Adolf Hitler by John Toland (PT11)

Megalomanical in desire Hitler knew what he wanted and understood how to get it. He had carved up both Czechoslovakia and Austria through use of threats and terse propaganda campaigns. His eyes, though narrow and filled with hate, were able to play the political game with the best of them. Yet when you are a man of his stature no amount is ever truly enough. Expansion must necessitate expansion and as any dictator knows the next country on the map is the next in line for conquest, enter, Poland.

To Hitler Poland wasn’t included in his “Living Space” ideal rather it was an obstacle towards greater gains. Situated between his recent conquests in addition to the Soviet Union it was a geographical road-bump. To get to Russia it had to be “taken care of” yet to take care of it he had to deal some “realpolitiking”. Ironically enough this meant signing a non-aggression pact with his sworn enemy: Russia.

Reasons for colluding such a pact were numerous. Chief amongst them, however, was the neutralization of Russia as a potential threat during any offensive action against the Poles. With Germany and Russia in a peace accord it would be impossible for England and France to make substantial threats in response to the expected German invasion.

Hurried negotiations continued for some time. In fact when reading the subsequent chapter (the 21st) I was continuously surprised at how intense the political offers, subterfuge, and pleas extended. Watching historical shows on this moment in history I was led to believe that the attack on Poland was quite clear cut. In fact, it was anything but; prior to the invasion Hitler, in addition to his usual aggression, did attempt several calls for peace by promoting a magnanimous settlement plan.

Poland, however, rejected the offer flat without giving it much detail. Naturally this inflamed Hitler. While for some time he persisted in using his 16-point peace plan in order to try and geode the English and French into settling, his patience was at an end: on the first of September he ordered the invasion to commence.

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