The Dictatorial Leader of Germany in World War II
Adolf Hitler, the dictatorial leader of Germany in World War II, made many tragic mistakes that cost Germany the war and from gaining Lebensraum. Throughout the course of the war, Hitler has made many decisions that ultimately would not benefit the country as a whole like invading Russia. The Germans were easily beaten in Russia due to Blitzkrieg being delayed five weeks because of Hitler deciding to help his fellow friend Mussolini, prime minister of Italy, in Greece. This caused the ultimate defeat of Germany in the Soviet Union by the Red Army on December 1, 1941, at the southern end of the eastern front even though Hitler promised a quick victory over the Red Army. Not completely recognizing to what extent the defeat the Red Army handed them, Hitler and his generals saw this only as a temporary halt in German offensive operations. Japan, not wanting the United States Pacific Fleet to interfere with their planned military actions in Southeast Asia over territories of the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. I believe Hitler did not make the right move by attacking the United States right after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Hitler knew that the United States would need several years to rebuild its military forces and thought that an attack on the United States would be successful. Hitler should not have declared war on the United States because he misjudged the United States actions, the United States and Allied powers had more supplies/resources than the Germans/Axis Powers had, and the United States could now get around isolation laws.
Hitler decided to attack the United States on December 11, 1941, just four days after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor which caused over 2,000 men and almost 200 U.S aircraft were destroyed in the bombings. The United States army around this time only had had around had merely 460,000 military personnel in total compared to Germany which had many millions of soldiers at their disposal. Hitler knew that the United States needed time in order to restore their troops. Even though operation Barbarossa failed to capture Moscow due to more resistance than the Germans had expected and weather conditions, Hitler believed that he could get his soldiers to hold on and wait until spring that his soldiers could survive the setback. Hitler believed that because of the Japanese bombings in Pearl Harbor that the United States would not be able to send their support and troops to Britain to stop the Germans in Europe. The United States who were allied with the Soviet Union also gave resources and supplies to ensure their victory over Germany. Hitler should not have declared war on the United States because it is what ultimately what cost him from gaining Lebensraum and global domination. Hitler was known as a man who did not trust anyone but himself and followed this belief of his when he decided to attack the United States just four days after Pearl Harbor happened. Hitler falsely assumed that the Japanese would help Hitler with the war against the Soviets but they did not which led to the Germans being defeated and not being able to take control of Moscow. Hitler thought that the United States would be too involved in the Pacific dealing with Japan to deal with the battles taking place on the European front but instead “Roosevelt, as U.S Commander-in-Chief… directed nearly 90 percent of America’s military resources” toward defeating Hitler and Germany instead of Japan (Herwig). Hitler foolishly declared war against the United States calling it a “mongreloid nation” though secretly Hitler feared the powerful nation and their forces. According to the Tripartite Pact Germany was not obligated to declare war on America but instead just help Japan if they were attacked.
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A German official Minister von Ribbentrop understood this and tried to stall for time but Hitler did not like this and declared war. Hitler instead chose to “reverse his policy and join Japan” because he valued them as an ally (Trefousse). Hitler should not have declared war on the United States at this time. The United States during World War II was known as a powerhouse for the immense amount of military supplies and resources that they had. This is one of the reasons why Germany wanted to delay America joining the war as long as possible. They did this so that they can produce more military weapons, tanks, guns, etc to try to defeat the United States even though Hitler declared war early as he thought war with the United States was inevitable. Hindenburg stated that “We fully expect war with America and have made all preparations for it” showing that they would fight with America (Herwig). The United States was part of the Allied powers with the Soviet Union and they provided many resources to them through their lend-lease act. This allowed the United States to essentially give weapons and resources to the Soviets and take other resources the Soviets had like oil in return. The lend-lease act effectively gave Russia the planes, tanks, weapons, etc that they needed in order to stop Germany from taking over Moscow and changing the course of the war. This provided nearly “20 [percent] of the total number of armoured vehicles” that Russia had in the war (Kretaner). Even more important the “USA alone provided the Russians with 501,660 tactical wheeled and tracked vehicles” which helped the Soviets slow the Germans progress (Kretaner). Overall, the allied powers now had more tanks, aircraft, and supplies due to Hitler declaring war on the United States. This also ultimately cost him from taking over Moscow and gaining his needed Lebensraum for Germany.
After the Great Depression and the tragic losses during World War I, the United States public wanted isolationism. This meant that they advocated for “non-entanglement” in international politics in European and Asian conflicts (American). During this period of isolationism, the United States did not participate in the troubling events in Europe. When President Roosevelt took office he felt that the United States needed “to participate more actively in international affairs” though the public felt the opposite (American). During the Nazi rise Roosevelt even more strongly felt the need to intervene but Congress “pushed through a series of Neutrality Acts” which helped to prevent American ships and citizens from being involved in the conflict (American). Only in 1941 when Japan bombed Pearl Harbor did the majority of the American public feel that they needed to join the war on the side of the Allied powers and stop Hitler. Even strong isolationist supporters Charles Lindbergh and Herbert Hoover changed their opinion after Pearl Harbor was bombed to supporting the war effort. Hitler’s decision to declare war against America came after they decided to help the Allied powers which helped the Soviet Union defeat Germany. Additionally, America was able to get around all the laws they had in place to help their allies which is a contributing factor to Germany’s loss in the war. Hitler should have waited longer to declare war on America or not have declared war at all. Adolf Hitler made many mistakes throughout the course of the war but the decision to declare war on the United States may have been his most costly. His rash decision cost him from taking over the capital of Russia, Moscow, and from gaining the living space that he so desperately wanted for the Germans to have. Hitler was foolish in his decision to attack the United States believing that because of this the Japanese would help them defeat the Russians which they did not.
Additionally, Hitler believed that the Americans would focus their troops in the Pacific due to the Japanese bombings on Pearl Harbor. Instead, they put nearly 90 percent of their troops on the European front where Hitler least expected it. Furthermore, the United States and the Allied Powers, in general, had more supplies/resources than the Germans/Axis Powers had and were able to defeat them through a variety of ways. Through the lend-lease act, the Americans were able to give much-needed resources to the Russians which helped them to stop the Germans from taking over Moscow and potentially changing the outcome of the war. Hitler’s decision to declare war on America after they intervened in the war contributed to why Hitler and Germany failed to win the war. Additionally, America was then able to help the Allied Powers, more specifically, the Soviet Union which prevented Germany from taking control of Moscow. Hitler should not have declared war on America when he did even though he thought war on America was inevitable. Overall, Hitler choosing to declare war on the United States right after the Pearl Harbor bombings cost him from winning the war and global domination.