“There are some truths which are so obvious that for this very reason they are not seen or at least not recognized by ordinary people. ” Hitler’s deft understanding of emotional rhetoric gave him the necessary political power to achieve a more united Germany – even though his methods necessitated destroying every source of opposition. As the supreme ruler of Germany, Hitler was well-known for his ruthlessness toward any dissenters. Conversely, Hitler rewarded his supporters. After the Great War and before Hitler became Fuhrer, Germany faced a time of depressed economic growth, high inflation and immense unemployment rates.
Thus, Hitler was able to capitalize on Germany’s panic. Even though Hitler’s crawl to fame was slow, once he gained notoriety, he rose to power rapidly, and his anti-Marxist attitude and military prowess received wide acclaim. Even though Hitler’s military career assisted in creating significant progress for his campaigns, historians have greatly criticized some of his unsuccessful military actions, namely his “stop” order at Dunkirk and his “no retreat” policy at Stalingrad.
Although, Hitler was a genius at persuading the public to follow his agenda; his confidence often led him to unnecessary brashness in military campaigns, which ultimately led to his defeat in World War II. Upon examining how Hitler came to power and analyzing how he maintained his influence, most historians credit Hitler’s skills in public speaking, but how did this man from Austria-Hungary come to wield a silver tongue? During the late 1910s, Hitler quickly became a masterful speaker through much practice in his famous Beer Hall speeches, and gained connections and funding from the famous playwright, Dietrich Eckart. ” Eckart facilitated the beginning of Hitler’s rise to power. Subsequently, Hitler gained many followers in the successive years even after the failure of his attempted coup, the Beer Hall Putsch. Most notably, during his time in jail for the Beer Hall Putsch coup attempt, Hitler wrote his autobiography, Mein Kampf.
His autobiography reflected his newly gained domineering self-confidence with such statements as: “Generally speaking a man should not publicly take part in politics before he has reached the age of thirty, though, of course, exceptions must be made in the case of those who are naturally gifted with extraordinary political abilities. ” Hitler thought of himself as a naturally gifted individual while ignoring how he obtained his aforementioned “political abilities” in the first place. Nevertheless, his arrogance only helped him win the hearts of Germans because they saw Hitler as the outsider that Germany needed.
Inflation running rampant, losing land in Sudetendland, and a war-torn country were the elements Hitler utilized to change the Germanic monarchy to the Government of Nazi Germany. Even though Hitler rose to power quickly, he needed to maintain his grip on the German people whenever and however he could. Hitler pioneered the art of propaganda with new tools of the 20th century. “With the help of his top aide, Joseph Goebbels, Hitler was one of the first politicians to utilize a vast array of technology to help spread his propaganda such as radio broadcasts, flyers, and public address systems to keep the constantly public aware.
Coupled with Hitler’s talent for speeches and his ability to make connections, propaganda became his main tool to repress strife. The messages that he spread included a destiny for a Hitler led Germany. This destiny hinged on convincing the Germans of the importance of “lebensraum”, which means the need for more living space. Hitler believed the Germans were suffering because they needed more land to provide a greater food supply. His most notable and notorious propaganda campaign demonized the Jews, which caused the Holocaust. “In many other countries, people are also beginning to wake up and see through the Jewish plans for domination.
Hitler did not target the Jews for any strategic purpose, he simply believed that the Jews were the cause of many problems throughout Germany. For example, Hitler told thee Germans that “Throughout history the poets and philosophers, the leaders of industry and science, the leading lights of art and culture, statesmen and economists whose blood was not infected by the Jews, have warned against the Jew in every century. They proclaimed openly and clearly what he is: the plague. ” Furthermore, his antisematic views were so obscene that he even went to great lengths to “cleanse” Germany of more than six million Jews.
Because Jews were not part of Hitler’s grand design of what Germany should be, he had them removed in droves. Most importantly, he had no great strategic design for killing the Jews, and the holocaust added no value to Hitler’s other political goals. His obnoxious personal beliefs clouded his judgment and prevented him from achieving lebensraum. Hitler’s irrational views of the Jews had a vastly negative affect on his military campaigns. Rather than approaching problems in a logical manner, Hitler assembled facts but relied primarily on his personal intuition when making decisions..
