Hitler’S Foreign Policy


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Hitler’S Foreign Policy

  1. 1. Hitler’s Foreign Policy 1933-1938
  2. 2. Sources of Hitler’s Foreign Policy <ul><ul><li>Lebensraum and Drang nach Osten </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Großdeutschland , or Greater Germany </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Voelkisch thought </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Anti-Semitism </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mein Kampf , or “my struggle” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>fascism and totalitarian ideology </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>romantic nationalism </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>irrationalism and fear </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>World War One </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Great Depression </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Treaty of Versailles and the Paris Peace Conference </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>failures of the international system and diplomacy </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Hitler’s Foreign Policy Goals: <ul><li>restore German honor and prestige among the great powers </li></ul><ul><li>reclaim the Rheinland, Saarland, and the Sudetenland </li></ul><ul><li>reunite the free city of Danzig and East Prussia, including the historically significant town of Königsberg , with Germany via the Polish Corridor (Pomerania) </li></ul><ul><li>end the German diaspora by the creation of Großdeutschland , or Greater Germany </li></ul>
  4. 4. Hitler’s Foreign Policy Goals (cont.) : <ul><li>acquire lebensraum in Eastern Europe for the benefit of the Aryan race </li></ul><ul><li>subjugate peoples whom the Nazis deemed untermenschen , or inferior and even subhuman (e.g. Slavs, Jews, etc.) </li></ul><ul><li>defeat communism and democracy </li></ul><ul><li>exploit the natural and human resources of conquered lands for the benefit of the Third Reich </li></ul>
  5. 5. Hossbach Memorandum (1937) details a meeting where Hitler outlined his foreign policy: “ The aim of German policy was to make secure and to preserve the racial community [ Volksmasse ] and to enlarge it. It was therefore a question of space.”
  6. 7. German Empire, 1914
  7. 8. Weimar Republic (1919-1933)
  8. 9. Hitler’s relations with the Roman Catholic Church <ul><ul><li>Reichskonkordat , or Reich Concordat: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>between Germany and the Holy See guaranteed Catholic religious freedoms and defined certain relations between the Catholic Church, the clergy, and the state </li></ul></ul>
  9. 10. Signing of the Reichskonkordat (July 20, 1933): Franz von Papen, Vice-Chancellor, Germany (seated at left) and Eugenio Cardinal Pacelli (center)
  10. 11. German-Italian Relations <ul><li>German-Italian relations were defined in terms of Hitler and Mussolini’s strategic objectives with regard to other countries, like Austria and Spain </li></ul><ul><li>Donau Pact and Assassination of Dollfuß (1934) </li></ul><ul><li>Italian invasion of Abyssinia (1935) </li></ul><ul><li>Rome-Berlin Axis (October, 1936) </li></ul><ul><li>Anschluss Österreichs (March, 1938) </li></ul><ul><li>Munich Agreement (September, 1938) </li></ul><ul><li>Pact of Steel (May, 1939) </li></ul>
  11. 12. Rome-Berlin Axis was announced October 25, 1936
  12. 13. German-Soviet Relations <ul><ul><li>Hitler despised communism and viewed Russia as populated by ethnic Slavs ruled by their Jewish Bolshevik masters; Nazi ideology centered on racial conflict while Marxist ideology focused on class conflict </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>due to domestic scarcity, Germany relied heavily on Russia to import raw materials </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Hitler sought the goal of self-sufficiency through the pursuit of an expansionist policy and through stress on making Germany less dependent on outside raw materials (Four-Year Plan) </li></ul></ul>
  13. 14. German-Soviet Relations (cont.) <ul><ul><li>workers in Germany were highly skilled and its industry was largely private; Germany was also a leader in world trade; Russia lagged in industrial development prior to 1917; after the Russian Revolution (1917), the communists took control of Soviet banking, industry, and transportation (state ownership) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>when Stalin assumed power in 1924, he embarked on a program of rapid industrial modernization while maintaining relative isolation from the rest of Europe; Stalin estimated that the USSR was 50 years to a century behind in economic development; Stalin achieved unprecedented growth rates of 10-12% per year in the 1930s </li></ul></ul>
  14. 15. German Four-Year Plan ( 1936-1940) <ul><li>Hitler’s program to make the German army operational and the German economy fit for war within four years ; Hitler appointed Hermann Göring to oversee implementation of the plan; </li></ul>
  15. 16. German-Soviet Relations (cont.) <ul><li>Soviet Five-Year Plans </li></ul><ul><li>First Five-Year Plan (1928-1933) build industrial infrastructure and collectivize agriculture </li></ul><ul><li>Second Five-Year Plan (1933-1937) focused on heavy industry, especially steel </li></ul><ul><li>Third Five-Year Plan (1938-1941) concentrates on war preparedness: armaments, military equipment, weaponry </li></ul>
  16. 17. The Great Purge (1936-1938) <ul><li>policy of Stalinist repression, persecution, and execution of political opponents, peasants, and non-partisans in the Soviet Union from 1936 to 1938; Josef Stalin’s plan to purge the Communist Party and consolidate his power </li></ul>
  17. 18. Josef Stalin: under Stalinist rule, one might simply disappear---both literally and officially; Commissar Nikolai Yezhov to Stalin’s right in this photo from the 1930s was shot in 1940 and airbrushed out of history by Soviet censors
