Adolf Hitler (1889-1945) was one of the most powerful and infamous dictators of the 20th century.
After World War I, he rose to power in the National Socialist German Workers Party. He took control of the German government in 1933. His idea of concentration camps for Jews and other groups. He believed to be a threat to Aryan supremacy resulted in the death of more than 6 million people in the Holocaust.
His plan to attack Poland in 1939 was the start of World War II, and by 1941 Germany occupied much of Europe and North Africa.
To avoid being arrested for evading the military service in Austria-Hungary, he left Vienna for Munich in May 1913 but he was forced to return then he failed the physical.
After World War I, he came to control the National Socialist German Workers Party, which he hoped to lead to power in Germany. (aka Nazi party) After being released from jail, he began to build his army and gain power. He believed that Germany should fight wars for vast tracts of land to enable its people to settle on them. Raising large families that would replace casualties and provide soldiers for the next war of expansion.
The first would be a small and easy war against Czechoslovakia, to be followed by the really difficult one against France and Britain.
The third war would follow against the Soviet Union. Which he assumed would be simple and quick and would provide raw materials, especially oil, for the fourth war against the United States. That war would be simple once Germany had the long-range planes and superbattleships to fight a power thought inherently weak . Far distant and possessing a large navy.
In 1938 he drew back from war over Czechoslovakia at the last minute but came to look upon agreeing to a peaceful settlement at Munich witch was his worst mistake.
When he turned to the war against France and Britain, he could not persuade Poland to subordinate itself to Germany to ensure a quiet situation in the east. So he decided to destroy that country before heading west. He was determined to have war and initiated it on September 1, 1939. To facilitate the quick conquest of Poland and break any blockade, he aligned Germany with the Soviet Union. Assuming that concessions made to that country would be easily reclaimed when Germany turned east.
He had originally hoped to attack in the west in the late fall of 1939.
He couldn't because bad weather which would have hindered full use of the air force. Also the differences among the military led to postponement until the spring of 1940. During that interval, Hitler made two major decisions. encouraged by Admiral Erich Raeder, he decided to seize Norway to facilitate the navy’s access to the North Atlantic and did so in April 1940.
He shifted the primary focus of attack in the west from the northern to the southern part of the force that was to invade the Low Countries.
The new strategy at first appeared to work when the Germans in a few days broke through the French defenses. Within ten days, reached the Channel coast behind the Allied forces. Ordering their air force to destroy the cut-off Allied units, the Germans first wanted to turn south to prevent the buildup of a new defensive line, a decision on which the German commander, Gerd von Rundstedt, and so Hitler agreed.
As it became clear that many Allied soldiers might escape, the direction of the armor was reversed again. Too late to halt the evacuation of much of the British Expeditionary Force and many French soldiers. The thrust southward in early June 1940 brought a swift collapse of remaining French resistance. This complete victory gave him a triumph, which assured him the enthusiastic support of almost all of Germany’s military leaders. Especially as he systematically tied them to himself by generous promotions and a system of mass bribery.
It looked as if this war was over, Hitler and the military began planning for the wars against the United States and against the Soviet Union. On July 11, the resumption of construction of the navy to defeat the United States was ordered. By July 31, after first hoping to invade the Soviet Union in the fall of 1940. Hitler on the advice of his military staff, decided to attack in the east in the late spring of 1941.