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Hitler's Foreign Policy
· Hitler had three mains aims for his foreign policy. Firstly, he wanted to defeat
Communism. Next, he wanted to expand German Territory (Lebensraum). Lastly,
he wanted to overturn the Treaty of Versailles.
· Hitler was anti-Communist as he believed that they had helped to bring about the
defeat of Germany in the First World War. He also believed that they wanted to
take over Germany.
· Hitler wanted to get back the land which Germany had lost because of the Treaty
of Versailles. He wanted to unite with Austria and wanted German communities to
rejoin Germany (e.g. from Czechoslovakia).
· Hitler, much like many other Germans, wanted to get rid of the Treaty of
Versailles as it was a constant reminder of their defeat and humiliation caused by
the First World War.
· Hitler began to build up Germany's armed forces because he waned to reduce
unemployment, he promised to make Germany strong again and he wanted to
challenge the terms of the Treaty of Versailles.
· Rearmament began in secret as it would have caused alarm in the international
community. In 1936, he introduced conscription to the army.
· Britain sympathised with the German rearmament as they thought that the
limitations put on by the Treaty of Versailles were too tight. They even made a
naval agreement with Hitler.
· Rearmament helped to fulfill Hitler's foreign policy aims because it 'boycotted'
the Treaty of Versailles by rearming.
The Remilitarisation of the Rhineland
· In March 1936, Hitler moved troops into the Rhineland.
· Hitler was taking a huge gamble because if he had been forced to withdraw, he
would have faced humiliation and would have lost the support of the German army.
· Hitler gave two reasons for justifying his actions. Firstly, France had just signed
a treaty with the USSR to protect each other from a German attack. Secondly,
Hitler argued that in the face of such a threat, he should be allowed to put
troops on his own frontier.
· This helped to overturn the Treaty of Versailles.
· The British people felt that Hitler had a right to station his troops in the
· The French were not happy with this remilitarisation, so they acted against
Hitler with force - the German army were no match for the French.
· The League of Nations condemned Hitler's actions, but had no power to do
anything else as they were busy with the Abyssinian crisis.
Anschluss with Austria (1938)
· Hitler wanted Austria to unite with Germany as he believed that the two states
belonged together as one German nation.
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Many Austrians wanted to unite with Germany as their country was so
· The Austrian Nazi party helped Hitler by stirring up trouble in the government,
staging demonstrations calling for a union with Germany and they also caused
· Schuschnigg, the Austrian chancellor, reacted to this by asking France and
Britain for help. When they declined, he called a plebiscite.
· Hitler ensured that an Anschluss came about by moving troops into Austria in
March 1938.…read more