Nazi Expansion, 1936-39

The Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere [1] [2]

Hjalmar Schacht

The Axis Challenge
History 300 / September 5, 2013

I. From autarky to aggression
            A. The constraints of autarky
                        1. The high cost of manufactured substitutes
                        2. The disadvantages of bilateral trade
                        3. Continuing dependence on certain raw materials
            B. The false morality of limited resources
                        1. “Lebensraum” claimed as a German right
                        2. Circular reasoning:
                              war for the sake of fighting war
                        3. Victims of the limited-resource pecking order
                        4. Slave labor and the Holocaust
II. Appeasement – a disastrous substitute for deterrence
            A. Hitler evades the military strictures of Versailles
                        1. Conscription resumed
                        2. Naval warships and war planes
                        3. The remilitarization of the Rhineland (March 1936)
                        4. Ital & German intervention in Spanish Civil War
            B. Hitler exploits prevailing “national” sentiments
                        1. The absorption of Austria (March 1938)
                        2. The Evian conference (July 1938)
                        3. “Munich”: the Sudetenland crisis (Sept.-Oct. 1938)
                        4. A step too far: marching into Prague (March 1939)
                        5. Calculated aggression: Germany and Poland
III. New principles: updating Wilson for the 1940s
            A. The Atlantic Charter (Aug. 1941)
            B. The Declaration of the United Nations (Jan. 1942)
            C. Axis alternatives belied by predatory behavior
                        1. Hitler’s “New Order”
                        2. Japan’s “Greater Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere”


Further reading
Adam Tooze, The Wages of Destruction: The Making and Breaking of the Nazi Economy (New York: Viking, 2007)