World War II

Introduction

World War II - Research Guide International Law

World War II, or the Second World War, was the global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world’s nations — including all of the great powers — eventually forming two opposing military alliances, the Allies and the Axis. It was the most widespread war in history, with more than 100 million military personnel mobilised. In a state of “total war,” the major participants placed their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities at the service of the war effort, erasing the distinction between civilian and military resources. Marked by significant events involving the mass death of civilians, including the Holocaust and the only use of nuclear weapons in warfare, it was the deadliest conflict in human history, resulting in 50 million to over 70 million fatalities. The Peace Palace Library’s collection on World War II is focused on aspects of international law: the laws of war, international humanitarian law, international criminal law (war crimes, crimes against humanity, crimes against the peace and security of mankind, genocide, aggression, the Nuremberg and Tokyo Trials), war reparations and the politics of its memory.

This Research Guide is intended as a starting point for research on World War II. It provides the basic materials available in the Peace Palace Library, both in print and electronic format. Handbooks, leading articles, bibliographies, periodicals, serial publications and documents of interest are presented in the Selective Bibliography section. Links to the PPL Catalogue are inserted. The Library’s classification index code 497a. World War II: General Works and Various Essays and subject heading (keyword) World War II are instrumental for searching through the Catalogue. Special attention is given to our subscriptions on databases, e-journals, e-books and other electronic resources. Finally, this Research Guide features links to relevant websites and other online resources of particular interest.

Latest acquisition

Livingston, M.A., The Fascists and the Jews of Italy: Mussolini’s Race Laws, 1938-1943, New York, NY, Cambridge University Press, 2014.

From 1938 until 1943 – before the German occupation and accompanying Holocaust – Fascist Italy drafted and enforced a comprehensive set of anti-Semitic laws. Notwithstanding later rationalizations, the laws were administered with a high degree of severity and resulted in serious damage to the Italian Jewish community. Written from the perspective of an American legal scholar, this book constitutes the first truly comprehensive survey of the Race Laws in the English language. Based on an exhaustive review of Italian legal, administrative and judicial sources, together with archives of the Italian Jewish community, Professor Michael A. Livingston demonstrates the zeal but also the occasional ambivalence and contradictions with which the Race Laws were applied by the Italian legal order and ordinary citizens. Although frequently depressing, the history of the Race Laws contains numerous examples of personal courage and idealism, providing a useful and timely study of what happens when otherwise decent people are confronted with an evil and unjust legal order.

Bibliography

Reference works

Recent books

Leading articles

Documents

Periodicals, serial publications

Bibliographies

New titles


1. The Gestapo on trial
The Gestapo on trial : evidence from Nuremberg : The Illustrated Edition / edited and introduced by Bob Carruthers. - Barnsley : Pen & Sword Military, 2014. - 371 pages. : photos. ; 24 cm. - (The Third Reich from original sources) First published: 2013 by Coda Books ltd. - 2014
Keywords: Germany, International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg, Police, War criminals, International crimes, Prosecution, World War II, Testimony, Evidence,

2. El discurso en torno a la memoria del Holocausto a debate: el papel de la traducción en su (ab)uso
El discurso en torno a la memoria del Holocausto a debate: el papel de la traducción en su (ab)uso / María Jesús Fernández Gil. - Granada : Editorial Comares. - Page 85-99 In: Traducción, política(s), conflictos: legados y retos para la era del multiculturalismo / África Vidal Claramonte, M. Rosario Martín Ruano (eds.), ISBN 9788490450192: (2013), Page 85-99. - 2013
Keywords: Holocaust, World War II, Memory, Jews, Translations,

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  • Livingston, M.A., The Fascists and the Jews of Italy: Mussolini's Race Laws, 1938-1943, New York, NY, Cambridge University Press, 2014.

    Livingston, M.A., The Fascists and the Jews of Italy: Mussolini's Race Laws, 1938-1943, New York, NY, Cambridge University Press, 2014.

