Preparing "for war" and actually wanting to fight one is not the same thing.
The renowned British historian, and well known Germanophobe A.J.P. Taylor wrote succinctly:
Hitler certainly directed his generals to prepare for war. But so did the British, and for that matter every other, government. It is the job of general staffs to prepare for war. The directives which they receive from their governments indicate the possible war for which they are to prepare, and are no proof that the governments concerned have resolved on it. All the British directives from 1935 onwards were pointed solely against Germany; Hitler’s were concerned only with making Germany stronger. If therefore we were (wrongly) to judge political intentions from military plans, the British government would appear set on war with Germany, not the other way round.
But of course we apply to the behaviour of our own governments a generosity of interpretation which we do not extend to others. People regard Hitler as wicked; and then and proofs of his wickedness in evidence which they would not use against others. Why do they apply this double standard? Only because they assume Hitler’s wickedness in the first place.
A.J.P. Taylor, The Origins of the Second World War (Penguin Books, 1964), Pp. 13
We could just leave it at that. But I won't.
One must take into acount various considerations before jumping to conclusions.
Germany had been completely demilitarized by the Treaty of Versailles, that Germany would re-arm and reintroduce conscription should be totally unsurprising, and that they would need a military capable of war if necessary should also be obvious. After all, what nation would bother listening to Germany if all they could do was bark and not actually bite? Nobody. The Poles in 1939 believed the Germans were weaker than they were, and perused a policy of obstinance and war for this very reason.
Germany, in 1939, wasn't ready for war whatsoever:
The first point to make is that Hitler did not expect a European war to break out in 1939. Of course there was an element of risk as there is in any act of aggression. But all the evidence shows that from 1938 onwards, and increasingly after March 1939, Hitler had persuaded himself that the western Allies would not take action over Poland and, by implication, further German action in the east.17 As late as August 1939 Hitler expressed his conviction to Ciano 'that the conflict will be localized' and that it was 'out of the question that this struggle can begin war'.18 The head of Hitler's military planning staff was allowed to take leave during August and even to have it extended until 18 August, so confident were the armed forces that a general crisis would not develop over the Danzig question.
Richard Overy, War and Economy in the Third Reich (Claredon Press, Oxford, 2002), Pp. 237
This is confirmed by whole host of other evidence which I have posted before in other threads. Hitler repeatedly acted, and said explicitly that war would not occur in 1939, Hitler's "definitive" biographer Ian Kershaw also admits that Hitler was initially hoping to secure his deal with Poland by way of negotiation and not war:
The obduracy of the Poles, especially over Danzig, rapidly brought the first signs of Hitler's own impatience, and an early indication of the preparations to take Danzig by force. Hitler was nevertheless at this point, more interested in a negotiated settlement with the Poles.
Goring [...] had no expectation of any general war before about 1942.
The coming showdown with Bolshevism, prominent in the foreground in 1936, though certainly not displaced in Hitler's own mind as the decisive struggle to be faced at some point in the future had by now moved again into the shadows. Hitler favoured at this point rapprochement with the Poles, to bring them into the German orbit, and preparations for confrontation with the West (which he continued to indicate would not be before 1943 or 1944). But he was, as usual, content to keep his options open and await developments. [...]
German hopes of a peaceful revisionism to acquire Danzig and access through the Corridor while bringing Poland into the German orbit were already running into the sand.
At the end of March Hitler had indicated to Brauchitsh, head of the army, that he would use force against Poland if diplomacy failed.
Ian Kershaw, Hitler 1936-1945 Nemesis (Allen Lane, 2000), Pp. 158, 160, 165
Hitler had no intention to start a war, only the expectation that he would, at some point have to fight one. Overy also believed this to be the case. Even if a war did occur Hitler had every intention to ensure it was fought only with Poland, and without anyone from the West interfering:
A war of ten to fifteen years had to be reckoned with. A long war had, therefore, to be prepared for, even though every attempt would be made to deliver a surprise knock-out blow at the outset - possible only if Germany avoided 'sliding into' war with Britain as a result of Poland. Clearly, Hitler was here, too, envisaging the elimination of Poland before any conflict with the West took place.
Ian Kershaw, Hitler 1936-1945 Nemesis (Allen Lane, 2000), Pp. 192
As we can see, Hitler had the piece of mind to prepare for a long war, even though he did not want to fight one, nor did he expect one in 1939. So was Hitler "preparing for war", yes, but not in the way the malicious TikToker is implying. Germany had no way to redress her legitimate grievances, and war was of course a very real possibility.
