Grossdeutschland - 1918 To 1945

1918 To 1945

Further information: Völkisch movement, Heim ins Reich, Generalplan Ost, and Greater Germanic Reich

World war I became the first attempt to carry out the Pan-German ideology in practice, and the Pan-German movement argued forcefully for an expansionist imperialism providing the German people with Lebensraum.

Following the defeat in World War I, influence of German-speaking elites over Central and Eastern Europe was greatly limited. At the Treaty of Versailles, Germany was substantially reduced in size. Austria-Hungary was split up. A Rump-Austria, which to a certain extent corresponded to the German-speaking areas of Austria-Hungary (a complete split into language groups was impossible due to multi-lingual areas and language-exclaves) adopted the name "German Austria" (German: Deutschösterreich) in hope for union with the Germany. Union with Germany and the name "German Austria" was forbidden by the Treaty of St. Germain and had to be changed back to Austria.

It was in the post-WWI period that the Austrian-born Adolf Hitler, under the influence of the stab-in-the-back myth, first took up German nationalist ideas in his Mein Kampf. Hitler met Heinrich Class in 1918, and Class provided Hitler with support for the 1923 Beer Hall Putsch. Hitler and his National Socialist friends shared most of the basic pan-German visions with the Pan-German League, but nonetheless differences in political style lead the two groups to open rivalry. The German Workers Party of Bohemia cut its ties to the pan-German movement, which was seen as being too dominated by the upper classes, and joined forces with the German Workers Party led by Anton Drexler, which later became the National Socialist German Workers Party (Nazi party) that was to be headed by Adolf Hitler from 1921.

Nazi propaganda also used the political slogan Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Führer ("One people, one Reich, one leader"), in order to enforce pan-German sentiment in Austria for the "Anschluss"

The Heim ins Reich initiative (German: literally Home into the Empire, meaning Back to the Reich, see Reich) was a policy pursued by the Nazis which attempted to convince the ethnic Germans living outside of the Third Reich (such as in Austria and Sudetenland) that they should strive to bring these regions "home" into a Greater Germany. This notion also led the way for an even more expansive state to be envisioned, the Greater Germanic Reich, which Nazi Germany tried to establish. This pan-Germanic empire was expected to assimilate practically all of Germanic Europe into an enormously expanded Greater Germanic Reich. Territorially speaking, this encompassed the already-enlarged German Reich itself (consisting of pre-1938 Germany proper, Austria, Bohemia, Moravia, Alsace-Lorraine, Eupen-Malmedy, Memel, Lower Styria, Upper Carniola, Southern Carinthia, and German-occupied Poland), the Netherlands, the Flemish part of Belgium, Luxembourg, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Iceland, at least the German-speaking parts of Switzerland, and Liechtenstein. The most notable exception was the predominantly Anglo-Saxon United Kingdom, which was not projected as having to be reduced to a German province but to instead become an allied seafaring partner of the Germans.

Read more about this topic:  Grossdeutschland

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