With the “Anschluss” of Austria in March 1938, the annexation of the Sudetenland in September 1938 (Sudeten crisis, Munich Agreement) and the smashing of the remaining Czechoslovak state in March 1939 (establishment of the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, independence of Slovakia in the “protection of the Reich”)) the aggressive phase of the metropolitan area and expansion policy of National Socialist Germany began. Spurred on by his successes and in a significantly improved economic and, above all, strategic position due to the annexations, Hitler developed an increasing dynamic that moved Central Europe to the center of the world conflict between the nations aimed at preserving and changing the world political field of forces.
When it became clear that Hitler, who from October 1938 had tried in vain to force Poland into an anti-communist alliance with Germany through promises (including border guarantees, territorial gains in Ukraine) and threats, now after the smashing of Czechoslovakia, now to build up a unified deployment area similarly directed towards the solution of the “Polish question” towards the east, Great Britain issued a declaration of guarantee (supported by France) for the independence of Poland (March 31, 1939). The British government, which feared a German attack on the West from January 1939, hoped to deter Germany from a European war; at least time should be gained for one’s own armament. However, it became Hitler’s Decision to prepare for a campaign against Poland accelerated (directive of April 3, 1939, on April 28, 1939, termination of the German-Polish non-aggression treaty of 1934). In this situation, the USSR, which after Hitler’s refusal to continue the Rapallo era had sought rapprochement with the Western powers in a system of collective security, gained a key position. Stalin feared being embroiled in a war diverted from the Western powers on the USSR. Great Britain and France began negotiations with the USSR about an alliance. But as Stalin recognized that Great Britain (also out of consideration for Polish reservations) was not ready to respond to its demands for territorial expansion to secure the European apron of the USSR, a mutual assistance pact that also included indirect aggression against Finland, the Baltic States and Poland, and a To enter into a military convention, he signaled – after appropriate German offers – readiness for an agreement safeguarding Soviet security interests.
On August 23, 1939, according to LISTOFUSNEWSPAPERS,Germany, whose ongoing efforts to protect Great Britain had remained unsuccessful, and the USSR concluded a non-aggression pact (Hitler-Stalin Pact), in whose secret additional protocol the division of Poland and the expansion of the respective spheres of power in the sense of a division of Eastern Europe into German and Soviet areas of interest were agreed. With this, Hitler found himself in a front position contrary to his program, but he hoped that it would deter the Western powers from entering the war and thus localize the war against Poland, which has meanwhile been regarded as inevitable, as well as freedom of the back for the subsequent blow against the West.
Hitler now took the “Danzig question” (Danzig 2) as the occasion for the attack on Poland; After an attack on the Gleiwitz transmitter staged by the SS, which was supposed to make the German actions appear as a reaction to Polish attacks, he led the attack on Poland on September 1, 1939 at 4:45 a.m. with the bombardment of the Westerplatte on a broad front (“Case White”) a; The first combat operations of the Polish campaign that had begun (without a declaration of war) had already started at around 4:30 a.m. near Dirschau. ( Hitler’s messageThe same morning before the Reichstag that “shot back” had been from 5:45 am was based on a timing error.) Great Britain and France (through an assistance agreement of August 25, 1939 and a military convention of May 19, 1939 with Poland allied) responded after failing to comply with their ultimatum to end the German hostilities on September 3, 1939 by declaring war on Germany; the Commonwealth of Australia, New Zealand, India, South Africa and Canada joined. Italy, militarily unprepared, declared itself “not at war”. Hitler Knowing that time was working against him and that the German armament advantage would soon be lost, he decided to play a “gamble”. In 1939 Germany was not prepared for a war of materials and wear and tear on several fronts, despite the arms and autarky policy that it had been pursuing for years. Only through a quick succession of regionally limited campaigns (Blitzkrieg conception) could Hitler hope that a repetition of the development of the First World War could be avoided, which was ultimately decided by the preponderance of the opposing potential.
For Hitler, the Second World War was from the beginning – externally and internally – an ideological and total war for victory or ruin. The order for the physical annihilation of the enemy and the attempt at a “völkisch land consolidation” in the rear of the front, v. a. the genocide of the European Jews (Shoah (Holocaust)), set this war apart from all others. Military warfare was increasingly drawn into the ideologically motivated policy of extermination. Poland in particular became a parade ground for National Socialist racial ideology and population policy. At the same time, terror and repression in Germany increased with the start of the war, as did propaganda campaigning for the consent of its population, among other things. by announcing future social, settlement and prosperity policies; the process of National Socialist penetration of society and administration in the “Führer State” continued.