Northern European Overture to War, 1939-1941

From Memel to Barbarossa

Series:

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.
Contributors are Azar Gat, Michael Epkenhans, Andrew Lambert, Tom Kristiansen, Rolf Hobson, Gunnar Åselius, Jörg Hillmann, Werner Rahn, Sławomir Dębski, Ole Kristian Grimnes, Česlovas Laurinavičius, Alfred Erich Senn, Lars Ericson Wolke, Karl Erik Haug, Boris Vadimovich Sokolov, Toomas Hiio, Magnus Ilmjärv, Palle Roslyng-Jensen ,Hans Christian Bjerg, Valters Ščerbinskis, Michael H. Clemmesen, and Marcus Faulkner.

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Biographical Note

Michael H. Clemmesen is a retired army brigadier general.He was director of the strategy department at the Royal Danish Defence College and later established the Baltic Defence College in Tartu, Estonia. Currently he is a senior research fellow at the Danish Centre for Military History.
Marcus Faulkner, Ph.D. (2009), King's College London, is a Teaching Fellow in the Department of War Studies. He is a contemporary international historian and currently focuses on the development of sea power in twentieth century.

Review Quotes

"...Covering an impressive range of topics sensibly organized into five sections, the volume offers a welcome international perspective on northern Europe's descent into war. Summing Up: Highly recommended."
K. C. O'Connor (Gonzaga University), CHOICE, November 2013

Table of contents

List of Illustrations ix
List of Contributors xi

Introduction ... 1
Michael H. Clemmesen and Marcus S. Faulkner

PART I : 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 ... 9
Azar Gat
Responding with Kindness or in Kind? On Conceptions of War and the Democracies’ Responses to Military Threats ... 23
Jeppe Plenge Trautner
The Only British Advantage: Sea Power and Strategy, September 1939–June 1940 ... 45
Andrew Lambert
The Soviet Policy towards the Baltic States in 1939–41 ... 75
Boris Vadimovich Sokolov
Soviet Naval Perceptions of the Baltic Sea, 1938–41 ... 91
Gunnar Åselius
The Long and Winding Road to Weserübung ... 115
Michael Epkenhans
Slipping into the War: German Naval Strategy between 1920 and 1940 ... 129
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 ... 167
Česlovas Laurinavičius
Polish Perceptions of the Strategic Situation on the Eve of the Second World War ... 189
Sławomir Dębski
Government and Public Reaction in Estonia to Soviet Pressure and the Events of September–December 1939 ... 209
Magnus Ilmjärv
Responses During the First Months of the Second World War: The Latvian Government, Army, Society and the Finnish Winter War ... 229
Valters Ščerbinskis

PART III: SCANDINAVIA AND WESERÜBUNG
Norway and the Withering League of Nations ... 249
Karl Erik Haug
A German Menace to Norway: The Evolution of Threat Perceptions and Strategy between the Wars ... 271
Tom Kristiansen
The Strategic Considerations and Actions of the Danish Commanding Admiral in the Years before the German Occupation in 1940 ... 295
Hans Christian Bjerg
The Armoured Commerce Raider: The Concept that Guided German Naval Lobbying for Control of Norway ... 307
Michael H. Clemmesen
Unternehmen Weserübung April 1940: The German and Allied Strategy and Operational Approaches in Northern Europe 1939–40 ... 331
Werner Rahn (in cooperation with Milan Vego)
British Operational Responses to German Control of Denmark and Norway, April 1940–June 1941 ... 361
Marcus S. Faulkner
The Two Norways, 1940–41 ... 383
Ole Kristian Grimnes

PART IV: THE FINAL MONTHS OF SOVIET GEOSTRATEGIC PREPARATIONS
Soviet Military Preparations in Estonia during the Year before Barbarossa ... 405
Toomas Hiio
Swedish Responses to Soviet Moves East of the Baltic Sea: The Baltic States in Swedish Military Planning, 1939–41 ... 433
Lars Ericson Wolke

PART V: THE HISTORIOGRAPHY
Weserübung in German and Norwegian Historiography ... 449
Rolf Hobson
Conspiracy, Guilt and Rationality: The Memory and History of the German Military Occupation of Denmark on 9 April 1940 ... 465
Palle Roslyng-Jensen
Problems of Baltic Historiography, 1939–41 ... 491
Alfred Erich Senn

Index of Names ... 511

Readership

All those interested in tweentieth century European history, diplomatic and military history, especially covering the Second World War.

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