As with the USA today(2005) - If only they had used their engineering skills for good instead of evil. Were it not for human greed and personal agendas, we would all be speaking German. As with any war, the man on the line did not know why he was there. The Germans bit off more than they could chew. The Russian front was like a frozen Viet Nam, it sucked the life from them. They could not win and dare not stop trying to. Think what you want, humans are pack animals. We will follow whatever (from our point of view) SEEMS the strongest, good or bad. "If freedom is short of weapons, we must compensate with willpower." -- Adolf Hitler, Landsberg, 5 November 1925 Well they did. Willpower is futile against bombs. Check your history. It could have been worse. Visit the Medieval Roman Catholic Church and their crusades, see what might have happened if Hitler were a religious man. Once again, compare modern USA and Germany of the time: Why are they fighting? Food? Land to grow it on? NO! It is/was one dynamic, outspoken, psychotic man's ego/will and his deepest Jungian dream - to Rule The World. Hah! Not Alexander, not Adolph, not George. Not now, maybe later... Dave - King of the World!! ps: these are just ideas, edit and improve at will... PLEASE! All Germany's reasonable grievances could have been resolved by negotation. In fact, by the middle of 1938 nearly all the grievances arising out of the Versailles Treaty had been put right, except for the issue of the Polish corridor - but Germany hadn't at that stage raised that as an issue. By the end of 1938 Germany had most of what it wanted and much more besides, but it was ruled by a dictator whose ambitions were boundless. Germany 'went wrong' by continuing WW1. Hitler 'had a dream' (or a number of dreams) and was determined to make turn them into reality. There were lots of villains and few heroes. Remember that Germany was a collection of individual states before unification in 1871. It was a new country united primarily by language and the long-standing military traditions of its predecessor states. They tried to show their newfound muscle in WW I and got smacked down. But after the war, the Allies imposed a weak government and demanded enormous reparations amounting to as much as a third of the country's annual GDP. The result was the famous hyperinflation of the 1920s. At one point prices rose so quickly that workers were paid three or four times a day because cash handed out in the morning would be almost worthless by evening! The exchange rate reached several QUADRILLION marks to the dollar - that's 1 followed by **fifteen** zeros - and most citizens were reduced to grinding poverty. I spoke with a refugee who had seen neighbors die of hunger, and who himself killed a milk-wagon horse in order to get food for his family. Take that situation and even the most cultured and educated people would do just about anything to stay alive. So when a madman came along who promised a better life, who diverted attention by scapegoating Jews because many had been successful businesspeople as well as being "different from the rest of us", it was only a short step to tyranny. By 1938 it didn't matter whether earlier grievances had been resolved or not; Hitler was an absolute dictator. That year brought the annexations of Austria and the Sudetenland, not to mention Kristallnacht. If you don't understand how it was possible, read about demagogues like Huey Long and Father Coughlin who took similar "populist" stances in our own country during the Depression as a way of consolidating their own power. And think about it the next time some politician rants on today about making sure we all adhere to traditonal family moral values, whatever those are. I've heard all that the last answer says several times - and it's not accurate. The post-WW1 German inflation was ended in 1923, by the German government. Despite all the problems and hardships, there followed a brief period in which Germany participated in the Roaring 20s. In the 1928 General Elections the Nazis were got 12 seats out of 600 in the Reichstag, the Nazis were laughing stock and Hitler was scorned as a *funny little man*. The form of government (Weimar Constitution) was one that the Germans chose themselves. It wasn't imposed by anyone. The conventional high school/college link between inflation and the rise of the Nazis just doesn't hold water. If there's a link it's not the obvious one. The traditional myths that we've heard time and again lack real explanatory force. Some acknowledgement that the issues are complex would be useful.
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