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Hitler's Plan to Attack America (Why Hitler Jumped at War With U.S.)
History News Network ^ | December 11, 2013 | Professor Gerhard L. Weinberg

Posted on 12/11/2013 5:51:00 PM PST by 2ndDivisionVet

Editor's Note (1999): In his new book, A Republic, Not an Empire, Patrick Buchanan claims that as of mid-1940 Hitler "was driven by a traditional German policy of Drang nach Osten, the drive to the East." He did not want war with the West, insists Buchanan. (Pp. 268-69.) Why then did Hitler, following Pearl Harbor, declare war on the United States? Buchanan insists this was the irrational act of a madman. In fact, insists Gerhard Weinberg, it was consistent with an objective Hitler had long nourished.

It had been an assumption of Hitler's since the 1920s that Germany would at some point fight the United States. As early as the summer of 1928 he asserted in his second book (not published until I did it for him in 1961) that strengthening and preparing Germany for war with the United States was one of the tasks of the National Socialist movement. Both because his aims for Germany's future entailed an unlimited expansionism of global proportions and because he thought of the United States as a country which with its population and size might at some time constitute a challenge to German domination of the globe, a war with the United States had long been part of the future he envisioned for Germany either during his own rule of it or thereafter.

During the years of his chancellorship before 1939, German policies designed to implement the project of a war with the United States had been conditioned by two factors: belief in the truth in the stab-in-the-back legend on the one hand and the practical problems of engaging American military power on the other. The belief in the concept that Germany had lost the First World War because of the collapse at home -- the stab in the back of the German army -- rather than defeat at the front automatically carried with it a converse of enormous significance which has generally been ignored. It made the military role of the United States in that conflict into a legend. Believing that the German army had not been beaten in the fighting, Hitler and many others in the country disbelieved that it had been American participation which had enabled the Western Powers to hold on in 1918 and then move toward victory over Germany. They perceived that to be a foolish fable, not a reasonable explication of the events of that year. A solid German home front, which National Socialism would ensure, could preclude defeat next time; the problem of fighting the United States was not that the inherently weak and divided Americans could create, field, and support effective fighting forces, but rather that they were so far away and that the intervening ocean could be blocked by a large American fleet. Here were the practical problems of fighting America: distance and the size of the American navy.

To overcome these practical obstacles Hitler built up the German navy and began work on a long-range bomber -- the notorious Amerika Bomber -- which would be capable of flying to New York and back without refueling. Although the bomber proved difficult to construct, Hitler embarked on a crash building program of superbattleships promptly after the defeat of France. In addition, he began accumulating air and sea bases on the Atlantic coast to facilitate attacks on the United States. In April 1941 Hitler secretly pledged that he would join Japan in a war on the United States. This was critical. Only if Japan declared war would Germany follow.

As long as Germany had to face the United States essentially by herself, she needed time to build her own blue-water navy; it therefore made sense to postpone hostilities with the Americans until Germany had been able to remedy this deficiency. If, on the other hand, Japan would come into the war on Germany's side, then that problem was automatically solved.

Hitler was caught out of town at the time of Pearl Harbor and had to get back to Berlin and summon the Reichstag to acclaim war. His great worry, and that of his foreign minister, was that the Americans might get their declaration of war in ahead of his own. As Joachim von Ribbentrop explained it, "A great power does not allow itself to be declared war upon; it declares war on others." He did not need to lose much sleep; the Roosevelt administration was quite willing to let the Germans take the lead. Just to make sure, however, that hostilities started immediately, Hitler had already issued orders to his navy, straining at the leash since October 1939, to begin sinking American ships forthwith, even before the formalities of declaring war. Now that Germany had a big navy on its side (Japan's), there was no need to wait even an hour.

