I’m going to be on the road traveling all day and won’t be able to post much content.
In the meantime, I want to start a debate on the merits of Adolf Hitler’s foreign policy, which I believe was a total disaster that brought about the worst defeat in German history. Specifically, I believe that Hitler’s foreign policy was reckless and militaristic and that Germany did not need a land based empire in the East. Hitler’s choice of allies saddled Germany with wars on multiple fronts which ought to have been of no interest to the Third Reich. Danzig wasn’t worth World War II which is proven by the fact that Helmut Kohl later acquired the whole GDR from a nuclear armed Soviet Union without firing a shot. Hitler could have found a way to eventually get Danzig from Poland without a war.
Operation Barbarossa was also Hitler’s greatest mistake and the West’s containment policy was a much wiser strategy to deal with the USSR, but it was the culmination of a long series of errors like the aggressive moves that brought down Neville Chamberlain’s government and brought Winston Churchill to power in Britain. Similarly, if Hitler had only focused on domestic policy for a few years after annexing Austria, FDR would have died a few years later in the United States.
If the Third Reich had been more content like Franco’s Spain and had been less aggressive toward its neighbors, how would subsequent history have been altered? In this timeline, Germany doesn’t go to war with Poland over Danzig, but recommits to diplomacy. Winston Churchill doesn’t come to power in Britain. Germany rests on its laurels after absorbing Austria and the Sudetenland, international tension subsides and the Third Reich focuses on developing its rocket program, the atomic bomb and aerospace technologies. After detonating its first atomic bomb, the Third Reich becomes invulnerable to attack and Hitler’s regime survives.
Hitler didn’t know when to stop. He should have stopped after Austria or after the Sudentenland. Germany’s weakness was its geographical position which made it so vulnerable to a two front war. Germany’s strength was its economic power and technological superiority over the Soviet Union. The proper foreign policy for Germany was more pacifistic. Hitler’s fantasy that he could be the Frederick the Great of the continent was a misreading of England and how much it has changed since those times. He misread the strength and motivations of Russia. He misread the strengths and weaknesses of Germany too. It was all so unfortunate and unnecessary.