Hitler’s intellectual conception of German foreign policy
Adolf Hitler’s ideologies and concepts of German foreign policy predate his 1933 chancellorship. Largely the genesis of Germany’s 1918 surrender, and the “stab-in-the-back” effect, the first component to his foreign policy was that of race. Hitler felt that the German army was betrayed at home by Jewish influence which resulted in the capitulation. For Hitler’s view of Germany to succeed and progress, racial vitality based upon pre-World War I concepts of ‘Social Darwinism’ became the first element in the need for more living space (expansion to the east) – the other side of the ideology in his foreign policy. Gerhard Weinberg in Germany Hitler & World War II notes the significance to these elements: “The combined doctrines of race and space had significant implications for the day-to-day conduct of foreign affairs.” These were at the heart of what Hitler called his “revolution.” Hitler’s conception of German foreign policy validated his anti-Semitic views by “further justification for Germany to follow a policy of conquering additional living space in the East at the expense of Bolshevik Russia, which Hitler constantly identified with the ‘Jewish world conspiracy.’”
In order for Hitler to achieve his goals of more space for the European domination of the racially pure people of Germany, war was the foreign policy tool by which these ends would be met. Treaties were easily broken in Hitler’s foreign policy; with multilateral treaties avoided in favor of a joint two-party treaty. Hitler’s diplomatic relationships, which had begun with an existing organization of diplomats, were now charged with the delicate task of ascertaining which European countries (Great Britain included) were aligned with the new National Socialist ideals.
1 Gerhard L.Weinberg, Germany Hitler & World War II (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995) 36.
2 Allan Bullock, Hitler and Stalin: Parallel Lives (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1992) 336.
3 Ibid., 145.
4 Gerhard L.Weinberg, Germany Hitler & World War II (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995) 36-37
Weinberg, Gerhard L. Germany Hitler & World War II. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995.