Hitler and the Second World war

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by kjokkenjokken, Jul 25, 2008.

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  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.


  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. 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 ;)
  5. Thanks Farmboy,

    That isn't mentioned on our suggested reading list but by the sounds of the title it must be worth a read.


  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.

  8. 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. 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.


    This link may also prove useful:


    For the British perspective I recommend this book:

    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.

  12. Good angle! I didn't think of that, how can that warrant anything less than an A* :)
  13. Thanks D.C.

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

  14. Mr Deputy,

    Your knowledge and contribution you have made to my studies is greatly appreciated, now how does that song go??

  15. Hitler... He only had one ball!
    Goering, had two but very small...
    Himmler, was very similar,
    but Goebbels, had no balls, at all!