  18. 19. German-Soviet Relations (cont.) <ul><ul><li>during the inter-war period both the Soviet Republic (Russian Revolution and communism) and the German Reich (international reparations and economic and political turmoil) were viewed as international outcasts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>overall neutrality and nonaggression maintained by the Soviets and Germans in the 1930s (extension of Treaty of Berlin) was uneasy </li></ul></ul>
  19. 20. German-Soviet Relations (cont.) <ul><ul><li>Soviet policy of reluctant rapprochement was replaced by a policy of containment through collective security in the mid-1930s as Hitler escalated his pan-Slavic, anti-Semitic rhetoric </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>1936 Anti-Comintern Pact between Germany and Japan (later joined by Italy) reaffirmed Hitler’s opposition to communist expansion </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>despite the anti-Soviet rhetoric, Germany concluded a credit agreement with the Soviets in 1935; however, the following year Hitler issued his Four-Year Plan </li></ul></ul>
  20. 21. German-Soviet Relations (cont.) <ul><ul><li>Munich Agreement of 1938 rendered the policy of collective security sterile: British and French support of Sudeten German self-determination over and above Czech sovereignty undermined the Soviet position and shaped the focus of the Third Five-Year Plan to war preparedness </li></ul></ul>
  21. 22. German involvement in the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) <ul><ul><li>Condor Legion: unit of German volunteers who fought with the Nationalists during the Spanish Civil War; field tested new military equipment and methods of terror bombing which were judged to be ineffective </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Spanish Civil War pitted Italy and Germany against Soviet Russia </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>German motivations: Franco, if successful, would rule another fascist state, Spain, on the borders of France; inflamed internal political divisions within France between right and left; assisting Italy in Spain positioned Mussolini closer to the Nazi government and farther from the Western democracies (Britain and France); exploitation of Spanish raw materials (e.g. iron ore) </li></ul></ul>
  22. 23. Anti-war painting by Pablo Picasso, Guernica (1937) Based on German terror bombing of Guernica, Spain.
  23. 24. German policy towards Eastern Europe <ul><ul><li>Hitler viewed Eastern Europeans, particularly the Slavs, as subhuman, or untermenschen </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Hitler looked eastward for lebensraum to establish Großdeutschland and to exploit natural resources </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>annexation of Austria, or Anschluß Österreichs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>occupation of the Sudetenland and the carving up of Czechoslovakia </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>invasion of Poland and Russia </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Nazi puppet states: Bulgaria (1940-1944), Croatia (1941-1945), Hungary (1944-1945), Romania (1940-1944), Slovakia (1939-1945) </li></ul></ul>
  24. 25. Germany and the West <ul><ul><li>British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain pursued a policy of appeasement with Hitler from 1937 to 1939 in order to avoid armed conflict with Germany </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>appeasement emerged from the failure of the League of Nations and the international system to prevent the Japanese invasion of Manchuria, Hitler’s reoccupation of the Rheinland, and the Italian invasion of Abyssinia </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Munich Agreement gave the Sudetenland to Hitler and put the question of the division of remaining Czechoslovak territory in the hands of an international commission; Czechoslovakia was divided among Germany, Hungary, Poland, and a new Slovakian state was created; Czechoslovakia, Britain and France’s ally, ceased to exist </li></ul></ul>
  25. 27. Munich Agreement 1938
  26. 28. Hitler was hailed by many Sudeten Germans as a liberator
  27. 29. Summary <ul><li>aggressive, expansionist, and militant totalitarian state where civil rights are eliminated and personal liberties denied; armed prison camp </li></ul>1933-1945 Third Reich <ul><li>fractious democratic republic with guarantees of civil rights and protection of personal liberties; viewed by some as decadent, foreign, and un-German </li></ul>1919-1933 Weimar Republic
  28. 30. Lessons from Hitler’s Foreign Policy (1933-1938) <ul><ul><li>possible extreme consequences of diplomatic miscalculations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>policy of appeasement; the so-called Lesson of Munich states that enemies will interpret restraint as indicating a lack of capability or political will or both </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>limits of public opinion in modern democracy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>virtue of consistency in threatening and using force </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>potentially catastrophic impact of irrationalism on foreign policy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>fear is an effective tool for mobilizing and shaping public sentiment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>totalitarian regimes could seize power through legitimate political means and not just through violence </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>principle of humanitarian interventionism; human rights abuses, or crimes against humanity, may justify intervention </li></ul></ul>
  29. 31. Historiography, or Interpretive Concerns <ul><li>Was Hitler’s foreign policy… </li></ul><ul><li>stufenplan , step-by-step (intentional), or ad hoc , improvisational (functionalist)? </li></ul>
  30. 32. Conclusion : With regards to the Nazi regime, the general contours of dictatorship and the overall trajectory of totalitarianism was clear to the nations of the world by 1938. Yet, in 1938 Western powers engaged Hitler with a policy of appeasement or created distance from Germany through isolationism. Hitler’s main objective---world domination---was apparent before 1938.
  31. 33. BBC