of the Second World War. 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.

In Cry Havoc Joe Maiolo shows, in rich and fascinating detail, how the arms race between the Great Powers developed. Where previous histories have looked at how individual nations responded to the challenges of the time, Maiolo reveals the full complexity of the arms race by looking at competition between nations, at how nations reacted to the moves of their rivals

Maiolo’s second insight has to do with the origins of World War II itself.

In Cry Havoc: How the Arms Race Drove the World to War, 1931-1941 (Basic Books, 2010), Joe Maiolo proposes (I want to write demonstrates, but please read the book and judge for yourself) two remarkably insightful theses. Maiolo’s second insight has to do with the origins of World War II itself. Most historians agree that it was Hitler’s War. He planned it, he armed Germany for it, and he started it.

Keep up to date with every new upload! Join free & follow New Books in Big Ideas. Joe Maiolo, Cry Havoc: How the Arms Race Drove the World to War, 1931-1941 (Basic Books, 2010). by New Books in Big Ideas. Where previous histories have looked at how individual nations responded to the challenges of the time, Maiolo reveals the full complexity of the arms race by looking at competition between nations, at how nations reacted to the moves of their rivals.

The organization of the book, country by country in several phases, works well enough and Maiolo's command of primary and secondary references is considerable, though perhaps even stronger for the period before 1939. The overall lesson to be drawn by the work done here is that arms race dynamics, particularly in their self fulfillment, create traps for those who launch them. Where previous histories have looked at how individual nations responded to the challenges of the time, Maiolo reveals the full complexity of the arms race by looking at competition between nations, at how nations reacted to the moves of their rivals

Gralinda
While the book has a number of small errors, such as the maximum bore for naval guns on capital ships under the Washington Treaty of 1922 and the London Treaty of 1930 was 16" and under the London Treaty of 1936 it was 14", with an "escalator" clause back to 16". The maximum bore was never 15", the main issue is that it proves exactly the opposite of its premise. The arms race was a direct outcome of political decisions, a symptom, not the cause of WW2. Without the German/Nazi decision to "junk" the Versailles Treaty and their political decisions to rearm on the path toward a political end-state of a Germany that at the minimum, dominated Central and Eastern Europe and stretched from the Rhine River to the Ural Mountains, there would have been no response on the part of the British and French to re-arm to support their desired political end-state of maintaining the status quo. Every step the author takes in his narrative is linked to a political decision that impacts the arms race, not on events in the arms race that impact political decisions. If you compare the desired political end-states of the nation-states involved in the escalation to WW2, the conflict between the world views involved almost guarantee conflict, with or without an accompanying arms race. The same can be said of WW1, in that political decisions made by the primary actors drove responses from other actors that fed the expansion in armed forces driven by competing desired political end-states. Weapons don't cause wars, decision-making by human leadership informed by greed, ignorance, arrogance and even incompetence and sometimes all of the above is what causes wars.
Moswyn
What the title of this book should have been would be something like "The dynamics of rearmament and their effect on the policies and actions of the Great Powers 1931-1941". Given that is what we have, it is quite a good study indeed. Maiolo does an excellent job of describing the effects of large scale rearmament on a world just starting to recover from an economic disaster of the first magnitude. He describes how Germany, Italy, and Japan unsuccessfully strove for autarky in a world that could not work that way and makes clear they chose this path because of the aggressive acquisitive goals of their leadership. He considers the varying efforts of the democratic states for rearmament without becoming totalitarian and he finally provides unusually good insight into the both realistic and paranoid mind set of the Soviet leadership. The organization of the book, country by country in several phases, works well enough and Maiolo's command of primary and secondary references is considerable, though perhaps even stronger for the period before 1939.

The overall lesson to be drawn by the work done here is that arms race dynamics, particularly in their self fulfillment, create traps for those who launch them. Maiolo does not seriously argue the arms competitions of the thirties caused World War 2 but he shows how that competition affected every decision each of the national leaderships took, usually in the direction of limiting choices and options. It is therefore a wisely cautionary tale of history.

Maiolo does not hesitate nor equivocate about the personal characteristics of those involved in decision making for their countries. He is most sympathetic to Neville Chamberlin who he, in line with recent revision, depicts as principled, able, disciplined, energetic and thoughtful. He seems to appreciate FDR's essentially conservative nature and his genuinely intended attempts to make the world better - attempts that always seemed to need more warships and warplanes. He manages to depict Daladier and Gamelin in a positive light, at least in their pre-war actions. While he covers German rearmament before 1933, Maiolo makes clear that the relentless, ruthless, racially driven desire and actions for lebensraum of Hitler set off the cycle of armament and war that led to the culmination of 1941. The author does a good job of exploring Soviet attitudes and actions about armament under the leadership of Stalin, showing how these armament plans and actions affected the other Powers. He explains how Japanese militarism overcame the democratic form of its government and led to the Japanese decision for war. Finally he looks at the actions of Mussolini with a rational critical eye and explains how any practical Italian armament was never going to satisfy his ambition. These brief comments only scratch the surface of the material Maiolo covers, especially as an overall history of the march toward conflict.

The only reason I don't give this book five stars is that I think the publisher and author attached a relatively misleading title to the book to create more controversy and therefore more interest and sales. I would have appreciated a more direct and descriptive title.
Samulkis
Excellent
Ylonean
A part of WW2 that has never been covered in any book I've read! Amazing ,that none of these nations could really afford to go to war and the reasons are clearly shown why. A very interesting book indeed!
Zadora
Interesting discussion for ppl working in the defense sector or foreign policy world, esp newcomers to grand strategy and great power politics
Cry Havoc ebook
Author:
Joe Maiolo
Category:
Military
Subcat:
EPUB size:
1332 kb
FB2 size:
1190 kb
DJVU size:
1376 kb
Language:
Publisher:
John Murray Publishers (March 1, 2011)
Rating:
4.8
Other formats:
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