Hitler’s Aims: Lebensraum and the Destruction of Enemies

Hitler’s Aims: Lebensraum and the Destruction of Enemies


LebensraumTranslating into English as ‘living space‘, this pretty self-explanatory aim was to get more territory for the German race to live in. The thinking behind it was that Germans did not have a space to live in that was befitting of their status (think maybe of the Queen being forced to live in a one-bedroom flat), and needed more. The aim was to expand to the East of Germany, taking land from countries such as Poland and Russia. Why did they want to go East rather West or South? Because the people of Eastern Europe were Slavs, and in the Nazi mind these people were inferior to Germans. The policy involved not just taking over these territories, but removing all Slavic peoples from them by force.

Destruction of enemies to the German race

The Slavs were not the only targets of Nazi foreign policy. Hitler and the Nazis also loathed communism, and sincerely believed that the goal of the Soviet Union was to spread communism across Europe and beyond. There was only one way to respond to this threat: destroy it.

The Aims of Hitler’s Foreign Policy

LebensraumHitler’s grand, overall aim was to create a German Third Reich (meaning ‘Third Empire’, the other two ‘Reichs’ having been the German Empire (1871-1918) and the Holy Roman Empire (962-1806)). As a rabid, extreme German nationalist, Hitler believed that, not only did German people count as a separate race, they were the superior race. Building on this logic, the master race had a right and a destiny of building a large empire.

However, we need to recognise that this main aim was made up of more specific aims, as well as strategies to make these aims possible.