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History Revision Notes: Hitler's Foreign Policy
1) What were Hitler's Foreign Policy Aims: Hitler's CATS
C- To defeat Communism: Hitler blamed the communists for Germany's defeat in World
War One, and he feared they were trying to take over Germany. He was determined to
destroy communism, and this meant a war with Russia.
A-Abolish the Treaty of Versailles: Hitler, amongst many Germans believed the Treaty of
Versailles was unjust. He despised it, as well as the leaders who signed it, calling them
the `November Criminals.' It was a constant reminder of their defeat in World War One
and their humiliation.
T-Territory: The German population was growing. Hitler said that the German nation
needed more Lebensraum in east Europe. This connected with hi belief that the Aryan
race was genetically superior and destined to rule over others.
S-Unite German Speakers: Hitler wanted to bring the 7m German speakers in Austria,
and 4m in Poland and Czechoslovakia under his rule.
2) How was Hitler going to achieve his aims:
Hitler aimed to achieve his aims tactically, by going behind the US and Britain's back. He
was also prepared to achieve his aims through military force and violence
3) How did the Saar return to German:
In January 1935, a plebiscite was held in the Saar to decide whether it should remain
under the control of the League of Nations. As the Saar was inhabited by mainly
Germans, 90.3% of the population ended up voted for rejoining Germany. Only 8%
wanted to remain under the control of the League, and 2% wanted to join France.
Hitler thought the result was a huge triumph, and declared that this was one of the first
of the injustices of the Treaty of Versailles to be reversed. Cited by many historians as
the first step to war. It was completely legal and justified, so Britain and France weren't
In 1933, Hitler left the Geneva disarmament conference, claiming if France wouldn't
disarm then Germany wouldn't either.
Hitler then began to build up his armed forces secretly. By March 1935, Hitler felt strong
went public on Nazi Germany's military expansion, as Europe learned that the Nazis had
2,500 war planes in its Luftwaffe and an army of 300,000 men in its Wehrmacht. In 1935,
he also introduced conscription, increasing the army to 550,000 men, as it seemed fair
that Germany should be defended. Although this broke the Treaty of Versailles, Britain
and France did nothing.
Britain and France did nothing. The short-lived Streser front (alliance between Britain and
France) protested against conscription. Soviet Russia joined the League because they
began to feel wary of Germany. Differences between Britain and France arose, and
Hitler took advantage, as Britain felt Germany should rearm.
5) The ten year non aggression pact in 1934 was where Germany and Poland agreed to solve
any disputes by discussion, with no armed conflict for ten years. It did the following things:
Eased arguments over territory given to Poland by the Treaty of Versailles
Gave Hitler time to re-arm without Poland stopping him
Made Poland less worried about collapse of LON and growing strength of Germany
Weakened Poland's alliance with France
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Hitler tried Anschluss with Austria in 1934, however was stopped by Italy's Mussolini,
who told Hitler that if he took one step into the country, he would take military action on
him. However this was during a time when relations between Hitler and Mussolini were
poor, in 1936 the Rome-Berlin Axis Pact considerably improved relations between
Germany and Italy, and by 1938 relationships had improved to such an extent that
Mussolini permitted Hitler's Anschluss with Austria.…read more
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Appeasement: The appeasement policy was the efforts by France and Britain in the 1930s to
allow Nazi Germany to have pretty much anything it wanted in the hopes that eventually
Hitler would be appeased and cease his aggressive policies.…read more
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September 22, Chamberlain and Hitler met again. Hitler decided he wanted more,
becoming more confident. He demanded immediate occupation without plebiscites.
Chamberlain was disappointed, as he wanted to work through it peacefully, but
prepared Britain for war. He then received a letter inviting him to the Munich
13) Munich Conference:
Britain, Italy, France and Germany attended.
Czechoslovakia and USSR weren't invited, as Hitler knew they'd oppose him. Both felt
betrayed by the powers.…read more
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France were appeasing Hitler, as Hitler's demands were heading eastwards, and
was not convinced they would be reliable allies.
Consequences: It meant that Hitler's attack on Poland was inevitable. It made Hitler
assume that Britain wouldn't act towards his attack on Poland, as they previously had at
Munich. Especially since Danzig was his and the Polish Corridor separated Germany from
East Prussia. It meant that Britain and France had lost another ally against the USSR.…read more