On Hitler, see Adam Tooze’s book The Wages of Destruction: The Making and Breaking of the Nazi Economy. Check out reviews of the book online for an overview. See also Hans Hoppe’s discussion: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LYEUHk16yk4
I’m afraid I don’t know about how war was viewed in connection with prosperity or poverty before World War II. This sounds like a good master’s thesis. I would bet in the pre-Keynesian age people were far more sensible and realistic.