To What Extent Was Germany Responsible For The Second World War?

2081 words - 8 pages

The origins of the Second World War are one of the most popular topics in twentieth century history. Ever since the war came to an end, controversy has surrounded its outbreak. It is important to remember, however, that the Second World War had short-term as well as long-term causes, and that these were not so simple and clear-cut as it may perhaps seem at first.The German Fuhrer, Hitler, used realpolitik and Machiavellian tactics to further his cause in that he plotted the destruction of Czechoslovakia and the invasion of Poland very much in advance. Politically and diplomatically he made sure that Germany seemed reasonable and that she held the 'higher moral ground', as demonstrated by his making it seem like Germany had been dealt an "unbearable provocation" by Czechoslovakia to which he had to respond. In doing this he also made sure Czechoslovakia would be on her own, as indeed the Czechs, the French and the British succumbed to his (deliberately increasing, as he wanted negotiations to fail) demands.It can therefore be seen that Hitler viewed war as an acceptable ideological vehicle and tool of foreign policy. He planned for war, as can plainly be seen from evidence such as his books Mein Kampf (1924-25) and the Secret Book (1928), as well as from the Hossback Memorandum. Similarly, a German Foreign secretary quoted him as saying (in a confidential meeting) that he would "destroy Czechoslovakia". Hitler was thus more than willing to use aggressive war-making to achieve his goals, which were the revision of the Versailles Treaty, Anschluss, the unification of all German-speaking peoples, and Lebensraum, the attainment of "living space" in Eastern Europe (including the USSR).In this we can see that Germany was certainly pushing for war against Eastern European countries in the late 1930s.Some of the arguments presented by Hitler and others for invading some Eastern European countries do bear some weight in this analysis of the causes of the war, however. Such arguments include: that Versailles was unjust and a 'diktat' imposed by the victorious powers on a beaten Germany.That Czechoslovakia was a democratic state built on the Treaty of Versailles and as such was wholly artificial, not to mention that it jutted into Germany in a way Hitler found menacing and labelled an "aircraft carrier" (as it could be used as a base from which to stage an invasion of Germany, not to mention the fact that it had a potent air force). Also, that Germany lost many of its German citizens to Czechoslovakia and other countries (such as Poland), which ran contrary to Hitler's goal of Anschluss.It is often said that the Second World War was really a continuation of the first. This is essentially because the second conflict arose partly as a result of the Treaty of Versailles, which was intended to punish Germany for allegedly having started the Great War. Many Germans were resentful of the 1919 Treaty of Versailles, regarding it as a public humiliation and a defeat,...

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