********

This article is excerpted from Gerhard Weinberg's Germany, Hitler, and World War II (Cambridge University Press: 1995). It is reprinted with permission of the author and publisher and was reposted at TomPaine.com in 1999.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs; Germany; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: fdr; hitler; japan; worldwarii
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Gerhard L. Weinberg is emeritus professor of history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the author of A World at Arms: A Global History of World War II (Cambridge University Press, 1994).
1 posted on 12/11/2013 5:51:00 PM PST by 2ndDivisionVet
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To: 2ndDivisionVet; a fool in paradise

Amtrak trains would have run on time, and you’d never hear about Hussein Soetero!


2 posted on 12/11/2013 5:52:58 PM PST by Revolting cat! (Bad things are wrong! Ice cream is delicious!)
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To: Revolting cat!

He was outraged over a youtube video.

(Hal Roach Presents) The Devil With Hitler (1942) PT. 1
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VWc_vEYiepk


3 posted on 12/11/2013 5:55:01 PM PST by a fool in paradise (America 2013 - STUCK ON STUPID)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Hitler would have had to take Mexico and force them to fight us. They would have lost anyway but if they had tried to put German soldiers on American soil the bodies would have piled so high they he would have been driven from power.


4 posted on 12/11/2013 5:55:18 PM PST by cripplecreek (REMEMBER THE RIVER RAISIN!)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

I always thought that Japan and Germany had a mutual defense treaty which required either one to declare war if any country declared war on either.


5 posted on 12/11/2013 5:57:19 PM PST by yarddog (Romans 8: verses 38 and 39. "For I am persuaded".)
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To: Revolting cat!

Small compensation.


6 posted on 12/11/2013 5:58:40 PM PST by Lonesome in Massachussets (Doing the same thing and expecting different results is called software engineering.)
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To: Revolting cat!

No, under Mussolini the trains did not run on time. Mussolini lied.

And Hitler had Germans murdered in their sleep. What do you think they would do with Americans?


7 posted on 12/11/2013 5:58:59 PM PST by donmeaker
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To: cripplecreek
At what point shall we expect the approach of danger? By what means shall we fortify against it?-- Shall we expect some transatlantic military giant, to step the Ocean, and crush us at a blow? Never!--All the armies of Europe, Asia and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth (our own excepted) in their military chest; with a Buonaparte for a commander, could not by force, take a drink from the Ohio, or make a track on the Blue Ridge, in a trial of a thousand years.

At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide.

~Abraham Lincoln, Address Before the Young Men's Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois, January 27, 1838

8 posted on 12/11/2013 5:59:19 PM PST by 2ndDivisionVet ("Of the 4 wars in my lifetime none came about because the US was too strong." Reagan)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Not unlike Montana attacking the US. Germany is about the size of Montana.


9 posted on 12/11/2013 5:59:28 PM PST by SkyDancer (Live your life in such a way that the Westboro church will want to picket your funeral.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

I remember back in the 60’s I think a magazine, Life or Look I think, printed a rather half baked plan for the invasion of the United States and there was a map how Germany and Japan would divide the country, basically the Pacific Coast and Mountain West going to Japan.


10 posted on 12/11/2013 5:59:38 PM PST by colorado tanker
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To: donmeaker

Hittie (may I use a term of endearment?) wasn’t the only one there.


11 posted on 12/11/2013 6:00:35 PM PST by Revolting cat! (Bad things are wrong! Ice cream is delicious!)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Interesting, but nothing new. Hitler would rather have fought the U.S. while it was in a two-front war, hence he waited for the right moment. The U.S. up until our current traitorous administration has maintained since then the need to be able to engage in a two-front war.


12 posted on 12/11/2013 6:00:48 PM PST by Telepathic Intruder (The only thing the Left has learned from the failures of socialism is not to call it that)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
I answer, if it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide.

Bears repeating.
13 posted on 12/11/2013 6:01:13 PM PST by cripplecreek (REMEMBER THE RIVER RAISIN!)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

The pro German sentiment in this country was a lot greater than you would think from reading the books. There was not a strong desire to go to war with Germany.

Although we would have inevitably gone to war against Germany, I wonder how long it would have taken had Germany not declared war on the US.


