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Hitler's Foreign Policy and the origins of the second world war

Topic 3 of AQA History GCSE Unit 1

Anna Coughlan

on 2 June 2013

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Transcript of Hitler's Foreign Policy and the origins of the second world war

Hitler's foreign policy and
the origins of the Second World War How did Hitler challenge and exploit the Treaty of Versailles 1933 - March 1938? Hitler's aims in foreign policy German Rearmament Ten - year Non - Aggression Pact Why did Chamberlain's policy of appeasement fail to prevent the outbreak of war in 1939? Whilst in prison in 1924, Hitler wrote 'Mein Kampf' ( 'My Struggle') which outlined his aims... Make Germany a Great Power again
Unite all German speaking people under his rule
Gain territory to provide Lebensraum, living space, for the German people But to do this he would have to destroy the Treaty of Versailles. Hitler had gained support in Germany by condemning the treaty and the politicians who signed it (November Criminals), he blamed many of Germany's problems on the terms. When Hitler came to power, reparations had been reduced and eventually cancelled in 1932. Return of the Saar A plebiscite was held in January 1935 to decide if the Saar should remain with the L of N or go to Germany or France. Mainly German people lived there so obviously the 90% vote to rejoin Germany was no surprise. Nazi propaganda made great use of it, and Hitler announced that all cause for grievance between France and Germany had now been removed. Germany joined the League of Nations in 1926, and in 1932 a Disarmament Conference began (one of the aims) As a member, Germany could attend, but it was obvious that France would never disarm in fear of an attack by Germany. In 1933 Hitler withdrew from the conference and the League of Nations, insisting that Germany wanted peace and would disarm if other countries did. Germany began to rearm, introducing conscription in 1935. The excuse being that France had just increased its term of conscription from 12 - 18 months. Timeline of Events Germany withdraws from the League of Nations 1933 1935 January January 1934 March 1936 May 1937 March 1938 Hitler signs 10 year non-aggression pact with Poland July Mussolini prevents Anschluss 1939 March Only opposition was Stresa Front to protest about conscription. USSR, scared of a strong Germany, joined L of N.
Many in Britain felt that the Treaty was unfair and needed to be revised. But French were afraid of German recovery and wanted the Treaty strengthened.
Differences between Britain and France were beginning to emerge- Hitler made the most of it. 1934 - signed it with Poland. Satisfied Poles that they could not try to take back the Polish Corridor. Pleases Britain who saw it as proof that Hitler's aims were peaceful, accepted frontier set up at Versailles. Failed Anschluss 1934 - encouraged Austrian Nazi Party to rebel and this resulted in murder of Chancellor Dollfuss. Looked as though the Anschluss would be achieved but then Mussolini moved his army to the frontier of Austria, guaranteeing Austrian independence. Backed down, realising that his army wasn't strong enough and denied any involvement. Anglo - German Naval Agreement and rearmament 1935 - willingness to sign proof of peaceful intentions. Treaty limited German navy to 35% of British fleet, did not include submarines. By signing, Britain had agreed to Germany rearming. Weakened Stresa front, Mussolini thought that he couldn't trust them and he then went on to sign the Rome-Berlin Axis with Hitler. It also led to long term rearmament without opposition.
1938 - German army 800 000
- 47 U -boats
- 2000 aircraft The remilitarisation of the Rhineland Anschluss with Austria For Against Arguments For and Against Appeasement The Effect of Hitler's takeover of Czechoslovakia Memel / Danzig End of appeasement Britain Withdrawal Saar returned to Germany March 7 th 1936 - German soldiers marched into Rhineland. Against T of V and the Locarno Pact (German gov. had willingly signed it in 1925). Hitler then promised that Germany would sign a 25 year non aggression pact and had no territorial ambitions in Europe. No action was taken against them by either France or Britain. The League condemned it and only Soviet Russia voted to impose sanctions. Why was there no action taken against Hitler? - Mussolini's invasion of Abyssinia
- French government divided, not prepared to act without the support of Britain
- Britain felt that Hitler was doing nothing wrong - T of V was unfair, Germany was only moving troops into their own territory 'Germany was only going into her back garden'. Lord Lothian British politician
- No one wanted war Could Hitler have been stopped in 1936? Hitler had been told by both his generals, who said that the army wasn't strong enough, and his financial advisors, who feared the effect that economic sanctions could have on Germany, to not go into the Rhineland.