    From 1938 until 1943 – before the German occupation and accompanying Holocaust – Fascist Italy drafted and enforced a comprehensive set of anti-Semitic laws. Notwithstanding later rationalizations, the laws were administered with a high degree of severity and resulted in serious damage to the Italian Jewish community. Written from the perspective of an American legal scholar, this book constitutes the first truly comprehensive survey of the Race Laws in the English language. Based on an exhaustive review of Italian legal, administrative and judicial sources, together with archives of the Italian Jewish community, Professor Michael A. Livingston demonstrates the zeal but also the occasional ambivalence and contradictions with which the Race Laws were applied by the Italian legal order and ordinary citizens. Although frequently depressing, the history of the Race Laws contains numerous examples of personal courage and idealism, providing a useful and timely study of what happens when otherwise decent people are confronted with an evil and unjust legal order.

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  • Crowhurst, P., Hitler and Czechoslovakia in WWII: Domination and Retaliation, London, Tauris, 2013.

    Crowhurst, P., Hitler and Czechoslovakia in WWII: Domination and Retaliation, London, Tauris, 2013.

    The invasion of Czechoslovakia by Nazi Germany in March 1939 helped to precipitate Europe’s descent into World War II six months later. The move, supposedly to protect the Sudeten Germans, shocked many in Europe, who saw it as a clear statement of intent by Hitler. Here, Patrick Crowhurst argues that occupation of the Sudetenland and the Czech lands was also crucial to the Nazi war machine. The armaments, factories and raw materials that Hitler seized accelerated Germany’s capabilities; Czech tanks would prove crucial in the Ardennes and, as the Wehrmacht fought at Stalingrad, Armaments Minister Albert Speer was corralling Czech industrial machinery to produce engines, aircraft and equipment in support. New Slovakian and Czech primary material also provides the first in-depth account of the German reaction to the assassination of Reinhardt Heydrich on the streets of Prague in June 1942, and Hitler’s plans for the genocide of Czech Jewry. Hitler and Czechoslovakia in World War II will be of great interest to historians of World War II, Czechoslovakia and Nazi Germany.

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  • Edsel, R.M., Saving Italy: The Race to Rescue a Nation's Treasures from the Nazis, New York, NY, Norton, 2013.

    Edsel, R.M., Saving Italy: The Race to Rescue a Nation's Treasures from the Nazis, New York, NY, Norton, 2013.

    When Hitler’s armies occupied Italy in 1943, they also seized control of mankind’s greatest cultural treasures. As they had done throughout Europe, the Nazis could now plunder the masterpieces of the Renaissance, the treasures of the Vatican, and the antiquities of the Roman Empire. On the eve of the Allied invasion, General Dwight Eisenhower empowered a new kind of soldier to protect these historic riches. In May 1944 two unlikely American heroes—artist Deane Keller and scholar Fred Hartt—embarked from Naples on the treasure hunt of a lifetime, tracking billions of dollars of missing art, including works by Michelangelo, Donatello, Titian, Caravaggio, and Botticelli. With the German army retreating up the Italian peninsula, orders came from the highest levels of the Nazi government to transport truckloads of art north across the border into the Reich. Standing in the way was General Karl Wolff, a top-level Nazi officer. As German forces blew up the magnificent bridges of Florence, General Wolff commandeered the great collections of the Uffizi Gallery and Pitti Palace, later risking his life to negotiate a secret Nazi surrender with American spymaster Allen Dulles. Brilliantly researched and vividly written, Saving Italy brings readers from Milan and the near destruction of The Last Supper to the inner sanctum of the Vatican and behind closed doors with the preeminent Allied and Axis leaders: Roosevelt, Eisenhower, and Churchill; Hitler, Göring, and Himmler. An unforgettable story of epic thievery and political intrigue, Saving Italy is a testament to heroism on behalf of art, culture, and history.

