February 29, 2012
Much of what we’re told about the how World War II began is misleading, distorted or just plain untrue. It’s often claimed, for example, that after taking power Hitler moved quickly to build a large army and air force to conquer Europe. In fact, and as reputable scholars have quietly acknowledged, Third Reich rearmament in the years before the outbreak of war in 1939 was remarkably modest. Hitler neither wanted nor planned for a major war. He sincerely sought peace with Britain and France. His main motive in attacking Poland was to secure freedom and basic rights for the Germans of the city-state of Danzig, and safety and freedom for the increasingly dispossessed and persecuted minority ethnic Germans of Poland. The British and French declarations of war against Germany, which were secretly encouraged by US President Roosevelt, transformed the limited German-Polish conflict into a major, European-wide war.
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