This topic will look at the
Steps to World War Two
The policy of ‘Appeasement’
The Nazi/Soviet Pact
Why did Britain and France declare war
on Germany in 1939?
• How far was Hitler’s foreign policy to
blame for the outbreak of war in 1939?
January 1933 – Adolph Hitler becomes Chancellor (Primeminister) of
A strong leader declared to the German people that he would restore
German pride, rebuild their shattered country and have vengeance for the
Treaty of Versailles.
Abolish the Treaty of Versailles
‘The Versailles Treaty is worthless.
60 million German hearts and minds
are on fire with anger and
shame. They will cry
out we want war!’
‘It will be the duty of German
foreign policy to get large spaces to
feed and house the growing
population of her.
Destiny points us towards Russia.’
‘The menace of Russia hangs
over Germany. All our strength is
needed to rescue our nation
from this international snake’’
Germany had to pay reparations
Accept war guilt
% of its
territories and colonies
German Army limited to
Thought that the Treaty of Versailles
was unjust and humiliating
The Rhineland was demilitarised
Anschluss (union) with Austria
Germans were forced to live in
Sudentenland) and Poland
Hitler’s ‘Greater Germany’ would have
a population of over 85 million
Germany’s land would be insufficent
to feed this many people
Germany's future, Hitler declared,
entirely depended on meeting its need
for more Lebensraum -living space;
the German nation had a right to a
larger share of land. The question was
where the space could be acquired "at
the lowest cost." The answer lay not
in overseas colonies but in Europe
itself, "in immediate proximity to the
Hitler intended to expand Eastwards
towards Poland and Russia. Russians
and Poles were Slavs – Hitler believed
them to be inferior and so Germany
was entitled to take their land.
•Hitler believed that the
Bolsheviks helped cause German
defeat in World War One
•Feared Bolshevik take over
•Thought that they were
Step One – Austria
Failed attempt at
Hitler persuaded Austrian Nazis to
stir up trouble in Austria
They took over the Chancery and
shot Chancellor Dollfuss dead
Hitler offered to send German
troops in ‘to keep peace’
Mussolini of Italy did not like Hitler at this stage
Sent Italian troops up to the border with Austria – clear threat to fight
if Hitler moved German troops in
Hitler had not built up German Army enough to take on Italy yet – he
As soon as he came to power, Hitler began
breaking the Treaty of Versailles by re-arming
He began in secret –
e.g. setting up the
‘German Gliding Club’
to train pilots.
Also in 1935 he introduced
increased spending on arms
and said the
German Army would
increase to 500,000 men.
In 1935 Germany signed
Anglo-German naval agreement.
German navy limited to
35% of British.
In 1935 he abandoned
secrecy & announced the creation
of the new German Luftwaffe.
Reasons and Reactions
Britain sympathized with
Germany, believing that the
He needed larger armies to
Treaty of Versailles
protect Germany, and large
had been too unfair
armies also provided jobs and on them. They also believed that a
strong Germany would act as
a barrier against Communism.
problems caused by
The French were angry
The Great Depression.
with Britain, but there was
little they could do.
The Saar Plebiscite in 1935
Saar coalfields had been under League of Nations control since Treaty of
Treaty of Versailles said after 15 years Saarlanders could decide by
plebiscite whether to join Germany
Massive majority (90%) voted to go back to Germany
Remilitarisation of the Rhineland
The Treaty of Versailles forbade Germany to have any troops or
fortifications in the Rhineland area, bordering France.
On March 7th 1936 Hitler took a huge gamble and ordered German
troops to march into the Rhineland. This directly broke the terms
of the Treaty of Versailles.
They had secret sealed orders to retreat if Britain or France
Hitler had ordered his generals, commanding 22,000 men, to
retreat if France showed any signs of retaliation. This did not
occur. German soldiers and armed policemen marched straight into
Reasons and Reactions
France and Russia had made
a treaty to protect each other from
Germany. Hitler said that he
should be allowed to place
troops on his own frontier.
France was going through an internal
political crisis at the time and there
was no political leadership to
concentrate against Nazi Germany.
Britain generally supported the view
that Nazi Germany was only
going into her own "backyard" and
that this section of Versailles did not
need to be enforced in the mid-1930’s.
