World War II: The Rise and Fall of Hitler’s Nazi Germany

Adolf Hitler, dictator of Nazi Germany and instigator of World War II is known as one of the most powerful and influential leaders of all time. He ruled Germany from 1933 until his death in 1945 at Germany’s surrender in World War II. Hitler worked strategically to create and develop a large military force that was able to engulf large parts of Europe, participating in acts of genocide against Jews. As a result, Hitler played a dominating role in the events that unfolded throughout Europe during his reign. Observable through Hitler’s succession of victories, as well as his loss and surrender, displays his leadership and drive to have Lebensruam for Germans- the so called master race.

 “At the beginning of the 1930’s, Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Party exploited widespread and deep seated discontent in Germany to attract popular and political support”, (“history.co.uk.com”, 2012). At the time, Germany was still suffering from the events of the first World War and the stipulations of the Versailles Treaty. Going through an economic depression, a political crisis, and social unrest, Hitler’s Nazi Party was offering a new beginning and an end to the problems facing the German nation. Hitler, known and recognized as a great and liberating speaker, gave an idea of peace and stability to Germans. Hitler told Germans what they needed to hear in order to gain support for the new and emerging Nazi Party. The acclimations and social power stimulated support which became apparent during government elections.  “In the federal elections of 1930 the Nazi Party won 107 seats in the German Parliament, becoming the second largest [political] party… the following year it more than doubled its seats”, (“history.co.uk.com”, 2012).

By 1933, Hitler found his way into the German Democratic Parliament. In January of that year president von Hindenburg appointed Hitler, Chancellor. However, just three months into his appointment Hitler gained additional support from German citizens and was able to rightfully and legally over throw the democratic government, establishing a dictatorship in which he – Hitler—was leader, (Cruickshank, 2011). Historians at history.com suggest this occurred through “intimidation and manipulation to pass the Enabling Act, which allowed them to pass laws”, without vote. Within years after his dictatorship of Europe, Hitler made another clear and swift move that changed the course of history. In 1935 just two years into his rule of Germany, Hitler passed what was known as “Nuremburg Laws”. It was these laws specifically which, “marked the beginning of an institutionalized anti-Semitic persecution which would culminate in to barbarianism”, (“history.co.uk.com, 2012).

World War II is considered Hitler’s War. This is due to his influence and instigation of war. Essentially, without the encouragement of Hitler’s leadership of Germany World War II may not have occurred. After 1935, with blatant anti Semitist views and propagation, Hitler began to extend his powers. He developed a large military force despite the inability to do so according to the Versailles Treaty, (“historyplace.com”, 1996). Hitler then denounced the treaty and pushed boundaries testing the reactions of Britain and France. Early on, Hitler understood that “Lebensraum could only be obtained and sustained by waging war of conquest against the Soviet Union”, (Kreis, 2012). In 1938, Hitler marched his renegade into Austria displaying German’s new military force. Receiving no objection, Hitler threated Sudetenland of Czechoslovakia, where more than three quarters of the population were German, (“historylecture11”, 2009). Czechoslovakia was able to abide without combat.

Britain and France, great military powers at the time, sympathized with Germany recognizing there mistreatment during the Versailles Treaty. They allowed Hitler to put parts of Czechoslovakia under the German rule in order to appease him. Furthermore, like German civilians, the French and English assumed Hitler to be a peace driven, patriotic leader. Fresh out of World War I, “Britain and France would have done anything to avoid another conflict”, (Kreis, 2012). Between 1935 and 1939, France and Britain participated in “Appeasement”- a policy put in place to minimize conflict and discourage war. This did not minimize war, instead encouraged it as Hitler push his limits further. “Hitler became bolder as he realized that Britain and France were unwilling and unable to challenge German expansionism”, (“history.co.uk.com”, 2012). As a result, Hitler took the rest of Czechoslovakia in 1939.

Throughout the late 1930’s and early 1940’s Hitler’s Nazi Germany defeated and/or occupied the following countries:

  • Poland
  • Denmark
  • Norway
  • Belgium
  • France
  • the Netherlands
  • Yugoslavia
  • Greece
  • parts of the Soviet Union
  • parts of Great Britain

 

Hitler’s military power from the invasion of Poland in September of 1939 to its surrender on May 7, 1945, caused havoc throughout the continent of Europe. They slaughtered millions of Jews throughout and caused a great migration out of Eastern Europe. Using his power to drive anti-Semitic views and create mass genocide, “his desire to annihilate whole races of inferior peoples marked a break from the outlook of the old order”, (Kreis, 2012).

“By 1942, Nazi Germany ruled all of Europe”, (Kreis, 2012). He was able to do this by conducting surprise attacks on nations and utilizing allies such as Italy, Japan, and initially the Soviet Union. After taking Czechoslovakia in March of 1939, “62 German divisions supported by 1300 aircraft began the invasion of Poland”, and it is this act which stimulated World War II(Kreis, 2012). After the invasion of Poland, Britain and France were forced to maintain their agreement with Poland and declared war on Germany just two days after the attack on September 3, 1939. Just a week after the invasion Germany surrounded and over threw the capital. Before the month was out, the Polish had surrendered to the Nazis. By the spring, Germany invaded yet another country. This time, the Nazis conducted an offensive attack on Norway and Denmark on April 9, 1940, (Kreis, 2012). Neither country was able to defend themselves. They also surrendered and were under Nazi occupancy by June. In May of 1940 Nazis attacked Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, and northern France. This battle too ended with a swift and quick victory, occupied within the month. Eventually, France succeeded and signed an armistice with Germany on June 22, 1940. In less than a year, between September of 1939 to June of 1940, Germans managed to take and occupy 7 countries, (“historyplace.com”, 1996). Although these countries succeeded expeditiously, the other countries were able to defend Nazi assault and make strategic offensive strategies which led to Germany’s defeat and the fall of Adolf Hitler.

