World War II
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.
1. Das Bleistiftschloss als Press Camp
- Churchill, W.L.S., The Second World War, London, Cassell, 1948-1955.
- Gilbert, M., The Second World War: A Complete History, New York, Holt, 1989.
- Keegan, J., The Second World War, New York, Viking, 1989.
- Bazyler, M. and F.M. Tuerkheimer, Forgotten Trials of the Holocaust, New York; London, New York Press, 2014.
- Broichmann, C., Der außerordentliche Einspruch im Dritten Reich: Urteilsaufhebung durch den "Führer", Berlin, Erich Schmidt Verlag, 2014.
- Brunner, J., C. Goschler und N. Frei (Hrsg.), Die Globalisierung der Wiedergutmachung: Politik, Moral, Moralpolitik, Göttingen, Wallstein Verlag, 2013.
- Clemmesen, M.H. and M.S. Faulkner (eds.), Northern European Ouverture to War, 1939-1941: From Memel to Barbarossa, Leiden, Brill, 2013.
- Crowhurst, P., Hitler and Czechoslovakia in WWII: Domination and Retaliation, London, Tauris, 2013.
- Edsel, R.M., Saving Italy: The Race to Rescue a Nation's Treasures from the Nazis, New York, NY, Norton, 2013.
- Graham-Dixon, F., The Allied Occupation of Germany: the Refugee Crisis, Denazification and the Path to Reconstruction, London, Tauris, 2013.
- Hoffmann, V.K., Die Strafverfolgung der NS-Kriminalität am Landgericht Darmstadt, Berlin, Erich Schmidt Verlag, 2013.
- Lingen, K. von, Allen Dulles, The OSS, and Nazi War Criminals: the Dynamics of Selective Prosecution, New York, NY, Cambridge University Press, 2013.
- Linton, S., Hong Kong's War Crimes Trials, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2013.
- Livingston, M.A., The Fascists and the Jews of Italy: Mussolini's Race Laws, 1938-1943, New York, NY, Cambridge University Press, 2014.
- Service, H., Germans to Poles: Communism, Nationalism and Ethnic Cleansing after the Second World War, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2013.
- Steinhardt, E.C., The Holocaust and the Germanization of Ukraine, New York, NY, Cambridge University Press, 2015.
- 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.
- Totani, Y., Justice in Asia and the Pacific Region, 1945-1952: Allied War Crimes Prosecutions, New York, Cambridge University Press, 2015.
- Bell, L. (et al.) (eds.), The Second World War: a Guide to Documents in the Public Record Office, London, Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1972.
- Götz, A., Die Verfolgung und Ermordung der europäischen Juden durch das nationalsozialistische Deutschland 1933-1945, München, Oldenbourg, 2008-... , 16 vols.
- Langsam, W.C., Historic Documents of World War II, Princeton, Van Nostrand, 1958.
- O'Neill, J.E. and R.W. Krauskopf (eds.), World War II: an Account of its Documents, Washington, Howard University Press, 1976.
Periodicals, serial publications
- Cahiers d'histoire de la guerre
- Guerres mondiales et conflits contemporains : revue trimestrielle d'histoire
- Revue d'histoire de la deuxième guerre mondiale
- Revue d'histoire de la deuxième guerre mondiale et des conflits contemporains
- Bloomberg, M. and H.H. Weber, World War II and its Origins: a Select Annotated Bibliography of Books in English, Littleton, CO, Libraries Unlimited Inc, 1975.
- Ziegler, J., World War II: Books in English, 1945-65, Stanford, CA, Stanford University, 1971.
- Yoji, A., "An Annotated Bibliographical Study of the Japanese Occupation of Malaya/Singapore, 1941-45", in New Perspectives on the Japanese Occupation in Malaya and Singapore, 1941-1945, Singapore, NUS Press, 2008, pp. 250-284.
