Topic:Hitler had clear foreign policy aims but no plan of how to achievethem. To what extent is this statement correct?
Withouta doubt, Adolf Hitler possessed clearly defined foreign policy,majority of which the ‘Mein Kampf” had mentioned. Hitler rose topower in 1933 and immediately concentrated on his foreign policyobjectives attaining them quickly and remained successful in WorldWar 2 when he started attaining the goals documented in hisideological extremism. Majority of Hitler’s foreign policyobjectives had been set forth in his book before he ascended topower. When he came to power, he started with his first objective,which entailed revising the harmful and harsh treaty of Versaillesthat had been unsupported by the German Nation since the First WorldWar. Germany exited from the League of Nations and started rearmamentthrough increasing it air force, army and navy with the backing ofRussia based on clauses within the 1922 Rapallo Treaty. However,Hitler was forced to juggle at the same time the competing demandsassociated with creation of the RAVEF state and ensuring the economywas balanced which portrayed his foreign policy as spontaneous andopportunistic. In the end, Hitler had a predetermined plan to createhis Third Reich based on reclamation of the German land that had beenlost through the Versailles treaty along with the lebensraum ofEastern Europe. An illusion was created for both parties sinceChamberlain misinterpreted Hitler’s devotion to his RAVEF statewhilst Hitler misconstrued chamberlain as a chance to increase thegrowth of his foreign policy.
Hitler,the origin of his RAVEF state
Consideringthat in the period between 1936 and 1939 Germany benefitted fromdiplomatic growth and Hitler was considered as the individual whobore the will of the people, it might be seen that the successes ofGermany on the warpath were as a result of Hitler’s objectives andintentions concerning foreign policy. Kershaw states, “He was theleader for whom the nation was waiting for…the defender of Germany,nationalist man of the people”. Nonetheless, the issue in questionis concerned with more than a single feature of the record of thethird Reich along with an assessment of the power of Hitler as thecreator of the foreign policy of Germany between 1936 and 1939 as itis a portrayal of a number of contentious arguments associated withNazi history. In order to evaluate the legitimacy of the power ofHitler in terms of Third Reich, presence of his plans for the Reichas well as flexibility and consistency of the Nazi, it is importantto reflect upon the foreign policy of Germany. To begin with, it ispossible to evaluate the power of Hitler in regards to the ThirdReich through investigating the political framework of Germany at thetime. According to Thomson, Hitler “Focused on the construction ofthe Volkish Aryan state”. Further, Le bors and Boyes were of theopinion that “The Fuhrer was directly linked to the success orfailure of his RAVEF state. The Fuhrer is also the will of the volk.Therefore success or failure is based from the Volk, not politics”.In this case, power is described as the capacity to influencepolicymaking and implementation of ideas. Therefore, power cannot becategorized as a fixed term, which implies that the Naziadministration was polycratic and the hopes of Hitler that the issueof personnel would resolve itself, demonstrates that the authorityunder Hitler was fragmented. This underscores the reduced power ofHitler to specify plans since this kind of disintegration somewhatpermitted some to have an influence on agenda setting. Steinermentions, “His twin goals were the conquest of Germany’s muchneeded Lebensraum in the vastness of East Europe and theextermination of European Jewry…linked in the creation of a newAryan world”. Therefore, it may be erroneous to perceive the ThirdReich as being aligned to Hitler’s foreign policy where there is apossibility that the Nazis in higher levels and not Hitler could havecarried the foreign policy. Consistent with this perception is thatproof on artistic temperament associated with Hitler suggests that hewas a sluggish leader and thus a theoretical master. Therefore, inreality, there is likelihood that policy developed from confusion andchaos within the structure as unplanned reactions to situationsinstead of straight from the Nazi leader. It remains challenging toconsider the manner in which an individual had the capacity tomanipulate resolutions in all aspects that were concerned withforeign policy even in the event that things were different. The wayHitler personified the country was possibly utilized by hissubordinate as propaganda as a means of furthering their personalideas. Hitler’s stress on the ethnic struggle was utilised as ameans of justifying the 1937 organization of Death’s Head Units,implying that the Fuehrer was possibly mainly reliant on his juniorsdeveloping foreign policy (Kitson, 2001). As a personification of thewill of the nation, the third Reich was taken past the traditionalrevisionism of the Treaty of Versailles to become racial powerpolitics where there was radicalization of anti-Semitism makingGermany greater in regards to racial superiority and power politics.
Plunderthe economy as his foreign policy
Aftersome years in power, Hitler had to contend with maintaining the highstandards of living of his successful volkish-aryan state whilesubordinating economics to this objective. As a consequence, theeconomy started decreasing. Consequently, Hitler started lookingoutwards in order to increase the wealth of Germany obligating him tore-militarize and start claiming Versailles which had been separatedfrom the rest of Germany. As Steiner mentions, “Foreign policy wasconducted to systematically achieve diplomatic goals. Thesediplomatic goals were centred on Hitler’s understanding of economicshortages”. From this perspective, the spontaneity of Hitler’sforeign policy is evident as a result of Hitler’s failure tore-militarize which forced him to be opportunistic in worlddiplomacy. Nonetheless, the degree to which the Nazi leader was in aposition to develop foreign policy could be diluted by the perceptionthat domestic matters restricted his power. The 1936 Four-Year Planalong with the 1937 Hossbach Memorandum were somewhat influenced bydomestic military and economic issues. From this view, the ThirdReich, when considered broadly, influenced Hitler’sdecision-making. Further, Hitler’s position that the extent ofarmed forces re-armament was not supposed to be significantdemonstrated he lacked total control of the rate of rearmament(Bendersky & Bendersky, 2007). According to Lee, it is importantto note, “Economic growth between 1933-38 was primarily due torapid growth in arms spending, not due to improved economicefficiency”. His concerns about living space along with theconsequent need to depose Austria and Czechoslovakia for grain andiron reflected the manner in which internal factors in Germany had aneffect on Hitler’s foreign policies. It is possible to consider there-armament initiative together with autarky as reactions to the1930s depression and as prerequisites for the expansionistsobjectives associated with Hitler. However, it is clear that Marxisthistorians support the preeminence of economic aspects rather thanforeign policy since to them, economic superstructure influenceshistory. It remains debatable that the economy of Germany was notaffected by significant crisis that necessitated Hitler gearing ittowards war. According to the Hossbach Memorandum, 1942 to 1943 isthe period when Germany was prepared for war. If economic issues wereconsiderably dominant, the resolution for a war in Europe could havebeen arrived at in the mid-forties. This means that global contextwas more decisive when resolutions about the war were made in 1939.In general, the directives given by Hitler were executed based oninternational dynamism in Germany and subsequently, foreign policyobjectives influenced the goals and nature of the domestic policy.
Bendersky,J. & Bendersky, J. (2007). Aconcise history of Nazi Germany.Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.
Kitson,A. (2001). Germany,1858-1990.Oxford: Oxford University Press.