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  • Lingen, K. von, Allen Dulles, The OSS, and Nazi War Criminals: the Dynamics of Selective Prosecution, New York, NY, Cambridge University Press, 2013.

    Lingen, K. von, Allen Dulles, The OSS, and Nazi War Criminals: the Dynamics of Selective Prosecution, New York, NY, Cambridge University Press, 2013.

    This book examines the circumstances surrounding SS-Obergruppenführer Karl Wolff’s escape from prosecution for war crimes in 1945. Wolff avoided prosecution because of his role in “Operation Sunrise,” negotiations conducted by high-ranking American, Swiss, and British officials – in violation of the Casablanca agreements with the Soviet Union – for the surrender of German forces in Italy that enabled the Anglo-American forces to take Trieste. After 1945, Allied officials, amongst them Allen Dulles, in a move that later helped him ascend to the head of the CIA, shielded Wolff from prosecution to maintain secrecy about the negotiations “Operation Sunrise” thus relates to the early origins of the Cold War in Europe and had wide-ranging implications, even in the field of justice: New evidence suggests that the Western Allies not only failed to ensure cooperation between their respective national war crimes prosecution organizations, but in certain cases even obstructed justice by withholding evidence from the prosecution.

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  • Brunner, J., C. Goschler und N. Frei (Hrsg.), Die Globalisierung der Wiedergutmachung: Politik, Moral, Moralpolitik, Göttingen, Wallstein Verlag, 2013.

    Brunner, J., C. Goschler und N. Frei (Hrsg.), Die Globalisierung der Wiedergutmachung: Politik, Moral, Moralpolitik, Göttingen, Wallstein Verlag, 2013.

    Schlagworte der seit den neunziger Jahren geführten globalen Diskussion über “Wiedergutmachung” sind Historical Justice und Transitional Justice. Von diesem Diskurs wurden Politik und Praxis der deutschen Entschädigung für NS-Verfolgte beeinflusst. In eingängigen Fallstudien zeigen deutsche und israelische Zeithistoriker, wie sich neue Akteure und Experten – z.B. große Unternehmen, der Kunsthandel, Vertriebenenverbände, aber auch die Historiker selbst – im Lauf der letzten zwei Jahrzehnte in diesem Feld verhalten haben, wie die Dominanz eines “amerikanisierten” Rechtsdiskurses die Wiedergutmachung verändert hat und welche Rolle internationale Konferenzen dabei spielten. Der Band schließt mit einem Gespräch über die “Moral” von sechs Jahrzehnten Wiedergutmachungspolitik, an dem sich prominente Denker aus den USA, Israel, Österreich und Deutschland beteiligten. Dabei werden provokante Positionen zu Schuld und Schulden, Pflichten und Verantwortung und zu den Aufgaben von Staat und Gesellschaft deutlich.

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  • Linton, S., Hong Kong's War Crimes Trials, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2013.

    Linton, S., Hong Kong's War Crimes Trials, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2013.

    In the aftermath of the Second World War, the British military held 46 trials in Hong Kong in which 123 defendants, from Japan and Formosa (Taiwan), were tried for war crimes. This book provides the first comprehensive legal analysis of these trials. The subject matter of the trials spanned war crimes committed during the fall of Hong Kong, its occupation, and in the period after the capitulation following the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but before the formal surrender. They included killings of hors de combat, abuses in prisoner-of-war camps, abuse and murder of civilians during the military occupation, forced labor, and offenses on the High Seas. The events adjudicated included those from Hong Kong, China, Japan, the High Seas, and Formosa (Taiwan). Taking place in the same historical period as the more famous Nuremberg and Tokyo trials, the Hong Kong war crimes trials provide key insights into events of the time, and the development of international criminal law and procedure in this period. A team of experts in international criminal law examine these trials in detail, placing them in their historical context, investigating how the courts conducted their proceedings and adjudicated acts alleged to be war crimes, and evaluating the extent to which the Hong Kong trials contributed to the development of contemporary issues, such as joint criminal enterprise and superior orders. There is also comparative analysis with contemporaneous proceedings, such as the Australian War Crimes trials, trials in China, and those conducted by the British in Singapore and Germany, placing them within the wider history of international justice. This book is essential reading for anyone interested in the development of international criminal law and procedure.