If you look at Plan Z for example you will find that it states that this plan wasn't really perused and wouldn't have been ready until 1943 or so. The truth is the Germans didn't bother building any kind of comparable navy that would compete with the British, nor did they bother to take the French fleet in Toulon:
On naval requirements, however, he was adamant, as his remarks had indicated: 'Nothing will be changed in the shipbuilding programme.' To the relief of those present, who took it as an indication of when he envisaged the conflict with the West taking place, he stipulated that the rearmament programmes were to be targeted at 1943-4 - the same time-scale he had given in November 1937. But no one doubted that Hitler intended to attack Poland that very year.
Throughout the spring and summer frenzied diplomatic efforts were made to try to isolate Poland and deter the western powers from becoming involved in what was intended as a localized conflict. On the day before Hitler's address to his military leaders, Italy and Germany had signed the so-called 'Pact of Steel', meant to warn Britain and France off backing Poland
Ian Kershaw, Hitler 1936-1945 Nemesis (Allen Lane, 2000), Pp. 193
It should be noted that Kershaw is quoting the context of a May 23rd 1939 address to the officers of the Wehrmacht, known as the "Schmundt Report" which contains multiple contradictions, and outright ludicrous statements often used by historians as evidence of Hitler's guilt.
Grand Admiral Raeder described this alleged “document” 079-L, IMT vol. XXXVII, pp. 546f., the so-called “Schmundt Report,” as “the most abstruse document concerning a Hitler speech in existence, for a large part of the statements in my opinion makes no sense whatsoever.”22 This sheet of paper (cover-page with 15 pages attached), passed off by the IMT as “document from the captured German archives,” has, with the exception of “Top Secret – to be handled by officer only,” no heading, no date, no official stamp to denote classified matter, no counter signature. It is handwritten, giving just the “gist” of the content, and it contains corrections in ink, which were later inserted at some undefined point in time – not by the hand of Schmundt! Schmundt had succumbed to his injuries on 1 October 1944, having incurred these during the attempted assassination of 20 July; the authenticity of his signature is doubtful. The “document” has not been registered in the secret material journal, although that would have been imperative for a matter of “Top Secret – to be handled by officer only.” Furthermore, there is no detail given about the number of copies.
The purpose of the meeting was the formation of a research staff within the OKW (High Command of the Wehrmacht), which “will have to keep the Führer informed.” Theirs was the brief to “study” and provide for all possible military contingencies to ensure military success in a confrontation – as it is practiced by every military leadership in the world. Not even from the “document” 079-L – IMT vol. XXXVII, p. 546 – can it be deduced that this planning staff had been given a definite military decision for an operative planning. Had this been the case, then perhaps one could have inferred “a determination for war.”
Udo Walendy, Who Started World War II? (Castle Hill Publishers, 2014), Pp. 453, 457
The reason I'm quoting Kershaw is to show what he is willing to admit. That even though he claims Hitler - understandably, after March 1939 when the Poles mobilised and the British gave their blank check to Poland - was going to try and take back Danzig by force that he would only be doing so under the impression that he could avert a war in the West and achieve his aims by taking on Poland alone. Therefore, not intending a widespread European conflict, let alone World War.
It should be remembered too that Hitler demobilised I believe it was, 13 divisions after the fall of France, and in July 1940, made his most famous peace offer: " A Last Appeal to Reason", and Hitler only embraced the effort for "total war" production in 1943, having refused to put the German economy into a full-time war economy.
Hitler demonstrated again and again that he did not want war, and when the French campaign ended he ordered demobilisation, sending whole divisions home: production of war material changed to production of consumer goods. [...] following the French campaign whole divisions were discharged and production of war material curtailed. Germany likewise never built any long range bombers like the Allies Lancaster (the Flying Fortress). In 1940, less than 15% of Germanys’ GNP was spend on armaments, in 1941 it was still just 19%…reaching 50% in 1944, when “total war” was declared. In contrast, Stalin spend 32.6% of his nations GNP on armaments in 1940, and 43.4% in 1941. This confirms that the threat originated in the Soviet Union: communism intended to conquer the whole world from the start — their emblem was a Hammer and Sickle superimposed over the globe.Wilfried Heink, The latest effort to combat "denial", i.e., Holocaust revisionism (Part II): https://codoh.com/library/document/the-latest-effort-to-combat-denial-ie-holocaust-1/en/ Archive: https://archive.vn/3a9d0
Regard the other points, Hitler had abolished the trade unions and created the DAF (Deutsche Arbiter Front, German Labour Front), I can only imagine this is the organisation this person is talking about. I fail to see the relevance. It is worth noting that Hitler did introduce mandatory conscription in March 1935, not 1933, and this was an extremely popular act:
"Two months later, crowds acclaimed the reestablishment of a mass conscription army, the Wehrmacht, recalling for observers the “August Days” of 1914. Again socialists conceded: “For the overwhelming majority, 16 March is the definitive end to a shameful past, much more so than 30 January 1933; the day marks ‘the dawn of a new age.’”
