Monday, September 1 marks the beginning of one of the most significant events of the twentieth century — and, maybe of all time. The German nation, under Adolf Hitler decided to invade their neighbor, Poland, thus, signaling the beginning of World War II.
What caused this? To some people ( including me) World War I had never ended. When the shooting stopped on November 11, 1918 the Allies and Germany began negotiating a more permanent peace. Germany would be required to pay reparations. Initially, the Allies and Germany sent some very astute economists to determine what Germany could pay. Unfortunately, before long the press got wind of what was being discussed and they were not happy. The press wanted, in their words, “Squeeze them until the squeak”. So Germany finally signed a reparations agreement that could never be paid.
Time passed on. One German government after another fell. The only way that Germany could pay reparations was to keep printing more money. The German Mark became all but valueless. The political party that Hitler founded, “The National Socialist Party” (NAZI) became the largest party in parliament and in 1933 he was appointed the chancellor of Germany. He was a very popular leader for his many actions. First, he tore up the Treaty of Versailles (ending World War I and specifying the amount of reparations that Germany was to pay), he started a huge rearmament program, started the Autobahn, etc.
His main goal was to seek “Living Room” for his German people. That Living Room was to be taken at the expense of the European Slavic population. Number one on the list was Poland. It was important to Hitler that it looked as if Poland attacked Germany. So, the Germans took a number of prisoners from a local jail, dressed them in Polish Army uniforms — and then shot them. They were placed strategically along the German-Polish border and movies were taken.
On September 1, 1939 Germany defended its “honor” by invading Poland.
We’ve studied World War II in our history books and Hitler is put in a category as one of the worst murders of all time, just as the Russian leader, Joseph Stalin. What happens if, instead of carrying out the invasion of Poland, Hitler had died? If that happened, he probably would have been honored as one of Germany’s greatest statesmen. After all, he got rid of the Treaty of Versailles, put Germans back to work during the greatest depression that the world had ever known, annexed some territory from Austria that was inhabited by mostly Germans, and the list goes on. To keep “law and order” he strengthened the national police force, called the Secret State Police (Geheime Staatspolizei or Gestapo). He also organized his personal army, the Schutzstaffel (SS). As far as his anti-Semitism, well, that was par for the course. Most Eastern European leaders were anti-Semitic, hence, it was pretty hard to hold that against Hitler. He hadn’t started the concentration camps yet.
The world would have been very different. Since Jews are disproportionately represented in science, and the medical fields, with the 6-million Jews that were murdered in concentration camps, it is conceivable that one of them was a doctor who had the genetics to find a cure for cancer or heart disease. England might have kept its empire. The reason that they had to give it up was because of the monitory cost of World War II. There probably would have not been fighting in the middle east. There was some friction between Arabs and Jews but there was also lots of cooperation as well. Everyone there, of course, would have been ruled by the British.
All in all, some 60 million innocent people had to die — because Hitler didn’t.