The origins of the Second World War lay in and with Germany. This book has therefore in one sense a simple task: to explain German policies which led to war. But a moment’s thought shows that is far from simple. Hitler and the origins of the Second World War or the Third Reich and the origins of the Second World War could be dealt with as an essay in policy making.1 But Germany and the origins of the Second World War introduces another, much larger and more obscure picture. Why were the German people prepared to follow Hitler and the Nazis into war, and not just the European War which broke out in 1939 but the world war which followed after 1941? For if Hitler had not been able to secure the support or at least the consent of civil servants, the military, industry, the judiciary, the universities, the churches and the great mass of ordinary people who fought and died, there would have been no war.
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