New Book – Northern European Overture to War, 1939-1941: From Memel to Barbarossa

Member Dr Marcus Faulkner has just published a co-edited volume with Michael H. Clemmesen and published by Brill. The book examines the role of Northern Europe and the Balkans in the early years of the Second World War.

Michael H. Clemmesen and Marcus Faulkner (eds.), Northern European Overture to War, 1939-1941: From Memel to Barbarossa (Leiden: Brill, 2013)

Northern European

While the German invasion of Poland in September 1939 was a pivotal moment in European history and precipitated the outbreak of the Second World War western historiography has largely neglected Northern Europe. Two questions dominated the course of events, the Anglo-German contest for control of the access to the Atlantic Ocean and the Soviet-German contest for control of their former territories as a precursor to the future Total War they expected to wage against each other. This anthology of 23 essays considers both these issues collectively and provides a new international perspective on the region’s transition from the relative peace of the interwar era to the all out war following the German invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941.

Table of Contents

Introduction by Michael H. Clemmesen and Marcus S. Faulkner

Part 1: The Great Powers and their Approaches to the Region

Containment and Cold War before the Nuclear Age: The Phoney War as Allied Strategy According to Liddell Hart by Azar Gat

Responding with Kindness or in Kind? On Conceptions of War and the Democracies’ Responses to Military Threats by Jeppe Plenge Trautner

The Only British Advantage: Sea Power and Strategy, September 1939–June 1940 by Andrew Lambert

The Soviet Policy towards the Baltic States in 1939–41 by Boris Vadimovich Sokolov

Soviet Naval Perceptions of the Baltic Sea, 1938–41 by Gunnar Åselius

The Long and Winding Road to Weserübung by Michael Epkenhans

Slipping into the War: German Naval Strategy between 1920 and 1940 by Jörg Hillmann

Part II: The Fourth Partition of Poland-Lithuania and other effects of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact

The Lithuanian Reaction to the Loss of Klaipėda and the Combined Gift of Soviet “Security Assistance” and Vilnius by Česlovas Laurinavičius

Polish Perceptions of the Strategic Situation on the Eve of the Second World War by Sławomir Dębski

Government and Public Reaction in Estonia to Soviet Pressure and the Events of September–December 1939 by Magnus Ilmjärv

Responses During the First Months of the Second World War: The Latvian Government, Army, Society and the Finnish Winter War by Valters Ščerbinskis

Part III: Scandinavia and Weserubung

Norway and the Withering League of Nations by Karl Erik Haug

A German Menace to Norway: The Evolution of Threat Perceptions and Strategy between the Wars by Tom Kristiansen

The Strategic Considerations and Actions of the Danish Commanding Admiral in the Years before the German Occupation in 1940 by Hans Christian Bjerg

The Armoured Commerce Raider: The Concept that Guided German Naval Lobbying for Control of Norway by Michael H. Clemmesen

Unternehmen Weserübung April 1940: The German and Allied Strategy and Operational Approaches in Northern Europe 1939–40 by Werner Rahn (in cooperation with Milan Vego)

British Operational Responses to German Control of Denmark and Norway, April 1940–June 1941 by Marcus S. Faulkner

The Two Norways, 1940–41 by Ole Kristian Grimnes

Part IV: The Final Months of Soviet Geostrategic Preparations

Soviet Military Preparations in Estonia during the Year before Barbarossa by Toomas Hiio

Swedish Responses to Soviet Moves East of the Baltic Sea: The Baltic States in Swedish Military Planning, 1939–41 by Lars Ericson Wolke

Part V: Historiography

Weserübung in German and Norwegian Historiography by Rolf Hobson

Conspiracy, Guilt and Rationality: The Memory and History of the German Military Occupation of Denmark on 9 April 1940 by Palle Roslyng-Jensen

Problems of Baltic Historiography, 1939–41 by Alfred Erich Senn


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