1

In the book Hitler, a world biography of Brendan Simms, it is said that Hitler and Nazi leaders were fascinated by the "power of the anglo-saxon countries". It is also mentionned that this fascination came from the experience of WW1. However, I'm wondering where exactly in WW1 could this fascination come from?

I mean: of course, I know and understand why Hitler would have been impressed by UK and USA:

  • Industrial and especially naval power
  • Communality of the Anglo-Saxon "race"
  • Power of UK and rising power of the USA, with industrial and technical achievements
  • A comparative newer Germany and, though challenging, inferior because of the defeat of 1918

But I don't understand in what measure did WW1 specifically demonstrate the success of UK and USA better than the civilian period, before and after the war. Because my understanding is that WW1 showed to contemporaries a better Germany ("German army was not beaten at the front but betrayed and stabbed in the back", which was particularly a nazi propaganda thema) and an efficient France ("France having the best army in 1918" which led to 1940 disillusionment).

USA's achievements in WW1 are low in quantity compared to European nations, and UK's achievements have no "great victories", but mostly attrition battles, on the European front against the Germans (better achievements on the Middle-East front but were they that important in media by the time?). This is more about the Canadian and Australian achieving success at the Vimy ridge and at Villers-Cotteret.

So the question is:

  • Were the Nazis really impressed by Anglo-Saxon powers because of what they did in WW1?
  • If yes, which events lead them to be fascinated?
14
  • Sheer size if nothing else. The US Army in Europe was only a few hundred thousand at the end of the war, but was building up to a planned two million in 1919...without seriously straining the US. And the US had far more potential for growth than did Germany, meaning the "Anglo-Saxon" powers' dominance would only increase. (Bismark saw this coming; but his successors were not as wise.)
    – Mark Olson
    Aug 7, 2023 at 21:22
  • 6
    I don't suppose we can get the exact quote, with some context? It wouldn't make much sense for answerers to trust a paraphrase of a phrase from someone who admits to being confused by that phrase.
    – T.E.D.
    Aug 7, 2023 at 22:18
  • 5
    Also, reading through the author's bio, I'm not sure how far one should worry over the reasoning in a Hitler bio from a dude who called the man primarily anti-Capitalist, blamed Roosevelt (of all people!) for Kristallnacht, and blamed the UK for the Nazi invasion of Russia.
    – T.E.D.
    Aug 7, 2023 at 22:26
  • 1
    Amusingly, he also appears to think it would be a nifty idea for the EU to bring back the position of Holy Roman Emperor. (!)
    – T.E.D.
    Aug 7, 2023 at 22:34
  • 1
    @DevSolar this is only partially true, as by then he was promoted and suffered gas poisoning. Anyhow, as comforting it may be to denigrate the bad guys in all possible ways, it provides little insight into historical events.
    – Roger V.
    Aug 18, 2023 at 12:34

1 Answer 1

1

The (I assume the publishers) summery found here:

states:

Die Vereinigten Staaten und das Britische Empire galten Hitler als Vorbilder für ein deutsches Weltreich, das sich ebenfalls auf Landgewinn, Rassismus und Gewalt gründen sollte.

The United States and the British Empire were regarded by Hitler as models for a German world empire that was also to be based on territorial gain, racism and violence.

This statement is more to the point (and I think answers the last part of your question), since Hitler’s Confidential Memorandum on Autarky (August 1936) is the blue print to achieve the goal of a similar/seperate empire in the east.

The UK and USA are not even meantioned by name in the memorandum.

Europe has at present only two States which can be regarded as standing firm in the face of Bolshevism: Germany and Italy. The other countries are either disintegrated through their democratic form of life, infected by Marxism, and thus likely themselves to collapse in the foreseeable future, or ruled by authoritarian Governments whose sole strength lies in their military means of power; this means, however, that, being obliged to secure the existence of their leadership in face of their own peoples by means of the armed hand of the Executive, they are unable to direct this armed hand outwards for the preservation of their States. All these countries would be incapable of ever conducting a war against Soviet Russia with any prospects of success. In any case, apart from Germany and Italy, only Japan can be regarded as a Power standing firm in the face of the world peril.
...
6) The final solution lies in extending living space of our people and/or the sources of its raw materials and foodstuffs. It is the task of the political leadership one day to solve this problem.
...
I thus set the following task:

I. The German army must be operational [einsatzfähig] within four years.
II. The German economy must be fit for war [kriegsfähig] within four years.

The Four Year Plan was a direct result of this memorandum.

So who to trust?

  • what Hitler himself wrote and acted upon (i.e. known events)
  • what someone (who was born 22 years after Hitler died) claims Hitler thought

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.