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Did Hitler have clear foreign policy aims, yet no plan on how to achieve them?

Updated on April 25, 2014

Hitler's Book

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Introduction

Adolf Hitler did indeed have clearly defined foreign policy aims, many of which written down in the infamous “Mein Kampf”. Adolf Hitler seized power in 1933 immediately focused on his foreign policy goals achieving them swiftly and continued to succeed during the Second World War a war, which he began to be able to achieve the goals set forth in his ideological extremism, goals, which he had planned to achieve.

Main Goals

Most of the Nazi dictator’s foreign policy aims were set forth long before he came to power in his book “Mein Kampf”. The most important of which follow: “Lebensraum”, Revision of Versailles, “Anschluss” with Austria and the unification of all German people, yet without starting a war on two fronts. Immediately after coming into power, Hitler began with his first aim – The revision of the harsh and harmful treaty of Versailles, which had angered the German nation since World War One. Germany left the League of Nations and began with rearmament by increasing its navy, army and training its air force with assistance from Russia under the clauses of the Rapallo Treaty of 1922. In order to achieve his goals, Hitler needed a huge and well-equipped army, which he succeeded in creating in under five years. He violated the Versailles treaty by remilitarizing the Rhineland and reoccupying the Ruhr area, a resource rich region with developed industry needed to increase the production of military goods for a potential war.

Hitler & His Symbol

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Anschluss & Lebensraum

In 1938 Hitler began to achieve his planned goal of unifying all German-speaking people. After being involved with Austrian internal affairs and hindering and Italian defense of Austrian sovereignty, Hitler combined Austria into Germany, known as “Anschluss”. After this further violation of the Treaty of Versailles, the allies began to respond and Neville Chamberlain, the British prime minister coined the term “Appeasement”. In order to satisfy Hitler’s needs the allies would offer Hitler Sudetenland an area of Czechoslovakia with a predominantly German population. After deliberations, Hitler accepted and signed an informal agreement with chamberlain that Nazi Germany and Britain would never fight a war. Soon afterwards, however, Hitler annexed another area of Czechoslovakia, known as Bohemia-Moravia ending the policy of appeasement.

On the third of September, Hitler had invaded Poland to pursue his final foreign policy goal of “Lebensraum” – securing space for the expanding Germany population, by swiftly occupying Poland. Hitler had planned and achieved the expansion of Germany, without yet starting a war on two fronts.

Hitler's Plan

Did Hitler have a plan to reach his foreign policy goals?

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World War 2

Hitler now used the strategy of encirclement to occupy Holland and Belgium and attack France from the north. Due to blitzkrieg tactics, Hitler easily achieved another foreign policy goal of annihilating the old enemy France. He now turned eastwards to Russia in an attempt to further increase the area for Germans to live in and succeed with he idea of “Lebensraum”. Gain successful by planning to split up his forces to attack Moscow in the North, Stalingrad centrally and occupy the Caucasus oil fields in the south. Hitler achieved enormous expansion in but a couple of years. However the turning point in the war came as due to a combination of bad weather, low supplies and bad moral, Russian troops secured both Moscow and Stalingrad, stopping Hitler’s chain of successful events.

Operation Barbarossa - The invasion of Russia

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Conclusion

Hitler had long planned to achieve the goals he had set forth in 1923 while writing “Mein Kampf” nearly ten years before coming to power. His ideological extremism gave him an excellent background to begin with and once in power, he could and did go through with his plans to revise Versailles, expand Germany and unify all German-speaking people.

An excellent documentary!

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    • lions44 profile image

      CJ Kelly 2 years ago from Auburn, WA

      If only more people had read Mein Kampf at the time, we might have seen this coming. Vast underestimation of the power of hate. Although I don't like to use the term "foreign policy goals" when it comes to Hitler, he did have a plan, and he almost achieved it. Good primer on the issue.

    • Dawn Denmar1 profile image

      Dawn Denmar 2 years ago from United Kingdom

      I think it was general opinion that the National Socialists were doing such great stuff on bringing Germany out of recession that his racist views and ideology were very much ignored or brushed under the carpet. Appeasement was widespread. I guess in context America may well have wanted to learn lessons from him bearing in mind their Wall Street collapse in '29.... To think Germany came a long way from hyperinflation to the state it became under Hitler was commendable. There is no justification at all, but the developed world was in a pretty lamentable state at the time he came to power... But yes they should have guessed how it would pan out....

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