HOSSBACH MEMORANDUM PDF

The Fuehrer began by stating that the subject of the present conference was of such importance that its discussion would, in other countries, certainly be a matter for a full Cabinet meeting, but he -the Fuehrer- had rejected the idea of making it a subject of discussion before the wider circle of the Reich Cabinet just because of the importance of the matter. He wished to explain to the gentlemen present his basic ideas concerning the opportunities for the development of our position in the field of foreign affairs and its requirements, and he asked, in the interests of a long-term German policy, that his exposition be regarded, in the event of his death, as his last will and testament. The Fuehrer then continued: The aim of German policy was to make secure and to preserve the racial community [Volksmasse] and to enlarge it. It was therefore a question of space. The German racial community comprised over 85 million people and, because of their number and the narrow limits of habitable space in Europe, constituted a tightly packed racial core such as was not to be met in any other country and such as implied the right to a greater living space than in the case of other peoples.

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The Fuehrer began by stating that the subject of the present conference was of such importance that its discussion would, in other countries, certainly be a matter for a full Cabinet meeting, but he -the Fuehrer- had rejected the idea of making it a subject of discussion before the wider circle of the Reich Cabinet just because of the importance of the matter.

He wished to explain to the gentlemen present his basic ideas concerning the opportunities for the development of our position in the field of foreign affairs and its requirements, and he asked, in the interests of a long-term German policy, that his exposition be regarded, in the event of his death, as his last will and testament.

The Fuehrer then continued: The aim of German policy was to make secure and to preserve the racial community [Volksmasse] and to enlarge it. It was therefore a question of space. The German racial community comprised over 85 million people and, because of their number and the narrow limits of habitable space in Europe, constituted a tightly packed racial core such as was not to be met in any other country and such as implied the right to a greater living space than in the case of other peoples.

If, territorially speaking, there existed no political result corresponding to this German racial core, that was a consequence of centuries of historical development, and in the continuance of these political conditions lay the greatest danger to the preservation of the German race at its present peak. To arrest the decline of Germanism [Deutschtum] in Austria and Czechoslovakia was as little possible as to maintain the present level in Germany itself.

Instead of increase, sterility was setting in, and in its train disorders of a social character must arise in course of time, since political and ideological ideas remain effective only so long as they furnish the basis for the realization of the essential vital demands of a people. Before turning to the question of solving the need for space, it had to be considered whether a solution holding promise for the future was to be reached by means of autarchy or by means of an increased participation in world economy.

Autarchy: Achievement only possible under strict National Socialist leadership of the State, which is assumed; accepting its achievement as possible, the following could be stated as results:- A. In the field of raw materials only limited, not total, autarchy. Iron requirements can be met from home resources and similarly with light metals, but with other raw materials -copper,tin- this was not the case. A permanent solution impossible.

In the field of food the question of autarchy was to be answered by a flat "No. The fruits of the increased agricultural production had all gone to meet the increased demand, and so did not represent an absolute production increase.

A further increase in production by making greater demands on the soil, which already, in consequence of the use of artificial fertilizers, was showing signs of exhaustion, was hardly possible, and it was therefore certain that even with the maximum increase in production, participation in world trade was unavoidable. The not inconsiderable expenditure of foreign exchange to insure food supplies by imports, even when harvests were good, grew to catastrophic proportions with bad harvests.

The possibility of a disaster grew in proportion to the increase in population, in which, too, the excess of births of , annually produced, as a consequence, an even further increase in bread consumption, since a child was a greater bread consumer than an adult.

It was not possible over the long run, in a continent enjoying a practically common standard of living, to meet the food supply difficulties by lowering that standard and by rationalization. Since, with the solving of the unemployment problem, the maximum consumption level had been reached, some minor modifications in our home agricultural production might still, no doubt, be possible, but no fundamental alteration was possible in our basic food position.

Thus autarchy was untenable in regard both to food and to the economy as a whole. Participation in world economy: To this there were limitations which we were unable to remove.

