Hitler’s Foreign Policy 1933-1939 MR. RAKOCHY IBDP HISTORY
Basis of Foreign Policy1. Destroy the Treaty of Versailles Hated by Germans Considered unfair by German people Disallowed Anschluss2. Unite German speakers into one country Especially: Austria, Czechoslovakia, Poland3. Lebensraum At expense of inferior Polish and Russian Slavs Feed greater Germany (85 million)
1933 (caution) Goodbye to the League of Nations Upset with lack of disarmament by other nations Promised no intention of war Seen as a hero by the German people One political opponent described people’s reaction “Everybody thought that there was some justification in Hitler’s demands. All Germans hated Versailles. Hitler tore up this hateful treaty and forced France to its knees…. people said, “he’s got courage to take risks” Secretly begins provisions for rearmament Secret meetings with military (see document and discuss)
1934 (caution) German-Polish 10 year Non-aggression pact Strategic move by Hitler (Polish invasion 1939) Good anti-French maneuver, as treaty with Poland went against French rhetoric of Nazi expansionism Fed into Britain’s policy of appeasement toward Germany Austrian coup (by Austrian Nazi group) Supported initially by Hitler PM Dollfuss killed Italian troops sent by Mussolini Hitler disclaims support to avoid war
1935 (some caution) The Saar willingly goes back to Germany (90% vote after terms of Versailles expired) Rich source of coal, iron, transportation link Huge propaganda victory for Hitler Return of Conscription Number of divisions 36 (approx 750,000 men) Luftwaffe Naval Expansion Public Announcement of rearmament
GermanExpansionGermany expandedrapidly from 1935-1939in her attempt toprepare for war, uniteGerman speakers andin an attempt to furtherLebensraum.
Stresa Front 1935 Agreement between France, Britain and Italy Supposed to stop German aggression Outlawed any more infractions of Versailles Reaffirmed no Anschluss to be permitted Spirit of Locarno invoked Ultimately a failure (Anglo-German Naval agreement followed by Abyssinian Crisis) Failure of Stresa Front gave Mussolini an opportunity for aggression Mussolini looked upon Anglo-German agreement as permission to ignore Stresa Front agreements Hitler in turn supported Mussolini’s invasion of Ethiopia
1936 The Rhineland (7 March 1936) No resistance despite T.O.V. being broken again British sympathy French apathetic behind Maginot Line A major gamble Impact of Rhineland “The forty-eight hours after the march into the Rhineland were the most nerve-racking in my life….If the French had then marched into the Rhineland, we would have had to withdraw with our tails between our legs, for the military resources at our disposal would have been wholly inadequate for even moderate resistance.” Hitler convinced that France and Britain are politically weak alliance with Italy
1936-37 (spreading the love) Support of General Franco in Spain Spanish Civil war Aid to Franco from Mussolini and Hitler Tightened fascist alliance “Rome-Berlin Axis” Oct (lead to “Rome-Berlin-Tokyo Axis” Nov. or the “Anti-Comintern Pact” which Italy signed in 1937) Spread of Fascism seen as good by both leaders Support extended further in 1939 with Pact of Steel
1938 - Austria Meeting at Bechtesgaden in Bavarian Alps Hitler and Austrian Chancellor Schuschnigg meet Hitler forces Schuschnigg to free Nazis and appoint Arthur Seyss-Inquart Minister of Interior German Annexation of Austria Hitler’s coercion of Schuschnigg sets stage for invasion and annexation with Austria Soon after Schuschnigg resigns under pressure-replaced by Seyss-Inquart (Anschluss goal completed – March 13 with no action by West)
1938 – Czechoslovak Crisis Pro-Nazi Sudetenland party (Konrad Henlein) issue Karlsbad program Demands autonomy for Sudetenland Refusal to meet demands leads to increased protests Sudetenland or war! (British appeasement and end of end of French/Czech alliance under British pressure) Seeing weakness, Hitler demanded even more!
1938 further escalation Sep 22, 1938 Hitler meets with Chamberlin and demands: German entrance to Sudetenland by October 1 All Czech instillations left in tact Claims of Poland and Hungary against Czechoslovakia must be met Czech refusal escalates likelihood of war
Munich Conference Mussolini, Chamberlin, and Edouard Daladier (France Premier) invited by Hitler to Munich Conference held September 29-30 Huge victory for Hitler Sacrifice Czechoslovakia in another attempt to avert war Germany annexes Sudetenland Teschen region to Poland Southern Slovakia and Ruthenia to Hungary
March 1939 Hitler destroys Czechoslovakia Germany takes Bohemia and Moravia and Slovakia becomes puppet state Chamberlin finally comes to senses Declares (with France) any aggression against Poland will lead to war
April 1939 Polish Crisis Hitler makes impossible demands on Poland Return of Danzig Access to East Prussia across Polish Corridor Better treatment of Germans in Poland Poor diplomacy by West Weak attempt to ally with Stalin No allowance of Soviet troops into Poland Soviet suspicions of West very high
August 23, 1939 German-Soviet Nonaggression Pact Soviets to receive eastern Poland in return for neutrality With threat of Soviets removed . . .
September 1,1939 Hitler invades Poland Great Britain and France declare war on Germany