Icon by Margaret HolmesHitler's World View

Hitler's basic ideas were formed in his early twenties in Vienna. He even stated that he learned little afterward and altered nothing in his thinking. When he left Austria for Germany at the age of twenty-four, in 1913, he was full of a passion for German nationalism, a hatred for democracy, Marxism, and Jews. His ultimate interest was with political power, for Hitler believed that economics would take care of itself.

In Mein Kampf, he expanded his views and applied them to the great problem of restoring a defeated and chaotic Germany to a great place in the world. He also applied his views to creating a new kind of state which would be based on race and would include all Germans living outside the Reich's frontiers. This new nation would establish an absolute dictatorship under a leader, Hitler. Mein Kampf outlines the future German state, the means by which it would be achieved, and a new view of life: Weltanschauung.

Nazi symbols pasted onto Jewish business front, 1933. Photo from National Archives.

In order to achieve his goal, Hitler planned to first reconcile with France, "the inexorable mortal enemy of the German people" (Shirer 123). He believed the French would always aim to dismember and shatter Germany. Therefore, there must be a "final active reckoning with France...only then will we be able to end the eternal and essentially fruitless struggle between ourselves and France...Germany actually regards the destruction of France as only a means which will afterward enable her to finally give our people the expansion made possible elsewhere" (123).

The core of Hitler's foreign policy concerned expansion in the east at the expense of Russia. In Mein Kampf, Hitler addressed the issue of Lebensraum, living space, at length: "Territorial policy cannot be fulfilled in the Cameroons but today almost exclusively in Europe." He recognized that since Russia had been handed over to Bolshevism, which he says really meant the Jews, Russia could easily be taken over without much German blood spilt.

Along with Lebensraum, Hitler believed in a Darwinist Weltanschauung. This was the view that life was an eternal struggle where the fittest survived and the strongest ruled. Hitler believed that nature's favorite child, the strongest in industry and courage, was the Aryan. This was his idea of a master race which the Third Reich was based upon. He believed that the Aryan created all advances in art, science, and technology by trampling over everyone else. Ultimately, Hitler wanted to create a folkish state which preserved "culture, beauty, and dignity of a higher mankind."

Work cited

Shirer, William, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany. New York: Fawcett Crest, 1960.

Related Sites

History Channel Website
History Channel Website 2
History Place: WWII - Rise of Hitler
Paretic-Hitler's Syphilis