In particular it had to be remembered that since the World War, those very countries which had formerly been food exporters had become industrialized. We were living in an age of economic empires in which the primitive urge to colonization was again manifesting itself; in the cases of Japan and Italy economic motives underlay the urge for expansion, and with Germany, too, economic need would supply the stimulus.

For countries outside the great economic empires, opportunities for economic expansion were severely impeded. The boom in world economy caused by the economic effects of rearmament could never form the basis of a sound economy over a long period, and the latter was obstructed above all also by the economic disturbances resulting from Bolshevism.

There was a pronounced military weakness in those states which depended for their existence on foreign trade. As our foreign trade was carried on over the sea routes dominated by Britain, it was more a question of security of transport than one of foreign exchange, which revealed, in time of war, the full weakness of our food situation. The only remedy, and one which might appear to us as visionary, lay in the acquisition of greater living space -a quest which has at all times been the origin of the formation of states and of the migration of peoples.

That this quest met with no interest at Geneva or among the satiated nations was understandable. If, then, we accept the security of our food situation as the principal question, the space necessary to insure it can only be sought in Europe, not, as in the liberal-capitalist view, in the exploitation of colonies.

It is not a matter of acquiring population but of gaining space for agricultural use. Moreover, areas producing raw materials can be more usefully sought in Europe in immediate proximity to the Reich, than overseas; the solution thus obtained must suffice for one or two generations.

Whatever else might prove necessary later must be left to succeeding generations to deal with. The development of great world political constellations progressed but slowly after all, and the German people with its strong racial core would find the most favorable prerequisites for such achievement in the heart of the continent of Europe.

The history of all ages- the Roman Empire and the British Empire- had proved that expansion could only be carried out by breaking down resistance and taking risks; setbacks were inevitable. There had never in former times been spaces without a master, and there were none today; the attacker always comes up against a possessor. The question for Germany ran: where could she achieve the greatest gain at the lowest cost.

Because of opposition of the Dominions, Britain could not cede any of her colonial possessions to us. British concessions could at best be expressed in an offer to satisfy our colonial demands by the appropriation of colonies which were not British possessions -e. French concessions would probably take a similar line. Serious discussion of the question of the return of colonies to us could only be considered at a moment when Britain was in difficulties and the German Reich armed and strong.

The Fuehrer did not share the view that the Empire was unshakable. Opposition to the Empire was to be found less in the countries conquered than among her competitors.

The British Empire and the Roman Empire could not be compared in respect of permanence; the latter was not confronted by any powerful political rival of a serious order after the Punic Wars.

It was only the disintegrating effect of Christianity, and the symptoms of age which appear in every country, which caused ancient Rome to succumb to the onslaught of the Germans. Beside the British Empire there existed today a number of states stronger than she.

The British motherland was able to protect her colonial possessions not by her own power, but only in alliance with other states. How, for instance, could Britain alone defend Canada against attack by America, or her Far Eastern interests against attack by Japan!

The emphasis on the British Crown as the symbol of the unity of the Empire was already an admission that, in the long run, the Empire could not maintain its position by power politics. Significant indications of this were: a The struggle of Ireland for independence. The outcome of the Abyssinian War was a loss of prestige for Britain which Italy was striving to increase by stirring up the in the Mohammeden world.

To sum up, it could be stated that, with 45 million Britons, in spite of its theoretical soundness, the position of the Empire could not in the long run be maintained by power politics. The ratio of the population of the Empire to that of the motherland of , was a warning to us not, in our territorial expansion to allow the foundation constituted by the numerical strength of our own people to become too weak.

The French Empire was better placed territorially; the inhabitants of her colonial possessions represented a supplement to her military strength. But France was going to be confronted with internal political difficulties. Today, nonetheless, Britain, France, Russia, and the smaller states adjoining them, must be included as factors [Machtfaktoren] in our political calculations.

