Nazi Foreign Policy, 1933-1941: The Road to Global War

Nazi Foreign Policy, 1933-1941: The Road to Global War

Nazi Foreign Policy, 1933-1941: The Road to Global War

Nazi Foreign Policy, 1933-1941: The Road to Global War


How did the Second World War come about? Nazi Foreign Policy, 1933-1941 provides lucid answers to this complex question. Focusing on the different regions of Nazi policy such as Italy, France and Britain, Christian Leitz explores the diplomatic and political developments that led to the outbreak of war in 1939 and its transformation into a global conflict in 1941. Nazi Foreign Policy, 1933-1941 details the history of Nazi Germany's foreign policy from Hitler's inauguration as Reich Chancellor to the declaration of war by America in 1941. Christian Leitz gives equal weight to the attitude and actions of the Nazi regime and the perspectives and reactions of the world both before and during the war.


Nazi foreign policy, in the sense of the Reich’s foreign relations within the international community, was, in fact, something secondary, its function was to serve something different. National Socialist foreign policy, according to Hitler, was preparation for war and war itself.

In recent years, a bitter debate has evolved which continues to preoccupy historians and the media alike. Reduced to its most simple denominator the question under discussion is which of the two most murderous dictators ever, Hitler or Stalin, was, in fact, more murderous than the other? More broadly, the question focuses on a comparison of two ideological systems, National Socialism and Communism. Le Livre noir du communisme—the book that has stirred this debate more than any other publication—scrutinises, in fact, not just the crimes of Stalinism, but of all Communist regimes of the twentieth century.

To a near-obnoxious extent, the discussion has become a numbers game. Too frequently, the strongest emphasis is put upon the question of who, or which system, was responsible for the greater number of deaths—and was thus more atrocious than the other. In these calculations Communism usually comes out as ‘more deadly’, even ‘far more deadly’ when prominence is given to the 6 million Jews killed in the Holocaust and not to the many other victims of Nazi war and terror. This was clearly demonstrated during the heated discussions that surrounded Le Livre noir du communisme and, more recently, over the publication of Martin Amis’s book Koba the Dread. In the latter case, a direct juxtaposition of Stalin’s 20 million victims (the figure accepted by Amis and Robert Conquest) and Hitler’s 6 million (Jewish) victims was, in fact, established.

However, authors who emphasise the numbers of victims to underline the results of Soviet repression and terror usually also admit that, despite the numbers, Nazism continues to stand out precisely because of the . . .

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