The second World War

Published in GralsWelt 20/2001

The two world wars of the 20th century must be viewed together. Without the First World War, without the unjust Peace Treaty of Versailles, there would not have been any Chancellor Adolf Hitler (1889–1945) or a major European war.

Because Hitler's "program" was the correction of the Versailles Treaty. When this goal was achieved - in part already by his democratic predecessors - he let himself be guided by his hubris and wanted to make Germany the supreme power in Europe and National Socialism the world ideology. These intentions meant war! 

A frivolously started war

When German troops invaded Poland, there were reasons for this: the “Polish Corridor”, the seditious speeches of Polish nationalists against Germany, the pogroms against the Germans living in Poland.

But there were also opportunities to defuse the tensions through diplomatic means and to find acceptable solutions. For the first time since he became Chancellor, Hitler had misjudged foreign policy: he underestimated the determination of his negotiating partners and did not believe that England and France were seriously determined this time to honor the security guarantees they had given Poland. He also forgot America in the background. The US would prefer democratic governments to authoritarian regimes. American politicians were also concerned that totalitarian ideas might spill over to the United States.

On September 1, 1939, a war started carelessly by Hitler, which Germany (unlike the First World War) lost from day one ...

At first incredible successes

However, the initial successes of the German troops were phenomenal. Poland was overwhelmed in three weeks. Then Denmark and Norway were occupied - barely accommodating the British. When France was overrun in 1940, the war seemed to have been won; only the English Prime Minister Winston Churchill (1874–1965) would allow himself to be talked about. But he was hoping for time and, above all, for the USA.

Then the ally Benito Mussolini (1883–1945) wanted to join the Germans' winning streak. Towards the end of the French campaign, his troops invaded Provence and were repulsed. Now the Italian fascist leader was looking for weapons successes in the Balkans and in North Africa. It failed miserably and Hitler was forced to send German troops. The campaign in Africa, the occupation of Yugoslavia and Greece, as well as the conquest of Crete, tied up German armies and cost time; possibly the crucial weeks by which the attack on Russia had to be postponed. Hitler later called this delay decisive for getting stuck in the Russian winter.

The attack on Russia

In general, the attack on Russia on June 22, 1941 is considered to be another madness of Hitler, who was guided by his concept of the "Teutonic train to the east" already announced in "Mein Kampf". Now that the Russian archives become accessible to researchers, some historians take the view that Hitler was only a few weeks ahead of a Russian attack on Germany that had already been prepared. *)

With the expansion of the war on many fronts - on the Canal, in the Atlantic, in the Mediterranean and in North Africa against England; in the east against Russia; in the Balkans and in the conquered eastern regions against partisans - the forces of the German armies were overwhelmed. The inevitable defeat began on December 6, 1941 outside Moscow. It was sealed when Hitler declared war on the USA on December 11, 1941, immediately after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7th. The European war had become a world war. It is true that in 1942 German troops once again gained major territorial gains in Russia. But in January 1943 the Stalingrad Army had to surrender, and from now on it only went backwards. The "Reich" was worn down by air strikes and crushed by offensives on all sides. 

Madness to the point

National Socialism, however, retained its total rule over Germany to the bitter end. Brutal reprisals and even the war goal proclaimed by the Allies, the "unconditional surrender" ("unconditional surrender", a catchphrase from the American Civil War of 1861-65), made it possible for German propaganda to make the German people believe that it was in the event of defeat, the threat of annihilation. There was therefore no “second stab in the back”, as allegedly in 1918, the fight was continued “to the end”. In May 1945 the whole of Germany was occupied, and no one could say that the war might still have been won if ...

The losses from this war were terrible; one speaks of 50 million deaths worldwide. These include 7 million murdered, especially Jews, in the concentration camps, 2 million fleeing German civilians (out of a total of 12 million expelled from their homeland).

The German cities were rubble, and industry stood still; one can speak of the worst devastation since the Thirty Years' War. All of Germany was under the military administration of four victorious powers; much of his land was lost and rebuilding seemed difficult, lengthy and unsafe.

Final grade:

*) Cf.: Hoffmann, Joachim: “Stalin's extermination war”, Herbig, Munich, 1999;
Suworow, Victor: "The Icebreaker", Klett, Stuttgart, 1989.
Also read the article under "Commemoration days": "A world historic day„.