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Germany's Early Success in World War II

Accounting for Germany's Early Success in World War II

Though Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich had made it quite clear to most astute observers in the early 1930s that Germany was intent upon regaining ground lost economically, politically, and militarily after Germany's defeat in World War I, the quick series of decisive victories achieved by the resurgent German military in 1939 and 1940 were nevertheless a stunning surprise (Parker, 1989). In relatively short order Germany invaded and conquered, Poland, Norway, the Low Countries, and France, establishing itself in 1939 and 1940 as the dominant hegemon in Western Europe with a foot firmly planted in the East (Bullock, 1991). In this report, it will be argued that the success enjoyed by Germany in these early military campaigns was due to four key factors: technological advantages, leadership policies, a lack of preparedness and response capability on the part of German targets, and the tacit collusion of the Soviet Union and its leader Josef Stalin.

Prior to World War II, Hitler focused on the rearming of Germany รป a task involving both mobilization of once defunct military units and the deployment of new technologies (Tolischus, 1969). The economic mobilization beginning in the early 1930s in Germany after Hitler came to power included both a planned economy and the placing of the entire German economy under military command. As early as 1938, observers of Germany's new economy and its totalitarian military mobilization commented that by rearming Germany and creating a military economy or Wehrwirtschaft, Hitler was clearly announcing his plans to embark on an expansion program (Tolischus, 1969). In creating new tanks, turbine engine driven airplanes, and other vehicles and weaponry, Hitler's pre-war economic machine reduced Germany's dependence on strategic metals and capitalized upon emergent technologies to create a sophisticated military apparatus that was si...

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Germany's Early Success in World War II. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 14:09, May 29, 2020, from