Right now, the world is watching in horror as Vladimir Putin’s army invades Ukraine. But this is not the first time one man’s ambition has threatened peace in Europe.
On 12 March 1938, Adolf Hitler and his Nazi troops crossed the German border and invaded Austria. This is the moment when the countdown to the Second World War begins.
In the first episode, we explore how Adolf Hitler began to drag the world towards a devastating war. In a radical re-telling of these events, a team of leading young historians explain what Hitler was doing day by day, week by week, for the six months between March 1938 and September 1938, looking at each moment through his eyes.
For Hitler, the occupation of Austria was just the beginning. His lifelong dream was to create a Greater German Reich: an ethnically pure German empire which he hoped would one day extend across central and eastern Europe. With Austria occupied, Hitler quickly turned to his next target.
Three million German people lived in the Sudetenland territory of Czechoslovakia, and they wanted to be part of Germany. Hitler was all too happy to oblige, but secretly he had his eye on a much larger prize: the whole of Czechoslovakia.
He wanted the country’s natural riches and vast armaments factories. He also saw the country as a convenient gateway from which he could launch further invasions in the east. In this episode, we reveal how Hitler manipulated and played games with the Czechs and with the western powers of Britain and France to achieve his ends.
We also explore why Hitler was so popular in Germany, how he’d created his distinctive public image, and how he whipped up support through his public speaking technique. We also look at key moments from his past life to discover how he became the man who brought Europe to the edge of destruction.
Tyrant: The Rise Of Adolf Hitler airs on Channel 5.