The War Between Nazism and Bolshevism
From his entry into politics Hitler was committed to a war in the
East. He subscribed to the pan-German philosophy and was a staunch
believer in the idea of eastern expansion emulating the great German
Reich of the Wilhelmine era. Hitler's personal preoccupation with
Lebensraum echoes back to the pre-war thinking of the anti-Semitic
right wings, and the general need for expansion felt after the vast
confiscations of the Treaty of Versailles. As early as 1924/5, when he
was serving a prison sentence at Landsberg Am Lech, Hitler was
thinking of the time when the NSDAP would carry Germany to victory in
the east. However as Hitler said himself at the time "the result would
be inevitable defeat"; but this was taking into account the shrunken
economy and military of the unstable Weimar government.
Thereafter Hitler's discussions on the matter of realising ideology,
in Mein Kampf and when in power, came down to the necessity of an
invasion of Russia; "Destiny itself seems to wish to point the way for
us here" he wrote in 1925 at Landsberg.
Thus it seems that ideologically Hitler was confirmed in the fact that
war with Russia was unavoidable, and indeed he did not wish to avoid
it. Yet the FÃ¼hrer also knew of the benefits to Germany, materially
and politically, these were probably the most important reasons for an
attack on Russia but by no means the only ones.
The German war effort would require huge amounts of raw materials and
food, Russia could provide this; since the British and French appeased
his policy of annexation and absorption in the east Hitler was
encouraged to go further, by attacking Poland he forced the allies'
hand and realised the unease between them and Russia. Despite their
common enemy the enmity between the Russians and the western allies
was obvious and Hitler capitalised on it in the end. By attacking and
defeating France in relatively short order Hitler flexed his military
muscles for the world to see, whilst also giving his troops some
experience and confidence. After the loss of the Battle of Britain the
attacking momentum needed to be maintained, high expectations from the
generals convinced Hitler the plan to invade Russia would work and so
as the only contender left in Europe Russia became the obvious and
inevitable target for Germany.
It seems that before the order for Operation Barbarossa of 1941 Hitler
had been constructing a framework from which it could be launched, the
logistics he had tested in France along with the heavy ground troops,
the air power and blitzkrieg tactics had been practised in Poland and
the paratroops and navy were prepared since their tasks in
Scandinavia. However Hitler's time scale of completion before the
winter of 1941 seems over ambitious, especially...