Hitlers Foreign Policy

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Nazi Foreign Policy - Hitler in Mein Kampf: 

Nazi Foreign Policy - Hitler in Mein Kampf Hitler stated in Mein Kampf: “The Foreign policy of a folkish state must first of all bear in mind the obligation to secure the existence of the race incorporated in this state. This must be done by establishing a healthy and natural relationship between the number and growth of the population, on the one hand, and the extent and quality of its soil on the other…Only a sufficiently large space on this earth can ensure the independent existence of a nation… Germany today is not a world power…The National Socialist movement must seek to eliminate the present disastrous imbalance between our population and the area of our national territory, regarding the latter as the source of our food and the basis of our political power. And it ought to strive to eliminate the contrast between our past history and the hopelessness of our present political impotence.

Nazi Foreign Policy - Hitler in Mein Kampf: 

Nazi Foreign Policy - Hitler in Mein Kampf The Demand for the restoration of the frontiers of 1914 is a political absurdity of such proportions and implications as to make it appear a crime. Apart from anything else, the Reich’s frontiers in 1914 were anything but logical. In reality they were neither final in the sense of embracing all ethnic Germans, nor sensible with regard to geo-military considerations…We are putting an end to the perpetual German march towards the south and west of Europe and turning our eyes towards the land in the east. We are finally putting a stop to the colonial and trade policy of the pre-war period and passing over to the territorial policy of the future.

Nazi Foreign Policy - Hitler in Mein Kampf: 

Nazi Foreign Policy - Hitler in Mein Kampf However, when we speak of new land in Europe today we must principally bear in mind Russia and the border states subject to her. Destiny itself seems to wish to point the way for us here…The colossal empire in the East is ripe for dissolution… If we look round for European allies from this point of view, only two states remain: England and Italy…whose most natural selfish interests are not, at any rate essentially, opposed to the German people’s requirements for existence and are indeed to some extent identified with them.”

Nazi Foreign Policy - Hitler in 1932: 

Nazi Foreign Policy - Hitler in 1932 …in contrast to our present statesmen I see Germany’s tasks for the future as follows: 1) Overcoming Marxism and its consequences until they have been completely exterminated. The creation of a new unity of mind and will for our people. 2) A general intellectual and moral rearmament of the nation on the basis of this new ideological unity. 3) Technical rearmament. 4) The organisational mobilisation of the national resources for the purpose of national defence. 5) Once this has been achieved, the securing of the legal recognition of the new situation by the rest of the world. From a letter to Colonel von Reichenau, 4 Dec 1932.

Nazi Foreign Policy - Conservative Views in 1933: 

Nazi Foreign Policy - Conservative Views in 1933 The goals of German foreign policy are set first and foremost by the Versailles treaty. The revision of this treaty – Germany’s most pressing concern – absorbs most of its available energies… The main goal of the territorial revision remains the transformation of the Eastern frontier, whereby we must seek to acquire all the relevant Polish territories at the same time…Danzig poses only one aspect of the problem of the corridor as far as we are concerned… In Germany’s particular situation it is necessary to avoid diplomatic conflicts for as long as possible until we have become stronger…

Nazi Foreign Policy - Conservative Views in 1933: 

Nazi Foreign Policy - Conservative Views in 1933 A period of relative quiet in foreign affairs would allow us to recover our strength far more effectively than the launching of continual diplomatic conflicts which cannot lead to success… The essential points would be a close cooperation with England and Italy, the greatest possible reassurance for the French government about these questions which particularly interest it (e.g. relations with the United States based on trust, and active participation in all international questions). From a Memorandum prepared by the Foreign Ministry for presentation to the Cabinet, 7 April 1933.

Nazi Foreign Policy - Hitler’s views in 1937: 

Nazi Foreign Policy - Hitler’s views in 1937 The aim of German policy was to make secure and to preserve the racial community and to enlarge it. It was therefore a question of space. The German racial community comprised over 85 million people and, by reason of their number and the narrow limits of habitable space in Europe, it constituted a tightly packed racial core such as was not to be found in any other country and such as implied the right to a greater living space than in the case of other peoples…If, then, we accept the security of our food situation as the principal point at issue, the space needed to ensure it can be sought only in Europe, not, as in the liberal-capitalist view, in the exploitation of colonies…German policy had to reckon with two hate-inspired antagonists, Britain and France, to whom a German colossus in the centre of Europe was a thorn in the flesh, and both countries were opposed to any further strengthening of Germany’s position in Europe or overseas…Germany’s problem could be solved only by the use of force, and this was never without attendant risk…there remain still to be answered the questions ‘When?’ and ‘How?’ In this matter there were three contingencies to be dealt with:

Nazi Foreign Policy - Hitler’s views in 1937: 

Nazi Foreign Policy - Hitler’s views in 1937 Contingency 1: Period 1943-5 After this date only a change for the worse, from our point of view, could be expected…Our relative strength would decrease in relation to the rearmament which would by then have been carried out by the rest of the world. Contingency 2: If Internal strife in France should develop into such a domestic crisis as to absorb the French army completely and render it incapable of use for war against Germany, then the time for action against the Czechs would have come.

