Hitler’s familiar game

In the run-up to Germany’s annexation of Austria, the removal of Czechoslovakia from the European map, and the blitzkrieg against Poland, Adolf Hitler went back to a familiar playbook over and over again to ratchet up support in his home country and give international cover to his aggressions.

The ploy was a propaganda campaign that poor, defenseless Germans in the Sudetenland, in parts of Czechoslovakia, and in Poland were being oppressed, harassed, brutalized, attacked, raped, and murdered, requiring Hitler to come in and save them.

Always, Hitler’s aggressions were someone else’s fault. When the European powers at last found a backbone and went to war because of his attack on Poland, he again blamed England and France because, as Hitler complained, he kept trying to find a peaceful settlement after his invented tales of the oppression of Germans.

It was never Hitler’s fault. Germany was never to blame. Near the end of the European conflict, Hitler tried to shift the narrative again to one where he was the lone hero trying to defeat Communism.

The Austrians made him do it. The Czechs made him do it. The Poles made him do it. England and France made him do it. Communists made him do it. Or so he complained, until the day he put a gun in his mouth and pulled the trigger.

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