German Success in WWII: How could they have been successful? What did they have to offer the European Nations?Adolf Hitler dreamed of "A Thousand Year Reich" - would this have ever been possible?

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larrygates eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The above post fails to take into account an important element of European history; namely the concept of Balance of Power. No single power dominated Europe since the Roman Empire. Several, including Napoleon, attempted to do so before Hitler. Hitler had nothing to offer the people of Europe, nor did he even attempt to offer them anything; he believed that he could incorporate them into the German sphere for no other reason than to provide Liebensraum ["living space"] for the German people. However, as had been the case before, the very fact that he attempted to dominate large portions of Europe, beginning with his invasion of Poland, led other European powers to ally against him. His efforts were doomed before they ever began. Hitler's dream of a "thousand year reich" was exactly that--a dream. Hitler was famous for grandiose ideas, the details of which he left to others. This was one such idea.


pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that Hitler could have had a much greater chance at creating a Thousand Year Reich if he hadn't insisted on it being so big.  If Hitler would have foregone the invasion of the Soviet Union, he could have had an empire that would have stretched from his half of Poland, up through Denmark and Norway, and all the way to France in the West.  He would have had no enemies on the continent except for (to some extent) the Soviet Union.

If he had defeated all of the West and then not turned East, he might have succeeded.  He might have had a situation where England's only choices for allies would have been Germany or Soviet Russia.  England might well have chosen Germany if that had been the situation.  Germany could then have been the center of an empire (and alliances) that encompassed all of Western Europe.

wannam eNotes educator| Certified Educator
While Hitler's ideas are often repulsive to us today, he was very charismatic in his time. He offered a dream and a unity to people. Unfortunately, this unity came at a great price to some while it offered others great opportunities. Hitler might have been more successful if he had hidden his anti semitic goals a little more. Many people were unaware of what was happening to the Jews and the others that were sent to the camps. If no one had known what was really going on, the course of history might have been different. Of course, I have to agree with the above posts as well that Hitler set his sights a little to high. Had he kept his dream of ruling a little smaller and invaded less countries, he might have been more successful.
brettd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In order to avoid the mistakes Hitler made in World War II, such as invading the Soviet Union and declaring war on the United States, someone else would have to have been leading Germany, and who knows what that state would have looked like or done in terms of expansion and the war.  If somehow Hitler had been less out of touch with reality and his own capabilities, he may have been able to hold on to his military gains to that point and made it nearly impossible in the near term to liberate Europe from his control.  This would be doubly tragic for the nations he had occupied, as he offered them nothing, and took everything.

accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I kind of agree with #5. One of the strengths and, at the time time, weaknesses of Germany was its leader, and on the one hand his tremendous vision and drive, but on the other hand the way that this resulted in overconfidence and the fighting of two wars on two separate fronts that overstretched German forces and was one of the principal reasons for Germany's defeat. However, if Germany didn't have such a leader, would dreams of re-establishing the Reich have ever been initiated in such a way? Often the greatest strength of somebody can also be their Achilles heel.

bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I agree with portions of the two previous posts. Hitler had little to offer the European nations he conquered; he merely took them by force. His biggest mistake was trying to conquer Russia, and the winter campaign against Stalingrad decimated his armies on the Eastern front. His decision to declare war against the United States following Pearl Harbor was another mistake, since he might have avoided a U. S.-led invasion had he kept the sleeping giant out of the war.

Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It seems unlikely that Hitler could have succeeded, or succeeded for long, as there were longstanding differences of opinion between the French peoples and the German. With France having a deep-seated psychological preference for freedom, as epitomized by the French Revolution, it seems likely that a Resistance would have overthrown his plan for a thousand year bliss.

docsheng | Student

BTW, there is also this little jewel:

And this:

But still... the right strategy would've been to wait and see. Then Germany could've been the victim of aggression rather than the aggressor...

I guess Hitler's main problem is that he read too much history....

docsheng | Student

How could Germany have been successful in World War II?

By consolidating their gains instead of attacking Poland. The rest of the world was suffering from the Great Depression and they were eager to believe anything that Hitler told them. He should have told them 'happy things'.

What did Germany have to offer Europe?

Germany's plan for Europe was almost the same as has already happened. They wanted a united Europe.

They wanted to be the leader of the European Union. And would have developed a force like NATO. They wanted a stable currency (like the Euro)...

Basically, they were offering Europe a 50 year jump on history... Had Hitler been patient he could have achieved all of his goals politically...

Bottom-line: World War II was a waste of time, energy and resources. Where Europe is today it could have been there in 1950 - without 78 million lives being lost!

Of course, the big corporations wouldn't have made such huge profits, and Europe would probably be over-populated by now....

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