Nazi Foreign Policy - Hitler’s views in 1937: 

Nazi Foreign Policy - Hitler’s views in 1937 Contingency 3: If France should be so embroiled in war with another State that she could not ‘proceed’ against Germany. For the improvement of our politico-military position our first objective, in the event of our being embroiled in war, must be to overthrow Czechoslovakia and Austria simultaneously in order to remove the threat to our flank in any possible operation against the West… Actually, the Fuhrer believed that almost certainly Britain, and probably France as well, had already tacitly written off the Czechs and were reconciled to the fact that this question would be cleared up in due course by Germany. Taken from Hossbach Memorandum, 5 Nov 1937.

Nazi Foreign Policy : 

Nazi Foreign Policy ‘Hitler’s exposition was in large part day-dreaming, unrelated to what followed in real life. Even if seriously meant, it was not a call to action, at any rate not to the action of a great war; it was a demonstration that a great war would not be necessary…The conference was a manoeuvre in domestic affairs…(Hitler) had…to win them (the Conservatives) for a programme of increased armaments…Hitler did not make plans – for world conquest or for anything else. He assumed that others would provide opportunities, and that he would seize them.’ A.J.P. Taylor in The Origins of the Second World War

Nazi Foreign Policy - Hitler’s views in 1939: 

Nazi Foreign Policy - Hitler’s views in 1939 Hitler in a speech after the invasion of Poland: “When I came to power in 1933…I had to reorganise everything, from the people itself to the armed forces. First came domestic reorganisation, the removal of the symptoms of decay and defeatism, an education to heroism. While engaged in that reorganisation, I dealt with the second task: freeing Germany from its international bonds…There followed, in 1935, the reintroduction of universal military service. After that, the remilitarisation of the Rhineland…A year later came Austria. That step, too, was considered very risky. It resulted in a major strengthening of the Reich. The next step was Bohemia, Moravia, and Poland…One will reproach me and say: struggle, and struggle again. I see struggle as the fate of all living creatures. No man can escape it, unless he wishes to be defeated. The increasing numbers of our people require a larger amount of space. It was my aim to bring about a more sensible relation between population and space. That must be the struggle’s starting point. No nation can escape the solution of that task. If it does, it must degenerate and slowly become extinct. This is the lesson of history.” Hitler in a speech to Commanders-in-Chief on 23 Nov 1939.

Nazi Foreign Policy - Chronology of Events: 

Nazi Foreign Policy - Chronology of Events October 1933 – Germany leaves disarmament conference at Geneva and League of Nations. January 1934 – Hitler signed a Non-Aggression Treaty with Poland and ends military and economic co-operation with Soviet Union. This had been in place since the Treaty of Rapallo in 1921. January 1935 – Saar plebiscite. Inhabitants vote to return to Germany. March 1935 – Conscription introduced. – In breach of Treaty of Versailles. June 1935 – Naval agreement with Britain. Britain agreed to allow Germany to build upto 35% of her capacity in both civil and military ships. - In breach of Treaty of Versailles. March 1936 – Rhineland re-militarised. - In breach of Treaty of Versailles and Locarno Treaty. July 1936 – Military aid sent to General Franco in Spanish Civil War. October 1936 – October Protocols signed with Italy. November 1936 – Rome-Berlin Axis & Anti-Comintern Pact with Japan. 5 November 1937 – Hossbach Memorandum.

Nazi Foreign Policy - Chronology of Events: 

Nazi Foreign Policy - Chronology of Events March 1938 – Anschluss with Austria. 30 September 1938 – Munich Agreement. This returned the Sudetenland to Germany. March 1939 – Germany occupies remainder of Czechoslovakia. Slovakia becomes a German puppet state. Lithuania coerced into giving up Memel. April 1939 – Preparations for war with Poland are ordered. 22 May 1939 – Pact of Steel with Mussolini. 23 August 1939 – Nazi-Soviet Pact. 1 September 1939 – Germany invades Poland. October 1939 – Poland beaten. Hitler orders an attack on France and Low countries. May 1940 – Attack on France and Low Countries launched. June 1940 – France defeated.

Nazi Foreign Policy - Chronology of Events: 

Nazi Foreign Policy - Chronology of Events July 1940 – Hitler orders preparation for invasion of Russia. 27 September 1940 – Anti-Comintern Pact becomes Tripartite Pact. 18 December 1940 – Decision taken to invade Russia. April 1941 – Germany invades Yugoslavia and Greece. 22 June 1941 – Russia invaded. 7 December 1941 – Japanese attack Pearl Harbour. Germany declares war on America. European conflagration becomes a world war. Do you think a European war was inevitable from the moment Hitler took power? Extracts from Laver (Nazi Germany) and Simpson (Hitler and Germany).

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