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Hitler’s Foreign Policy

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Presentation on theme: "Hitler’s Foreign Policy"— Presentation transcript:

1 Hitler’s Foreign Policy 1933 - 1939

2 Factors of International Relations in Europe 1933 - 1939
Financial Instability Fear of Communism Rise of Fascist leaders Diminishing role of League of Nations Fear of War Admiration for German Recovery & Stability Increasing dislike of Treaty of Versailles ‘Appeasement’

3 League of Nations Failure (1919 – 1939)
USA – never joined No Army – could not impose their decisions Slow to React: Unanimity of Decision-Making Required Depression – created more selfish behaviour by individual countries e.g. Germany & Italy Rise of Imperial Fascism: Germany, Italy & Japan Japan left in 1933 (Invasion of Manchuria) Germany left in 1933 (Treaty of Versailles) Italy left in 1937

4 League of Nations Complexity


6 Hitler’s Foreign Policy Aims
Grossdeutschland: Creating a larger, more powerful all-German Reich that Hitler claimed would last 1,000 years. Anschluss: Uniting Germany & Austria into one greater German Reich Lebensraum: Creating ‘living space in the east’ i.e. displacement of inferior (Slavic) races to make way for re-population of Germanic peoples. Destruction of Treaty of Versailles: The ‘War Guilt Clause’ and restrictions on German Armed Forces as well as the loss of territories & colonies was naturally a key focus of Hitler’s Foreign Policy Eradication of ‘International Jewry’ While this was a facet of Hitler’s rhetorical oratory, it would not become a key policy until much later in the 1930’s, culminating in the ‘Final Solution’ proposed in 1942.

7 European leaders 1933 - 1939 Neville Chamberlain Édouard Daladier
United Kingdom: Neville Chamberlain (1937 – 1940) France: Édouard Daladier (1933, 1934, 1938 – 1940) Italy: Benito Mussolini (1922 – 1944) Spain: General Franco (1939 – 1975)

8 1934 German – Polish Non-Aggression Pact Stresa Front
A ten-year non-aggression pact with Poland gave Hitler the appearance of a benevolent, peaceful statesman. However, it lulled the Poles into a false sense of security and weakened their alliance with France. Stresa Front In July 1934, Austrian Nazis staged a coup d’etat. Vice-Chancellor Schuschnigg quickly suppressed it and Hitler was kept at bay by the threat of Italian intervention. Hitler declared that he had no interest in Austria. However, Britain, France and Italy did not believe him and formed the Stresa Front to formally oppose German interference in Austria

9 Anglo-German Naval Agreement
1935 Anglo-German Naval Agreement In March 1935, Hitler announced that Germany was rearming, thereby repudiating the terms of the Treaty of Versailles. The British concluded a naval agreement (Anglo-German Naval Agreement) with Germany showing that even the Allies regarded the Treaty as a ‘dead letter’ Saar Plebiscite In January 1935, the people of the Saar region in France voted (Saar Plebiscite) to re-unite with Germany, which greatly encouraged Hitler’s dream of creating a larger German Reich

10 Re-militarisation of the Rhineland
1936 Re-militarisation of the Rhineland On the 7th of March 1936, Hitler took an enormous gamble by sending German troops into the de-militarised Rhineland, which had formed a buffer zone of safety for France since the Treaty of Versailles. The gamble paid off, as Britain was unwilling to go to war over this and showed that France either could not or would not resist open German defiance of the Treaty of Versailles regulations. Spanish Civil War German involvement in the Spanish Civil War from 1936 on placed Franco in Hitler’s debt with the Supply of German dive-bombers (STUKAS), expertise and manpower. Rome-Berlin Axis The closer links between Germany and Italy were reflected in the drawing up of the Rome-Berlin Axis, an agreement by the two countries to follow a common foreign policy

11 1937

12 Joachim Von Ribbentrop Foreign Minister 1938 - 1945
Appointed Foreign Minister in February Replaced the conservative & cautious Neurath Radical & pro-war, Von Ribbentrop was both feared and hated. His appointment was a signal that Nazi Germany was moving to a much more aggressive foreign policy. "Ribbentrop belongs to the category of Germans who are a disaster for their country. He talks about making war right and left, without naming an enemy or defining an objective” - Benito Mussolini (1938)

13 1938 Sudetenland & Munich Conference: “Peace in our Times”
Hitler demanded that the 3 million German – speaking inhabitabants of the Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia be ‘returned’ to the German Reich. Hitler fully realised that his German army was not yet ready for all-out war. With a secure relationship already established with Mussolini, he secretly asked him to call a conference of European leaders. On the 28th of September 1938, Chamberlain, Hitler, Daladier & Mussolini met at Munich. Czechs had little choice but to secede to Hitler’s demand for control of Sudentenland.

14 1938: Anschluss & Sudentenland Annexation
Throughout 1936 and 1937, pressure from Hitler’s Germany forced the Austrian Chancellor (Schuschnigg) to legalise the Nazi party and place key ministries under the control of Nazis. When Schuschnigg tried to hold a referendum to ensure Austrian independence, Hitler threatened to invade if Schuschnigg did not resign. He did so, and Seyss Inquart (Austrian Nazi Party) became Chancellor. Inquart invited the Germans into Austria. to “preserve law and order” In April 1938, 99% of Austrians voted to accept Anschluss – Union with Germany

15 Annexation of Czechoslovakia
1939 Annexation of Czechoslovakia Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact Urged on by Hitler, Poland and Hungary annexed the region of Teschen and Ruthenia, while Slovakia declared its independence in March Hitler persuaded the Czech President Hatcha To ‘invite’ German troops into what was left of the country to ‘preserve law and order’. Czech Army was disbanded and the Skoda factories fell into German hands. Major military coup for Germany even before WWII had started. Hitler continued to put pressure on Poland as he did not take the Anglo-French guarantee to Warsaw seriously. He demanded concessions from the Poles in the regions of Danzig and the Polish Corridor. On the 23rd August, 1939, Nazi Germany & USSR signed a ten year ‘Non-Aggression Pact’. This contained secret clauses to partition Poland and divide it between themselves.

16 The Second World War had begun
1939 Invasion of Poland On the 1st September 1939, German forces staged an attack on a German border checkpoint. Hitler declared war on Poland and invaded on the same day. On the 3rd of September, after an ultimatum to withdraw from Poland passed with no response, Britain & France declared war on Germany. The Second World War had begun

17 Lebensraum

18 Past Exam Questions 2006 – 2011 = 0 Questions
2003 – D.1. Hitler and Mussolini: Foreign Policy “To what extent were the foreign policies pursued by Hitler and Mussolini responsible for the outbreak of WWII.” 2000 – D.3. International Relations, “Discuss critically the view that ‘Hitler’s aggressive foreign policy was the main cause of WWII’’’.

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