Hitler's Foreign Policy

3 Main Aims

  • Make Germany great again (Destroy Treaty of Versailles)
  • Unite all German speaking people
  • Create 'Lebensraum' (living space) for all German people
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Action 1 - German Rearmament (1933-35)

1933 - withdrew from the disarmament conference and the League of Nations

1935 - introduced conscription (above 100,000 men) TofV

  • rally celebrating German armed forces

Stresa Front (France, Italy and Britain)

  • condemned rearmament
  • collapsed due to Abyssinian crisis (destroyed relations)


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Action 2 - Anglo German Naval Agreement (1935)

Signed with GB 

  • proof of peaceful intentions

Treaty limited German navy to 35% of the strength of the British fleet - didn't include submarines

By GB signing they'd agreed to Germany rearming

Success for Hitler

  • weakened the Stresa Front (Britain hadn't consulted France and Italy)
  • 1938 - German army = 800,000 , navy = 47 U-Boats, air force= 2000+ aircraft


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Action 3 - 10 year non-aggression pact (Poland) 19

Guaranteed the boundries of Poland

  • made the Poles think that Hitler wouldn't go after the Polish Corridor (no quarrel with the USSR)
  • Britain saw it as further proof of Germany's peaceful intentions
  • showed Germany accepted the frontier with Poland set up at the Treaty of Versailles

Really - it was time to re-arm before seizing the Polish Corridor

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Action 4 - Return of the Saar (13th January 1935)

Under control of the League of Nations for 15 years

  • there was a plebiscite to decide if it should stay in control of the League
  • most people who inhibited this land were German
  • 90% voted yes

= Popularity


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Action 5 - Remilitarisation of the Rhineland (1936

Treaty of Versailles and the Locarno Pact - forbade the Rhineland to be remilitarised

  • 1936 - sent troops in and used the Abyssinian Crisis as a distraction
  • France - could've stopped them but were in a political crisis at the time


  • CONFIDENCE - taken a risk (no position to stand up to the French army) open letter if faced with opposition
  • proved generals and ministers wrong
  • Signed the Rome-Berlin axis agreement with Italy (formalized by the Pact of Steel)
  • GB and France lost Mussolini as an ally against Hitler 
  • Along with the Abyssinian crisis, it marked the end of the League of Nations
  • France built the Maginot line between France and Germany


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Action 6 - Anschluss/Failed Anschluss (1934-38)

Failed Anschluss (1934)

  • Hitler encouraged Austrian Nazis to cause trouble. It resulted in the murder of the Austrain Chancellor Dollfuss. Hitler was ready to take over - Mussolini (not yet and ally) moved his troops to the boarder and stopped the Anschluss

Anschluss  (1938)

  • More rumors pf plots to overthrow the Autrian government
  • Schuschnigg appealed to Hitler
  • Hitler bullied him into making Seyss-Inquart minister of the interior (he was leader of the Austrian Nazis)
  • Schuschnigg played a risky game and made the bold move of calling a plebiscite to see if they really wanted to unite with Germany
  • Hitler feared 'no vote' and so moved his troops to the boarder
  • Forced Schuschnigg to resign
  • Seyss-Inquart becomes Chancellor
  • 12th March - Anschluss

Nazis held their own vote - 99.75% approved of the Anschluss


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Results of the Anschluss

  • Triumph for Germany - CONFIDENCE
  • Germany increased in wealth - economic resources e.g iron and steel
  • Mussolini didn't act - it proved that the alliance was strong
  • Britain and France used the excuse that it was another 'injustice of the Treaty of Versailles'
  • Looked to Sudetenland as next target (3 million German-speaking people)
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Action 7 - Sudetenland (1938) TEST OF APPEASEMENT

Czechoslovakia - German speaking people

1938 - Henlein (leader of the Sudeten Nazis)  was ordered to stir up trouble and campaign for independance - riots broke out  

  • German newspapers produced allegations of crimes committed by the Czechs against the Sudeten Germans
  • Hitler threatened war if a solution wasn't found

Chamberlain persuaded Benes to accept self government for Sudetenland - he had to agree

  • Hitler demanded that the Sudetenland should be part of the German Reich


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Action 8 - The collapse of Czechoslovakia (March 1

Hitler forced President Hacha to hand over Czech lands.

  • Marked the end of  appeasement
  • Proved he couldn't be trusted
  • Lithuania was forced to surrender the province of Memel - wanted restoration of Danzig
  • France promised the borders of Poland
  • Mussolini conquered Albania and signed pact of steel
  • Conscription was introduced
  • Hitler withdrew from the pacts he'd made with Britain and Poland (action 2 &3)


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Action 9 - Nazi Soviet Pact

Role of the USSR

  • excluded from Munich agreement
  • west feared communism
  • signed Nazi-Soviet pact with Hitler

The pact agreed that they wouldn't interfere with the other power

  • secret clauses divided up Poland between them
  • (USSR got land lost from WW1 and Germany got Danzig)

This went against the anti-comintern pact which was signed with Italy and Japan in 1937 (against Communism)

  • risk of 2 front war was removed
  • Hitler's attack on Poland was inevitable
  • Thought that Britain and France wouldn't act but if they were to act - it would mean war
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Why did Stalin sign the pact... because Hitler was a...

  • T = Time to prepare for war (military)
  • H= Hope to gain (a long war would weaken all three powers
  • U= Unhappy with Britain (didn't trust Britain, failed to negotiate an alliance)
  • G=Germany and Russia unite
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Action 10 - Poland and the outbreak of War (1939)

The pact gave Hitler confidence to go ahead and invade Poland

Britain and France protecting the boarders of Poland - Hitler didn't think they would

  • too far away
  • appeasement

1st September 1939- Poland invaded by Germany

  • B and F declare war on Poland

15th September - USSR invade

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The Munich Agreement

C,D,H and M met to solve the crisis

  • USSR and Czechs were NOT INVITED
  • Czechs were eventually forced to hand over the Sudetenland (Benes)

Chamberlain and Hitler had a further meeting

  • Hitler agreed that B and G would never go to war again
  • Chamberlain returned a hero


  • Hitler gained the Sudetenland (without fighting and resources) and mineral resoures
  • Chamberlain had betrayed the Czechs and maintained peace
  • Czechs had lost their boarder defences (rest of the nation was undefended)
  • USSR - felt betrayed and no longer trusted GB and France
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Nana K



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