• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

To what extent was Hitler responsible for the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

´╗┐To what extent Hitler responsible for the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939? The question of who was to blame for the Second World War is a controversial topic among Historians and rightly so. At the end of the war most academics and politicians were content to blame Hitler and the Nazi Party, this was especially the case once the evils of Nazi Germany had been uncovered in the form of the concentration and extermination camps. Likewise the allies had to sell to the public the argument that they were fighting against an evil system that had intentions of world domination. Hitler therefore was the cause of World War Two and for some time this argument seemed to fit the mould. Hitler had after all had published his evil intent in Mein Kampf, he talked about the need for living space and the survival of the fittest when he had his desires on Russia. Hitler had built up his army and by 1939 had marched into the Rhineland, taken over Austria and Czechoslovakia and finally invaded Poland. These are clear indications of a man intent on war from the beginning are they not? The argument that Hitler intended on war and was therefore the cause of the war is one which does not always stand up to scrutiny. As far as AJP Taylor is concerned Hitler, although wicked and evil, does not alone deserve to be blamed for the war. ...read more.

Middle

One of Hitler?s most obvious aims was the desire for the unification of German speaking peoples. Under the Treaty of Versailles millions of Germans were left under the rule of foreign powers mainly Czechoslovakia and Poland. Hitler had stated from the outset that people of the same blood ought to be in the same Reich. Hitler put this desire into practice when he invaded both Austria and the Sudetenland in 1938. Austria was of course the land of his birth and many Austrians regarded themselves as Germans anyway. No European power intervened on the part of Austria and as far as the Sudetenland was concerned Britain and France were willing to hand the territory over to avoid a conflict in the region. The Munich agreement was seen as a success for British foreign policy of appeasement. It was only natural then, that in the face of such acquiescence on the part of Britain and France, Hitler would demand the return of the German city of Danzig, with a population of over a million. It was this demand that would eventually lead to war when the Germans invaded in September 1939. Although Hitler?s aims contributed to the war, Taylor?s argument is that the other factors were just as important. Taylor contends that the policy of appeasement was a key contributing factor in the cause of the war. Appeasement was a policy whereby war could be avoided through negotiation. Historians on the right like John Charmley believe that it was the only logical policy that could be followed considering the weakness of Britain?s economic and military position. ...read more.

Conclusion

The British had always discounted the Soviets and Chamberlain had no love for the communists anyway. With the signing of the Nazi Soviet Pact Poland?s death knell was sealed and Germany could invade without fear of retaliation by the Russian bear. John Charmley argues that Britain?s guarantee to Poland in 1939 was a major blunder. For the first time in British history, the decision as to whether or not she would go to war was out of her own control. Britain had given a guarantee to a right wing military dictatorship that had acquiesced in the destruction of Czechoslovakia. Such a dictatorship argues Charmley was to pull Britain into a war that destroy Britain as a world power and replace one European dictator with another. In truth the cause of the war was a series of mistakes and misjudgements on the part of European statesmen including Hitler and Chamberlain. To blame Hitler solely for the war is clearly wrong and lacks any clear analysis or judgement. Hitler was clearly intent on expanding German territorial dominance over Eastern Europe. Whether this was the sole cause of the war is debatable. Taylor?s argument that Versailles left Germans both angry and intent on revenge is credible as is his view that Versailles did nothing to prevent Germany from reasserting her power later on. The League of Nations clearly failed in its duty to protect weaker countries. Finally appeasement sent Hitler the wrong signals to Hitler in that it simply fed his appetite for further territorial expansion. Was Hitler the cause of the Second World War? CHAN Collective Security Hitler Appeasement Nazi Soviet Pact ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Modern European History, 1789-1945 section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Modern European History, 1789-1945 essays

  1. Was Hitler a weak dictator?

    Although thbis expanded his influence giving him the chance to have more control over Germany, also it took away in some way part of his powers because these Reich Governors were given too much power and self action rights that sometimes Hitler's authority wasn't noticed and some others regional governments

  2. To what extent can Hitler be considered to be "weak"?

    for instructions and decisions. Looking at primary evidence, Ernst Von Weizsacker memoirs, shows how in the third Reich, Hitler went about making decisions. I see in the source that Hitler rarely made a sustainable decision and when he did, it was said that he made a slight remark or "murmur"7 that then was sent of as "Order of the Furher"8.

  1. Hitlers Germany

    But there were some who thought the amenities were going beyond nonmilitarist aims, when it was rumored, that the young soldiers were to serve a nine-hour day, and need not salute their officers, or wear uniforms when off duty. The look of the old army would be missing: the militarist haircut was abolished.

  2. Evaluate the Nazis economic policies from 1933 - 1939. To what extent were the ...

    Rather, they strengthened the existing plans and mobilized more people to serve the military and related activities, since there were already several plans in operation, like the German Labor Front (Deutsche Arbeitsfront), Regulation of National Labor Law and "Strength through Joy" (Kraft durch Fredude).

  1. Was appeasement justified?

    As you can see if in January 1938 a war had been started Germany would have won, as they were clearly more prepared than Britain. Graph two - Compares the number of craft in Britain and Germany's navies, 1939. As you can see there isn't that much in the numbers in 1939.

  2. To What Extent did Commandos contribute to final victory in World War Two

    During the Second World War, Commandos utilised both ships and parachutes as a method of insertion. The idea of having Commando forces originated with Churchill who was reminded of German 'Storm Troopers' of the First World War who with their high mobility, stick grenades, and early automatic weapons had been effectively employed against hard points in trench defences.

  1. The origins of the first world war

    nations to avoid trade with France, which lead to further threats of peace. This unmissable mistrust in Europe soon lead to build up of armies, which further threatened stability. The excuse of ensuring peace was to create an army forceful enough to defend the homeland.

  2. How far were the policies of Chamberlain in facing the challenges from Nazi Germany ...

    Here, the German's aircraft production was higher in 1939 than the British production. This shows that, although the British did take advantage of the extra year that the Munich Conference gained, so did the Germans. A.P. Adamthwaite argues that 'The feebleness and timidity of British and French foreign policies in

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work