Hitler's Foreign Policy And The Origins Of The Second World War

  • Created by: 1i22y
  • Created on: 31-01-16 13:42

Hitlers aims and how he planned to achieve them

  • to make germany a great power
  • to unite all german speakers
  • to gain territory for Germany in the East to provide living space for the German people
  • to defeat communism

How he planned to achieve his aims:

1. build up German army so (if necessary) he would force his aims and show Germany has great power

2. bring 7 million people from austria and 4 million from Czechoslovakia and poland into his empire

3. change the TOV so that any land taken from Germany would be returned (e.g. the saar and danzig)

4. expand in the east against communist russia - probably when he was alot more poweful

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Hitler's foreign policy 1935

Jan 1935 The Saar As planned in the Treaty of Versailles, the people of Saar (which had been given to France for 15 years) vote to return to Germany. This will help to unite all Germans, make Germany become richer (resources) and help build power.

March 1935 Re-Armament Hitler increases the size of the German army to half a million members. Britain, France and Italy do nothing. As Hitler has now gone public about his army, other countries are scared and won't attack. He can now get away with things in his aims.

June 1935 The Anglo-German Naval Agreement Britain helps Germany break the Treaty of Versailles by signing an agreement to allow Germany a navy one-third of the size of Britain's. Hitler happy as he was allowed a navy - he didn't care about limit - he went over it. 

October 1935 Italy Invaded Abyssinia worries about what Hitler was up to were put to one side when Mussolini invaded Abyssinia. This showed signs of Mussolini leaving his alliance with Britain and France and moving towards Hitler. Hitler was happy as Mussolini was angry with punishments from TLON so Mussolini moved towards Hitler.

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hitler non-aggression

Ten Year Non-Aggression pact 1934 hitler signed a pact with poland which guaranteed the boundaries of poland. This satisfied the poles that Hitler would not take back the Polish corridor. This pleased Britain, who saw it as further proof that his aims were peaceful, as it agreed with the TOV. 

Failed Anschluss 1934In 1934, Hitler ordered the Austrian Nazis to create havoc in Austria. This turned into an attempt to overthrow the government. Chancellor Dollfuss was murdered. Italy had an agreement with Austria that it would protect Austria from outside aggression. The Italian dictator, Mussolini, honoured the agreement and moved Italian troops to the Austrian border to deter Hitler from invading, as hitler was too weak.


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The Re-militarisation of the Rhineland

on the 7th march 1936 32,000 soldiers arched into the Rhineland. This was against the TOV. Hitler then signed a non-aggression pact, saying that he would not attack any countries for 25 years. This was enough to reasure Britain and France, so they did nothing. Only Russia wanted to impose sanctions on Germany.

why was there so little reaction?

  • Britain and France were more concerned about Mussolini's invasion of Abyssinia
  • French government was divided and not prepared to act without the support of Britain
  • Britain felt that Hitler was doing nothing
  • No one wanted war
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Results of the Re-militarisation

Results of Remilitarisation 

  • Hitler had successfully reversed the treaty of versailles giving him confidence to go further
  • It led to the signing of the rome berlin axis with Mussolini - Italy and Germany were to cooperate in their support for the fascist General franco in the spanish civil war of 1936-39. this gave Hitler an oppourtunity to test his armed forces, weapons and tactics and gave both German and Italian troops experiance of war.
  • the remilitarisation of the Rhineland followed by the signing of the rome berlin axis meant the end of the attempts of Britain and France to keep Mussolini as an ally against Hitler. Both countries had shown their unwillingness to oppose the aggression of the dictators.
  • Britain began rearming its military forces.
  • France continued to strengthen the Maginot Line (walls between the border of France and Germany) in an attempt to safeguard against future German aggression.
  • France's alliance with Britain became strained due to Britain's refusal to stand up to Germany.
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The union of Austria and Germany had veen forbidden by the TOV. In 1934 a Nazi plot to take over Austria had failed. In 1936 Hitler and Mussolini had signed the Rome-Berlin Axos. They were now friends.  

Hitler wanted to take over Austria because 96% spoke German. Hitler was in a stronger position in 1938 than in 1934 because he was in an alliance with Italy.

schuschnigg appealled to Hitler for help to end the plotting of Austrian Nazis taking over the Government. Hitler refused and instead of helping, he put pressure on Schuschnigg and forced him to appoint seyss-inquart (leader of Nazi party) in charge of the police force.

This was followed by riots by the Nazis in Austria, encouraged by Hitler. Seyss-Inquart did nothing.

To try and save the independance of Austria, Schuschnigg called a plebliscite on whether Austria should remain independant.

Hitler moved German troops to the border and forced Schuschnigg to call off the plebliscite and resign from office. (concerned that Austria may want to stay). 

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what happened after Hitler moved German troops to

  • Britain and France did not help Austria, so schuschnigg resigned.
  • seyss-inquart becomes chancellor and invited Germans into Austria to restore order.

Around 80,000 opponents were put in concentration camps. 