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  • Graham-Dixon, F., The Allied Occupation of Germany: the Refugee Crisis, Denazification and the Path to Reconstruction, London, Tauris, 2013.

    Graham-Dixon, F., The Allied Occupation of Germany: the Refugee Crisis, Denazification and the Path to Reconstruction, London, Tauris, 2013.

    In the years following World War II, the allies occupied a shattered Germany. Britain held North-Western Germany for ten years, overseeing the rehabilitation of ‘the biggest single forced population movement in modern history’, as Germans from around Europe were expelled from the crumbling Third Reich. This was a humanitarian crisis – with most hospitals, houses, transport networks and schools destroyed during the war, and the British and Americans running enormous and often inhumane refugee camps. Here, Francis Graham-Dixon assesses how the British squared their ethical focus on liberalism with their status as an occupying power, and examines the economic, military and political pressures of the period through the key turning points of the end of World War II – the bombing of Hamburg in 1943, the mismanagement of the refugee camp system and the fallout between occupiers and occupied after the Nuremberg trials of 1945/6. The first book to compare German and British sources from the period, this is an essential contribution to the literature on World War II, the Cold War and post-war Europe.

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  • Service, H., Germans to Poles: Communism, Nationalism and Ethnic Cleansing after the Second World War, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2013.

    Service, H., Germans to Poles: Communism, Nationalism and Ethnic Cleansing after the Second World War, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2013.

    At the end of the Second World War, mass forced migration and population movement accompanied the collapse of Nazi Germany’s occupation and the start of Soviet domination in East-Central Europe. Hugo Service examines the experience of Poland’s new territories, exploring the Polish Communist attempt to ‘cleanse’ these territories in line with a nationalist vision, against the legacy of brutal wartime occupations of Central and Eastern Europe by Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. The expulsion of over three million Germans was intertwined with the arrival of millions of Polish settlers. Around one million German citizens were categorised as ‘native Poles’ and urged to adopt a Polish national identity. The most visible traces of German culture were erased. Jewish Holocaust survivors arrived and, for the most part, soon left again. Drawing on two case studies, the book exposes how these events varied by region and locality.

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  • Steinweis, A.E. and R.D. Rachlin (eds.), The Law in Nazi Germany: Ideology, Opportunism, and the Perversion of Justice, New York, NY, Berghahn, 2013.

    Steinweis, A.E. and R.D. Rachlin (eds.), The Law in Nazi Germany: Ideology, Opportunism, and the Perversion of Justice, New York, NY, Berghahn, 2013.
    While we often tend to think of the Third Reich as a zone of lawlessness, the Nazi dictatorship and its policies of persecution rested on a legal foundation set in place and maintained by judges, lawyers, and civil servants trained in the law. This volume offers a concise and compelling account of how these intelligent and well-educated legal professionals lent their skills and knowledge to a system of oppression and domination. The chapters address why German lawyers and jurists were attracted to Nazism; how their support of the regime resulted from a combination of ideological conviction, careerist opportunism, and legalistic self-delusion; and whether they were held accountable for their Nazi-era actions after 1945. This book also examines the experiences of Jewish lawyers who fell victim to anti-Semitic measures. The volume will appeal to scholars, students, and other readers with an interest in Nazi Germany, the Holocaust, and the history of jurisprudence.
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  • Hoffmann, V.K., Die Strafverfolgung der NS-Kriminalität am Landgericht Darmstadt, Berlin, Erich Schmidt Verlag, 2013.

    Hoffmann, V.K., Die Strafverfolgung der NS-Kriminalität am Landgericht Darmstadt, Berlin, Erich Schmidt Verlag, 2013.

