In this sweepingly ambitious history, Michael Burleigh explores the moral sentiments of the societies and leaders of World War II, brilliantly revealing how their attitudes motivated the conflict—and how they were ultimately transformed by the shock of total war. Burleigh's painstaking scholarship and profound sensibility reveal how the choices made by governments, communities, and individuals to enthusiastically embrace evil, to consciously reject it, or to determinedly overlook the war's moral quandaries were critical factors in a conflict that grew to consume the globe.
Spanning both major theaters and a wide spectrum of issues, from the Axis "predators" to the Allied appeasement, from the rape of Poland to the complexities of reparation, Moral Combat illuminates how the war was driven by—and decided by—this deadly conflict of philosophies. Original, perceptive, and astonishing in scholarship and scope, this is an unforgettable and hugely important work of Second World War history. (pb)