Hitler and the Second World war

#1
My final assignment question on my OU course is, 'The causes of the Second World War can be summed up in one word: Hitler.' Discuss.

My essay plan involves Hitler's early years and Mein Kampf, Anglo French Relations and Chamberlains Appeasement policies, Hitlers Four Year Plan, the Treaty of Versailles and the Taylor Thesis.

Have any of you well educated arrsers got any other suggestions or useful information I could add. 4500-5000 word essay to do.

Thanks

KJ
 
#2
Hello!

I would recommend reading Mark Mazowers new book "Hitler's Empire" which outlines the issues surrounding post First War Europe and the distribution of German people in France, Poland etc - a scholarly work and a very good read.
 
#3
kjokkenjokken said:
My final assignment question on my OU course is, 'The causes of the Second World War can be summed up in one word: Hitler.' Discuss.

My essay plan involves Hitler's early years and Mein Kampf, Anglo French Relations and Chamberlains Appeasement policies, Hitlers Four Year Plan, the Treaty of Versailles and the Taylor Thesis.

Have any of you well educated arrsers got any other suggestions or useful information I could add. 4500-5000 word essay to do.

Thanks

KJ
You've pretty much got it there I think although it might be interesting to consider whether much the same would have happened if it had been another individual rather than Hitler himself. Were the seeds sown such that events up to 1939 at any rate were almost inevitable? Was Hitler the catalyst that helped the reaction along?

I think his personal influence on the outcome perhaps came to the fore to a greater extent once war had begun.

Some thoughts to ponder anyway.
 
#4
Short man syndrome, although never fully recognised as a medical condition could make for a ground breaking argument ;)
 
#6
As with all other 'Blah blah blah: Discuss' essays, the title is obscure enough for there not to be any right or wrong answers. All it requires is for you to write an introduction, forward your ideas and draw the correct conclusion from them.

I would go the route of suggesting that blaming the whole of the Second World War on one person is a bit far fetched considering the socio-economic situation of europe and the rest of the world. Japan, the Soviet Union and the USA all contributed by either their actions or inactions.
 
#7
Thanks Ex Stab and Smudge,

I agree Ex Stab, and there are some historians that have argued Hitler was only carrying on the foreign policies pursued by his predecessors.

Smudge, I like the idea of the 'Small Man' syndrome and I've come across many 'little' Hitlers in my time, I'm just not sure my tutor will agree.

KJ
 
#8
kjokkenjokken said:
My final assignment question on my OU course is, 'The causes of the Second World War can be summed up in one word: Hitler.' Discuss.

My essay plan involves Hitler's early years and Mein Kampf, Anglo French Relations and Chamberlains Appeasement policies, Hitlers Four Year Plan, the Treaty of Versailles and the Taylor Thesis.

Have any of you well educated arrsers got any other suggestions or useful information I could add. 4500-5000 word essay to do.

Thanks

KJ
Do some research into connection (collaboration) between American finances and German military machine starting from around 1917, -- to say "Hitler" is to say nothing.
 
#9
It is a very good read - what I found most interesting is the way in which the book outlines in detail how racial ideas about Slavs in particular were nothing new in Germany and the real problems of having so many Germans living outside of Germany in the post first war period. The book is just what you need IMO.

Good Luck with the essay!
 
#10
kjokkenjokken said:
Thanks Ex Stab and Smudge,

I agree Ex Stab, and there are some historians that have argued Hitler was only carrying on the foreign policies pursued by his predecessors.

Smudge, I like the idea of the 'Small Man' syndrome and I've come across many 'little' Hitlers in my time, I'm just not sure my tutor will agree.

KJ
Probably not! I'd go for a more popular argument, if you want to get a decent grade.
 
#11
Good morning sir,

I strongly suggest you acquire a book entitled: A.J.P Taylor, The Origins of the Second World War. Whereby Mr Taylor suggests that Hitler did not actually plan for the Second World War as a total war & his original ‘blueprint’ was merely the removal of the Treaty of Versailles & to regain German territory in the East. He argues quite convincingly that Herr Hitler was just like any other statesman in his foreign policy. There is a chapter covering the Hossbach Memorandum which is particularly interesting.

I also suggest perusing the Axis History Forum as it has a wealth of information regarding such subjects.

http://forum.axishistory.com/

This link may also prove useful:

http://www.historyteacher.net/APEuroCourse/WebLinks/WebLinks-Inter-WarYears.htm

For the British perspective I recommend this book:
http://www.hoddereducation.co.uk/Ti...in_Foreign_Affairs_19191939_Third_edition.htm

Although it is directed at A Level, it is still good enough for degree imho. You may be interesting in reading the pro Chamberlain perspective, for which I am a supporter, as the usual view is to condemn him for appeasement.

Best of luck in your studies.

I remain, &tc.

~D.C.
 
#12
Mr_Deputy said:
smudge67 said:
kjokkenjokken said:
Thanks Ex Stab and Smudge,

I agree Ex Stab, and there are some historians that have argued Hitler was only carrying on the foreign policies pursued by his predecessors.

Smudge, I like the idea of the 'Small Man' syndrome and I've come across many 'little' Hitlers in my time, I'm just not sure my tutor will agree.

KJ
Probably not! I'd go for a more popular argument, if you want to get a decent grade.
yes like him having one testicle. there's even a song about it so it must be true.
Good angle! I didn't think of that, how can that warrant anything less than an A* :)
 
#15
Hitler... He only had one ball!
Goering, had two but very small...
Himmler, was very similar,
but Goebbels, had no balls, at all!

~D.C.
 
#16
kjokkenjokken said:
Thanks D.C.

AJP Taylors book is certainly on my 'to read' list. Many thanks for the axishistory link.

KJ
Make sure you throw in some Claswtitz .... Can think of the exact quote but goes along the lines that war is an extension of foreign policy
 
#17
Causes of the second world war ?

The crippling reparations imposed on Germany by the victors of WW1.

The astronomical inflation and jobless. All the seeds were sown for Adolf to come along and he could only do good. He gave them jobs and with the feeling that the Germans had given in needlessly during WW1, he set about righting what he felt were injustices.
 
#18
easesprings said:
kjokkenjokken said:
Thanks D.C.

AJP Taylors book is certainly on my 'to read' list. Many thanks for the axishistory link.

KJ
Make sure you throw in some Claswtitz .... Can think of the exact quote but goes along the lines that war is an extension of foreign policy
"War is a continuation of politics, by other means".

Think, thats it.
 
#19
Not forgetting that the crippling reparations after WWI, insisted on by the French over the heads of more moderate Allies, were partly in retaliation for the crippling reparations imposed on the French by Bismarck's Prussians in 1871 after the Franco-Prussian War.

That War was itself triggered by Bismarck's aggressive and insensitive efforts to create a United Germany, leading the French to declare war in 1870 [and come 2nd, as usual].

So it is perfectly reasonable to blame Bismarck for the Franco-Prussian War, to blame his vindictive attitude in 1871 for what subsequently happened at Versailles ... and thus Bismarck [1815-1898] is the prime cause for creating the post-WW1 scenario that facilitated the rise of Hitler.
 
#20
kjokkenjokken said:
My final assignment question on my OU course is, 'The causes of the Second World War can be summed up in one word: Hitler.' Discuss.
Was the Second World War really just about Hitler and Europe? You appear to dismiss the parallel conflict in asia with Japan which predates the Second World War in Europe and make some passing mention of Stalin and Mussolini. If you are going to focus on Hitler you need to put some arguments that can decouple the European conflict from Africa and Asia.
 

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