14 posted on 12/11/2013 6:03:16 PM PST by ChildOfThe60s ((If you can remember the 60s.....you weren't really there)
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To: yarddog

Japan initiated hostilities, Germany was not obliged to bail them out. In the event, Hitler might feared that the U.S. would finish off Japan and then turn on Germany. Official American policy at the start of the war was to devote 80% of our resources to Europe and 20% to the Pacific. After Midway, the Pacific got more resources, but it was still largely a side show from the bigger war. If the U.S. only had to take on Japan, we would really have steamrollered them, and been left with a big well oiled military machine and an unsinkable aircraft carrier, HMS Great Britain.


15 posted on 12/11/2013 6:03:40 PM PST by Lonesome in Massachussets (Doing the same thing and expecting different results is called software engineering.)
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To: ChildOfThe60s

There was a pretty solid anti war sentiment that died a quick death with the attack on Pearl Harbor.


16 posted on 12/11/2013 6:06:05 PM PST by cripplecreek (REMEMBER THE RIVER RAISIN!)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

The V weapons were the obvious solution to his problem
fortunately his clock ran out.


17 posted on 12/11/2013 6:06:27 PM PST by tet68 ( " We would not die in that man's company, that fears his fellowship to die with us...." Henry V.)
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To: colorado tanker

18 posted on 12/11/2013 6:06:43 PM PST by 2ndDivisionVet ("Of the 4 wars in my lifetime none came about because the US was too strong." Reagan)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Wilson dragging us into WWI was such a tragedy.


19 posted on 12/11/2013 6:07:04 PM PST by DManA
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
A bunch of silliness.

Hitler desperately wanted Japan to attack Russia. That is the ONLY reason he declared war on America.

Hitler built only a handful of truly long range bombers and gave up building ONE aircraft carrier. He could not have invaded America even if he defeated England and Russia had had no enemies. It was logistically IMPOSSIBLE for Germany without a decade of a build-up.

To overcome these practical obstacles Hitler built up the German navy and began work on a long-range bomber -- the notorious Amerika Bomber -- which would be capable of flying to New York and back without refueling. Although the bomber proved difficult to construct, Hitler embarked on a crash building program of superbattleships promptly after the defeat of France. In addition, he began accumulating air and sea bases on the Atlantic coast to facilitate attacks on the United States.

20 posted on 12/11/2013 6:07:46 PM PST by 2banana (My common ground with terrorists - they want to die for islam and we want to kill them)
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To: cripplecreek

Patton got his start killing Mexicans back in 1916. I can only imagine what a demon he would have been fighting them in WW2.


21 posted on 12/11/2013 6:08:30 PM PST by nascarnation (Wish everyone see a "Gay Kwanzaa")
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To: ChildOfThe60s

Almost half of all Americans are of German descent, IIRC. I know I am.


22 posted on 12/11/2013 6:11:10 PM PST by 2ndDivisionVet ("Of the 4 wars in my lifetime none came about because the US was too strong." Reagan)
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To: cripplecreek
There was a pretty solid anti war sentiment that died a quick death with the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Yes. And that would be expected. But the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, not the Germans. There were a lot of German descent in the US. While we have the benefit of hindsight in knowing the horrors the Nazis were committing, that wasn't the case at the time.

23 posted on 12/11/2013 6:15:19 PM PST by ChildOfThe60s ((If you can remember the 60s.....you weren't really there)
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To: Lonesome in Massachussets

“Japan initiated hostilities, Germany was not obliged to bail them out. In the event, Hitler might feared that the U.S. would finish off Japan and then turn on Germany. Official American policy at the start of the war was to devote 80% of our resources to Europe and 20% to the Pacific. After Midway, the Pacific got more resources, but it was still largely a side show from the bigger war. If the U.S. only had to take on Japan, we would really have steamrollered them, and been left with a big well oiled military machine and an unsinkable aircraft carrier, HMS Great Britain.”

