- Historical event
- 11 December 1941
- On this day Adolf Hitler declared war on the United States, then the world's biggest industrial power. What led him to make that move?
On this day in 1941 Hitler declared war on the United States, although he had still not defeated either Britain or the Soviet Union. Namely, the Battle of Britain was already lost, and in Russia the German forces were stopped in the snow in front of Moscow. In such a situation, to declare war on the world’s largest industrial power does not seem like a sensible move. Why, then, did Hitler do it?
He did it primarily because of the Japanese, to which he promised that, if they attack the United States, he would declare war on the Americans as well. Furthermore, Hitler recognized that the United States is already greatly involved in the war in Europe, as Britain’s ally. A formal declaration of war would thus allow the Germans to sink American ships on the Atlantic Ocean without hesitation. In addition to all this, Hitler misjudged the Americans. He thought that they were basically a demoralized and corrupt country that would break easily, and that the Nazi forces, based on existential racism, would prevail. He was wrong. The declaration of war against the U.S. sealed Hitler’s fate. His defeat became only a question of time.