When Adolf Hitler rose to power in 1933 he had already divulged most of his far-reaching plans for war in Europe and especially for war in the east, against Russia. Also divulged was his violent antisemiticism and his ambition to attain global German and Nazi hegemony. In his celebrated “autobiography” Mein Kampf, Hitler made clear to whomever was paying attention (presumably the world) his “attitudes and plans which were the basis of the Nazi government and of his foreign policy.”
The policies and ambitions were “frankly stated for all the world to read” and it is to the sorrow and pity of millions that Hitler’s blatant pronouncements went unheeded by politicians and generals throughout Europe. “The fact that only a handful of people outside Germany ever took Mein Kampf seriously was a tragic mistake for the entire world” (Goldston 60).
This mistake would be repeated at least three more times as the world sped toward World War Two.
On at last three occasions: during the Anschluss when Hitler integrated Austria into the German Reich, again during Hitler’s military conquest of the Sudentland and, once more, when Hitler engineered the political conquest of Czechoslovakia at Munich, the post-war Treaty of Versailles had been broken.
From the base of 100,000 troops permitted under the Versailles Treaty, Hitler, on 1 October 1934, “ordered a trebling of army size, as well as the creation of an air force, which had been illegal under the Versailles terms. On 7 March 1936, troops were sent into the Rhineland, unilaterally abrogating the demilitarization of Germany’s western frontier provided for under the Locarno Pact” (Black 4).
In each of these cases, military intervention by France, Britain, and Russian was not only lawful, it was mandated, and, as is obviously the case looking back on history, each of the chances provided an opportunity for the Allied powers to prevent World War Two. “The path to American History
German hegemony in Europe In theory any one of a number of European powers could conceivably have filled the vacuum in East/Central Europe: the possible contenders were Britain, France, Russia (Soviet Union), Italy and Germany[..] Though Germany lost the war and had to pay the price of a transgressor, she could by no means be written off as a great power” (Payne, 316).
During the invasion of the Sudentland, Hitler’s true ambitions lay elsewhere, “he wanted to crush Czechoslovakia, because it had been created by the Versailles treaty, because it lay on the German flank and therefore presented obstacles to his long-promised invasion of the Soviet Union (Payne, 314).
Clearly, Germany was heading in the direction of war “This agenda began with the violent suppression of political and economic freedoms, organizations and groups within Germany, including strikes, left-wing parties and Jews, but there was also psychological and practical preparation for war, which Hitler saw as a necessary, and even positive force.” Therefore, any argument that Hitler or Germany’s were obfuscated or indecipherable is specious, if not plainly foolish.
This fact, however, seemed to have little influence of the European policy of appeasement, which allowed not only human rights abuses in the Reich to continues unchallenged, but allowed for blatant military conquest of sovereign nations by Germany.
Meanwhile, America’s isolationist vision towards continued, leaving Hitler with a free hand after his shrewdly engineered “Pact of Steel” had been concluded with his sworn enemy the Soviet Union. “The United States had entered the war reluctantly in April 1917. After the conclusion of hostilities there was a wave of revulsion against war and military activity, together with an unwillingness to get involved in the affairs of other countries which might lead to further