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The Nazi ideology was based upon the idea that the German people were ‘the master race’ and they were biologically superior to other people . It was genuinely believed that Germans were phsyicaly, mentally and morally superior to races such as the Slavs in Eastern Europe. This led to the belief that the German people should dominated the other races in Europe. The party’s leader preached that other races such as the Jews were determined to prevent the German people from achieving their destiny.<ref>Paxton, Robert (2005). ''The Anatomy of Fascism''. London: Penguin Books Ltd., p 123</ref> Their ideology also demanded that all Germans live in a German state and they wanted all non-Germans expelled from Germany. The Nazi believed that the German people had the right to ‘living space’ in order to create a great nation. The Nazi’s saw international relations as a struggle for power and that only the strongest nations would survive. As a result, they rejected all forms of international law and ignored the League of Nations, the precursor of the United Nations. Their ideology, under the influence of the German philosopher Nietzsche, developed a moral code where strength was admirable and that might was always right. Because the Nazi’s worshipped power and strength they admired war and they even believed that war was a positive good and necessary for the good of the nation.<ref>Paxton, p. 117.</ref> The believed that a nation’s greatness was determined by its military strength. As Hitler put these ideas into practice he brought Europe to the brink of war.
The Nazi’s had achieved power by constitutional means in 1933. They had soon established an authoritarian state with Hitler as the all-powerful leader or Führer. The Nazi government was determined to end the Treaty of Versailles. Their ideology encouraged them when in government to embark on two policies that greatly destabilized Europe and led directly to war. These were military rearmament and territorial expansion.<ref>Hillgruber, Andreas (1995). ''Germany and the Two World Wars'', translated by William C. Kirby, Cambridge, Mass. : Harvard University Press, p. 67.</ref>
Nazi ideology demanded that Germany take the land it need to become a powerful nation. It also required that all Germans be united in the Third Reich. This led the Nazi government to embark on a policy of expansion and this included recovering lands lost to the French, Czechs and Poles. Beginning in 1936 the German army had reoccupied the Rhineland in defiance of international law and the Versailles Treaty.<ref>Young, Robert (1996). ''France and the Origins of the Second World War'', New York : St. Martin's Press, p. 78.</ref> Nazi Germany then engineered a unification between it and Austria, in what was known as the Anschluss. Hitler and the Nazi’s then turned their attention to Czechoslovakia. There was a large ethnic German population in the Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia and the Nazi’s wanted them to re-join Germany. <ref>Young, p. 111.</ref> Hitler threatened war and Britain and France, who had adopted a policy of appeasement to prevent a war, encouraged the Czech’s to give up the Sudetenland. After occupying the Sudetenland, Hitler then occupied the rest of the country, despite the Munich agreement. This became known as the ‘Rape of Czechoslovakia’.<ref>Hillgruber, Andreas (1995). ''Germany and the Two World Wars'', translated by William C. Kirby, Cambridge, Mass. : Harvard University Press, p. 67.</ref> The Nazi ideology meant that territorial expansion and disregard for international treaties was part of government policy. As a result, Hitler adopted an aggressive foreign policy that made war inevitable.
In 1939 the rest of Europe were preparing for war. The British and French had been betrayed and humiliated by the ‘Rape of Czechoslovakia’.<ref> Hilgruber, Andreas (1995). ''Germany and the Two World Wars'', translated by William C. Kirby, Cambridge, Mass. : Harvard University Press, p. 67.</ref> Hitler had won territory without war and had largely dismantled the Treaty of Versailles. Germany again was the leading country in Europe. However, Nazi ideology and its extreme views meant that Hitler had to seek ever more land and engage in confrontations with other nations. The Nazi’s sought war in order to further their objectives. In 1939, despite the tensions in Europe, Hitler demanded the return from Poland of territory that was inhabited by ethnic Germans. If Warsaw had agreed to this, it would have lost its only port. The Nazi government was warned not to invade Poland by France and Britain. London and Paris both signed a treaty with Poland and they guaranteed her security and sovereignty. Despite knowing that any invasion of Poland would plunge Europe into war, Hitler ordered an invasion. Nazi ideology demanded that Germany have ever more territory and that this could only be secured through war. Furthermore, the ideology of the German government was one that stressed the value of war and stated that the Germans as the ‘master race’ would win this conflict. In September 1939, the German army invaded Poland and the Second World War had started in Europe.<ref>Bell, P. M. H. (1986). ''The Origins of the Second World War in Europe''. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 346.</ref>