As I’m sure most people know Adolf Hitler was the leader of the Germans from August 2 1934 to April 30 1945, but do you know that as Fuhrer of Germany he was the driving force behind the start of WWII. During his reign he tried to bring Germany back to the powerful country it had been before the First World War. In this paper I will prove that Hitler’s actions lead to start of WWII, and I plan to prove how his direct disregard of the Treaty of Versailles pushed the world into WWII.
I will begin with a little background on Hitler and what led him to become the Fuhrer of Germany. Hitler was a member of the German army during the First World War and, according to (Kershaw, 2008) after being temporarily blinded from a mustard gas bomb he was sent to Pasewalk, it was there that Hitler learned of the German defeat in WWI. After the war Hitler and the German people held a grudge against the United States and Europe for the passing of the Treaty of Versailles, which stated that Germany was the cause of the war. The Treaty also forced the German people to pay for the damage done during the war. This pushed Germany into a depression that left millions of people without work. This was the first of many reasons that Hitler secretly wished to conquer the European countries of Britain and France.
In January of 1933 Hitler was named chancellor of Germany and this marked the beginning of his reign over a country that was in hardship. Hitler began his reign by urging President Hindenburg to pass the Reichstag Fire Decree, which would suspend basic rights and allow detention without a trial. Then after the election on March 6, 1933 Hitler brought the Enabling Act to a vote, and by using the Reichstag Fire Decree was able to garner the two thirds majority vote needed to pass the bill which then gave Hitler full legislative power. By doing this Hitler showed that he would do anything to assume the role of leader. This was just another step that was unknowingly leading Germany to war.
Then in 1934 according to (Kershaw, 2008) Hitler executed the “Night of the Long Knives” which was the capture and killing of the entire SA leadership. Then a month later President Hindenburg died, which made Hitler the head of state. This allowed him to control all aspects of Germany, and also allowed him to start rebuilding the military forces that had been ordered to disband with the passing of the Treaty of Versailles. This was probably the biggest step thus far that would send Germany to war yet again. Along with that he had personally taken over as leader of the military when Werner von Blomberg had openly told Hitler that he disagreed with him about having the military ready to go to war as soon as 1938. (Shire, 1960) Over the next few months he had stripped 16 generals and had 44 more transferred because they were believed to not be sufficiently pro-Nazi.
On February 3, 1933 during a meeting with German military leaders Hitler said his foreign policy was the conquest of Eastern Europe (Weinberg, 1970), also in 1933 Germany withdrew from the League of Nations, which should have been a warning sign that they were planning something big. This along with the increase of the Wehrmacht (German Army) to 600,000 should have thrown up some red flags to Britain and France that Hitler was up to no go. This was another of Hitler’s direct violations of the Versailles Treaty, yet no one stopped him, instead they let him continue untouched. Then in March of 1936 Germany reoccupied the Rhineland. They also declared an Axis with Italy in 1936. Then in 1937 Germany signed the Anti-Comintern Pact with Japan, yet another red flag. If not for the wounds of WWI still fresh in the hearts and minds of the British and American people I think we might have been able to avert the Second World War.
As Hitler continued to grow the military of Germany, and expand their borders back to pre WWI he was slowly pushing the west into action. Hitler did not believe that his army could be defeated and he continued his expansion by annexing Austria in 1938. After that his next goal was to take over Czechoslovakia, but he was met with some force over this one. Czech had signed a treaty with Russia, and Britain and France both said they would defend Czech from the German forces. This angered Hitler, but he knew he could not overwhelm the forces of four different countries, so instead they all met and signed the Munich Pact(library.thinkquest.org/) which allowed Germany to take 50% of Czechoslovakia and leave the other hale untouched.
While Hitler was reluctant he agreed, and then after signing the pact he turned around and annexed the rest of Czech. Hitler knew that he was taking a chance by annexing Czechoslovakia, but he believed that if he could take control of Czech he could use their land as a frontline to attack Russia, because he believed that Communism was wrong, and the only way to stop them was by invading and making them part of Germany. Basically Hitler believed that he could take over the entire continent and force them into Nazism. This was a cause for much concern, but it wasn’t until 1939 when Hitler invaded Poland that the declaration of war was made official.
In conclusion I believe that all of the actions Hitler took from the start of his reign as chancellor up through his being appointed Fuhrer forced the western European countries to declare war upon Germany and their allies. I believe that if Hitler did not have dreams of world domination and riding the world of all Jews that maybe Germany might have avoided the Second World War, but as we all now know that is not the case. Instead Hitler thought that he had built an unstoppable army, and if not for Japan bombing Pearl Harbor Germany might have even won the war.
1. Hitler, Adolf (1999) . Mein Kampf. Trans. Ralph Manheim. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. 2. Kershaw, Ian (2008). Hitler: A Biography. New York: W. W. Norton & Company. 3. Shirer, William L. (1960). The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. New York: Simon & Schuster 4. Weinberg, Gerhard (1970). The Foreign Policy of Hitler’s Germany Diplomatic Revolution in Europe 1933–1936. Chicago, Illinois: University of Chicago Press. 5. http://library.thinkquest.org/CRO212881/annex.html
7. http://www.history.ucsb.edu/faculty/marcuse/projects/hitler/hitler.htm 8. http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/people/adolf_hitler