Nazi Germany


Foreign Policy

Main Aims

  • Lebensraum, "Living Space"
  • Unite German speakers
  • Overturn Treaty of Versailles

Geneva Disarmament Conference, 1932-33

  • October 1933, left League of Nations in protest
  • French lookeed unreasonable as it highlighted their unwillingness to have the same level of land forces as the Germans
  • Britain and Italy were sympathetic towards Germany


  • 26th February 1935 - Hitler orders Goering to establish the Luftwaffe in defiance of the Treaty of Versailles
  • March 1935 - German Army expansion to 550,000 and Conscription reintroduced 
  • Planned secretly since 1933 
  • June 1935 - Anglo-German Naval Agreement, 35% of the tonnage of British Navy and equivalent amount of submarines.
  • Mussolini attacks Abyssinnia - Stresa Front and League of Nations weakened.
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Foreign Policy 2

Saar Plebiscite 1935

  • Anti-Nazis had fled to the Saar after 1933.
  • Saar Nazi's wanted to be German, forming a "German Front" with the Catholic Church
  • Helped by the Saar police and the German Gestapo, they boycotted and beat up their opponents. 
  • The League knew what was going on, but it was afraid to stop the plebsicite for fear of causing Nazi riots.
  • Led by a Nazi called Spaniol, 17,000 Nazi Saarlanders, who had gone to Germany to join the SA, threatened to invade the Saar and impose Nazi rule.
  • On 13th January 1935, the plebiscite was held and the result was overwhelming: 90.3% of the voters voted to return to Germany.

Remilitarisation of the Rhineland

  • March 1936 -  German troops were moved into the Rhineland, on the borders of France and Belgium.
  • Violation of Treaty of Versailles but Britain and France were unwilling t go to war over this matter
  • Italy had dropped out of the Stresa Front and moved towards forming and alliance with Germany
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Foreign Policy 3

Germany's role in the Spanish Civil War

  • The leaders of the military uprising asked the German government to provide ten transport planes to ferry Nationalist troops from Morocco toSpain.
  • On 26th July 1936 Adolf Hitler told General Francisco Franco that Germany would support his rebellion.
  • Hitler was attempting to save Europe from "communist barbarism".
  • Brought Germany closer to Italy, a country that was also supporting the military uprising in Spain.
  • Hitler knew a Nationalist victory would give him an important ally in his struggle against Britain and France
  • Wanted Spanish interests for rearmament 
  • Gave him the opportunity to test out his commanders, weapons and tactics.
  • On 27th July, 1936, Adolf Hitler sent the the Nationalists 26 German fighter aircrafts, transporting over 15,000 troops to Spain.
  • In September 1936 a Non-Intervention Agreement was signed by 27 countries including Germany, BritainFrance, the Soviet Union and Italy. Hitler continued to give aid
  • Warlimont suggested that a German Condor Legion should be formed to fight in the Spanish Civil WarHitler hoped this would not be necessary as Francisco Franco claimed he was on the verge of victory but by November aircrafts and tanks from the Soviet Union began arriving in Madrid.
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Foreign Policy 4

Attempted Anschluss July 1934 

  • Austrian Nazi's staged a revolt and Chancellor Dollfuss is murdered
  • Mussolini saw Austria as part of his sphere of influence, moved troops to border
  • Britain and France meet Italy at the Stresa Front and attempted to limit Hitler's territorial ambitions
  • Germany backed off, realising they needed to win Mussolini's support in order to annex Austria


  • Rome-Berlin Axis signed by Hitler and Mussolini, Italy agree to not invade Austria 
  • Anti-Comintern Pact signed by Germany, Italy and Japan, each pledging to support eachother from Communist conflicts.

Anschluss March 1938

  • Austrian Nazi's staged demonstrations which Chancellor Schuschnigg's government couldn't control
  • A plebiscite was announced, but German troops already occupied Austria, sending opposition to concentration camps.
  • 99.75% voted to become part of the Third Reich
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Foreign Policy 5

Sudetenland Crisis and Munich Conference

  • Hitler wanted German speaking Sudetenland due to its coal and copper mines and farming land
  • Hitler met Chamberlain at Munich, demanding the Sudetenland from the Czechoslovakia
  • Sudetenland was given to Germany, but the rest of Czechoslovakia had to remain unharmed
  • March 1939, Hitler invaded Czechoslovakia
  • May 1939, Pact of Steel between Italy and Germany to support eachother at war
  • August 23 1939, Non-Aggression Pact (Nazi-Soviet Pact) with USSR, promising not to attack Germany in order to protect Poland, Russia had half of Poland in return
  • Hitler demanded the return of the Polish Corridor to Germany
  • September 1st, Germany invade Poland from the West
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