In the twenty years since the end of the war and the Nuremberg trials, historical controversy has been largely concerned with the share of the other Powers in the responsibility for allowing war to break out in 1939. Thus, the British and French governments of the 1930s have been blamed for their policy of appeasement and for failing to secure an agreement with Russia; Mussolini for his alliance with Hitler; Stalin for the Nazi-Soviet Pact; the Poles for the illusions which encouraged them to believe that they could hold Russia as well as Germany at arm’s length. Taking a wider sweep, historians have turned for an explanation of the origins of the Second World War to the mistakes made in the peace settlement that followed the First; to the inadequacies of British and French policy between the wars; the retreat of the United States into isolation; the exdusion of the Soviet Union; the social effects of the Great Depression, and so on.
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