World War II: How it all began

On September 1, 1939 Germany attacked Poland. No, this war did not start all of a sudden. Adolf Hitler made no secret of his invasion plans - even if at times the "Führer," as he himself put it, "ran a pacifist record."

War Was Always There

Hitler had been preparing for war since he came to power in 1933.

War against the opposition and the Jews

The Versailles Peace Treaty of June 28, 1919, held Germany and its allies fully responsible for starting World War I, and obliged the country to make reparations, disarm and reduce the size of the German army. Germany had to give up a number of territories in favor of France, Belgium and Poland. From Hitler's point of view, this was an act of national humiliation, to be "corrected" as soon as possible.

  • The National Socialists willingly propagated the legend of the "stab in the back”
  • All the blame for the defeat of the Germans in World War I was placed on the "inner enemy": the Jews and the Social Democrats.
  • Only days after they came to power in 1933, the Nazis organized the first all-German boycott of stores owned by Jews.

Prevention from Civil Service

This action was followed by the Gesetz zur Wiederherstellung des Berufsbeamtentums (Restoration of Civil Servant Status), a regulation forbidding citizens of Jewish descent in particular from civil service.Even before the open robberies began, the state was exerting pressure on Jewish businessmen. And even the Nazis sought to profit from the mass exodus of Jews from Germany by requiring everyone who left to pay 25 percent of the value of their property to the treasury. During the first two years of Nazi rule, this provided the Third Reich's coffers with an inflow of 153 million Reichmarks.

  • Most Germans saw Hitler as, if not the messiah, then certainly the savior of the nation.
  • For many, the dictatorship provided a better financial situation. Unemployment went down, consumption went up.
  • Hitler was too experienced a populist not to understand that the people needed not only guns but also oil.
  • There was oil. But the main goal was still the guns.

In 1936, the entire sports world gathered in Berlin for the Olympics.

And Hitler continued to implement his militaristic plans: in four years, according to his calculations, the Wehrmacht was to prepare for war in the east.

The 4-year Plan

The classified document entitled "Instructions to the Four-Year Plan" ("Denkschrift zum Vierjahresplan") contained specific instructions. One of the main points was the creation of an autarky - a closed German economy, independent of world processes, aimed at arms production.

September 1938: the war is postponed, but not cancelled

In 1938, Hitler carried out the "Anschluss" by incorporating his homeland, Austria, into Germany. Soon he threatened to invade Czechoslovakia, ostensibly concerned about discrimination against the Sudeten Germans. British and French politicians feared a war that could engulf all of Europe and tried to pursue a policy of appeasement, hoping that Hitler would be pacified by obtaining part of Czechoslovakia. The Munich Agreement, drafted on September 29, 1938 and signed by British Prime Minister Chamberlain, French Prime Minister Daladier, Italian Prime Minister Benito Mussolini and Hitler, secured the annexation of the Sudetenland to Germany.