How much interaction was there between Nazi foreign policy and appeasement? Did Adolph Hitler pursue ideological goals with such determination that nothing could deflect him from a programme of conflict? This article compares the ‘intentionalist’ perspective with the ‘structuralist’ view to ascertain the role played by ideology in Nazi foreign policy. How far did Hitler have a clear plan and how much of Nazi foreign policy was opportunistic?
A Clear Plan
The intentionalist perspective argues that Hitler had a clear and radical ideology, as well as a master plan, both of which he put forward in his book Mein Kampf in 1925-7 and more explicitly in its unpublished follow-up of 1928. In his writings, Hitler expressed two important themes. One was a need for Germans to acquire Lebensraum (living space) in Eastern Europe via the conquest of lands occupied by ‘subhuman’ Slavs, something which was to be achieved mainly through…
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