Intention vs Structure - was Hitler's foreign policy responsible for WW2?

  • Created by: ljoy1801
  • Created on: 15-01-18 19:43
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  • Section C: was Hitler responsible for WW2?
    • WW2 was Hitler's INTENTION
      • Hitler set out his plans and intentions in Mein Kampf and the 25 point programme of 1920 to create Lebensraum which involved invading other countries
        • In Zweites Buch, he also planned on world domination
      • He always maintained he could destroy the TOV, which meant rearming, taking back all land lost and hinted at an aggressive foreign policy
      • Together with Russia, he devised the Soviet-German pact, which showed he intended to invade Poland. He knew this would cause war as Britain and France said they would declare war if he did so
      • At the start of his reign, he often talked about desiring an empire like Britains. He even said he would join forces with GB. This policy was called self determination
      • Propaganda said they were gearing for war prior to 1939. The link shows such propaganda, translating to 'plant the flag'
      • He walked out of the League of Nations when he became chancellor, showing an aggressive foreign policy
        • The league was an utter failure, it was seen by all countries as weak and ineffective.  Due to the lack of an army, almost no organisation and no help from the USA   it proved incapable of preventing aggression by the main powers in the 1930's. The L of N could only morally condemn Hitler's actions, this left Britain and France (who were incapable of stopping)  to deal with the problem.
      • One of Hitler's four key policies were rebuilding Germany's army. He unveiled the Luftwafe in 1935, showing he was gearing for war.
        • In 1936 Hitler reintroduced conscription to the army, with the intention of using military force to take back and expand German territory. In 1936 Hitler sent German then  sent troops into the Rhineland, . It also allowed Hitler to share a border with France ,Belgium and the Netherlands which he would later invade.
    • Hitler was just a political opportunist who took advantage of the structure of the world and Europe
      • The structure of Germany was natural. Founders like Bismark were PGRWCE - the invasion of other countries were a continuation of this
      • The structure of Germany and Europe meant Germany were exploited by the TOV. They simply wanted to take back what was originally theirs. They had no plans for world domination, hence the Russia-Germany pact
      • There had been wars in other countries where the League of Nations, UK, France or USA had failed to react (eg Japan, Spanish Civil War 36-39). Hitler took advantage of this.
      • During the Spanish Civil War, Britain and France proved they did not have enough resources to fight a war due to their economic depressions. Hitler saw this and took advantage.
      • The structure of different countries and their situations made war simple for Hitler.
        • Russia: signed pact with them. Russia's communist roots meant they were isolated from other countries. Perhaps if they were not so isolated their British pact would not have fallen through. They gave Germany space to test weapons illegally. Encouraged Lebensraum policy
        • Britain: appeasement made them look weak, less willing to fight. Failed to react to similar conflicts. Didn't want to fight as they might have lost their empire. They were struggling with their economic depression and Chamberlain said they had no other choice but to make an appeasement policy
        • France: took control of Ruhr - led to German anger. Most harsh with Germany over TOV. Didn't react to Germany re-arming. Built defences on boarders - led to tension
        • Italy: unhappy with TOV. Mussolini wasn't told about invasion of Poland. Didn't join war until 1940. Made an alliance with Germany - made Germany feel more secure.
  • In 1936, six months army service was made compulsary


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