Good point! Japan would have been defeated so quickly that we would never have dropped the atomic bomb on them, perhaps. OR, we would have incurred much greater casualties, invading their home islands and fighting house-to-house.


24 posted on 12/11/2013 6:15:20 PM PST by 2harddrive
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
Same here. German/Polish We're pretty much the single largest group in the country. Lots of us here in Militiagan.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic
25 posted on 12/11/2013 6:24:23 PM PST by cripplecreek (REMEMBER THE RIVER RAISIN!)
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To: cripplecreek
Two things:

I've long heard a secret protocol already existed between Mexico and Germany dating back to WWI where Mexicans would grab the southwest as a distraction in the event of a German invasion of North America.
Second, the Third Reich was not a democracy; Hitler was not going to be voted out of office because of some battlefield disaster. The German people were too cowed to express disapproval of Der Fuhrer (consider Stalingrad).

26 posted on 12/11/2013 6:24:33 PM PST by stormhill
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To: stormhill

Guess you must have missed the part where Hitler’s own people tried to take him out at least once.


27 posted on 12/11/2013 6:29:06 PM PST by cripplecreek (REMEMBER THE RIVER RAISIN!)
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To: donmeaker
No, under Mussolini the trains did not run on time. Mussolini lied.

Not to deny that Mussolini lied but in this case it was the old trains schedules that lied. He did indeed make the trains run on time but he did it by a very simple trick. If the 10:12 train always arrived 30 minutes late (and it did) he just changed the schedule to read 12:42. The trains still took the same time to arrive but no one was waiting for it to arrive as 10:12.

28 posted on 12/11/2013 6:31:28 PM PST by Petrosius
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Hitler had very little choice. England was being fed and armed by American convoys. Eventually, Hitler knew he would have another active front from a revitalized England. Hitler knew he couldn’t win in Russia and sustain an invasion in France.

Hitler could only slow that by sinking our shipping as it was coming out of American ports before it formed into convoys. Doing so would cause us to declare war, so it was a moot point.

Hitler only needed another year of determined invasion of Russia to secure that front. He was buying time by attacking American shipping.


29 posted on 12/11/2013 6:35:45 PM PST by gandalftb (Go OK State Cowboys!!)
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To: yarddog
That's right.

It's more than just that, though. The U.S. was effectively at war with Germany long before any formal declarations were made anyway. The U.S. was shipping arms to Great Britain across the North Atlantic under U.S. Navy escort.

I've never understood this idiotic infatuation with war declarations or even open military attacks like Pearl Harbor as a benchmark for determining when a war "officially" began.

30 posted on 12/11/2013 6:37:31 PM PST by Alberta's Child ("I've never seen such a conclave of minstrels in my life.")
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To: SkyDancer

Western Europeans seem to have great difficulty in envisioning the scale of some of the rest of the world. Rolling through Belgium and France just doesn’t compare to trying to tank across hundreds of miles of steppes, or, over here, land on a continent and then make there way across it’s 3000 some odd miles of just about every topography known to earth.


31 posted on 12/11/2013 6:37:32 PM PST by Axenolith (Government blows, and that which governs least, blows least...)
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To: 2banana
You've posted an excellent argument here.

I have a hard time believing that Hitler ever had any ambition to wage war against the U.S. when Germany's vaunted military machine was seriously lacking in the two types of weapons that would be absolutely essential to such a military campaign: long-range bombers and aircraft carriers.

32 posted on 12/11/2013 6:41:20 PM PST by Alberta's Child ("I've never seen such a conclave of minstrels in my life.")
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To: yarddog
The document to which you refer, was the Tripartite pact. Germany Japan and Italy were the original signitories.

The Pact presented the condition "ARTICLE 3....to assist one another with all political, economic and military means when one of the three contracting powers is attacked..." by a country not already involved in the war,"

Technically though, the US and the allies didn't attack Japan so Germany was not obliged to declare war on the US based on the pact.

