To What Extent Can The Second World

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To What Extent Can The Second World War In Europe Be Described As Hitler?s War Essay, Research Paper To what extent can the Second World War in Europe be described as Hitler?s war? There has been much debate over the subject of to what extent Hitler can be blamed for the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939. Historians disagree over to what extent Hitler can be blamed.? Different historians have gone to opposite extremes over this issue. Hugh Trevor Roper takes the following view: ?The Second World War was Hitler?s personal war in many senses.? He intended it, he prepared for it, he chose the moment for launching it.? (1953) However, A.J.P Taylor takes a diametrically opposite viewpoint in his book ?The Origins of the Second World War (1961) and even goes as far as saying

that: ?Little can be discovered so long as we go on attributing everything that happened to Hitler? How much can we attribute the war to Hitler? To what extent can Nazi Germany?s strong dictator be blamed for the commencement of the Second World War? At the Nuremberg trials, much was contributed to the Hossbach memorandum, and it was claimed that this proved Hitler?s warring intentions. This document was emphasised too strongly at Nuremberg; however, it is not a source to be ignored.? Hitler appears to give this document extraordinary importance, even instructing those present to regard it as his last will and testament in the event of his death.? A.J.P.Taylor questions its importance saying that those present at this meeting bar Goering were not Nazis but conservatives and not

the people that Hitler would confide in.? However, the memorandum does give a vague indication as to Hitler?s intentions. As A.P.Adamthwaite says in his book ?The making of the Second World War (1979) ?The Hossbach memorandum confirms the continuity of Hitler?s thinking: the primacy of force in world politics, conquest for living space in the east, anti-Bolshevism, hostility to France.? Hitler?s warlike intentions were now explicit.? Adamthwaite takes his argument one stage too far and certainly Hitler?s ?warlike intentions? were not made explicit in the Hossbach memorandum, but it certainly went someway towards indicating that Hitler did harbour some aspirations toward war. In Mein Kampf, Hitler clearly states his expansionist tendencies. His desire for Lebensraum for the excess

German population is apparent. Hitler foresaw an Eastern Europe populated by Arian Germans. Hitler knew that this aim could not be achieved without a war.? In this policy alone then, we see that Hitler is prepared to fight in order achieve his objectives. Many of Hitler?s policies were achievable only through war; in short Hitler knew that for him to succeed, Germany must become embroiled in a European conflict of some sort. Hitler was prepared to take risks to achieve his territorial gains. His invasion of the Rhineland was a high-risk gesture.? The fact that he was unopposed was due to the British and French policy of appeasement.? However, this policy could have been aborted at any stage had either Britain or France decided enough was enough.? Each knew territorial invasion

was a leap of faith on Hitler?s part.? Hitler must have realised that the ?appeasement? policy would not last forever; therefore, Hitler must have been prepared for war.? With each new invasion, Germany moved one step closer to European war.? The question was not if Hitler would engineer a war but when! Although Hitler did not intend to start the Second World War with his invasion of Poland, he willingly took a risk and he was prepared to fight if necessary.? He was aggressive and his expansionist policies led to European war. Hitler simply underestimated how long the British and French would continue to ?appease? him.? On the other hand, the German expansionist tendencies had existed for centuries.? From Bismarckian times, there was a Prussian history of expansionist policies,