War Studies Seminar: Dr Klaus Schmider

Dr Klaus Schmider presents a lecture entitled ‘Reconsidering the reasons behind Hitler’s declaration of war on the USA in December 1941.’

In stark contrast to the rivers of ink that have been spilt on the subject of Hitler’s war of aggression against the USSR, his equally important decision to declare war on the USA has been woefully neglected.

Biographies of Hitler and Roosevelt and general histories of WW2 more often than not limit themselves to briefly reflect on the German dictator’s innate racism and how this led to a serious underrating of US potential and hence a declaration of war which seemed likely to ‘split’ US war-making potential, thus saving the Japanese from a major strategic dilemma.

As this presentation will make clear, these suppositions do not stand up to critical scrutiny.

A careful examination will instead point to a unique confluence in late 1941 of events pointing to future developments which led the German leader to believe that he had just been gifted a window of opportunity.

The fact that most of these supposed trends collapsed within weeks of the declaration of war has tended to hide them from historians’ eyes.

About the speaker

Dr Klaus Schmider is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of War Studies at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst. Read more about his research on this topic in his book, Hitler’s Fatal Miscalculation: Why Hitler Declared War on the United States.

Booking details

No booking required. Please note that this is an in-person event, with no streaming.


Adolf Hitler delivers a speech at the Kroll Opera House to the Reichstag on the subject of Roosevelt and the war in the Pacific, declaring war on the United States. German Federal Archives, Bild 183-1987-0703-507. Image via Wikimedia Commons.