Analysis Of Hitler's War Aims By J. P. Taylor

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A.J.P. Taylor, a British historian who grew up during the time of the Word Wars, argues in his book, The Origins of the Second World War, that the outbreak of World War II was not the result of an international plan developed by Hitler. In his preface he explains how most historians focus on Hitler’s invasion of Poland in September 1939 as the origin of the war. However, Taylor argues that although Hitler wished to make Germany the strongest power in Europe, he did not want or plan a world war (Taylor, 25). He characterizes Hitler as a prototypical German leader, no different than his predecessors such as Bismarck. Taylor’s views, first published in 1961, were very controversial and considered “revisionist”. Unlike most other historians …show more content…
Hildebrand agrees with Rich’s conclusion that Hitler’s invasion of Poland in 1939 was part of an overall strategy aimed toward lifting Germany’s power internationally and achieving racial supremacy on a global scale. According to Rich, as explained by Hildebrand, Hitler’s desire for Lebensraum in Eastern Europe and the extermination for the Jews determined Hitler’s policies and were part of his plan early on. Relying on Hitler’s speeches, Rich concludes that Hitler’s goals and objectives remained consistent from day one and that “a speech given to an army group commanders in July 1943 might have been delivered in July 1941-or in 1924” (Hildebrand, 524). Like Tooze, Rich and Hildebrand draw a connection between economics and race in Hitler’s foreign policy. However, notwithstanding economic expediency, Hildebrand and Rich agree that Hitler’s main intention was to realize racial supremacy and that his racial dogma took precedence over economic or military calculations (Hildebrand, 524). The notion of race dominated Hitler’s policy and conduct of war. Hildebrand explains what Rich describes as Hitler’s “New Order” and his view for the “Great Germanic Empire.” Hitler was guided by two main principals in his war aims: (i) the purification of the Germanic race through the removal of non-Aryan elements and (ii) the conquest of Lebensraum (“living space”) in …show more content…
Taylor seems to dismiss statements made by Hitler in the “Hossbach Memorandum” as mere “daydreaming”. This does not seem like a credible explanation especially given what we know about Hitler’s Final Solution. Hitler’s own words, as outlined in Mein Kampf and the Hossbach Memorandum, lay out a specific blueprint for his goals of expansion and the creation of a racially pure German empire, and provide clear evidence that Hitler did indeed intend to create a war and was primarily motivated by his racist ideology and desire for the expansion of Germany. Indeed, as acknowledged by Taylor, the Hossbach Memorandum was used against the Nazis at the Nuremberg trials (Taylor, 181). In Mein Kampf, Hitler lays out his plan for Lebensraum (living space): “Only an adequately large space on this earth assures a nation of freedom of existence … we must hold unflinchingly to our aim in foreign policy…to secure for the German people the land to which they are entitled on this earth” (Mein Kampf, 467, 473). Hitler’s plan outlined in Mein Kampf, which was written in 1925, seems to directly contradict the notion expressed by Taylor that the war was not planned by Hitler but rather was the result of other parties’ missteps and the appeasement policies of Britain and France. Moreover, Taylor seems to

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