Large wars involving various nations and taking place over large territories have been common throughout history for various reasons. Various established civilizations and nations have had the tendency of engaging in various wars. One such war was the Second World War which entailed a number of countries locked in conflict over economic, social and political reasons. The main proponent of the Second World War was Germany which was being led by Adolf Hitler at the time. The war led to devastating results and destruction all over Europe while at the same time inspired various developments both in political circles as well as technological advancements. Nevertheless some nations and particular individuals stood out in relation to the war and of particular importance in history.
One person considered the main catalyst for the war was the then leader of Germany, Adolf Hitler. Hitler was born in Austria and moved to Germany after both his parents died. He joined the military in Germany to help with the First World War and thus became recognized as a patriotic citizen as well as gaining valuable military experience (Kershaw, 13). After the First World War, Hitler went into politics and pursued leadership positions within Germany. He participated in various protests and efforts towards revolution which led to him being held in prison for a while. Ultimately, Adolf Hitler, through the Nazi party, rose to power in controversial circumstances and he got the opportunity to pursue some of his aims. Adolf Hitler pursued the Second World War as a means to an end in order to achieve some benefits he perceived to be crucial both for himself and the people of Germany.
The first major Adolf Hitler's war aim in the Second World War entailed the desire for Lebensraum which entailed expansion of the German territory by grabbing of other territories and enslaving or destroying the natives (Hilderbrand, 523). Adolf Hitler felt that there was need for acquisition of more land because he believed that the Germans were superior and deserved more than the rest. He had the vision of building a dynasty that was supposedly going to remain intact for up to a millennium. German is a territory surrounded by various other European nations, and Hitler saw the opportunity to take advantage of the weaker nations and conquer them in war in order to expand the German territory. Throughout history, there have been numerous cases of wars started for the sole purpose of expanding a kingdom or an empire. Leaders of nations have had the desire to rule over larger land masses and consequently receive tax from more people across a large territory. As much as Hitler wanted a larger living space for the Germans, he probably also envisioned the possibility of more revenues and having dominion over a larger territory.
Adolf Hitler convened a special secret meeting with some of the senior military officers in the German army in order to convey his aims concerning Lebensraum (Hilderbrand, 522). The meeting, which was convened in November of 1937, highlighted some of the obstacles towards the goal of achieving more living space. Hitler admitted to there being a number of challenges that necessitated effective strategies if the Germans were to succeed. Most importantly, Hitler conceded that achieving Lebensraum required force which would then bring about conflicts and wars with the targeted nations. Apparently the Germans were inferior to the more organized and advanced French and English nations. Hitler chose to avoid pursuing these nations at first so that he could concentrate on the weaker nations such as Poland, Denmark and Luxembourg. Later on during the war, some of Hitler's war strategies could be attributed to the major aim of acquisition of living space for the Germans. For instance, the destruction of people and property in some territories in order to pave way for German occupation highlighted the aim of acquiring more living space. The invasion of the Soviet Union, despite being a strong opposition, also highlighted the aim of acquiring more living space considering its proximity to Germany.
The other major Adolf Hitler's aim in the Second World War entailed racial cleansing and affirming the superiority of the Aryan race. German, just like many other nations, was composed by a variety of different people based on race, religion, political affiliation and ethnicity among other factors. Adolf Hitler believed that the Aryan race was the most superior and uncompromised race which deserved to be preserved and protected (Kershaw, 55). It was thus his aim to pursue all measures necessary in order to uphold their superiority, including inciting the Second World War as well as discrimination and persecution of people.
In many instances in world history, wars have been based on racial and ethnic differences in order to prove supremacy. Human beings have had the tendency to identify themselves with a race that gives them a sense of belonging. During Hitler's times, the German population contained a significant number of Jews and other outside ethnic communities such as the Romani and Africans. Hitler's hatred was particularly drawn towards the Jews probably due to their perceived success within the nation's economy. The Jews had established successful businesses within the country and had acquired valuable property. At some point, Hitler considered this to be unfair and was probably threatened by the ever growing success of the Jews. Other than that, Hitler believed that the Jews were of an inferior race and thus did not deserve to reside with the superior Germans of Aryan race.
Hitler's initial plan was deport the Jews and other communities away from Germany in order to avoid compromising the superior race. Detention camps for the Jews were set up in order to prepare them for deportation. However, it became increasingly expensive and unsafe for the government to keep the people in the detention camps and thus it became easier to eliminate them altogether (Hilderbrand, 525). Hitler's need for racial cleansing acted as a major factor that fueled the Second World War and despite the economic and military constraints involved, racial justification was far much superior to other factors (Hilderbrand, 524). By the end of the Second World War, more than six million Jews lost their lives as well as people from other communities, in one of the biggest atrocities in history.
The other major Adolf Hitler's aim in the Second World War entailed the desire to conquer Europe and the whole world. Fueled by the other two major aims described, Hitler wanted to conquer the whole world and establish his rule over a bigger territory. Before the war broke out, Hitler was busy assembling and expanding the German armies and strengthening military equipment. All this was done while at the same time Hitler affirmed sentiments of peace in public. Hitler gave the excuse for the need of German to be able to defend itself in the event of an invasion (Hilderbrand, 524). Nevertheless, foreign nations started getting worried at the growing military strength of Germany and Hitler was impressed by this.
Hitler schemed against the already established British and French forces and devised ways to win against them. At some point during the war, German invaded the Soviet Union, among other nations, in a quest for superiority and Lebensraum. Hitler made opportunistic treaties with the likes of Japan, which would help him conquer Europe. He also broke treaties at will when he perceived that a particular treaty would impede him from taking over a particular territory. In essence, some aspects of the war strategies worked to fulfill the major aims of Adolf Hitler rather than being ends by themselves.
Adolf Hitler's pursuit of the Second World War seemed to be successful during the earlier years of the war but he ultimately failed. He was opportunistic and planned ahead of his enemies in order to catch them unawares and have military advantage (Hilderbrand, 523). He also invaded the other nations on multiple fronts and this proved too much for Germany during the later stages of the war. Nevertheless, for a while, Hitler achieved his war aims and his strategies proved effective. His aims of racial supremacy, acquisition of Lebensraum and conquering Europe seemed on course until Germany started losing the war. The war ended up having some devastating effects including destruction of property and loss of lives.
Hilderbrand, Klaus. "Hitler's War Aims." The Journal of Modern History 48.3 (1976): 522-530.
Kershaw, Ian. Hitler. Routledge, 2014.
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