본문 바로가기
  • Home

An Unbalanced account of the Second 'World' War: A Critic on A World at Arms: A Global History of World War II

이상현 1

1공군사관학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

Gerhard Weinberg's A World at Arms: A Global History of World War II was translated into Korean in 2016. The book was a brave attempt to make a wholistic narrative of the Second World War focused on Hitler's racial foreign policy and the Holocaust. Weinberg wrote it throughout the 1980s and published the first edition in 1994. However, the author did not change his approach and analysis even until 2005 when the new edition was published; thus continues his theme of 1980's historical approaches and diplomatic history. This book is now finally introduced in Korea with almost 20 years old perspective. The biggest strength of this work is that it illustrated a 'big picture' of the war with a focus on the contingency of battles, theatres, strategies and diplomacies, especially in terms of the global intention of Hitler. It distinguishes Weinberg from many other historians who have failed to provide the overall flow of the Second World War by over-emphasizing stories of 'Great Men' and famous battles. His classical perspective as a displomatic historian allows his readers the great benefit to look at the war 'from the above'. Despite his clear centre of gravity, however, Weinberg still has some drawbacks. The Hitler-centric approach inevitably makes the narrative to be Europe centric, especially Germany. Weinberg's Holocaust is not well located in the general context of the world conflict, and the opposite scholars, who vigorously criticise the classic approach on the German history, are simply neglected. The new edition was published on 2005, yet cultural and social histories were almost not considered, while air power was not dealt with as seriously as naval power, and the Home Front was simplified as peoples' will. Therefore, although this book is one of the most recent publications on the general history of the Second World War, it needs to be supported by other more recent studies.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.