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The Remilitarisation of the Rhineland March 7 th 1936.

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Presentation on theme: "The Remilitarisation of the Rhineland March 7 th 1936."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Remilitarisation of the Rhineland March 7 th 1936

2 Outcomes By the end of this lesson you should be able to: Describe the events of the Remilitarisation. Explain the reasons Hitler gave for his actions. The international response to his actions. The reasons for Britain and France’s response. Public opinion about Britain’s appeasement of Germany. The consequences of Hitler’s actions.

3 Date and Outline of Events  Took place on the 7 th of March  Hitler chose a Saturday – he correctly assumed that most politicians would be away for weekend and wouldn’t hear until Monday by which time the troops would be occupying the area.  Hitler had broken the terms of both the Treaty of Versailles and the Locarno Pact.

4 Hitler’s Reason’s  Hitler realised that attention at the time was focussed on Italy and the Abyssinian crisis.  The Franco-Soviet Pact was officially ratified by the French Government in Feb 1936 – Hitler used this as an excuse that Germany felt threatened. He claimed Germany was “encircled” and therefore vulnerable.

5 International Response  League of Nations: Condemned the action on the 14 th of March – 1 week after event. They said it was a violation of both treaties.  France: condemned the reoccupation and looked for Britain to back them in military action.  Britain: Issued a formal protest at how Germany had dealt with her grievance. Anthony Eden flew to Paris for talks to try and bring France round to Britain’ s way of thinking. i.e avoid military action.

6 Why did Britain Appease?  Many within the British Government believed Germany had a genuine grievance about the Rhineland and had a right to revise the Treaty of Versailles.  Stresa Front was already weakened by Versailles and Britain did not want to act alone.  Many in govt still saw Germany as a buffer to the spread of Communism from the east.  Government was also aware of the strength of feeling in Britain against taking military action.

7  French instability was a concern – 24 governments in 10 years.  Even Labour Party advocated appeasement in the 1930’s – “welfare not warfare”  British military was not prepared, considerable disarmament has taken place in the 1920’s Why did Britain Appease?(2)

8 Reasons for the French Response  French generals overestimated the number of German troops (there was only 22,000) and believed French army couldn’t cope without British help.  Maginot Line meant French military was now mainly defensive – not ready to take action.

9  French public opinion was also split – many believed the French Govt had antagonised the Germans (Franco – Soviet Pact)  French Government was worried that if it acted alone it would be condemned by the League as aggressors – after all, the Rhineland was German territory!

10 Notes: What you need to: 1.Background: What was the Rhineland, where was it? Why was it important? 2.What did Hitler’s troops actually do? 3.What was the significance of Hitler’s actions? 4.Why could it be said that this was a gamble? 5.What excuse did Hitler give for this action? 6.Why could it be said that this was ‘bad timing’ for Britain and France? 7.France was the most threatened by Hitler’s action, why was the French government unwilling to take action against Germany?

11 British Public Opinion Majority View Most people in Britain believed Britain were right to appease over the Rhineland. There was no support for war in Britain. “never again” were still the words on everyone’s lips and ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’ had been reprinted 30 times in England between 1929 and In the Peace Ballot of million people had voted against fighting. In the Oxford University debate the majority had said they wouldn’t fight for ‘King and Country’

12  There was a strong pacifist movement in the1930’s, many thought “war was wasteful, costly and should be opposed” (Frank McDonough)  “The British Public didn’t care two hoots about German troops occupying their own territory” (Duff Cooper)  “Germany was only putting troops into her own backyard” (Lord Lothian)  Many in British Public also believed Germany had “genuine grievances”

13 British Public Opinion Minority View There were some voices within British politics who were beginning to question Hitler’s actions and Britain’s response to them. Churchill was a ‘voice in the wilderness’ who suggested Hitler’s actions were ‘sinister’. Duff Cooper claimed “the Rhineland occupation had destroyed the basis of peace in Europe in one morning”

14  Duff Cooper also suggested that the British public were unaware of the severity of the situation because the British press and media were quite controlled by the GOVERNMENT  Harold McMillan claimed “there will be no war now, but unless a settlement is made…there will be war in 1940”

15 CONSEQUENCES/OUTCOMES OF THE CRISIS:  Hitler’s popularity soared in Germany  His own confidence increased (in his memoirs he claimed “the 48 hours after the Rhineland were the most nerve- wracking in my life”)  Hitler had ‘tested the water’ and saw the strength of British desire to avoid conflict.  Hitler had secured western borders – could now look to east?


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