Analyse and evaluate Extracts 8 and 9 and use your own knowledge of the issue to explain your answer to the following: How far do you agree with the view that Hitler carefully planned out Germany’s foreign policy years before he came to power?
Extract 8 and 9 are different viewpoints. Watt writes in extract 9, that Hitler did not have a set programme of foreign policy and that Mein Kampf is simply his political ideas and methodologies. He says that Hitler was incapable of devising a long-term plan. Whilst Hildebrand believes that Hitler’s set programme for foreign policy can be seen clearly in Mein Kampf.
Generally, historians take two different viewpoints. ‘Structuralists’ point out how external factors significantly affected Nazi foreign policy and how Hitler appears to be an opportunist who simply took advantage of events and timed his actions carefully. They would say that whilst Hitler had some vague ideology and aims for the Nazi party, these were not the main driving force in his decision making. On the other hand, ‘Intentionalists’ believe in a master plan behind Hitler’s foreign policy that was intended to and was responsible for starting the Second World War. Hildebrand is an intentionalist and Watt is a structuralist.