“Poland will refuse to cede Danzig,” Hitler looked his Chief of Staff in the eye, “Tomorrow, it will be war!”
It was 3rd September 1939. Poland didn’t have a choice, but the real question was, did Germany? One by one, Germany found herself isolated. At first, she recognized only two arch enemies – the United Kingdom and France. But one by one the European countries entered the fold. Denmark. Holland. Belgium. Finland. Sweden. Norway. Switzerland. Finally, the USA. Einkreisung! Encirclement!
The United States. That staggering behemoth of an industrial titan was a fearsome enemy. They had beaten the German Empire in 1918. They could very well do so again. The Atlantic was large, but Hitler wondered if it was large enough. He had no doubt that German ingenuity and courage would prevail against the Americans, the British, the French - individually. But all of them together? And they weren’t even their greatest foe. That dubious distinction lies only with the hated ideologues in the USSR. Yes ... hate. Hitler hated them with all his heart.
The enemy was on all sides. Sweden, Norway, Finland and Denmark in the north. Greece in the south. France, Switzerland, the UK and the US in the West. They had all mobilised for war. But the true enemy were slit eyes in the tall grass -the Soviets.
One must bide his time, and choose his enemies well.
With an eye on eventual conquest of the Soviet Union, Hitler made a pact with the Devil - the Molotov Ribbentrop non-aggression pact between two natural enemies. Can the Cobra truly truly extend an olive branch to the Serpent? It was unnatural, but it was necessary. What it bought was time. Time to eliminate his foes on the soil of Europe, and strike when the Soviets when they least expect.
Hitler couldn’t help but smile. The Molotov Ribbentrop Pact was just one of his many machinations.
Italy came easily enough to his fold. His personal friendship with Mussolini made sure of that. Their troops, although with obsolescent equipment, have at least some experience from Ethiopia, and will likely do well against France and Greece.
Patient diplomacy for the past 2 ½ years have yielded results. First, the Nationalists in Spain easily fell under the fold of the Axis. The Spanish won’t even have to raise a rifle to tie up entire French Corps as the poor fools fruitlessly defend their western borders against an enemy that won't march. But Hitler won’t call his Spanish friends to arms. No. That would just give the British and the Americans a cassus belli to crush his weak allies, and open a wide open front in the West. A dog's bark is usually more fearsome than its bite.
Next Hitler made sure that the Turks were well and truly within the fold of the Axis. Eventually, Stalin will need to keep his caucasus troops in the caucasus, and the Turks will do just fine.
Then, of course, there were the Romanians and the Yugoslavians – willing allies for the Axis. The Yugoslavians will check the Greeks in the south, while the Romanians will open a southern front for the Polish.
And the Persians, though not comrades in arms, were friendly, and a long standing trade agreement, though expensive, had enabled Hitler to have a considerable stockpile of refined oil.
Yes, Germany is encircled, but so is Poland and France locked in the same potential of a two front war. But Germany, modern, ready, vengeful Germany, of all the nations in the world, is the only one capable of attacking at all fronts – and Hitler intends to do just that!
He will simultaneously demolish the Poles and the Swiss, and engage the British in North Africa.
Then he will demolish France, tear down Denmark and grab the black riches of the Middle East.
He will smash the Norwegians and the Swedes from the sky and from the sea.
When there is nothing left but the mosquitoes across the channel, he will ambush and siege the Soviet heartland. Once the Red Army’s cities crumble, UK cannot possibly stand for long. Once German flags flutter on the streets of London, US cannot but sue for peace.
“Yes ...” Hitler thought to himself, smiling, “War ... is good.”