Non-Aggression Pact and Stalin’s Speech

In 1939, Germany and the Soviet Union signed a non-aggression pact that paved the way for WWII. Some of the provisions in the pact included a ban on aggression or violence between the two countries, information dealing with the interests of both countries was to be exchanged, and disputes were to be settled through “friendly exchange …or through the establishment of arbitration commissions.” This pact had benefits for both parties. Stalin recognized that his army was not strong enough to stand up against the German military, and his country was not in the economic position to go to war.… Read the rest here

Nazism

Hitler outlines the platform of the National German’s German Workers Party, which eventually becomes the Nazi Party, in a speech delivered to 2,000 people on February 24, 1920. Hitler outlined the goals of his newly renamed party, and true to it’s socialist roots, many points of the platform are extremely socialist. For example, Hitler called for equal rights for all citizens, profit-sharing from large industries, and increases in retirement pensions. In addition, he wanted public education of poor students, as well as maternity welfare centers.… Read the rest here

Keynes and the Treaty of Versailles

In reading the “Treaty of Versailles,” it becomes clear that the idea behind the treaty was to limit the powers and territories of Germany and have them surrender during the Great War; making them go from a very powerful country to a very weak country in the blink of an eye.  In his piece titled “The Economic Consequences of the Peace,”, English economist John Maynard Keynes spoke to the negative effects that the Versailles settlement would have on the nation of Germany. … Read the rest here

Mussolini: His Own Worst Enemy

Mussolini could talk the talk, but could he walk the walk? Simply put, no, he couldn’t. Mussolini’s Fascist diplomacy regarding his foreign and military policies exposed his true character and his illusions towards Italy’s true power and the relationship he maintained with Hitler. Pride remained Mussolini’s Achilles heel. Repeatedly, he ignored the word of his economic and political advisers to save the face of Fascism in the prewar period. Obsessed with prestige, Mussolini invaded and colonized Ethiopia to glorify Italy in the international community and perhaps gain the respect from Hitler and other European powers he thought Italy deserved.… Read the rest here

Mussolini’s Italy

Clark’s chapter, “Fascist Diplomacy and Fascist War” was highly critical of Mussolini and his policies. He was described as “erratic”, obsessed with himself, and failing at every diplomatic attempt.1 Mussolini tried to outwit France, Great Britain, and Germany, all to his failure. He underestimated Hitler, and suffered as a result. Initially, Hitler supported Italy through the war, but the shipments of coal and military supplies were not sufficient. The people of Italy not only lost their sons, husbands and fathers, but many at home faced bombings and starvation.… Read the rest here

Understanding the Holocaust

In”Hitler and the Holocaust,” Ian Kershaw begins his historiography stating,

“Explaining the Holocaust stretches the historian to the limits in the central task of providing rational explanation of complex historical developments. Simply to pose the question of how a highly cultured and economically advanced modern state could ‘carry out the systematic murder of a whole people for no reason other than they were Jews’ suggests a scale of irrationality scarcely susceptible to historical understanding.” (Kershaw, Ian.

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A Twisted Path or Straight Path?

In Kershaw’s “Hitler and the Holocaust,” the main idea posses the question of interpreting Hitler and his relation to the ‘Final Solution’.  According to Kershaw there are two types of interpretation: ‘intention’ and ‘structure’.  Intentionalists believe Hitler fully intended to eliminate the Jews by created an elaborate plan, known as the Final Solution, in which was the central goal of Hitler’s dictatorship.  In contrast, structuralists believe Hitler played a minimal role in creating the Final Solution, instead it was the bureaucracy who were unable to agree on a single idea on how to eliminate Jews, creating lots of chaos.… Read the rest here

The Racial Paradigm: Hitler and the Holocaust

Both Stargardt and Kershaw discuss Hitler’s leadership style. Each specifically discusses Hitler’s leadership as it relates to the extermination of the Jewish population in Germany, or the Final Solution. Kershaw discusses Hitler’s leadership style as a bottom-up approach. Stargardt similarly argues that Hitler relied on local leaders to implement his policies.

It is commonly known that Hitler had his inner-circle of advisors whom he relied on for advice and implementation. However, both articles brought up the racial issue that was central to Hitler’s regime.… Read the rest here

Intentionalist v. Structuralist and the Final Solution

Both Nicholas Stargardt’s “The Holocaust” and Ian Kershaw’s “Hitler and the Holocaust,” address the various interpretations surrounding Hitler and his ideology, and how (and to what extent) this translated into the “Final Solution,” the mass extermination of the Jewish people in the name of achieving an ideal race. The two main categories of classification for scholars studying this topic include “intentionalist” versus “structuralist” responses.

Also referred by Kershaw as “Hitlerism,” intentionalists believe that Hitler was at the forefront of anti-Semitic ideology and its execution.… Read the rest here