Ernst Nolte in his Die Epoche des Faschismus writes that Hitler undoubtedly in principle had wanted war ‘but hardly that war at that time’,2meaning the war of 1939. This somewhat muddled thesis conceals two distinct issues, namely the argument that in 1939 contingencies were not entirely to Hitler’s liking and the argument that in 1939 contingencies were so little to his liking that we must conclude that Hitler took no conscious steps to risk a general war. Few would question the first argument, it is the second which is in need of further examination. Did Hitler in 1939 set out on a premeditated course towards war with Poland and with France and Britain as Walter Hofer implies;3 or was his aim confined to war with Poland exclusively? Or, last but not least, while accepting the risk of war with Poland, were his diplomatic manoeuvres calculated to repeat Munich all over again?
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- Hitler and the Origins of the Second World War: Second Thoughts on the Status of Some of the Documents
H. W. Koch
- Macmillan Education UK
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