Hitler's Foreign Policy

There has been much debate amongst historians about Hitler's aims:

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Some historians argue he had no aims at all, making up his policies as he went along, responding to situations when they arose.

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Some historians argue that Hitler wanted a 'Greater Germany' (the invasions of Austria and the Sudetenland were claimed by Hitler to be the regaining of Germans for Germany) – but others have pointed out that ‘the move into the rest of Czechoslovakia showed that Hitler wanted more than just German land’.

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The historian AJP Taylor argued that Hitler simply continued the aggressive foreign policy of pre-WWI Germany – but others point out that he did not seek the return of Germany's former colonies.

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Many historians – and Hitler himself – claimed that he wanted to reverse the Treaty of Versailles:

My foreign policy was to abolish the Treaty of Versailles.   It is futile nonsense for the rest of the world to pretend today that I did not reveal this program until 1933 or 1935 or 1937.   Instead of listening to foolish chatter, these gentlemen would have been wiser to read what I have written thousands of times.

Hitler, talking on 15 March 1939.  

        – yet he left Germany's new western frontiers with France and Belgium intact.

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Von Ribbentrop claimed that Hitler’s primary motive was fear of Communist Russia – “Hitler wanted a strong Reich at home and armed against all eventualities should a military power arise in the East”.

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How important was the policy of Lebensraum?

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Did Hitler want war all along – perhaps to re-fight World War One?   Was World War Two a successful climax or a disastrous end to Hitler's foreign policy?   Hitler himself said that "for me, war is a means to other ends” and during the war he claimed "I am a war leader against my own will."

based on ideas in the Wellington College, Belfast, website