Peter Fritzsche, Life and Death in the Third Reich (Belknap, Harvard University Press, 2008), Pp. 63. Also see: J. Noakes & G Pridham, Nazism 1919-1945 A Documentary Reader: Volume 2 (Liverpool University Press, 2016), Pp. 387
But this was to be expected.
The most ridiculous and outright false thing in this list is about the Moscow-Ribbentrop pact. I have never once read a historian or otherwise claim that Hitler sought a pact with Stalin to stall for time and rebuild the military. The Molotov-Ribbentrop pact was signed on the 23rd of August 1939, 8 days prior to the German invasion of Poland. This only makes sense in the mind of someone who has no knowledge of the dates that these things occurred. Hitler signed the pact to secure his rear, and hopefully dissuade the Allies from going to war over Poland, this was the same reason he signed the Pact of Steel:
When news of the pact with Stalin arrived Hitler was finally and, it could be argued, sensibly convinced that the west would not attack. Any hesitation before the invasion of Poland was caused by Italy's panic and the prospect of a second Munich but on no account did the outbreak of a general war seem any more likely to Hitler in August 1939 than in September 1938—if anything less so. Indeed all the intelligence available to the Germans of Allied rearmament and strength confirmed that neither Britain nor France was in a position to risk war with the Axis powers.21 The general war for which Hitler was preparing was not supposed to break out in 1939 and even when it did would, according to Hitler, peter out as the western powers grew tired of their gesture
Richard Overy, War and Economy in the Third Reich (Claredon Press, Oxford, 2002), Pp. 237-238
And finally, it was Goring who coined the term "Guns before Butter", but so what? In reality the Germans had both guns and butter, and even if they did not, it made perfect sense to put Guns over Butter. Preparations for getting Germany ready for war culminated in the four year plan in 1936 (not 1933), when Hjalmar Schacht was removed as president of the Reichsbank and replaced by Hermann Goring:
The next major problem is that of German rearmament, or more precisely its actual extent. Immediate post-war literature accepted uncritically the highly inflated sums given by Hitler in his public speeches. These we find reproduced almost verbatim in Churchill's memoirs. Yet Goring's hypothetical choice of Kanonen oder Butter was in reality scarcely posed. German policy was one of guns as well as butter, and continued well into the Second World War. One of the reasons for the lack of a drastic arms policy before the war and the lack of a total mobilisation of Germany's manpower reserves during it, was the experience of the First World War, notably the collapse of the home front which in turn gave birth to the 'stab-in-the-backlegend'. Hence for years total mobilisation, especially of women, was out of the question, as was the cessation of the
production of consumer goods in favour of arms. Rearmament and even war should be carried on with as little impact on the German domestic scene as possible. There was to be no repeat of '1918'! This policy was only gradually given up once the tide of war had turned against Germany, and even then not as fully as had been the case in Britain since 1940. Thus Speer in 1944 managed to triple Germany's output of arms with the productive capacity of 1941. It cannot be said either that following Hitler's coming to power a coherent plan of German rearmament was pursued. In this sphere the polycratic structure of the regime was as much a handicap as in other spheres. The individual branches of the armed services proposed and pursued their programmes with little or no coordination. Rivalry for scarce raw materials was endemic, at times even vicious. The announcement of the 'Four-Year Plan' under Goring in 1936 produced no alleviation in inter-service rivalries. Hitler approved armaments programmes with little perception of actual reality. Assuming that all the armaments programmes proposed and approved by Hitler in 1938-9 could have been realised by the three services, including a vast expansion of the Luftwaffe and the 'big-ship' building by the navy, the so-called 'Z-plan', Germany would have needed crude oil reserves of an amount in excess of the then total annual world production. When the German army attacked Russia in 1941 only 46 divisions out of roughly 150 were fully equipped with German arms, the remainder were either deficient in equipment, mainly armour and antitank guns, or equipped with captured arms of both Czech and French origin.
