The Encyclopedia of World War II

A Political, Social, and Military History

by Spencer C. Tucker, Editor
Priscilla Mary Roberts, Editor, Documents Volume
Foreword by Allan R. Millett


It was the pivotal event of the 20th century, the last world war, and the culmination of long-running animosities and aggression. Nothing about our 21st-century world can be understood without reference to World War II. And now, the entire scope of World War II is within reach in this landmark multivolume publication.

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Cover image for The Encyclopedia of World War II

December 2004


Pages 2251
Volumes 5
Size 8 1/2x11
Topics Military History/Conflict and Wars
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    Hardcover: £338.00/366,00€/A$563.00

An unprecedented achievement in publishing—a multivolume encyclopedic resource, for both the general reader and specialist—on the central conflict of the 20th century, The Encyclopedia of World War II covers the entire scope of the Second World War from its earliest roots to its continuing impact on global politics and human society.

A monumental five-volume work, The Encyclopedia of World War II is an achievement in scholarship that surpasses all such efforts on World War II before it. From the conflict's historic origins to VJ Day and beyond, it offers readers unprecedented coverage of all aspects of the war as it played out in the corridors of power, in the minds of military strategists, on the battlefields, and in the lives of ordinary soldiers and civilians.

Full of fascinating characters and insights, including a wealth of new information and new thinking about the war's events and impact, The Encyclopedia of World War II will stand as the definitive single reference on the subject for years to come. With over one million words of richly illustrated text, it covers every important battle and weapon system; individual nations and geographic locations; and political, social, and military leaders. Featured essays offer deeper analyses of crucial events such as Pearl Harbor, the Holocaust, the atomic bomb, and other fascinating topics. Providing its content is an incomparable team of international academics and independent historians. Volume five, the documents volume, is unmatched in breadth and depth and includes primary sources such as important official writings and personal reminiscences of the war's key events.


  • Over 1,400 A–Z entries, including lengthy biographies of individuals, studies of battles, details of weapons systems, and analyses of wartime conferences, crucial battlefield and diplomatic turning points, and lingering historical controversies
  • Over 270 contributors, including an unprecedented number of international authorities (many from Japan and China), giving the work a global perspective no other encyclopedia on World War II can match
  • A wealth of primary documents, ranging from official documents to personal correspondence, is included in a separate volume
  • An introductory section with 70 detailed geopolitical and military maps providing a clear orientation for proceeding with research into specific topics and events, as well as 300 photographs, illustrations, charts, and tables
  • Includes a discussion of military ranks of the major warring powers and a lengthy comparative table of officers and enlisted men


  • A comprehensive and wide-ranging encyclopedia of World War II's causes and effects that reflects the current scholarly thinking on the full range of military, political, social and cultural topics to a degree no other such work can match
  • Gives exhaustive treatment to military culture and technology, including daily lives of soldiers and tactics of all participating armies
  • Offers a truly global perspective on the war, with coverage of its effects worldwide and contributions from writers from many nations involved in the conflict
  • Provides in-depth coverage of the causes of war and life on the home fronts of the nations in the conflict, including morale and attitudes, political events, and the effects of the war on economies and workforces
Author Info

Spencer C. Tucker, PhD, held the John Biggs Chair of Military History at the Virginia Military Institute until his retirement from teaching in 2003 and is Senior Fellow of Military History at ABC-CLIO. A Fulbright scholar, Dr. Tucker was a professor of history at Texas Christian University and served as an intelligence analyst and desk officer at the Pentagon during the Vietnam War. He has written or edited 25 books, including ABC-CLIO's award-winning Naval Warfare and Encyclopedia of the Vietnam War.

Priscilla Mary Roberts, PhD, is an associate professor of history and Honorary Director of the Centre of American Studies at the University of Hong Kong. She spent 2003 as a visiting Fulbright scholar at the Institute for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies at The George Washington University, Washington, D.C. She received her degree from Cambridge University. She has received numerous research awards and was the assistant editor of ABC-CLIO's Encyclopedia of the Korean War.



"Researchers delving into the enormous wealth of published information on World War II will be deeply grateful for the publication of this monumental five-volume work. In turning his immense editorial talents to the largest of all 20th–century wars, [Tucker] has produced a tour de force. The result is an exceptional reference tool that easily transcends recent one-volume works."Library Journal, Starred Review

"Tucker . . . and five assistant editors have compiled an impressive reference of over 1,500 alphabetical entries, supplemented with maps and a volume of primary documents. . . . Care has been taken to achieve a global focus, with entries covering aspects of all theaters of the war."Reference & Research Book News

"The essays, maps, and articles are easily accessible and written in a very readable style. This encyclopedia would be a welcome addition to high school libraries, and a must for both public and academic libraries. Recommended."Library Media Connection

"This new ABC-CLIO encyclopedia reflects more recent research and writing than those published in previous decades. Recommended. All levels."Choice

"Sturdily bound with good quality, acid-free paper and clear, cleanly printed type, this title deserves careful consideration from any library serving patrons interested in the Second World War."American Reference Books Annual

"The Encyclopedia of World War II: A Political, Social, and Military History will find a welcome home in public, academic, and high school libraries. Serious students, casual readers, and World War II buffs alike will enjoy thumbing through these pages. Comprehensive and informed by the latest scholarship, this encyclopedia will be a standard reference work in the area for a variety of audiences."Against the Grain



2005 Best Reference Title — Library Journal

2005 Editors' Choice — Booklist

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