    Die Bewertung der Verfolgung von NS-Kriminalität im Nachkriegsdeutschland ist umstritten. Es lassen sich für eine energische Verfolgung gleichermaßen zahlreiche Beispiele finden wie für nachlässige oder unterlassene Ermittlungen. In Hessen wurden alle NS-Prozesse als historisch wertvoll eingestuft und die Akten den Staatsarchiven übertragen. Die Bestände im Staatsarchiv Darmstadt umfassen alle Arten von NS-Kriminalität, beginnend mit den Verbrechen während der Machtergreifung über die Verfolgung der Juden – mit dem Schwerpunkt der Reichspogromnacht – bis hin zu Deportation und Euthanasie und Verbrechen während der Endphase des NS-Regimes. Ziel der vorliegenden Studie war, alle Verfahren für einen geschlossenen geographischen Raum, nämlich den Landgerichtsbezirk Darmstadt, vollständig zu dokumentieren und einer Analyse zu unterziehen.

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Database

Blogs

  • Warsaw Uprising 70th Anniversary, 1944-2014

    Today it is exactly seventy years ago the Warsaw Uprising began on Godzina W at 17.00 hours. It was part of a greater resistance operation Akcja Burza meaning Operation Tempest but often referred to in English as Operation Storm. The idea of national armed rising was there from the moment the Armia Krajowa the largest organisation in the Polish Resistance, formed after the German Occupation of Poland in 1939. The Polish resistance movement, consisting of the Armia Krajowa and affiliated organisations even became the largest underground resistance movement in Europe.

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  • D-Day and the Battle of Normandy Remembered

    On June 6th, 2014, Heads of State and dignitaries from France, Great Britain, Canada, the United States and other Allied countries will gather on Sword beach, Normandy with a contingent of the last living veterans to remember the liberation of France. They will honor the sacrifice made, and heroism shown by men and women in uniform and by French civilians on D-Day and during the Normandy Battle on land, sea and in the air. With deep gratitude for the liberators the Heads of State attending will once again solemnly confirm their bond of friendship and their common steadfast pursuit for a more peaceful world.

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  • Cultural Property: Art Crimes, Disputes and the Passage of Time

    On the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the Dutch Restitutions Committee, an International Symposium titled ‘Fair and Just Solutions? Alternatives to Litigation in Nazi-looted Art Disputes, Status Quo And New Developments’ was held in the Academy Building of the Peace Palace on November 27, 2012.

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  • Dresden 1945 : an Allied War Crime?

    Since 1945, the bombing of Dresden is considered by many as a violation of international law and as a crime against humanity, even though positive rules of international humanitarian law were absent at the time. The Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907, were among the first formal statements of the laws of war and war crimes in the nascent body of international law. However these conventions, adressing the codes of wartime conduct on land and at sea, were adopted before the rise of air power. Despite repeated diplomatic attempts (→ The Hague Rules of Air Warefare 1922/1923) to update international humanitarian law to include aerial warfare, it was not done before the outbreak of World War II. The absence of positive international humanitarian law does not mean that the laws of war did not cover aerial warfare, but there was no general agreement of how to interpret those laws.
    The aerial bombardment of Dresden does not only raise the question as to whether or not it was an Allied war crime, but it also makes a moral appeal to prevent total war against civilian populations. It’s memory is kept alive.

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  • German War Reparations (WW I) Financially Ended

    Nearly 92 years after the official end of World War I, Germany made its final reparations-related payment for the Great War on October 3, thereby ending the conflict financially. The German newspaper Die Welt discovered a last installment for the Londoner Schuldenabkommen of 69,9 million euro’s in the German budget. Not being a direct reparations settlement but rather the final sum owed on bonds that were issued between 1924 and 1930 and sold to foreign (mostly American) investors, but then never paid.
    German War Reparations (WW I) Financially Ended

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