Germany could have been stopped, but there was no support for opposition. If France invaded Germany would be seen as a victim and Britain was satisfied that Germany was justified and another unfair term had been rectified. Results of
remilitarisation Reversing the
Treaty of Versailles Position of Hitler was strengthened Rome - Berlin Axis Good bye Italy Rearmament Hitler successfully reversed the treaty, giving confidence to go further - Danzig and the Polish Corridor He had been proved right and his army and ministers wrong. Increasing his confidence. It led to the R/B axis being signed with Mussolini. Italy and Germany were going to support fascist General Franco in the Spanish Civil War of 1936-39. It gave Hitler the opportunity to test his armed forces, giving both Italian and German troops experience of war. The remilitarisation of the Rhineland and the signing of the Rome Berlin Axis marked the end of Britain and France trying to keep Mussolini as an ally. Both had shown their unwillingness to oppose the dictators Some movement towards it in Britain.
French begun building the Maginot Line between itself and Germany. Together with the Abyssinian Crisis, it marked the end of the League of Nations as a means of keeping peace The union of Germany and Austria had been forbidden by the T of V, Hitler however felt that Austria's rightful place was in union with Germany.
In 1934 Austrian Nazis encouraged by Hitler tried to seize power after the murder of the Chancellor Dollfuss. This had been prevented by Mussolini who was prepared to support Austria. But in 1938 Mussolini was now an ally of Hitler and unlikely to give help.
The Nazi party remained strong and in 1938 there were rumours of another plot to overthrow the gov. The Chancellor Schuschnigg appealed to Hitler to help end the plotting. But instead he put pressure on him to make Seyss - Inquart, leader of the Austrian Nazi Party, Minister of the Interior. Followed by a series of riots and demonstrations by the Nazis, which neither Hitler or S-I tried to stop. Schuschnigg then tried to end the disturbances and to save Austria's independence by calling a plebiscite without Hitler's permission. Hitler was not prepared to risk the outcome, so he moved his troops to the border and forced Schuschnigg to call off the plebiscite and resign from office. Throughout the crisis S had been expecting Britain and France to help but it was now clear that this was not going to happen so Schuschnigg resigned. Seys - Inquart replaced him and invited Germans into Austria to restore order. The German army entered on 12th of March. All of Hitler's opponents were eliminated and around 80 000 were placed in concentration camps. S-I handed over power to Hitler and on the 14th of March he processed through Vienna. In the April plebiscite 99.75% agreed to the Anschluss. Results of Anschluss Triumph for Germany Confidence Sudetenland Mussolini Glory of the New Germany Hitler now had the resources from Austria, including the army as well as economic resources like iron and steel. Another 'injustice' of the
T of V had been overcome without opposition. Hitler's confidence continued to grow. Germany now possessed land on three sides of the Sudetenland which was inhabited by over 3 million German speaking people It proved the value of Hitler's alliance with Mussolini Anschluss was not unpopular in Austria. Although the plebiscite was exaggerated by Nazi presence, many Austrians welcomed the join Appeasement British Foreign Policy between 1919 - 1939, mainly associated with Neville Chamberlain, Prime Minister in 1937. The idea was to show Hitler that reasonable claims could be met by negotiation rather than force. This way the problems of Versaille would be solved, Germany would be satisfied and there would be no war. It depended on Hitler being reasonable
Trusting Hitler
Believing he was steeling the truth Risks Feeling that Germany had genuine grievances that could be solved People in Britain wanted to avoid war at all costs (WW1, Spanish Civil War - Guernica) Economically, Britain was still suffering from the depression couldn't afford a rearmament programme Collapse of the L of N meant something else had to be tried to keep peace People in Britain feared communist USSR more than Hitler's fascism, welcomed recovery of Germany as a barrier between them Hitler couldn't be trusted as he had already broken many of his promises from 1933 Appeasement made Britain look weak and gave Hitler the confidence and belief that he would never be opposed by Britain It could be seen as betraying the lands protected by the T of V Allowed Hitler to increase his strength and power The Sudetenland Crisis