If one accepts as the basis of the following exposition the resort to force with its attendant risks, then there remain still to be answered the questions "when" and "how. After this date only a change for the worse, from our point of view, could be expected. The equipment of the army, navy, and luftwaffe, as well as the formation of the officer corps, was nearly completed.

Equipment and armament were modern; in further delay there lay the danger of their obsolescence. In particular, the secrecy of "special weapons" could not be preserved forever. The recruiting of reserves was limited to current age groups; further drafts from older untrained age groups were no longer available. Our relative strength would decrease in relation to the rearmament which would by then have been carried out by the rest of the world. It was while the rest of the world was still preparing its defenses [sich abriegele] that we were obliged to take the offensive.

Nobody knew today what the situation would be in the years One thing only was certain, that we could not wait longer. On the one hand there was the great Wehrmacht, and the necessity of maintaining it at its present level, the aging of the movement and of its leaders; and on the other, the prospect of a lowering of the standard of living and of a limitation of the birth rate, which left no choice but to act.

The necessity for action before would arise in cases 2 and 3.

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Memorandum Hossbach

Edit The conference of 5 November had been called in response to complaints from Admiral Raeder that the Navy Kriegsmarine was not receiving sufficient allocations of steel and other raw materials, and as a result, the entire Kriegsmarine building program was in danger of collapse. Neither the Luftwaffe nor the Army were willing to see any reductions of their steel allocations, and as the conference had been called in response to resolve the dispute, Hitler took the opportunity afforded by the conference to provide a summary of his assessment of the foreign policy situation. Hitler stated that in the event of his death, the contents of the conference were to be regarded as his "political testament". This has been labelled by some historians as a way of preparing Germany for conflict, by ensuring that it was not economically reliant on states with which it could soon be at war. Autarky: Achievement only possible under strict National Socialist leadership of the State, which is assumed. Accepting its achievement as possible, the following could be stated as results: A. In the field of raw materials only limited, not total, autarky.

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Edit The Memorandum is often used by intentionalist historians such as Gerhard Weinberg , Andreas Hillgruber and Richard Overy to prove that Hitler planned to start a general European war, which became the Second World War , as part of a long-range master plan. However functionalist historians such as Timothy Mason , Hans Mommsen , and Ian Kershaw argue that the document shows no such plans, and instead contend that the Hossbach Memorandum was an improvised ad hoc response by Hitler to the growing crisis in the German economy in the late s. Contents Edit The conference of November 5, had been called in response to complaints from Admiral Raeder that the Navy Kriegsmarine was not receiving sufficient allocations of steel and other raw materials, and as a result, the entire Kriegsmarine building program was in danger of collapse. Neither the Luftwaffe or the Army were willing to see any reductions of their steel allocations, and as the conference had been called in response to resolve the dispute. Hitler took the opportunity afforded by the conference to provide a summary of his assessment of the foreign policy situation. Hitler stated that in the event of his death, the contents of the conference were to be regarded as his "political testament" [1]. Moreover, Hitler announced it was imperative to act sometime within the next five or six years before "two hate-inspired antagonists", Britain and France closed the gap in the Arms race , in which, Hitler noted, Germany was already falling behind [2].

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Contents[ edit ] The conference of 5 November had been called in response to complaints from Admiral Raeder that the navy Kriegsmarine was receiving insufficient allocations of steel and other raw materials and that its entire building programme was thus in danger of collapse. Neither the air force Luftwaffe nor the army Wehrmacht wanted to see any reductions of their steel allocations. As the conference had been called in response to resolve the dispute, Hitler took the opportunity to provide a summary of his assessment of foreign policy. He stated that if he died, the contents of the conference were to be regarded as his "political testament". That has been labelled by some historians as a way of preparing Germany for conflict by ensuring that it was not economically reliant on states with which it could soon be at war. Autarky: Achievement only possible under strict National Socialist leadership of the State, which is assumed. Accepting its achievement as possible, the following could be stated as results: A.

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