1. Das Bleistiftschloss als Press Camp
Totani, Y., Justice in Asia and the Pacific Region, 1945-1952: Allied War Crimes Prosecutions, New York, Cambridge University Press, 2015.View this title in our link resolver Plinklet
This book explores a cross section of war crimes trials that the Allied powers held against the Japanese in the aftermath of World War II. More than 2,240 trials against some 5,700 suspected war criminals were carried out at 51 separate locations across the Asia Pacific region. This book analyzes fourteen high-profile American, Australian, British, and Philippine trials, including the two subsequent proceedings at Tokyo and the Yamashita trial. By delving into a large body of hitherto underutilized oral and documentary history of the war as contained in the trial records, Yuma Totani illuminates diverse firsthand accounts of the war that were offered by former Japanese and Allied combatants, prisoners of war, and the civilian population. Furthermore, the author makes a systematic inquiry into select trials to shed light on a highly complex – and at times contradictory – legal and jurisprudential legacy of Allied war crimes prosecutions.
Steinhardt, E.C., The Holocaust and the Germanization of Ukraine, New York, NY, Cambridge University Press, 2015.View this title in our link resolver Plinklet
The German invasion of the Soviet Union during the Second World War was central to Nazi plans for territorial expansion and genocidal demographic revolution. To create “living space,” Nazi Germany pursued two policies. The first was the systematic murder of millions of Jews, Slavs, Roma, and other groups that the Nazis found undesirable on racial, religious, ethnic, ideological, hereditary, or behavioral grounds. It also pursued a parallel, albeit smaller, program to mobilize supposedly Germanic residents of Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union – so-called Volksdeutsche or ethnic Germans – as the vanguard of German expansion. This study recovers the intersection of these two projects in Transnistria, a portion of southern Ukraine that, because of its numerous Volksdeutsche communities, became an epicenter of both Nazi Volksdeutsche policy and the Holocaust in conquered Soviet territory, ultimately asking why local residents, whom German authorities identified as Volksdeutsche, participated in the Holocaust with apparent enthusiasm.
Livingston, M.A., The Fascists and the Jews of Italy: Mussolini's Race Laws, 1938-1943, New York, NY, Cambridge University Press, 2014.View this title in our link resolver Plinklet
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.
Bazyler, M. and F.M. Tuerkheimer, Forgotten Trials of the Holocaust, New York; London, New York Press, 2014.View this title in our link resolver PlinkletIn the wake of the Second World War, how were the Allies to respond to the enormous crime of the Holocaust? Even in an ideal world, it would have been impossible to bring all the perpetrators to trial. Nevertheless, an attempt was made to prosecute some. This book uncovers ten “forgotten trials” of the Holocaust, selected from the many Nazi trials that have taken place over the course of the last seven decades. It showcases how perpetrators of the Holocaust were dealt with in courtrooms around the world, revealing how different legal systems responded to the horrors of the Holocaust. The book provides a graphic picture of the genocidal campaign against the Jews through eyewitness testimony and incriminating documents and traces how the public memory of the Holocaust was formed over time.
Lingen, K. von, Allen Dulles, The OSS, and Nazi War Criminals: the Dynamics of Selective Prosecution, New York, NY, Cambridge University Press, 2013.View this title in our link resolver Plinklet
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.
From The Hague to Nuremberg: Our Visit to Nuremberg
From Sunday 8 November 2015 to Tuesday 10 November 2015, Sophie Brinkel, Candice Alihusain and Fé de Jonge, visited the city of Nuremberg in Germany. This city is internationally known for the war crimes trials that took place in Nuremberg after the Second World War, from 1945 to 1949. These trials encompassed both the International Military Tribunal, which was created by the Allied forces, and the subsequent Nuremberg Trials, organized by the USA authorities.Read more
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.Read more
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.Read more
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.Read more
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.Read more
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.Read more
More Research guides on War, Peace and Security
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- International Peace and Security
- Use of Force
- War and Peace
- World War I