How Was Hitler Responsible for the German Defeat in World War II?

Frankreich, Hans Günther v. Kluge, Adolf Hitler

Adolph Hitler and Field Marshall Gunther von Kluge in 1940

There were a plethora of factors that went into deciding the outcome of World War II. Political ideologies and national opinions were vastly different for the combatants, even amongst allied countries such as the United States and the Soviet Union. The industrial might of the United States was unmatched and Russia was the largest state in the world. Germany boasted brilliant generals and early in the conflict made great use of their innovative Lightning War, the Blitzkrieg.

Belligerents on each side had great strengths; however, it was the military leadership of Adolph Hitler that proved to be the greatest liability to Germany and ultimately cause its defeat. For Germany, the three greatest military mistakes made by Hitler concerned Dunkirk, Operation Barbarossa, and the Allied invasion of Normandy. The imprudent command decisions made by the Führer resulted in the Allied victory in Europe.

Hitler came to power in January 1933. Two months hence, on March 23, the Enabling Act was passed through the Reichstag. This legislation essentially voided the Weimar Constitution and created a legal dictatorship, under which Hitler no longer needed approval from the Reichstag to enact any new laws. Further, on July 14, he declared that the Nazi Party was to be the only legitimately recognized party in the nation. Through a tremendous propaganda campaign, he appeared as Germany’s Messiah and established a massive following. As his popularity grew, he deemed the time appropriate for Germany to annex European lands that housed ethnically German people.[1]

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