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The landmarks in appeasement

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by

Mark Stacey

on 2 May 2011

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Transcript of The landmarks in appeasement

The landmarks in appeasement
1933 Hitler leaves the League of Nations
1934 Hitler tries to take power in Austria
1935 The Saar votes to return to Germany
An Anglo-German naval treaty is signed
1936 The Rhineland is remilitarised
The Spanish Civil War
1937 The Anti-Comintern Pact is signed
1938 Anschluss
Hitler takes the Sudetenland
1939 Hitler takes Czechoslovakia
Nazi-Soviet Pact
Hitler invades Poland
WWII
In May 1933 Hitler promised the League’s Disarmament conference that he would not rearm Germany if, within 5 years, all the other nations disarmed
This was a clever move, Hitler knew the other nations would never agree to disarm completely therefore he could claim that Germany had offered a peaceful solution but been rebuffed
Shortly after Hitler left both the Disarmament Conference and the League of Nations
Hitler had made it clear in Mein Kampf that he believed Austria (where he had been born) and Germany should be united
Many people in Austria favoured union with Germany as Austria was economically weak
There was a strong Nazi party in Austria, in 1934 Austrian Nazis murdered the chancellor, Dolfuss and demanded Anschluss.
However Mussolini, still allied to Britain and France at this stage moved its army to the border and Hitler was forced to back down.
The Saar had been run by the League for 15 years in accordance with the Treaty of Versailles
After this period the Treaty stipulated that their should be a plebiscite (vote) on whether the Saar should be reunited with Germany
The people voted overwhelmingly for this, providing the Nazis with a huge morale boost.
Britain set a precedent for Hitler breaking the Treaty of Versailles by signing an agreement allowing her to increase her navy to 35% of the size of Britain’s
This irritated France, but there was little the French could do about it
- Hitler began to rearm Germany in secret as soon as he came to power
- Rearmament fulfilled three of Hitler’s promises to the German people
It reduced unemployment as men were drafted into the army
It made Germany seem strong again
It defied the Treaty of Versailles
- In 1935 Hitler staged a massive rally celebrating Germany’s armed forces
- In 1936 he reintroduced conscription, correctly guessing that this defiance of the Treaty of Versailles would be ignored by the other powers
- British sympathy for Germany helped Hitler’s cause, increasing numbers of British people felt the Treaty of Versailles had been too harsh on Germany
- Britain felt that a strong Germany could act as a buffer against the ‘spectre of communism’ from Russia
In 1936 Hitler pushed harder against French and British willingness to uphold the Treaty by marching troops into the Rhineland
Demilitarisation of the Rhineland was a key aspect of the Treaty of Versailles and had been confirmed by Germany at Locarno in 1925
France had insisted that no German troops be stationed in the Rhineland in order to protect it’s borders. Remilitarisation was seen as a direct threat.
Hitler was confident Britain would not oppose the move but feared French reaction
The Nazi generals had strict orders to retreat if they faced any opposition from the French
But the French were engaged in an election and no candidate wanted to be responsible for plunging the country into war
Hitler’s gamble paid off, the League condemned the move but Nazi strength grew
In 1936 Communist supporters of the Republic in Spain were fighting right-wing rebels under General Franco
Hitler saw an opportunity to fight communism and test the power of his new armed forces
The horror of the German aircraft’s bombing raids revolted the world and led to Picasso’s famous painting Guernica
Mussolini was also engaged in supporting Franco
The experience drew Mussolini and Hitler together
In 1937 Germany, Italy and Japan signed an anti-comintern pact aimed at limiting communist influence around the world
The successes of 1936-7 prompted Hitler to try to unite Germany and Austria again
Nazis in Germany encouraged the Nazis in Austria to foment rebellion
Hitler pressurised the Austrian Chancellor Schuschnigg to agree to Anschluss as the only solution
Schuschnigg appealed to Britain and France for help but got none
Schuschnigg called for a referendum
To ensure the right result Hitler sent troops into Austria
The plebiscite produced a 99.75% vote in favour of Anschluss
Germany and Austria were united without any objection from France and Britain
Emboldened by success in Austria, Hitler turned his attention to Germans living in Czechoslovakia
The Czech president sought assurances from Britain and France that they would defend the country if Hitler invaded
Tension rose through the summer, in a last-ditch effort to avert war the British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain flew to Munich
After negotiations with Hitler, Britain and France announced that the Sudetenland in the west of Germany would be given to Germany, they did not consult Czechoslovakia
Chamberlain returned to Britain believing he had appeased Hitler
He announced "My good friends, for the second time in our history, a British Prime Minister has returned from Germany bringing peace with honour. I believe it is peace for our time."
The British were pleased with the idea of peace but in a poll 93% said they didn’t believe Hitler was appeased
In March 1939, with Czechoslovakia in chaos, German troops occupied the entire country
The Czechs, British and French did nothing but announced that if Hitler attacked Poland they would declare war
Hitler had repeated his desire for Russian land
But Stalin felt that Britain and France could not be relied on to defend Russia if Hitler attacked
So on 24th August 1939 these two diametrically opposed countries, through their foreign ministers signed a public pact of non-aggression and privately agreed to divide Poland between them.
On 1st September 1939 Germany invaded Poland from the West and Russia invaded from the East. Poland fell quickly
Hitler had pushed too far, and Britain and France declared war on 2nd September 1939.
Appeasement
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