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How Far Was Hitler’s Foreign Policy to Blame for The Outbreak of War in 1939?

In this short essay, I explain how far Hitler was to blame for the outbreak of World War Two, along with other reasons for the war.

    To a certain extent, Hitler was to blame to the outbreak of World War II. The fact that he strongly believed he could reclaim the German losses under the Treaty of Versailles without any interference from the League of Nations, and the signing of the Nazi-Soviet Pact show that Hitler was determined, and wouldn’t settle for anything less than what he wanted. Hitler wasn’t the only one who was to be blamed for the second world war – the failures of the League of Nations and Treaty of Versailles, the practice of isolationism in countries such as the US, Britain and France, and appeasement were also to blame.
     The fact that Germany was limited to an extremely small army, 6 naval ships, and no air force, submarines or tanks at all was something that encouraged Hitler to build up an army, regardless of what the Treaty of Versailles stated. By 1936, the Germans had a total air force consisting of 5,116 planes, and were extremely close to overtaking the size of the British air force. This was eventually accomplished, as the Germans ended up with 5,606 planes in 1937.
    One of the main reasons for the outbreak of the war was that Hitler was certain he could regain everything that Germany lost as a result of the Treaty of Versailles. His certainty was appealing to the German people, as they felt they needed a strong leader who would provide them with ‘lebensraum’, or living space. With the growing amount of aircraft in possession of the Germans, Hitler, an extremely aggressive man, decided to invade what was left of Czechoslovakia in March 1939. Hitler was successful, as there was no interference from Britain or France. 6 months later, on 1 September 1939, he went on to invade Poland. This was a big mistake by Hitler, as 2 days later, France and Britain declared war against Germany. This was the beginning of World War II. This meant that Hitler was to be held responsible for the outbreak of the war, as he initiated the first attack.

    A pact between the USSR and Germany was signed on 23 August 1939. Hitler sent his Foreign Minister to Moscow to start bargaining with Stalin. Stalin agreed with the Germans way of thinking, and he was convinced that Hitler was smart enough to avoid fighting a two-front war. They came to the conclusion that they would carve up most of the land that lay between Germany and the Soviet Union. Hitler offered full control of several vast areas, such as Finland, Latvia and Estonia to the USSR, and so the pact was signed. This was an extremely smart move by Hitler, so he thought, as this didn’t only strengthen his relationship with the East, it also scared the likes of Britain and France. This makes Hitler to blame for the outbreak of war, as he was seemingly building up his own forces, creating stronger links with the East, and trying to provoke the Western powers of Britain and France, knowing that they would retaliate in some way.
    While Hitler was blameable for the outbreak of the Second World War, there were several other reasons why the war broke out, including the failure of the League of Nations and the practice of isolationism. The League of Nations was to blame for several reasons, as they failed to enforce any sort of rules against many countries including Hitler’s Germany. The League was successful in bringing 500,000 prisoners of war home and helping Turkish refugees, but did nothing to stop Hitler’s rise to power. Hitler took advantage of this by taking control of Poland and Czechoslovakia while the League sat back and watched. They also tried to enforce Britain and France to stop appeasement, but failed. As a result of this, Hitler once again breaks the Treaty of Versailles and regains the Sudetenland. This clearly shows that the League weren’t as powerful as they should have been, and did almost nothing to stop the outbreak of the war.

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