H.W. Koch, Editor., Aspects of the Third Reich (Macmillan, 1985), Pp. 327-328
Until 1936, rearmament and increased civilian consumption could be achieved simultaneously by drawing on unemployed resources. Indeed, the rearmament deficits had a stimulating effect on consumption. There was no conflict, therefore, in having both more 'butter' and more 'guns'. In the years 1937 and 1938, however, the German economy was operating at near full employment, and a sizable increase in armament expenditures could have been achieved only at the expense of some decline in civilian consumption. It would have required at least a sharp curtailment of some types of civilian goods production, notably consumer durables and residential construction. It appears, however, that the German government was unwilling to ask for such sacrifices.
In the pre-war period, the German economy produced both 'butter' and 'guns' - much more of the former and much less of the latter than has been commonly assumed. By 1937, civilian consumption, investment in consumer goods industries, and government non-war expenditures equalled or exceeded previous peak levels. There is no question, therefore, of a rearmament programme so large that it prevented a substantial recovery of civilian production. The volume of expenditures for rearmament was actually quite modest. In the period 1933 through 1938 rearmament expenditures absorbed less than 10 per cent of Germany's gross national product, and even as late as 1938, only 15 per cent. The volume of munitions production and the number of divisions which Germany mobilised was, by comparison with published appraisal, small. Investment in those industries comprising the war potential was not much larger than the volume reached in the prosperous years of the previous decade and was small in relation to total investment.
H.W. Koch, Editor., Aspects of the Third Reich (Macmillan, 1985), Pp. 360-361, 364
The fact of the matter is that Hitler was
thrown into war. One needs only to read how Hitler reacted to the news of the ultimatums given to him by the British and the French on September 3rd 1939 to see how he felt about a war he did not want, nor expect:
In a few minutes Schmidt was at the chancellery. He made his way with some difficulty through the crowd gathered outside of the Führer’s office. To anxious questions on his mission, he said cryptically, “Classroom dismissed.” Hitler was at his desk; Ribbentrop stood by the window. Both turned expectantly as Schmidt entered. He slowly translated the British ultimatum. At last Hitler turned to Ribbentrop and abruptly said, “What now?” “I assume,” said Ribbentrop quietly, “that the French will hand in a similar ultimatum within the hour.”
Schmidt was engulfed in the anteroom by eager questions but once he revealed that England was declaring war in two hours there was complete silence. Finally Göring said, “If we lose this war, then God have mercy on us!” Everywhere Schmidt saw grave faces. Even the usually ebullient Goebbels stood in a corner, downcast and self-absorbed.
Hitler was already preparing to leave the chancellery with his entourage to board a special train bound for the fighting front. Nine minutes before it left Berlin, the Führer sent off a message to the ally who had failed to support him in his greatest crisis. Unlike the telegram to Moscow, this one to Mussolini was sent in the clear and was replete with dramatic phrases. He was aware, said Hitler, that this was “a struggle of life and death” but he had chosen to wage war with “deliberation,” and his faith remained as “firm as a rock.” As the Führer’s train pulled out of the station at exactly 9 P.M. he did not show the confidence of this letter. One secretary, Gerda Daranowsky, noticed he was very quiet, pale and thoughtful; never before had she seen him like that. And another, Christa Schröder, overheard him say to Hess: “Now, all my work crumbles. I wrote my book for nothing.”
John Toland, Adolf Hitler: The Definitive Biography, (Doubleday, 1976), Pp. 575-576
As I've asked in another thread - does this reaction to finding out you're now at war with Britain, and soon France, seem like the reaction of people who got what they wanted? Absolutely not.
Hitler was preparing for a war, but one he did not know the "who, what, when where or why" of. He only planned for what might've occurred, and acted when he could wait no longer under the expectation that he would not need to fight for very long. The fact is none of these points brought up by this TikToker prove
anything in and of themselves, in-fact they only seek to make people jump to conclusions based on half-truths that don't tell the fully story, and operate on the preconceived notion that Hitler was wicked and guilty. None of this could possibly explain the complexity of foreign policy and diplomacy, and it leaves out the numerous peace offers Hitler made throughout the early war years, and even in September 1939 to try and prevent the West from getting involved by spilling blood, when it had not yet been spilt.