Adolf Hitler (1889 – 1945) was a Nazi leader and one of the most infamous and powerful dictators of the 20th century. He ascended to power after World War I in the National Socialist German Workers Party, and took control of the government in 1933. Believing the Jews to be a threat to Aryan supremacy, his construction of concentration camps for Jews and other groups culminated in the death of more than 6 million people in the Holocaust. World War II was triggered by his attack on Poland in 1939, and by 1941 much of Europe and North Africa was occupied by Germany. The course of the war changed following the American and Russian entry into war, and shortly before Germany’s defeat, Hitler committed suicide.
In order to elude arrest for dodging military service in Austria-Hungary, Hitler fled Vienna for Munich in May 1913. However, he was forced to return – and then did not pass the physical. The following year he volunteered for the Bavarian Army and served throughout World War I on the Western Front. His thoughts on war were affected by his experience in the war thereafter.
Hitler ended up in control of the National Socialist German Workers Party after World War I and hoped to lead them to power in Germany. After a failed coup attempt in 1923, the just-released from prison Hitler turned to the buildup of the Party to take power by what was an at least outwardly legal means. He planned to carry out a project calling for Germany’s reconstruction on a racist basis in order that Germany could win a procession of wars to enlarge the living space of the German people, until they controlled and exclusively inhabited the world.
Adolf Hitler wanted Germany to fight wars for large areas of land which Germans would then settle on, raise large families to make up for the casualties of war as well as supply soldiers for the next war of expansion. An easy and small war against Czechoslovakia would be the first, followed by a very difficult war against France and Britain. The third would be against the Soviet Union, which Hitler thought would be simple and fast and would supply raw materials, specifically oil for the war against the United States which would be fourth.
Military preparations were made for these wars in 1933 when Hitler came into power. In 1938, at the last minute, Hitler drew back from the war in Czechoslovakia. When it was time for the war against France and Britain, he could not get Poland to submit itself to Germany to make sure of a quiet situation in the east. So, Hitler decided to destroy Poland before going west. War was initiated on September 1, 1939.
Hitler’s original plan was to attack the west during the late fall of 1939, but there was bad weather which would have restricted full use of the air force. During this interval, two decisions were made by Hitler. He decided to capture Norway, urged on by Admiral Erich Raeder, to make the Navy’s access easier to the North Atlantic, and enacted this out in 1940. He then shifted the focal point of the attack in the west to the southern part of the force which was supposed to invade the Low Countries.
The new plan seemed to work within the first few days when German forces broke through the French defenses. When it was made clear that several Allied soldiers might escape, the army’s direction was changed again, but not in enough time to stop the evacuation of many French soldiers and the British Expeditionary Force.
In early June 1940, the push southward resulted in a quick collapse of what was left of the French Resistance, and this victory made Hitler feel triumphant.
However, this triumphant feeling did not last as Hitler’s plans failed. While the Allied advanced on Germany, Hitler wished for a separation in the alliance. According to him, Germany lost the First World War because the home front collapsed. With the end of the war fast approaching, Hitler married his mistress and they committed suicide together.