What Role Did Adolf Hitler Play In World War 2

Origins and Early Ideologies

Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and Chancellor of the Third Reich from 1933 to 1945. Before taking office, Hitler had been a decorated veteran of World War I, and was a passionate advocate of German nationalism and anti-Semitism. His extreme positions on many issues generated controversy and public outrage. He particularly blamed Jews and communists for the Treaty of Versailles, which had imposed restrictions and punishment on Germany after World War I. Hitler’s transformation of Germany into a totalitarian and militaristic state through his rise to power led directly to World War II.
Hitler’s early ideologies were largely derived from the works of certain German philosophers and officials in correlation with German National Socialism principles. Hitler was highly influenced by the theories espoused by 19th-century German antisemitic authors such as Houston Stewart Chamberlain and Paul de Lagarde. He widely read the German nationalist Alfred Rosenberg’s The Myth of the Twentieth Century, which described a racial struggle between Aryans and Jews. From these and other writers, Hitler adopted the concept of the superiority of an Aryan master race, a concept similar to the Nazi Party’s swastica.

Decision to Invade Poland

Hitler was determined to achieve German domination of Europe and believed that war was the only way to attain his objectives. He and other German officials began to spar with France and Great Britain over German power politics. On September 1, 1939, Hitler invaded Poland and with it, faced a coalition of the Allied powers in the Second World War. He initially sought to claim the Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia in an effort to create what he called “Greater Germany”. British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain and French Prime Minister Édouard Daladier met with Hitler in Munich in 1938 to attempt to placate him and resolve the Sudetenland matter peacefully.
This failed and resulted in the Nazi-Soviet Pact of August 1939, which stipulated that Germany and the Soviet Union would remain at peace with each other during the Second World War and that they would divide Poland between them. This agreement gave Hitler free reign to invade, giving him Eastern Europe and even more resources.

The Anschluss

Hitler began to further extend Nazi control over Europe by seizing the former Confederate state of Austria in 1938, they called it the Anschluss. Hitler convinced the Austrian Chancellor, Kurt von Schröder, to accept the Anschluss, claiming it as a matter of historical justice and German re-unification. Despite heavy opposition from France and Great Britain, the Anschluss went ahead. The incident demonstrated just how precarious European politics were at the time and how easily Hitler was able to manipulate the smaller countries.

Operation Barbarossa

In 1941, Hitler launched the largest land invasion in history when he ordered Operation Barbarossa. This involved over three million German troops invading the Soviet Union in an attempt to seize the southern mudflats and the oil-rich Caucuses region. The plan backfired however, and in spite of initial successes, the advancing armies were eventually pushed back to the banks of the Dniepr River. Nevertheless, Hitler’s dogged determination to purge Europe of Bolshevism made him decide to pour re-enforcements into the eastern front.

The Impact of World War II

Although Operation Barbarossa was an expensive failure, it had long-lasting consequences. Germany’s defeat in this conflict was the beginning of the end of the Nazi war machine. Following the large-scale defeats of its armies in the east, a final Allied invasion of France in 1944 led to the capitulation of Germany and the fall of the Third Reich.
The devastating effects of World War II are well-known and include the loss of life of more than 60 million people, the displacement of millions of people and the destruction of nations. It is estimated that the war left approximately 12 million German soldiers and 10 million civilian workers dead, with many more injured and scarred by the conflict.
Essentially, the demise of Adolf Hitler and his regime marked the end of World War II, signalling the start of the Cold War and the nuclear arms race.

The Holocaust

The Third Reich also caused some of the most heinous acts of genocide in history. The systematic killing of approximately six million Jews, known as the Holocaust, is undoubtedly one of the most well-known atrocities of World War II. The Holocaust was directed primarily at the Jewish people in a bid to create an ethnically pure German “master race”.
The horrific murder of millions of innocent civilians in this manner has shocked the world and serves as a reminder of the consequences of racism, bigotry, and extremism. It has also come to be seen as a symbol of human resilience and as a catalyst to bring about significant changes in international laws and human rights legislation.


Adolf Hitler’s legacy will continue to remain a part of history for many years to come. He is remembered for his single-minded determination in wage campaigns of terror and destruction that left a dark stain on modern history. His reign was founded on much violence – followed by much suffering for all of Europe.
At the same time, historians continue to recognize the ideological, social and economic tenets of the Nazi regime, and the statecraft it brought to Germany. His rise to power had lasting implications for the world that continue to shape our modern-day sense of ethnic, racial and religious identities.

Final Years and Death

As the Allies advanced, Hitler enacted scorched-earth tactics, ordering mass destruction in Germany. When the Allies began to march on Berlin,

Elizabeth Baker is an experienced writer and historian with a focus on topics related to famous world dictators. She has over 10 years of experience researching, writing, and editing history books and articles. Elizabeth is passionate about uncovering lost stories from the past and sharing interesting facts about some of the most notorious dictators in history. In her writing, she emphasizes how dictators can still affect modern-day politics and society. She currently lives in Seattle, Washington where she continues to write and research for her latest projects.

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