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Nazism, War and GenocideNew Perspectives on the History of the Third Reich$
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Neil Gregor

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780859897457

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9780859897457.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 16 September 2021

Did Hitler Miss his Chance in 1940?

Did Hitler Miss his Chance in 1940?

(p.110) 7 Did Hitler Miss his Chance in 1940?
Nazism, War and Genocide

Ian Kershaw

Liverpool University Press

This chapter examines the decision-making processes right at the top of the Third Reich in relation to Nazi foreign policy, with emphasis on the policy options of Adolf Hitler and the military leadership during the era of ‘strategic vacillation’ following the defeat of France in June 1940. It considers the overarching ideological imperative that drove Nazi Germany's foreign policy, as well as the decisions that had to be made on the basis of military and strategic necessity. In particular, the chapter shows how the navy tried to convince Hitler of the desirability of the ‘peripheral’ strategy, which was based on defeating Britain by challenging it in the Mediterranean in hopes of weakening its hold on the Empire. It suggests that Hitler was only interested in the ‘peripheral’ strategy as a means of preparing for the attack on the Soviet Union, and that the pursuit of this strategy was rendered impossible by diplomatic considerations — centred on the impossibility of balancing out the competing interests of France, Italy, and Spain in the Mediterranean.

Keywords:   foreign policy, Third Reich, Adolf Hitler, France, Nazi Germany, navy, peripheral strategy, Britain, Mediterranean, Soviet Union

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