Moral Combat: A History of World War II

Moral Combat: A History of World War II Review

In this sweepingly ambitious overview of World War II, Michael Burleigh combines meticulous scholarship with a remarkable depth of knowledge and an astonishing scope. By exploring the moral sentiments of entire societies and their leaders, and how such attitudes changed under the impact of total war, Burleigh presents readers with a fresh and powerful perspective on a conflict that continues to shape world politics. Whereas previous histories of the war have tended to focus on grand strategy or major battles, Burleigh brings his painstaking scholarship and profound sensibility to bear on the factors that shaped choices that were life-and-death decisions. These choices were made in real time, without the benefit of a philosopher's reflection, giving a moral content to the war that shaped it as decisively as any battle.

Although the Nazis and the Japanese had radically different moral universes from those of their Allied opponents, as rejected in the atrocities they committed, the Western Allies found themselves aligned with a no less cruel dictatorship after rejecting the option of appeasing aggression. The war was the sum total of myriad choices made by governments, communities, and individuals, leading some to enthusiastically embrace evil and others to consciously reject it, with a range of more ambiguously human responses in between. Spanning both major theaters and ranging across these issues and more, from the "predators" (Mussolini, Hitler, and Hirohito) to appeasement, from the rape of Poland, Barbarossa, and strategic bombing to the complexities of justice and retribution, "Moral Combat" sheds a revealing light on how entire nations changed under the shock of total war.

Emphasizing the role of the past in making sense of the present, Burleigh's book offers essential insights into the choices we face today--in some circles it is always 1938 and every aggressor is a new Hitler. If we do go to war, we need to know what it will mean for the individuals who command and fight it. Original, perceptive, and astonishing in scholarship and scope, this is an unforgettable and hugely important work of Second World War history.

Title:Moral Combat: A History of World War II
Edition Language:English

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    Moral Combat: A History of World War II Reviews

  • Grant

    Moral Combat begins with great promise, describing the conditions and events that combined to effect the massive moral sinking within, primarily, the axis nations of WWII. It is detailed, well-researc...

  • Scottnshana

    I first read Burleigh when I was stationed in Turkey in 2000 and had the time to tackle his massive book on the Third Reich. I liked his approach to the subject--Nazi lawyers depriving select groups o...

  • Olethros

    -De la evolución del sentimiento de superioridad moral antes, durante y después de la Segunda Guerra Mundial y de su influencia en la misma.-Género. Ensayo.Lo que nos cuenta. Relato, desde una pers...

  • Ana-Maria Bujor

    This is a very detailed work I recommend to people that do want to deepen their knowledge of WW2. No intense battle scenes, little military strategy, but very detailed analysis of the social and moral...

  • Mark

    Concisely written overview of the moral questions that haunt wars in general & World War 2 in particular. Michael Burleigh has a tremendous command of the historical scope of the war... and it's refre...

  • Libor

    I started reading this book, knowing that some of my friends weren’t able to finish it. I also got to some reviews saying that it is entirely not what one expects and that it is just another book of...

  • Samuel

    Veľmi hrubá knižka o druhej svetovej vojne zobrazuje trošku iný pohľad na vojnu. Samozrejme, je to kniha plná bojov, ale bojov psychologických a morálnych, bojov v hlavách hlavných predstav...

  • Michael Confoy

    The book was quite a surprise as the focus was mainly on NAZI Germany's crimes. Discussion is had on the USSR, Japan and on Allied Bombing of Germany, but the mass slaughter by the Germans is the main...

  • Dave

    Review originally posted at Book of Bogan.I don't think it takes much imagination for anyone who has even the slightest knowledge of world history to believe that World War 2 was one of humanity's low...

  • Joe

    Michael Burleigh has written a fascinating history of World War II in Europe concentrating on moral dilemmas that faced both sides. Of course, quite quickly the Germans jettisoned these concerns, shor...