It was believed that Germany was
behaving in a reasonable and
Anschluss with Austria (1938)
Hitler had now allied with Mussolini, after Mussolini was angered by
League of Nations sanctions on Italy after the invasion of Abyssinia
Hitler told Austrian Nazis to stir up trouble in Vienna again
Then he put pressure on chancellor Schuschnigg to invite German troops
in to keep peace
Schuschnigg gambled & called for a plebiscite, hoping Austrians would say
no, and make it impossible for Hitler to invade.
Hitler did not wait, moved his troops to the border of Austria and threatened
to invade if Schuschnigg did not resign.. Schuschnigg forcibly resigned and a
Nazi supporter replaced him. Hitler’s troops marched into Austria four days
before the plebiscite, and used German troops to ‘supervise’ the voting. Not
surprisingly he got a 99.75% vote in favour of Austria joining Germany.
Reasons and Reactions
France and Britain refused to help Austria.
The British prime Minister Neville
Chamberlain felt the Treaty of Versailles
was wrong and that Austria
and Germany should be united. This
was justified by the fact that they
were both German speaking nations.
There were lots of German people
living in Austria and Hitler said the Hitler was now even more convinced that
Britain and France would not
people of Austria wanted to unite
Stand in his way in the future.
Austria was economically weak
and Hitler promised to solve
Spanish Civil War 1936-39
In 1936 civil war broke out in Spain between the right wing
Nationalists and the left wing Republicans
The world promised not to intervene, but Hitler decided to
send help to the nationalists
He did this so that he could train his men in his new
techniques, especially using Blitzkrieg.
German troops, aircraft and military advisors helped General
Franco to win this war.
THE DIVE BOMBING OF GUERNICA IN
Was a turning point for Britain and France
– they saw what air warfare could do –
made many consider Appeasement
The Sudetenland contained 2 million German speakers
They had NEVER been part of Germany (Austrian before 1919)
Hitler demanded ‘selfgovernment’ for the
The Czechs were outraged…
Chamberlain flew to
Germany twice &
Then Mussolini called a
conference at Munich
demanded that the
given to Germany
The Czechs were not invited!
Britain, France, Italy & Germany agreed to
give the Sudetenland to Germany
Sudetenland Continued – The ‘Peace of Paper’
At Munich, Chamberlain and Hitler signed a separate treaty. It
promised that Britain and Germany would never go to war with
each other again…
Step Eight – Czechoslovakia
Hitler promised at Munich that he did not want any more land
In March 1939 Germany invaded the rest of Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia was an independent state, it had no German minority
They guarantee to defend Poland if it is attacked
He thinks GB & France are letting Hitler move east to attack him!
Decides to buy time to re-build shattered Red Army…
Step Nine – Nazi-Soviet Pact
I can’t invade Poland if
Britain & France attack
me in the West AND the
USSR attacks me from
I can’t fight Germany
yet – I’ve just purged
my Red Army! And
Britain & France
won’t help ME!
They signed the Nazi-Soviet Pact
They promised not to attack each other
In secret they promised to divide Poland between them
Step Ten – Invasion of Poland
1st September – Germany invades Poland
Britain and France give 48 hrs to withdraw
3rd September – Britain and France declare war on Germany
IVIL WAR IN SPAIN
E-OCCUPATION OF THE RHINELAND
NSCHLUSS WITH AUSTRIA
ITLER TAKES OVER REST OF CZECHOSLAVAKIA
TALY AND GERMANY FORM PACT
ERMANY INVADE POLAND
For all the role of science, mathematics, and new inventions in earlier wars, no war had
as profound an effect on the technologies of our current lives than World War II (193945). And no war was as profoundly affected by science, math, and technology than WWII.
We can point to numerous new inventions and scientific principles that emerged during
the war. These include advances in rocketry, pioneered by Nazi Germany. The V-1 or
“buzz bomb” was an automatic aircraft (today known as a “cruise missile”) and the V-2
was a “ballistic missile” that flew into space before falling down on its target (both were
rained on London during 1944-45, killing thousands of civilians). The “rocket team” that
developed these weapons for Germany were brought to the United States after World
War II, settled in Huntsville, Alabama, under their leader Wernher von Braun, and then
helped to build the rockets that sent American astronauts into space and to the moon.
Electronic computers were developed by the British for breaking the Nazi “Enigma”
codes, and by the Americans for calculating ballistics and other battlefield equations.
Numerous small “computers”—from hand-held calculating tables made out of cardboard,
to mechanical trajectory calculators, to some of the earliest electronic digital computers,
could be found in everything from soldiers’ pockets to large command and control
centers. Early control centers aboard ships and aircraft pioneered the networked,
interactive computing that is so central to our lives today.