33 posted on 12/11/2013 6:41:34 PM PST by pfflier
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To: ChildOfThe60s

FDR was already at war with Hitler — before Pearl Harbor.


34 posted on 12/11/2013 6:43:11 PM PST by BenLurkin (This is not a statement of fact. It is either opinion or satire; or both.)
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To: Axenolith

Good point. There isn’t a single country in Europe that’s even as large as the state of Texas, so the whole nature of a military campaign would be very different here.


35 posted on 12/11/2013 6:44:13 PM PST by Alberta's Child ("I've never seen such a conclave of minstrels in my life.")
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

That is a NICE M1!!


36 posted on 12/11/2013 6:48:20 PM PST by Hardastarboard (The question of our age is whether a majority of Americans can and will vote us all into slavery.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

None the less, it was still an act of insanity. Germany couldn’t even force a crossing of the English Channel, let alone the Atlantic. Even the USA and Briton had to use all their resources just to invade France with England as a base.


37 posted on 12/11/2013 6:48:55 PM PST by Hugin
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To: 2banana
Hitler desperately wanted Japan to attack Russia. That is the ONLY reason he declared war on America.

Exactly RIGHT.

It just goes to show you that there are some things that are so stupid only a Professor would publish them.

Hitler did not know that his double-dealing "allies" in the far east had secretly agreed with the Soviets that Russian denunciation of the Soviet-Japanese non-aggression pact of April 1941 was just for show. He wanted a second front in his war with the Soviets. As usual, Stalin honored his Japanese treaty the same way he honored The Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact: by living up to it as long as he was too weak to break it.

Lest anybody think Hitler was alone in his delusions, we made the same mistake on our side. Stalin was given huge inducements to come into the war against Japan, something he did -- like the rape of Poland -- when there was little left to do but divide the spoils.

Hitler didn't even have the sealift capacity to invade Britain across 27 miles of water. How the hell was he going to invade the United States?

38 posted on 12/11/2013 6:49:35 PM PST by FredZarguna (The sequel, thoroughly pointless, derivative, and boring was like all James Cameron "films.")
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
Roosevelt was actively baiting Germany into either declaring war, or initiating an incident that would prompt the US Congress to declare war.

He didn't quite get it with the sinking of the USS Reuben James in late October '41. But after Pearl Harbor he deliberately laid a good portion of the blame at the feet of Hitler's Germany. From the text of "Fireside Chat #19, December 9th 1941 (between Pearl Harbor and the German Declaration of War):

The course that Japan has followed for the past ten years in Asia has paralleled the course of Hitler and Mussolini in Europe and in Africa. Today, it has become far more than a parallel. It is actual collaboration so well calculated that all the continents of the world, and all the oceans, are now considered by the Axis strategists as one gigantic battlefield.

...

Your Government knows that for weeks Germany has been telling Japan that if Japan did not attack the United States, Japan would not share in dividing the spoils with Germany when peace came. She was promised by Germany that if she came in she would receive the complete and perpetual control of the whole of the Pacific area -- and that means not only the Ear East, but also all of the Islands in the Pacific, and also a stranglehold on the west coast of North, Central and South America.

...

39 posted on 12/11/2013 6:52:06 PM PST by tanknetter
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To: stormhill
I've long heard a secret protocol already existed between Mexico and Germany dating back to WWI

Not in the least bit secret: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zimmermann_Telegram

40 posted on 12/11/2013 6:53:42 PM PST by FredZarguna (The sequel, thoroughly pointless, derivative, and boring was like all James Cameron "films.")
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To: Hardastarboard

The Korean civilian security guards at our intelligence compound carried M-1s and M-14s. I always joshed with them that they were trading weapons with me when the balloon went up, whether they liked it or not. As a sorta NCO I had a .45, as well.


41 posted on 12/11/2013 6:58:27 PM PST by 2ndDivisionVet ("Of the 4 wars in my lifetime none came about because the US was too strong." Reagan)
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To: colorado tanker
I remember back in the 60’s I think a magazine, Life or Look I think, printed a rather half baked plan for the invasion of the United States and there was a map how Germany and Japan would divide the country, basically the Pacific Coast and Mountain West going to Japan.

