Hitler plan for European Domination
He aimed for short, localized wars instead of world war.
Hitler knew that another European war would be extremely
unpopular in Germany, it wasn’t suited for sustaining a total war.
He wanted to make strategic alliances to avoid having a war on two fronts.
Soviet Union was his enemy; however, he made the Soviet-German pact of
nonaggression in 1939 so they wouldn’t come to help Poland.
Military alliance with Italy and Japan, 1939
Hitler believed that the Japanese were the Aryans of Asia and that he needed
them incase Americans attacked.
Hitler was not fighting this war alone, the only country that didn’t join in
alliance was Britain. He believed that British were close in superiority to
Germans. Britain didn’t become Germanys Ally.
Polish campaign, Sept 1939
Invasion started on Sept 1 , 1.5 million troops
This was going to be a war of racial conquest not just territory conquest.
It looked like Hitler made a big mistake when France and Britain declared
war on Germany and that he would need to face a war on 2 fronts, but this
became known as the Phony war- they sat behind the national line, no active
fighting took place. Britain and France had gone to war over Poland but not
Blitzkrieg strategy- “the lightning war” (vs. trench warfare)
During world war 1, the most important force was infantry. Now it was
substituted with armored units and air force= Panzer divisions.
Ground assaults were then accompanied by airstrikes.
They were able to conquer Poland in aprox 1 month.
o The soviet troops invaded Poland from the East.
o They were to occupy Eastern Europe, and Germany was to take the
The effectiveness of Blitzkreig
- He realized it worked really well so he began the conquest of Northern
Europe in the same mannor.
- He gave his troops a little break before doing this
- April 9, 1940- Denmark
- April 9- June 6- Norway (British (minor) support to Norway)
- In northern Europe, only Sweden remained neutral, but its neutrality was
heavily skewed to Germany. They felt obliged to help Germany- they supplied
Hitler with oil he needed. Con’t
On may 10 , Hitler came up with the idea of attacking France from the unexpected
May 10- June 22- France (throughout the Ardennes forest, north of Maginot Line-
- By the time the French relocated their troops, it was too late because
Germans penetrated deep into the country.
- French appeal to Britain
- French “deal” with Hitler
- 1/3 of the country would be under pro nazi government, and the other 2/3 of
the country would be under German occupation.
- After the occupation of France, Hitler hit the peak of popularity in Germany.
He made doing this look so easy.
- His self confidence grew so much because he started losing his sense of
reality which lead to his undoing.
The Battle of Britain, July- October 1940
- He realized that he had to modify his strategy because Britain was an island
so they were protected from ground invasion.
- Preparation: air strikes on ports, naval and air bases, munitions factories.
- British radar technology
- Late August- British bombing of Berlin (for demoralizing the enemy) it
was a new development and it infuriated Hitler. He didn’t want to annilate
Britain, but he changed his mind after this bombing.
- German air strikes on London—new type of warefare- aerial war began
o He thought this would demoralize the enemy, but all it did was result
in increased civilian losses
o 500,000 German civilians died.
Change of objectives
- Hitler began to lose patients with the British campaign- it was getting too
long so he decided to postpone it indefinatly.
- Britain was supposed to be a means to an end, not an end.
- He decided to target eastern Europe and started his Russain plan.
- April- May 1941- rescuing Mussolini’s campaign in the Balkans (Yugoslavia
and Greece- occupied) master of continental Europe
- This reassured Hitler he could go ahead with his plans in Eastern Europe.
Russian campaign: Hitler’s assumptions (vs. realities)
- He believed that the ideological distance between the Soviet Union and
Britain was too far for them to be allies. He didn’t think that Britain would
help the USSR.
- Hitler’s assumption was wrong
- Hitler knew the only way Britain would open the other side is if America
were to enter the war from that side but Hitler didn’t believe that would
happen because after WW1, Americans kept to themselves. - Effectiveness of Blitzkrieg in Europe (underestimated the size of the USSR
and poor roads, they had the ability to escape into the country)
- On paper everything looked good, but when they were to actually attack the
Soviet Union he realized that the roads were too small
- He believed that the Soviets wouldn’t fight for the regime that killed many of
- Stalin purged so many people in the Red Army it was very weak.
- Hitler didn’t realize how proud Russians were, they were ready to die for
their country. Stalin shaped his propaganda so that it wouldn’t talk about
communism. He exploited their nationalistic feelings.
- Stalin also had a terro regime , those who were not loyal or brave were sent
to camps in Siberia.
- June 1941
- Hitler was trying to mentally prepare them for this new kind of war: Judeo-
- He knew he would also need the help of his soldiers, soldiers would be
prepared to not respect the rights of civilians and POWs. He warned them
that if they identived individuals who were Soviet commissars, they were to
be shot on the spot and not become POWs.
- Disregard for the Hague Convention, 1899, 1907 (treatment