Remilitarisation of the Rhineland
In 1936, Hitler moved troops into the Rhineland
The demilitarisation of the Rhineland was one of the Terms of the Treaty of Versailles
If he had been forced to leave the Rhineland, he would have been humiliated and lost the support of the German army
France had just signed a treaty with USSR to protect each other against attack from Germany. Hitler used this as an excuse to claim Germany was under threat.
Hitlers gave his army orders to leave the Rhineland if they saw any French soldiers as he was not able to fight yet
Spanish Civil War
In 1936 a civil war broke out in Spain between communists and right wing rebels
Hitler saw this as an oppourtunity to fight against Commusism and at the same time try out his new armed forces
In 1937 German aricraft rook out bombing raids on various Spanish cities. The destruction at Guernica was terrible
Anchluss with Austria 1938
The Austrian people were mainly German and in Mein Kampf he said he felt like the two states belonged together as one German nation
Many in Austria supported Hitler in this as the economic situation was weak.
He had tried in 1934 but Mussolinin stopped him. This time in 1938 he tried again
He told Nazis in Austria to stir up trouble. Hitler then said to the Austrian Chancellor that Anchluss with Germany was the only way to sort out these problems
The chancellor asked for help from Britain and France but didn't get any. He tried a referendum to see what the Austrians thought. Hitler couldn't risk losing this so just sent his troops in, in March 1938
Britain signed the Naval treatment in 1935. For the next three years Britain gave Hitler what he wanted
- Hitler is standing up to Communism
- The attitude of Britain's empire - no one would support going to war with Germany
- Didn't want to repeat the horrors of WW1
- Britain's army wasn't strong enough to fight another war
- We had our own economic situation to sort out
- Hitler was right - the Treaty of Versailles was too harsh on Germany
- USA wouldn't support us in a war with Germany
- It encouraged Hitler to be aggressive - he could get away with anything
- Allowed Germany to get too strong and build up its army
- Scared the USSR - suggested Britain and Frace wouldn't stand in the war of Hitler if he expanded eastwards
- It put too much trust in Hitler's promises
In February 1938, Hitler demanded self-determination for all Germans in Austria and Czechoslovakia.
The nazi party in the Sudetenland started rioting
They caused so much trouble that the Czechs had to send in the army
Hitler threatened to invade
The Czechs mobilised the army thinking Germany were about to invade
At the Munich agreement, Britain and France gave Germany the Sudeten land. They believed that had brought 'Peace in our time'
The British people did not trust Hitler when he said he ahd no more teritorial ambitions in Europe.
In March 1939, with Czechoslovakia in chaos, german troops took over the rest of the country
There was no resistance from the Czechs and Britain and France did nothing about it
But it was now clear that Hitler couldn't be trusted
Britain and France told Hitler that if he invaded Poland, they would declare war on Germany
The policy of Appeasement was ended but Hitler didn't believe that they would risk war by resisting him
1939 Hitler and Stalin signed the Nazi - Soviet pact.
They agreed not to attack each other and to divide Poland between them
Why did Stalin sign?
- He was not convinced that Britain and France would be strong and reliable enough as allies against Hitler
- Had designs on large sections of Eastern Poland and wanted to take over the Baltic states which had been part of Russia in the Tsar's day
- He didn't believe Hiter would keep his word, but he hoped for time to build up his forces against the attack he knew would come