Something like that...


42 posted on 12/11/2013 6:58:31 PM PST by null and void (I'm betting on an Obama Trifecta: A Nobel Peace Prize, an Impeachment, AND a War Crimes Trial...)
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To: Hugin
It really wasn't.

First, all of the blather printed here should be ignored. Hitler declared war on the US for two reasons, neither of which had anything to do with plans to invade.

  1. He knew the US was already at war with Germany, long before 1941. He knew that Russia could not last without Lend Lease, and he knew the chances of opening a second front by Britain were zero without our help. Declaring war gave him the opportunity to disrupt shipping.
  2. More importantly, he wanted Japan in the war against the Soviets. He did not know the Japanese had already secretly backstabbed him and made assurances to the Russians that the 1941 neutrality pact between Russia and Japan would, as far as the Nips were concerned, remain in effect.

43 posted on 12/11/2013 7:01:22 PM PST by FredZarguna (The sequel, thoroughly pointless, derivative, and boring was like all James Cameron "films.")
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To: colorado tanker
That Life story was likely based on this novel of speculative history...


44 posted on 12/11/2013 7:02:01 PM PST by oblomov
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To: null and void

beat me to it...


45 posted on 12/11/2013 7:02:35 PM PST by oblomov
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To: cripplecreek
****Hitler would have had to take Mexico and force them to fight us.***

From what I have read years ago, Germany tried to get Mexico into the first world war. They failed.

They tried again in the Second World war. The Mexican people wanted war with the US and when Mexico DID declare war the people were ecstatic! Till they found out Mexico had declared war against GERMANY!

46 posted on 12/11/2013 7:03:43 PM PST by Ruy Dias de Bivar (Sometimes you need 7+ more ammo. LOTS MORE.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
A few things: Intentionally or unintentionally, German POW's were disembarked in the North, then traveled by Train either along the eastern seaboard to the South or through the Industrial Midwest. By the time they got to their POW camps, they saw the awesome power of the United States and knew they could never beat such a country.

Hitler believed he could beat the U.S. because he thought they were decadent and degenerate....mainly by watching Hollywood movies and the America News Media....even then, they were causing problems for our country. The reason he started the Battle of the Bulge, was because he still believed that the American soldier was inferior and couldn't fight (instead of using the bulk of his resources to fight the Russians).

Finally, there was a reason World War II didn't have an anti-war movement like all the other wars we've had since the Revolution- Hitler invaded the Soviet Union, and all Leftists and Democrats had to do anything to come to the aid or their hero-country..

47 posted on 12/11/2013 7:05:34 PM PST by MuttTheHoople (Nothing is more savage and brutal than justifiably angry Americans. Don’t believe me? Ask the Germa)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Hitler had a good thing going till he attacked the USSR and then this declaration on US.

It shows that he was very small minded but got some great opportunities and luck for a while.

Notice Japan stabbed Hitler in back and didnt declare war on USSR in return.


48 posted on 12/11/2013 7:13:11 PM PST by sickoflibs (Obama : 'If you like your Doctor you can keep him, PERIOD! Don't believe the GOPs warnings')
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To: 2banana

@ Post 20 - I agree.

Had Hitler been more patient the world would look far different today. His biggest mistake was believing Germany would easily secure the Eastern front. His second mistake was his fantasy that the British people (and possibly the U.S.) would come over to his side when they saw the glory of the Third Reich.


49 posted on 12/11/2013 7:16:07 PM PST by volunbeer (We must embrace austerity or austerity will embrace us)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet; AdmSmith; AnonymousConservative; Berosus; bigheadfred; Bockscar; cardinal4; ...

Thanks 2ndDivisionVet.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4UKot0qIFb4


50 posted on 12/11/2013 7:16:32 PM PST by SunkenCiv (http://www.freerepublic.com/~mestamachine/)
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