Blood and Ruins: The Great Imperial War, 1931-1945

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A conversation with Professor Richard Overy on his new work, Blood and Ruins: The Great Imperial War, 1931-1945.

The book traces the long roots of both world wars back to the end of the 19th century, when three modernising nations – Germany, Italy and Japan – embarked on a fresh wave of imperial expansion. This reached its peak in the 1930s and early 1940s, before descending into the largest and costliest war in human history, bringing about the end of all these empires.

In this wide-ranging conversation, Professor Overy will discuss the bitter cost for those involved in the fighting, and the exceptional level of crime and atrocity that marked these imperial projects, the Second World War, and its aftermath.

Professor Richard Overy is an Honorary Research Professor at the University of Exeter. His research interests include the history of the Hitler and Stalin dictatorships, the Second World War, air power in the 20th century, and German history from circa 1900.

Blood and Ruins: The Great Imperial War, 1931-1945 was published by Allen Lane in August 2021.

The webinar will be moderated by Gill Bennett, RUSI Senior Associate Fellow and former Chief Historian, Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

This event is open to RUSI members only. To become a member, please click here.

To take part, you must pre-register no later than 12 January using the ‘Register Now’ button above.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

If you have any questions, please e-mail Živilė Kulevičiūtė, Events Manager, at

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