Adolf Hitler (1889-1945) was the leader of Germany during the Second World War and before, from 1933 to 1945. Just like Napoleon he tried to take over Europe but was unable to defeat Russia and Britain and lost in the end.
Hitler wanted to take over the world. With the master race, the Aryans, on his side – and the Jews killed off – Germany could rule the world. He wrote about it in the 1920s in his book “Mein Kampf” when he was a nobody. It is frightening how far he got.
By the end of 1941 Hitler had control of Europe from France to the Ukraine. By the end of the war he had killed three Jews in eight in his death camps, most of the Gypsies of Europe along with at least 4 million others.
In the 1930s he armed Germany and took over one country after another. He sensed that Britain, France and America would do nothing till it was too late. This seemed mad to his generals, but he was right.
Having lost over a million men in the First World War, too many in France and Britain thought that peace was the answer. If they had stood up to Hitler early on, they could have prevented a second world war and the death of millions more.
Hitler was particularly interested in taking the lands to the east for Germany at the expense of the Poles and Russians, whom he regarded as lesser beings – clearly not of the master race like himself. He hated communism, a second reason to make war on Russia.
As a leader he charmed the masses and murdered those who got in his way. As a good judge of men and history, few were his equal.
But he did make mistakes:
- He thought Chamberlain, the British prime minister in the late 1930s, was a fool, that if he broke his promises to him he would do nothing.
- He did not know when to cut his losses, leading to needless destruction of his forces, like in Stalingrad and Tunisia.
- He lacked patience to let an approach play out. He unknowingly had both Britain and Russia on their knees and then suddenly changed course.
- At the end he wanted to fight to the last everywhere, despite the advice of his generals. His generals knew this would divide Germany’s strength and make defeat certain.
- At the end he pushed all his divisions out to the front, keeping nothing back in reserve that could swiftly move to where it was needed. France had made the very same mistake in 1940. It appears Hitler did not take notes.
He also had a very poor understanding of sea power which meant he did not know how to cut Britain’s throat.
Hitler knew that an atom bomb was possible but did not build one: by the time it would be ready he would have already won or lost. He was right: the American bomb was not ready till after his defeat.