Hitler's Foreign Policy

Before he became chancellor, Hitler outlined his Foreign Policy aims in his autobiography Mein Kampf, which he wrote during his imprisonment.

According to the Hossbach Memorandum, which was written on November 10th, 1937, five days after the conference had occurred, it is evident that Hitler’s main aim was to gain land. As a result, he had begun planning for war.

On the one hand, some historians use the Hossbach Conference as evidence that Hitler planned war. This is because they believe that this was when Hitler announced his plans for war in Europe if he could not gain his desired “Lebensraum” in the east by peaceful methods or diplomatic negotiation. Furthermore, he believed that if Nazi Germany’s wishes for land were not met, that he had “a duty to war”.

Additionally, the document lists the participants of the conference, which provides evidence of Hitler’s intentions. Attendees included Colonel Friedrich Hossbach– military adjutant to Hitler, Field Marshal Werner von Blomberg–Minister of War, General Werner Freiherr von Fritsch – Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, Admiral Erich Raeder – Commander-in-Chief of the Navy (or Kriegsmarine), Colonel General Hermann Goering – Commander-in-Chief of the Luftwaffe and Constantin Freiherr von Neurath the Foreign Minister. Their positions of power over the military evidently suggest Hitler’s motives and wishes to utilise the military and gain land for Germany by force.

On the other hand, other historians believe that the memorandum was vague, believing its purpose to be for Hitler to gain an understanding of the mindset and opinions of the military leaders and people holding high positions in the German government. 

Furthermore, they argue that the final memorandum, which is available to historians, had been carefully edited by the Allies before the start of the Nuremberg Trial, and the contents may not be treated as completely reliable.

The meeting began as Hitler ordered complete secrecy and only Hitler’s closest advisers were invited to attend. Not only did this suggest that Hitler believed war was imminent if the Allies were given evidence of their meeting, but he also outlined his decisions and told the military leaders who attended to view his words as a political testament in the event of his death, which would mean war even if Hitler was killed or taken by illness.

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