Assess How Hitler's Ideology Affected Nazi Foreign Policy Between 1933-39

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Karl Marx’s maxim that ‘men make their own history…under given and imposed conditions’ has been tainted by several revisionist historians as the catalyst for Hitler’s foreign policy. A.J.P. Taylor even goes on to argue that Hitler was not only continuing a policy of previous German governments but he also believes Hitler can not be directly implemented in the events which unleashed WW2. However, to attribute Hitler’s foreign policy purely to his opportunistic characteristics would be to ignore his personal motivations and both racist and expansionist ideology. This facile explanation also fails to look at Hitler’s intentions echoed fearlessly throughout his speeches, address, and party literature of reversing the Treaty of Versailles to create a Greater Germany ‘Grossdeutsh’ and to expand eastward into Russia in the conquest of living space ‘lebensraum.’ To place these policies into historical reality a historian must look at Hitler’s motives, intentions and actions whether considering him as directly implemented in unleashing war in Europe in 1939.

Revisionist historian A.J.P. Taylor argued in his book The Origins of the Second World War that Hitler simply continued the aggressive expansionist foreign policy of pre WW1 Germany. Nazi policy to destroy the Treaty of Versailles, unite Germans into a greater Germany, and to restore Germany’s position of greatness as a world power were not only visible through Kaiser Wilhelm’s ambitions but also the Pan German movement which believed in a ‘Greater Germany’ including Austria. Furthermore intentionalist historian M. Christinson also felt that Nazism could be seen as the logical and historical extension of Weltpolitic. Likewise he goes on suggest that the very essence of Nazism was conquest and domination; a struggle for superiority amongst races.

Taylor states that though Hitler made his intention of ‘abolishing’ the ‘Diktat’ treaty more than clear in Mein Kampf he claimed the defiance of Versailles was a policy...
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