There were times his intuition was correct, such as when he militarized the Rhineland and violated the Treaty of Versailles. The move was audacious and provoked France, Britain and other strong European countries. However, these countries were too afraid to respond in a proper manner because World War I was fresh in everyone’s minds, and they were not ready to fight another costly war. Hitler capitalized on this fear and swayed these European countries to allow Germany to do as it pleased. Nevertheless, the Dunkirk “stop” order became one of the most debated decisions in the history of World War II.
The Dunkirk stop order was “issued in the last days of May 1940 which allowed the British Expeditionary Force (over 338,226 men including 26,176 French) to escape from Dunkirk. ” Hitler issued the order at the time because there was little to no resistance as his armies marched further into France. “The Fuhrer concluded that advancing from Dunkirk into the Flanders marshes was much too dangerous based on his experience as a soldier in World War I. ” Due to Hitler’s past knowledge, he was hesitant to proceed further with his precious panzer tanks into the Flanders marshes.
This hesitation and his inevitable stop order could be considered a good decision if not for some unforeseen consequences. Chiefly, Hitler tried to pursue the large British Expeditionary Force with Marshal Hermann Goering’s Luftwaffe, an aerial warfare branch of Nazi Germany. Letters between Goering and Hitler show Goering successfully assuring Hitler that the Luftwaffe would be able to hamper the British Expeditionary Force without the help of ground forces. This order might seem like a good strategy to some, yet Hitler did not consider the opinions of his generals who were leading the ground forces.
When the Dunkirk stop order was sent to commanding officers, there was no reasoning behind it; thus, generals were perplexed because their advance to eliminate the British forces was going so well. The order contained only this in its message: “Dunkirk is to be left to the Luftwaffe. ” Hitler was much too easily persuaded by Goering’s belief that the Luftwaffe could bomb the British Expeditionary Force into submission. Goering desperately wanted to prove the Luftwaffe’s merit as a newly formed branch of the German military, which dismayed many of the top brass on the front lines.
Furthermore, using air superiority was much less practical in eradicating enemy troops. This is a primary example of Hitler following his emotional intuition instead of relying on logical facts. On October 14, 1942, Hitler released the Stalingrad “No Retreat” Policy. “Every leader down to squad leader must be convinced of his sacred duty to stand fast come what may even if the enemy outflanks him on the right and left, even if his part of the line is cut off, encircled, overrun by tanks, enveloped in smoke or gassed. ”
This rder essentially meant that any soldiers who retreated would be considered deserters and court martialed for their cowardice. Hitler levied this order toward the soldiers at Stalingrad because of previous experience in a similar battle at Moscow. During the Battle of Moscow, Hitler went against the advice of his generals because he believed retreating would be a grave mistake. Hitler was right in opposing the general’s views and continuing the assault. German soldiers were resupplied by the end of winter and, at the time, the assault was going better than expected.
Unfortunately, Hitler’s new, more stringent policy to stop any retreat whatsoever restrained officers from using retreats as a tactical tool. For instance, General Friedrich Paulus pleaded with Hitler to retreat while the troops still had a chance to leave Stalingrad. As Soviets surrounded and enclosed Paulus’s men, it became apparent that his troops were out of ammunition and food. Paulus had no able-bodied men. Accordingly, over 90,000 Germans were taken prisoner a few days later after Paulus had no choice but to surrender.
If Hitler had allowed Paulus to tactically retreat from the enemy, there would have been a chance Paulus and those 90,000 Germans would have been able to fight another day. Once again, Hitler let his emotions dominate his decision making causing him to lose Stalingrad to the Soviets. Hitler showed prowess in wooing the large crowds whenever he took the stage; still, his assurance of himself in military decisions contributed to Germany loss. As can be seen by Hitler’s emotional determination and his selfabsorbed personality, his egoism places his own self-interests above the self-interests of Germany’s citizens.
Admittedly, Hitler and his concerns did naturally appeal to the German people most of the time. For example, lebensraum played a large role in making Hitler’s cause for war righteous. And when German citizens did not normally accept that Jews were the root of many economic issues, Hitler brainwashed German citizens to believe almost anything. The tenacity of Hitler’s command cannot be neglected either. “His phenomenal memory and keen eye for detail enhanced his ability to comprehend technical matters and problems with armaments. ” Deficiencies in Hitler’s rule, notwithstanding, exceeded his strengths.