The Propagander ™ FAQ

Was Hitler 'Forced' Into the War?

Nazi apologists often claim that the War was forced on Hitler by an intransigent Poland, supported by a Britain controlled by 'International Jewery'. A close examination of the circumstances leading up to the German invasion of Poland, and the subsequent declaration of war by Britain and France, do not in any way support this contention [].

When confronted with evidence that Hitler maneuvered his way into conflict with Poland, they will further declare that Hitler was 'forced' into his expansionist policies by 1) the desire to live up to his campaign promises as regards the Treaty of Versailles (the Polish Corridor, etc.), and 2) the 'necessity' to achieve 'living space' for Germany in order that she gain Autarky and thus be immune to the threat of blockade, the weapon that was supposedly utilized to compel Germany to sign the 'Dictate' to begin with.

It was a surprise to no one that Hitler embarked on expansionist policies. He'd campaigned to reverse the Treaty of Versailles, which had taken territory from Germany--as well as disallowing union with Austria among other restrictions--and he had laid it all out plainly in Mein Kampf. Most Germans were in agreement with Hitler's goal of creating a 'greater Germany' by uniting all of those territories where the majority of the populace were ethnic Germans. Hitler had, in fact, unilaterally done much to reverse the Treaties most onerous conditions, to the overwhelming acclaim of the German people.

The problem of the Polish Corridor did not appear to have an immediate solution, but there was nothing compelling Germany to insist that the question had to be solved before September 1939. This time limit was arbitrarily set by Hitler. A true statesman uses patience and timing to achieve his goals short of war, and if the time is not right to settle an outstanding question, he will defer it until the timing is more propitious. Hitler was no statesmen, and in fact was champing at the bit exercise power as a warlord directing the armies he had spent so much treasure to create on a campaign of conquest. This desire of Hitler's for military conquest had been blunted previously by the Appeasers at Munich, who preferred to hand him all he desires on a silver platter rather than to force the issue. These areas of the Sudetenland annexed by Germany had never previously been German territory, and if Hitler had taken them militarily it would have been nothing more than a bold territorial conquest.

On August 22, 1939, a week before the invasion of Poland, Hitler told his generals:

The enemy did not expect my great determination. Our enemies are little worms, I saw them at Munich. [...] Now Poland is in the position I wanted. [...] I am only afraid that some bastard will present me with a mediation plan at the last moment.

Even the 'worms' of Munich could no longer be blind to Hitler's true intent when Hitler had invaded Czechoslovakia after successfully wresting the Sudetenland from her with western acquiescence. It was clear even to Chamberlain, at that point, that Hitler's ambitions went far beyond merely redressing the 'injustice' of Versailles.

The fact is, Hitler had painted himself into a corner economically in the way he turned around the failing German economy when he took power in 1933. His so-called 'economic miracle' was secret funding of massive rearmament and public works programs, financed by shady monetary subterfuge. Hitler's economic program did not provide his people with a strong economy capable of future growth, but instead he had created a war economy completely dependant on conquest, and thus tied to military achievement, not GNP.

It is only in this context that one can say that Hitler was "forced to embark on aggressive expansionist policy." His short-sighted economic policies forced him to embark on a series of military conquests designed to seize captive markets and raw materials, thus doing away with the need for a normal trade economy. This worked for as long as the easy conquests continued, and was then further extended by seizing the assets of those territories under his command and utilizing the conquered peoples for slave labor. This 'system' lasted until the Germans lost the war.

As regards the 'necessity' to achieve Autarky, there is not one nation on earth, then or now, who had or have managed to achieve full economic autonomy, and there is certainly no recognized 'right' for any nation to do so. Hitler's intent was to do away with the necessity to engage in fair trade with other nations by seizing their assets and commodities by force. The major impetus for this desire was not really fear that Germany would again have to endure a blockade, but to attain the ability to impose his own nations will upon his neighbors unilaterally. If the 500 pound gorilla has all the banana's, he is free to do as he pleases. This is what Hitler meant when he talked about Autarky (Lebensraum - 'living space').

Conclusion: The only thing that "forced" Hitler to embark on aggressive expansionist policy was his own misconceived economic management, buttressed by his desire to expand the Reich into areas such as the Romanian oil fields and the 'breadbasket' of the Ukraine in order to gain 'living space' and power. This would do away with the need to practice normal trade by becoming self-sufficient through conquest. As such, it was a sham policy that led to total disaster for Germany and Europe, and led directly to the ascendancy of the USSR and the USA as world military and economic superpowers.
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