Ashland University Professor Writes Book on Great Depression and Coming of World War II

Ashland University Professor Writes Book on Great Depression and Coming of World War II

1/21/15 ASHLAND, Ohio – Ashland University Professor of History Dr. John Moser has published a book titled “The Global Great Depression and the Coming of World War II.” The book, published by Paradigm Publishers, demonstrates the ways in which the economic crisis of the late 1920s and early 1930s helped to cause and shape the course of the Second World War.

Moser points to the essential uniformity in the way in which the world’s industrialized and industrializing nations responded to the challenge of the Great Depression.

“Among these nations, there was a move away from legislative deliberation and toward executive authority; away from free trade and toward the creation of regional trading blocs; away from the international gold standard and toward ‘managed’ national currencies; away from ‘chaotic’ individual liberty and toward ‘rational’ regimentation; in other words, away from classical liberalism and toward some combination of corporatism, nationalism and militarism,” Moser said.

For all the similarities, however, there was still a great divide between two different general approaches to the economic crisis, Moser added.

Those countries that enjoyed easy, unchallenged access to resources and markets — the United States, Great Britain, the Soviet Union and France — tended to turn inward, erecting tariff walls and promoting domestic recovery at the expense of the international order,” Moser said. “On the other hand, those nations that lacked such access — Germany and Japan — sought to take the necessary resources and markets by force.”

Moser noted that the interplay of these powers constituted the dynamic of international relations of the 1930s: the “have-nots” attempting to achieve self-sufficiency through aggressive means, challenging the “haves” that were too distrustful of one another and too preoccupied with their own domestic affairs to work cooperatively in an effort to stop them.

According to Moser, the new book illustrates how the strategies governments employed to combat the Depression were tested during World War I and earlier; shows how the policies employed by Great Britain, France and the United States prevented effective cooperation among the three countries during the early to mid-1930s; explains how the governments of Germany, Japan and Italy sought to solve their countries’ economic problems through autarky, which required foreign conquest as well as foreign complicity and complacency; and demonstrates how economic factors contributed to the origins and course of World War II.

Moser, who joined Ashland University in 2001, teaches courses on modern European, American and East Asian history. His previous books include “Twisting the Lion’s Tail: American Anglophobia between the World Wars” (New York University Press, 1999), “Presidents from Hoover through Truman, 1929-1952” (Greenwood Press, 2001), and “Right Turn: John T. Flynn and the Transformation of American Liberalism” (New York University Press, 2005).

A number of reviews on the new book have been very favorable.

Alonzo L. Hamby, distinguished professor of history at Ohio University and author of “For the Survival of Democracy: Franklin Roosevelt and the World Crisis of the 1930s,” said “With this bold and far-reaching interpretation of the economic interplay and its political consequences among the world’s great powers during the first half of the twentieth century, John Moser takes his place alongside such eminences as Charles Kindleberger and Barry Eichengreen. He has given us a landmark work in international history.”

Robert Boyce from the London School of Economics and author of “The Great Interwar Crisis and the Collapse of Globalization,” said “The thesis of this book is that the ‘global great depression’ between the wars turned several major powers decisively against liberal capitalism as well as socialism and toward imperialistic ‘third way’ policies, which led to the breakdown of international order and the onset of the Second World War. This is a provocative claim and one that is likely to attract wide interest in view of the continuing fascination with the Second World War and the relative paucity of book-length studies that focus upon economic origins. The author’s clear, concise, non-technical English makes this potentially rebarbative topic accessible to a broad range of potential readers and his wide-ranging study displays maturity and balance.”

Moser’s book is available through and Barnes and Noble as well as other online websites.

Ashland University is a mid-sized, private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Ashland University ( values the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong, applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students. ###