Seyss-inquart handed over power to Hitler (Anschluss proclaimed).

plebliscite - april: 99.75% voted in favour of Anschluss, but the vote was probably rigged. Hitler could claim that he was only fulfilling the idea of self-determination - woodrow wilson's 14 points. 

- Britain and France protested but did nothing and th LON was not conslted.

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why was Hitler happy with Anschluss

  • Hitler now had lots of resources of Austria - Army, steel and iron.
  • germany now possesed land on three sides of the western part of czechoslovakia - the sudatenland (which was inhabited by over 3 million German-speaking people). 
  • It proved the value of Hitler's alliance with Mussolini.
  • another 'injustice' to Germany of the TOV had been overcome without opposition. Hitler's confidence continued to grow.
  • Anschluss was popular in Austria. Although the plebliscite results were exaggerated by the Nazi presence, many Austrians welcomed being joined to the glory of the new Germnay.

The policy of appeasement involved giving hitler what he wanted, in the hope that he would not demand for 'as much' and become more friendly rather than aggressive. Britain showed signs of appeasement. 

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the Sudetenland crisis

  • the sudetenland was the western part of czechoslovakia and bordered germany and austria

Hitler was interested in aqquiring it as it had over 3 million german speakers. Hitler also wanted to take over czechcolovakia, and having the sudetenland made it easier. 

  • Benes was the leader of czechoslovakia
  • chamberlain is one of the ministers of Britain

Benes wanted the sudetenland as it contained mineral resources and industries

The crisis - chamberlain flew to Germany to find out what Hitler wanted and ,ade an appeasement to prevent war breaking out over czechoslovakia - Hitler wanted a plebliscite.

chamberlain got te support of Britain and France to force president benes of czechoslovakia to accept the deal.

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Actions and Results of the Sudetenland Crisis

Hitler was taken by suprise; he did not expect chamberlain to persuade France and czechoslovakia to accept his demands. so he asked for more: the immediate occupation of the sudetenland by Germany. there would be no plebliscite.

chamberlain dissapointed, returned home and prepared for war, trenches were dug, gas masks given out. chamberlain then recieved a note from hitler in munich for a conference.

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the Munich conference

who went to the munich conference?

  • chamberlain
  • Hitler
  • Mussolini
  • Daladier (france)

what was agrred on the 30th sept?

  • that the sudatenland would become German
  • Britain and France guaranteed the remaining part of czechoslovakia - czechs forced to accept

what else did Hitler and Chamberlain agree?

chamberlain met Hitler again privately and Hitler agrred to a declaration that Britain and Germany would never go to war again and that consultation (not war) would solve all future disagreements

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the importance of the Munich agreement

red - important because...

  • Hitler had gained the sudetenland without fighting
    • hitler will feel confident as he can achieve things without fighting
  • Czechoslovakia had been betrayed
    • they can't trust Britain and France - impressing Hitler
  • Peace had been maintained by chamberlain
    • feels like appeasement is working, feels like they don't have to go to war
  • Czechoslovakia had lost its defensive frontier and became vunerable to invasion
    • makes Czech vunerable
  • Germany had gained the armaments and mineral resources of the sudtenland
    • Hitler has more weapons and money
  • Britain speeded up rearmament 
    • Britain doesn't trust Hitler
  • The USSR had been left out and felt betrayed
    • turns them against alliances with Britain and France
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the collapse of Czechoslovakia

Czechoslovakia was weak because:

  • lost 70% of its industry + defensive frontier at Munich
  • Poland and Hungary also regained parts of Czechoslovakia
  • Hitler encourage slovaks to ask for independance from Czechoslovakia
    • this lead to the Czech president, Hacha, giving his country to Hitler in March 1939
    • when Hitler senthis army in Britain and France - again did nothing but their foreign policy began to change

4 ways in which the British policy changed:

  • it marked the end of appeasement: Hitler could not justify taking Czechoslovakia. there were no german speakers and there was no demand from the people to join Germany. Hitler could not agree that he was reversing the wrongs of the TOV
  • Britain did not help Czechoslovakia but, supported by France, signed an agreement with Poland promising to help if Poland was invaded
  • Britain guaranteed the independance of Romania and Greece
  • Conscription was introduced into Britain during peace time.
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the Nazi-soviet pact and the invasion of poland

the Nazi-soviet pact said that the USSR and Germany agreed not to interfer against the other power in a war - secret clauses divided Poland between them.

impotance of the pact:

  • meant that Hitler's attack on Poland was inevitable, he prevented a war on two fronts
  • Hitler assumed that it would prevent Britain from opposing his attack on Poland
  • Britain + France loast an ally in the USSR which made Hitler more confident

why did hitler want parts of poland? it had a population of over 90% German.

why was Hitler confident war would not break out? Britain and France were so afraid of war they would back down.

when did Hitler invade Poland? 1st september 1939.

what did Britain do on the 3rd of september? did this help Poland? Britain declared war on Germany. Britain was unable to defend Poland. 

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