What and Why

For many years the Rhineland area had been a key industrial region of Germany, producing coal, steel and iron resources.

  • Rhineland formed a natural barrier to its rival, France. In the event of a war, the River Rhine, if properly defended, would be a difficult obstacle for an invading force to cross.
  • One of the terms of the ToV was that the Germans would not be able to keep military forces in a 50 km stretch of the Rhineland. Hitler resented this term as it made Germany vulnerable to invasion. He was determined to enlarge his military capability and strengthen his borders.
  • In 1935, Hitler revealed that he had built up an air force and signed the Anglo-German Naval Agreement that allowed him to enlarge his naval forces.
  • In 1936, Hitler boldly marched 22,000 German troops into the Rhineland, in a direct contravention of the Treaty of Versailles. Hitler offered France and Britain a 25 year non-aggression pact and claimed 'Germany had no territorial demands to make in Europe'.
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Four Days in March

Wednesday 9th March                          1938

in a desperate act, Schusnigg announced a rferendum whereby the Austrian people would decide if they wanted to be a part of Hitlers Germany, Hitler was amd as if they didnt vote yes his excuse for invasion would be invalid Thursday 10th March Hitler told Generals to prepare for invasion of Austria. He ordered Schusnigg to call of the referendum. Knowing he would get no help from Itlay, France or Britain he agreed. He rsigned and called off the referendum Friday 11th March Hitler reassured Czechslovakia Saturday 12 March German troops marched into Austria unopposed. Hitler now had control of Austria. A month later Hitler held a rigged referendum. 99.75% of Austrians voted in favour of the Anschluss. The result meant that austrians 'wanted' Hitler to be in contrl of their country

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Britain, France and the LoN protested but did nothing more

  • At the time Britain and France were following a policy of apeasement toward Hitler due to a lack of desire for war so soon after WWI
  • Chamberlain believed Austrians and Germans had a right to be united
  • The british public saw austrians being happy and welcoming of this

Yet again, Britain and France did very little to prevent Hitlers foreign policy ambitions and further fueleed his hunger to carry on

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