1938 The Sudetenland was the Western part of Czechoslovakia, inhabited by more than 3 million German speaking people. Hitler wanted to take over Czechoslovakia and the Sudeten Germans were the excuse. It was one of the strongest new states with well-fortified frontiers especially in the west. Hitler encouraged Henlein, leader of the Nazis in the Sudetenland to campaign for independence and riots broke out - Hitler promised to support Henlein. Chamberlain was determined to use appeasement to stop war. 15th September 1938 President Benes 22nd September War Chamberlain flew to Germany to find out what Hitler wanted and met him at Berchtesgaden. Hitler told him that he wanted all the German speaking parts of the Sudetenland to join Germany, but only after plebiscites. Chamberlain then got the support of France and they forced President Benes of Czechoslovakia to accept the deal. Benes realised he could not depend on support from Britain and France if Hitler invaded, only Soviet Russia Chamberlain met Hitler at Godesberg, Hitler was surprised as his demands had been met. So he asked for more: the immediate occupation of the Sudetenland by Germany without plebiscites. Chamberlain, disappointed returned to London and prepared Britain for war. Defence against air raids: trenches, children evacuated and gas masks were given out just as Hitler invited Chamberlain to a conference of four powers at Munich The Munich Conference and Agreement Chamberlain Hitler Mussolini Daladier 3o September agreed that the Sudetenland should be German, Britain and France guaranteed the rest of Czechoslovakia. Privately, Britain and Germany agreed never to go to war again and consultation would solve all future disputes. Importance of the
Munich Agreement Hitler had gained the
Sudetenland without
Czechoslovakia had been betrayed Peace had been maintained by Chamberlain
Czechoslovakia had lost it's defensive frontier and became vulnerable to invasion Germany had gained the armaments and the mineral resources from the Sudetenland
Britain speeded up rearmament
The USSR had been left out and felt betrayed The Collapse of
Czechoslovakia It had lost 70% of it's heavy industry as well as it's defensive frontiers at Munich.
In October 1938 Poland gained Teschen from Czechoslovakia, and in November Hungary also increased its land.
In 1939 the Slovaks began to press for independence encouraged by Hitler. President Hacha was forced to hand over Czechoslovakia to Hitler. Most of Czechoslovakia came under German rule, Britain and France protested but did not oppose directly, the direction of foreign policy did begin to change Lithuania was forced to surrender the province of Memel, which had mostly a German population. Hitler also made it clear that he wanted Danzig. Britain did not help Czechoslovakia
but, supported by France, signed an agreement to help Poland if it was invaded. Pact of Steel Hitler strengthened his relationship
with Mussolini by signing the Pact of Steel. Hitler could not justify taking
Czechoslovakia. There were no German speakers living there
and no demand from the people to join. He also wasn't undoing the
T of V. Conscription Trust Broken Introduced to Britain
during Peace Time Hitler had proved to
Chamberlain that he could
not be trusted. Chamberlain felt
personally upset as Hitler had broken
the Munich Agreement and his promise
to consult Britain before taking
action that could lead to war. Hitler withdrew Germany's
non-aggression pact of 1934 with Poland
and the Anglo-German Naval Agreement
of 1935 Albania Mussolini, Hitler's ally conquered
Albania. Role of the USSR Poland was just as scared of Soviet intentions as German intentions
USSR felt Britain had been trying to direct Hitler to the East - people were more scared of communism then fascism
USSR's exclusion from the Munich conference even though the future of Czechoslovakia was important to it.
No urgency from France or Britain to sign a treaty in 1939 - Stalin more suspicious and so went to Hitler Nazi Soviet Pact SURPRISE! Fascism and communism were sworn enemies and Hitler's 'Living Space' was at the expense of the USSR. It went against the Anti - Comintern Pact that he had signed with Japan and Italy in 1937 against Communism. In the pact they agreed not interfere against the other power in the event of war. Secret clauses divided Poland between them. USSR got back lost land from WW1 and Hitler got Danzig and the Polish corridor. Stalin had gained time to prepare the USSR for the expected attack from Germany. Importance of
the Pact Attack on Poland Prevent Britain War Britain and France
lost another ally It meant that Hitler's attack on Poland was inevitable. Hitler had prevented the danger of war on two fronts - downfall in WW1. Hitler presumed it would stop Britain from opposing his attack on Poland. He thought they would back down as it had at Munich (Danzig and Polish corridor - German) If Britain kept the guarantee
to defend Poland, war was inevitable Lost USSR. Hitler had convinced Stalin that there would be no war and he would regain lost Soviet lands. Some believe he was fooled others think he was just buying time. April Stresa Front formed June Anglo - German Naval Agreement October Mussolini invades Abyssinia Rhineland remilitarised October Rome-Berlin Axis Start of Spanish Civil War Chamberlain becomes
Prime Minister. Policy of Appeasement begins. Anschluss September Munich Conference Collapse of Czechoslovakia August Nazi - Soviet Pact September Attack on Poland and outbreak of WW2
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