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War Aims in the Second World WarThe War Aims of the Key Belligerents 1939-1945$
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Victor Rothwell

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780748615025

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748615025.001.0001

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(p.221) 7 Conclusion
War Aims in the Second World War

Victor Rothwell

Edinburgh University Press

What stands out from this study of the war aims of great and major powers during the Second World War is their frequent remoteness from the world as it was to be after 1945. This is most evident in the transition of Germany and Japan from violent power politics to peaceful liberal democracies. In Britain and France, the war accelerated their inevitable progression, given that they were already liberal democracies, to a post-imperial future. The United States’ wartime journey was away from an ‘isolationism’ to a degree of involvement and frequent outside interventions. Meanwhile, the question arises as to whether Russia’s costly victory in the war with Germany provided an opportunity to return to this original aspiration, or whether the war facilitated a tendency in the rulers of the Soviet state to pursue more limited ambitions based on age-old concepts of national security.

Keywords:   Germany, Japan, Britain, France, liberal democracy, power politics, United States, Soviet state

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