Hilter's foreign policy - Historiography

Different oppinions by different historians

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  • Created on: 02-04-13 08:40
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Dismissed the importance of the Hossbach Protocol of 5 November 1937
"Germany fought specifically in the Second World War to reverse the
verdict of the first and to destroy the settlement which followed lt. Her
opponents fought, though less consciously, to defend this settlement"
"The war resulted from faulty political calculations Hitler made of the
international situation, not from his meglomania. Hitler made a mistake;
he did not commit a crime. "
Germans were no more wicked in aspiring to dominate Europe, or even
the world, than others were in resolving to stop them.
Hitler was an ordinary German statesman in the tradition of Stresernann
and Bruning, made chancellor for 'solidly democratic reasons'
His policy was no different from that of his predecessors.
Did not want war - he merely sought to restore Germany's 'natural'
position in Europe, which had been artificially altered by the Treaty of
Hitler `did not make plans - for world conquest or anything else. He
assumed that others would provide opportunities and that he would
seize them.'
The Austrian crisis of March L938, was provoked by Schuschnigg, the
Austrian chancellor
The war of nerves was "the only war he understood and liked". Germany
"was not equipped to conquer Europe":
"The state of German rearmament in 1.939gives the decisive proof that
Hitler was not contemplating general war, and probably not
contemplating war at all.
Hitler really only wanted the German city of Danzig, but since
geography prevented him from obtaining it except by the coercion of
politics, he was forced reluctantly, to apply such coercion and prepare
military plans.
It takes two to make a war; more accurately that it took Britain and
France to make a European war. "
Military men - in Britain and France as much as in Germany - treated
war as inevitable.
Hitler was an astute and cynical politician who took advantage of the
mistakes and illusions of others to extend German power along lines
entirely familiar from the previous century of German history.
Nazi invasion of Soviet Union was the climax of an expansionist foreign
In I961. for example Fritz Fischer published his highly controversial
study of Germany's `grasp for world power' in the First World War
which implied- contran'to everwhingthatlVestGermanhistorians had
arguedsince 1945 - that Hitlcris tbreign polio. had been rhe
culminationof dec:rdesot- .. German imperialist expansionrsm

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Overy, Richard, History Today 2009
Taylor argued that Hitler was doing little more than Bismarck had done
in trying to create a strong German state
Hitler had some kind of blueprint for aggression which led inevitably to
war and the desire for imperial conquest
Most historians now reject the idea that there was ever a clear
programme beyond the evidence that Hitler's hatred of 'Jewish
Bolshevism' made a clash with the Soviet Union unavoidable.…read more

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Mien Kampf and the Zweite Buch are pieces of evidence for this
AJP Taylor
Hitler had no clear aims and was an opportunist
Mein Kampf was mainly daydreams
Events took places because the circumstances, not because of Hitler's
Challenged consensus that Hitler followed a clearly devised plan
No specific plans, but instead daydreams and vague ideas
Skilful improvisation ­ exploiting unforeseen events and to take
advantage of the mistakes of the opponents
Appeasement was responsible for the outbreak of WW1
Alan Bullock
Hitler did…read more

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Resentment of the humiliation at Versailles and the loss of traditional
German lands ran deep
Actions were taken to reverse this humiliation
o Introduction of conscription in 1935
o Entry into the Rhineland in 1936
Hitler did not have a blueprint for war
Ian Kershaw
Disagreed with the view of a simple blueprint plan
Nazi foreign policy was the result of numerous factors ­ strategic,
political and economic considerations
Nazi foreign policy was shaped by Hitler's personality and ambitions
Richard Overy
Argued that much foreign…read more

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The establishment of the protectorate (the relation of a strong state
towards a weaker state) ­ the basis for the conquest of Poland was
No body can avoid fighting if he does not want to go under…read more


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