With France defeated, Britain had few allies to offer defense against Nazi attack. By summer of 1940, after multiple victories Nazis brought 1350 bombers and 1200 fighters to take out British airfields, shipping ports, and towns, (“history.co.uk.com”, 2012). From July to October of 1940 Britain fought heavily against Nazi air attacks causing Nazis to postpone occupancy. Despite this, Nazis continued to harass and assault the country with bombs. The summer of the following year, after the Soviet Union invaded and eventually defeated Finland, Germans then turned against the Soviet Union. Breaking their war agreement, Germany invaded the country occupying large territories. Historian at the University estimates that more than three million troops and 3500 tanks invaded the Soviet Union killing more than half a million Soviet soldiers in a single battle, known as the Battle of Kiev in September of 1941. Although the Nazi’s brought a mighty force, the Soviets were able to defend attacks and keep Moscow, their capital, from seizer. With the help of various Soviet grassroots organizations, the Red Army kept Nazi’s out of the capital. However, with every surrendered country and occupied territory, Jews, the disabled, and the other ‘unwantables’ were being exiled and exterminated. Hitler continued to reign in his power and dictatorship over Germany, killing those were spoke against Nazi power and manipulating society through propaganda, encouraging anti-Semitic ideologies.

For months, Germany assaulted Britain, “particularly London, Coventry, and Hull, beginning with the bombing of London on 7 September 1940, which went on for 57 consecutive nights and lasting until 10 May 1941”, (Kreis, 2012). To maintain integrity and sustain Western Europe, Britain conducted various offensive attacks against Germany. By 1942, the United States of America had joined the war as an ally of France, Britain, and the Soviet Union. After suffering from an attack by Japan on Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, on December 7, 1941, the U.S declared war on Japan. In turn, Germany declared war on the U.S. The U.S then entered WWII to assist in the fall of Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany.

 “May 1942 British Royal Air force carried out a raid on the German city of Colón with 1000 bombers for the first time bringing war home to Germany”, (Kreis, 2012) . Hitler and Nazi Germany were unprepared for the attack. The attack on Germany land signified the fall of Hitler. A month after British attack, Germany conducted an offensive strike against the Soviets. This attack allowed temporary occupancy of additional territory before being counter attacked by Soviet troops in November of 1942, driving back Nazi force. By February of 1943 Nazi’s surrendered to the Soviets, (Cruickshank, 2011). Despite this draw back, Nazis continue to attempt control by conducting one final attack against the Soviets which ended in failure in July of 1943. Near the end of the year, Nazis had evacuated the country. Also, while Nazis in the Soviet Union were being defeated, other platoons located in Northern Italy continued to fight against the British and their allies. By 1944, German occupied countries were now unoccupied and liberated from Nazi reign, (Cruickshank, 2011). The next year, in 1945 Germans were driven back to their German land, while the British, the Soviets, the U.S, and the French attacked German vessels, ports, shipping lines, and weaponry. On April 20, 1945 Hitler committed suicide and just a week later on May 7, Nazis surrendered completely and indefinitely.

Hitler and Nazi Germany underscore dictatorship, power, and authority demonstrating how instigation of war and power can devastate not only one nation but the entire world. Hitler was an opportunist leader who was driven by anti-Semitic ideologies. Through the power of his leadership, Hitler moved an entire nation towards world domination, suppression, and human genocide killing millions of Jews in the wake of his path. Every country he took or occupied, Hitler exploited the people attempting to rid all of Europe of Jews in order to create a supreme race. Despite his drive, Hitler failed to gain power and control over Europe. Although a negative dictator, by understanding how he grew into power, others are able to see how ruled, how he fell, and how he was able to influence millions under his leadership.

 

References

Cruickshank, D. (2011, June 11). The german threat to britain in world war two. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/worldwars/wwtwo/invasion_ww2_01.shtml

Kreis, S. (2012, March 14). Hitler and world war ii. Retrieved from http://www.historyguide.org/europe/lecture11.html

The rise of adolf hitler: From unknown to dictator in 24 chapters. (1996, Aug 14). Retrieved from http://www.historyplace.com/worldwar2/riseofhitler/index.html

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. “The Holocaust.” Holocaust Encyclopedia. http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/?ModuleId=10005143. Accessed on {July, 02, 2012}.

World war ii 1939-1945. (2012, July 02). Retrieved from http://www.history.co.uk/explore-history/ww2.html 

Advertisements

About Russia Robinson

I am an independent freelance writer and free thinker. I strive to use my writing talents to benefit the greater good of society, one word, one sentence, one page at a time. Originally from Richmond, California I attended San Francisco State University receiving a BA in English Creative Writing and American Literature in 2004. After this I attended post graduate studies in 2008 at Georgia’s Kennesaw State University in Technical Writing. With an academic background in English, I have spent more than 10 years’ helping young people succeed. This can be seen in my career background in education and mental health. I am a certifiable Language Arts teacher for the state of Georgia. I also worked in social services including juvenile mental health treatment services and counseling. As a result, I understand the diversity of problems people face in their everyday lives. With words put together like so, I promote equality and a healthy society for all people regardless of individual differences. Conducting research, writing articles, essays, and blogging, I push to educate others about various issues that affect people. I also do this creatively through short stories, poems, pictures, and a novel in progress. My hobbies and interest are reading and learning. I enjoy all things art and all things nature. From camping and astronomy to photography and cooking, I enjoy sighting seeing and socializing just as much as I enjoy curling in bed with a good book or binge watching TV.
This entry was posted in History and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s