September 1939 revisited
The outbreak of war in 1939 is often seen as a natural part of Hitler’s grand plan for world conquest. Professor Overy takes a new look at the motives of those involved, arguing that Hitler did not in fact want a major war in 1939, and that it was the British and French, however reluctantly, who chose to declare it. Within this context, the war can be understood as the last great war for empire, resulting from fears among the Western powers for their own global imperial interests in response to the new wave of imperial territorial expansion led by Italy, Japan and Germany in the 1930s.
Richard Overy is a British historian who has published extensively on the history of World War II and Nazi Germany. In 2007 as The Times editor of Complete History of the World, he chose the 50 key dates of world history. Overy is a professor at the University of Exeter, UK.