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"Hitler's single aim in foreign policy was expand in the east." How far do you agree with this view?

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Introduction

"Hitler's single aim in foreign policy was expand in the east." How far do you agree with this view? Once his regime was consolidated, Hitler took little interest in domestic policy, his sole concern being that Germany becomes sufficiently strong to realize his long-term geopolitical goal of creating a German empire that would dominate Western Europe and extend deep into Russia. His racially motivated ideology and the need to create a greater Germany became his most hierarchical aims to fulfil. However, Hitler's policies were much more than a policy of expansionism but entailed the need to eradicate the Versailles Treaty and the unification of all German people into the Reich. I will argue towards the fact that these aims were as important as expansion into the east. Additionally I will stress that Hitler did not necessarily follow an intentionalist school of thought rather he was an opportunist able to make use of opportunities at hand whilst keeping a consistent aim in ideology. I will conclude that the aims that Hitler set about achieving were merely a step towards world domination through greater Germany. Hitler's idea of expansionism into the east (lebensraum) was in place long before he had come to power. ...read more.

Middle

It is also doubtful whether Hitler had intended to carry out his expansion into the east as he signed the non-aggression pact with Russia in 1939. The variation of policy shown by Hitler leads us to believe that he did not set out to conform to his previous ideas. Evidence concerning Hitler's foreign policy can be channelled into two views, one is the intentionalist view where his singular aim was expansion into the east and the other is the structuralist view whereby Hitler would be viewed as an opportunist. A J P Taylor presents an argument that Hitler "did not make plans for world conquest or anything else. He assumed that others would provide opportunities and that he would seize them." I strongly believe that Hitler grasped at opportunities that arose and followed a revisionist policy aimed at overcoming the restrictions imposed on Germany by the Treaty of Versailles and seizing the diplomatic initiative from Britain and France. The continentalist and globalist views declare that Hitler was driven towards a single aim, however, I strongly believe that Hitler was an opportunist clutching at any favourable opportunity to make a greater German in every possible capacity. Hitler had deployed numerous policies in order to establish Grossdeutschland (Greater Germany), which included the annexation of Austria (Anschluss) ...read more.

Conclusion

Germany's military position was weak in comparison to its European neighbours, and with growing tension, Germany introduced the four year plan for rearmament setting out targets to increase its military capabilities. Military rearmament was prioritised over other industrial production to ensure Germany's ability to protect itself from its neighbours and be able to wager a war of its own. The army had increased from 100,000 to 500,000 men and the German air force had 2000 planes. Although rearmament was not likely to bring about economic stability, Hitler was sure that the land gained from wars won would bring about unparalleled economy supremacy. In conclusion, I believe that Hitler did not have a single aim but instead a multitude of aims. I also believe that Hitler never had a blueprint of his aims. The aims were inter connected, and the absence of one meant the absence of all. Lebensraum, Grossdeutschland, abolition of the Treaty of Versailles and rearmament can not coexist without each other. I firmly believe that Hitler was both an opportunist who had set out to try and achieve his ideological beliefs under any circumstances. This view is supported by Eberhard J�ckel who had asserted "Perhaps never in history did a ruler write down before he came to power what he was to do afterwards as precisely as did Adolf Hitler." ...read more.

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