Many for War in Europe, for her

Historians see this document as a absolute proof of Hitler’s responsibility for
War in Europe. It is true to say, with hindsight that the Memorandum was used
at the Nuremberg trials to . It has, however, limited credibility as the
minutes were drawn up many days after the event, therefore he was recalling
from his memory, and not by his secretary directly at the meeting, as was
usually done. On the other hand, it still give a rare glimpse into the order of
procession for no minutes of this meeting were meant to be taken as Hitler’s
closest advisers had been pledged to secrecy. Therefore there are no other
documents like it. Nevertheless, the reliability of this document is in doubt
for looking back at the context, Hitler would certainly have ordered them to?be
destroyed if he had become aware?of their existence. Therefore, it could ?be suggested
that either his opinions were more freely expressed than if he had been at a
normal minute meeting, or that he was more concerned about being restricted by
his generals and foreign minister because of their concerns?about the strains
of rearmament. In fact, historians are divided over the purpose of the meeting
as to whether it was planning for war or a political power struggle.  For some Historians consider the Hossbach
meeting was more to do with internal political quarreling than Hitler was
testing out his ideas on his generals.

Overall, it is very clear to
see that Hitler’s Foreign Policy was the most Responsible for War in Europe,
for her aggressive demand for Lebensraum in Poland is what clearly triggered
the outbreak of full-scale “Calamitous War” 1
in Europe. Even though A J P Taylor argues that Hitler’s Foreign Policy was
justifiable because it was only reversing the Treaty of Versailles, this is
still clear provocation of War and therefore Hitler is wholly responsible.

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According to A J P Taylor, “The
war had little to do with Hitler and the vital question was why did Great
Britain and France fail to resist Germany before 1939.”2 It is commonly asked when looking at the
responsibility about war in Europe to why did Chamberlain appease a man who
made no secret of his aim to dominate Europe??the ineffectiveness of each
surrender gave Germany and Hitler more land, more defenses, more men, more
armaments and more confidence. The real critic of appeasement was the Group of
men who called themselves Cato. In 1940, Cato wrote a book called “Guilty Men”3,  in which they presented the argument that the
“Cast” of Neville and Stanley Baldwin, to name a few,  had made decision so “shameful and harmful to
the Commonwealth”. However, one has to take a pinch of salt with this source,
for it was written in a time of great National pain. For the great disaster of
Dunkirk had just occurred causing outrage by certain members. While it is true
to say that some saw the warning signs of War earlier than others. For
instance, Winston Churchill’s “we must arm4”
fell on deaf ear. Furthermore
there is also the argument of why 1939? For evidence suggested that Germany was
militarily far weaker in September 1938 than she turned out to be in September
1939. The Luftwaffe could not reach Britain, the French army was larger and the
Czech border defences were very strong. Hitler was short on tanks, fuel,
ammunition, trained officers and reserves. Michael Foot argues that, War in
1938 with Czechoslovakia, on Britain’s side would have been far better than war
in 1939. Some historians blame Chamberlain for not following his policy through
to the end. He should not have made a deal with the Polish right wing
dictatorship. They were not worth risking a major war over and Poland would not
have made Germany any stronger. The takeover of Poland would have just bought
Germany face to face with Russia. Chamberlain could have encouraged Hitler to
expand towards Russia and then declare war.


On the other hand, Anthony P
Adamthwaite argues that “far from being a policy of fear and Cowardice” The
British and the French Foreign Policy was “a realistic search for European
détente, propelled by a deep detestation of War and the conviction that Germany
had real grievance”5
This is further supported by fellow Historian Laurence Rees, who claims that
Great Britain and France’s Foreign Policy are less to blame than Hitler’s
because “Conventional Politician like Neville Chamberlain, were working on the
basis that nobody wanted a war.’ The
evidence for widespread support for peace in the mid-1930s is to be found in
the results of the so-called ‘Peace Ballot’ conducted by the League of Nations Union,
with the support of 34 further organisations, in the winter of 1934-35. The
result in 1935 was that 96% of the ballot voted to remain the League of
Nations. This outcome was perceived to mean that to go to war would be a very
unpopular decision. Thus why when Chamberlain gave his infamous “peace in our
Most recent historians see Chamberlain as helpless rather than guilty. If
Hitler was as reasonable as Chamberlain then the appeasement might have worked.
It was Hitler’s ambition not Chamberlain’s mistakes that caused the war.

1 Hitler page 969

The Making of 2nd World War page 25

3 ‘CATO’,
Foot, M., Howard, P., & Owen, F. (2010). Guilty men. London: Faber.


5 Making of 2nd world war
page 25



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