Wednesday, March 07, 2012

The Mark Weber Report: Some Myths About the Origin of World War II

Much of what we’re told about the how World War II began is misleading, distorted or just plain untrue. It’s often claimed, for example, that after taking power Hitler moved quickly to build a large army and air force to conquer Europe. In fact, and as reputable scholars have quietly acknowledged, Third Reich rearmament in the years before the outbreak of war in 1939 was remarkably modest. Hitler neither wanted nor planned for a major war. He sincerely sought peace with Britain and France. His main motive in attacking Poland was to secure freedom and basic rights for the Germans of the city-state of Danzig, and safety and freedom for the increasingly dispossessed and persecuted minority ethnic Germans of Poland. The British and French declarations of war against Germany, which were secretly encouraged by US President Roosevelt, transformed the limited German-Polish conflict into a major, European-wide war.

Click here to listen.

1 comment:

Joe McGrath said...

I haven't listened to the audio provided yet, but a few things here are dubious.

First, the consensus of historians is not that Hitler started WW2 with an eye towards conquering Europe; in fact it is quite the opposite and it is widely held and taught that Hitler was confident that France and Britain were paper tigers and that the war with Poland would not become a wider war, despite the fact that France and Britain had sworn to defend Poland.

Hitler was probably as stunned by Britain and France upholding their commitment to defend Poland as he was by his easy defeat of France.

He did speak of expanding eastward in "Mein Kampf", but few historians interpret this as something he envisioned happening in his lifetime at the time he wrote it.