Causes of WWII: Hitler

1933 adolf hitler became chancellor of Germany, he knew how the germans hated the treaty of versailles, just like he did. Therefore, they were prepared to supply him with their full support.

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Hitler's aims

  • 1933, hitler was made chancellor of germany. He had for major  aims;
  • To destroy the Treaty of Versailles, re-arm Germany and recover it's lost lands.
  • To bring all German speaking people everywhere under german control.
  • to expands eastwards in order to gain Lebensraum for the german people
  • to destroy the communist USSR.
  • He did exactly what he promised to do a decade earlier.
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Hitler over turns the Treaty of Versailles

  • Re-armament
  • As soon as he came to power, Hitler re-armed germany
  • 1933 he withdrew germany from the disarmament conference, and the League of Nations.
  • 1935 intriduced conscription, arguing that germany needed to defend itself as others armies were increasing too.
  • this ran against the Treaty, but no country stopped him.
  • in the same yer he signed a naval agreement with Britain, agreeing to only build his navy no bigger than 35 % of that of Britains
  • people did not think much of the re-armament, as they mostly thought that the Treaty was too harsh anyway, and they needed a strong germany as a buffer against the communist USSR.

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The Saar, 1935

  • The treaty removed industrial areas around the Saar from germany, and given to the League of nations.
  • A plebiscite would be held in 15 years, when saarlanders will choose to whom they will belong.
  • the date aproached, Nazis mounted a huge campaign to persuade Saarlanders to vote for them.
  • Hitler sent stormtroopers to gather arounds its borders, but Britain and France disbanded this with threats.
  • January 1935, 90% of saarlanders voted in favour of germany.
  • This was the first territorial undoings of the Treaty of Versailles, and was widely celebrated.
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The Rhineland, 1936

  • The Rhineland was made a demilitarised zone, but it was still part of Germany, and it was regarded as unjust and humiliating.
  • As a direct challenge to the terms of the Treaty, hitler marched 32,000 troops into the Rhineland, while under orders to retreat if any signs of resistance from the French or British.
  • However, they did nothing, and he carried on.
  • This encouraged him to pursue his aims.
  • It was thought as Br and Fr last chance to confront Hitler with out a war.
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Anschluss with austria

  • The treaty of Versailles forbade unification with Austria. 
  •  As part of his foreign policy, hitler promised Lebensraum, and unity with Austria would help this succeed, therefore, this term was very much disliked.
  • 1936, there was a spanish civil war, where Italy and Germany were asked to help. It brought them closer together, and they signed the Rome-Berlin Axis. 
  • this was followed by the anti-comintern pact in 1937, signed by Germany, Italy and Japan. 
  • January 1938Chancellor schuschnigg discovered the austrian nazis had been planning a revolution. He foolishly went to Hitler for help, but he berated him and told him to put Seys-Inquart in a place of power. Schuschnigg ignored him and returned to Austria to organise a plebiscite. 
  • Fearing they would vote against it, Hitler gathered his troops around the border, threatening to invade, and encouraging the austrian nazis to riot.
  • Schuschnigg resigned and Seys-inquart was placed in power.
  • 12 march 1938 Germany marched in with triumph. on the 14, unification was established as 99.75% voted yes.
  • Mussolini had not interfered due to the Rome-Berlin Axis, and Britain and France were not prepared to go to war over Austria.
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