Such was the grotesque nature and cost of the Great War in both human and economic terms that it soon became referred to as ‘the war to end all wars’.1

Alas, it didn’t prove to be so. Whatever pious hopes may have been expressed for peace in the months after the armistice had been arranged in November 1918 they amounted to little more than well intentioned wishful thinking. As a utopian concept, the renunciation of war was to have a brief renaissance in Europe before faltering and being abandoned in the years of acute economic, political and social upheaval that followed the Wall Street Crash in 1929 and the onset of the Great Depression at the outset of the 1930s.2 Thereafter the world began lurching from one international crisis to the next with alarming frequency. Before the end of the decade the ‘lamps’ of peace that had gone out once before in July 1914 were extinguished yet again in Europe as the continent was dragged into another tumultuous war by the forces of craven personal ambition and belligerent national expansionism.3