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Foreign policy

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HSC Modern History

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Foreign policy

  1. 1. NAZI FOREIGN POLICY 1933-1939
  2. 2. FOR DEALING WITH OTHER NATIONS. TO BE SUCCESSFUL, IT NEEDS TO INVOLVE RATIONAL DISCUSSION, CLEAR COMMUNICATION, MUTUAL GOALS AND A WILLINGNESS TO COOPERATE TO MEET THESE
  3. 3. SPACE AND RACE ➤ Dual, overriding goals of the Nazis’ foreign policy ➤ Lebensraum - the need for living space to build a great, self-sufficient German state ➤ Racial Purity - the need to bring all Germans under the Reich and eliminate all others
  4. 4. SUB GOALS ➤ Race ➤ The volksgemeinschaft - all German speakers united in a single homeland to create the people’s community ➤ Destroy the USSR and remove the threat of Communism ➤ Social Darwinism - all non-Aryans removed from the new community ➤ Space ➤ Lebensraum - Expand into the East, taking Poland and the western USSR to create living space for the new German community ➤ Autarky - Obtain enough land to make Germany self-sufficient ➤ Reunite with Austria to create a strong and proud German empire ➤ Re-arm and militarise the Rhineland - buffer zone ➤ To make all this happen - military expansion
  5. 5. Pre-WWI Post-WWI
  6. 6. KEY TERMS - AUTARKY ➤ Hitler wanted to make Germany self-sufficient in preparation for war ➤ Produce own food and raw materials and minimise trade ➤ Four-Year Plan designed to make Germany autonomous - failed (still importing 33% of goods by 1939) ➤ Still relied on relationships with other countries ➤ Norway for iron ore ➤ Czechoslovakia for metals ➤ Ukraine for wheat ➤ Romania for oil
  7. 7. KEY TERMS - LEBENSRAUM ➤ Living space to build the great, pure-blood, autonomous German empire ➤ Historical basis - ➤ In the 19th century this was focused on overseas colonies ➤ Continued in 1917 with the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk (took Ukraine and Baltic regions from Soviet Union) ➤ Under Hitler, it was focused on taking land to the East that was rich in resources (autarky) and unite all German-speaking, pure-blood people under the Reich ➤ The Herrenvolk (master race) would then be empowered to dominate Europe ➤ Lesser races or untermenschen would become slaves of the pure-blood Germans in their thousand-year Reich ➤ Communism would be destroyed and Nazism established as the controlling system of government in Europe
  8. 8. KEY TERMS - APPEASEMENT ➤ One stated aim of the League of Nations was collective security ➤ Article X of the Covenant of the LoN stated that if one nation was under threat the others would have to defend it regardless of personal interest or outcome ➤ However this failed - the major powers (Germany, USSR, USA) were not part of it and the League had no real power ➤ Led by British PM Neville Chamberlain the Allies turned to negotiation or appeasement when faced with German aggression ➤ This meant that they would negotiate with Hitler rather than responding with aggression and enforcing the Treaty ➤ It marked a recognition that Germany was a sovereign nation with its own agenda and needs, not just the villain of WWI
  9. 9. KEY TERMS - APPEASEMENT ➤ Early historians saw this as a failure on Chamberlain’s part but revisionists are more sympathetic towards Chamberlain, citing (for example) British support of the policy and their inability to rearm after the economic downfall of the 1930s ➤ AJP Taylor in The Origins of the Second World War argues that appeasement was a logical and sound policy but Chamberlain made many blunders, especially abandoning the policy, and this brought on the war ➤ The French followed Chamberlain’s lead because they were so politically unstable (16 coalition governments from 1932 and 1940) and could not face war
  10. 10. BRITISH ATTITUDES TO APPEASEMENT
  11. 11. REARMAMENT ALLIES EXPANSION
  12. 12. 1933 ➤ Hitler withdraws from the League of Nations ➤ France would not agree to German equality of rearmament ➤ Promises to regain all lost land from the Treaty of Versailles ➤ Hitler declares peaceful intentions: The German government wish to settle all difficult questions with other governments by peaceful methods . . . Germany will tread no other path than that laid down by the Treaties . . . The German people have no thought of invading any country
  13. 13. 1934 Hitler signs a non-aggression pact with Poland ➤ In January, Hitler promised not to engage in aggressive acts against Poland for ten years ➤ Very successful move as it placated Britain who took it as evidence of his peaceful intentions ➤ Ruined the French-Polish alliance (Little Entente) ➤ Guaranteed Polish neutrality when Germany moved against Czechoslovakia and Austria
  14. 14. 1934 ➤ First attempt at the Anschluss ➤ Attempted a union between Austria and German in July ➤ Austrian Nazis (encouraged by Hitler) staged a revolt and murdered Chancellor Engelbert Dolfuss ➤ However Mussolini intervened - sent troops to the border, was joined by Britain and France forming the Stresa Front ➤ Hitler backed off and claimed no responsibility ➤ Realised he would have to win Mussolini’s support to take Austria
  15. 15. 1935 ➤ The Saar Plebiscite ➤ A small territory on the border with France controlled by the League of Nations since WWI ➤ Contained many Saar Nazis but also a lot of anti- Nazis (SPD and Communists) who had fled there ➤ Nazis in the Saar conducted a scare campaign to make them vote to return to Germany - boycotts and violence ➤ 17 000 Saarlanders in Germany threatened to invade ➤ League too scared to get involved - cause Nazi riots ➤ Plebiscite conducted - 90% voted to return to Germany ➤ Election overseen by independent parties and declared valid ➤ Showed that Hitler had support outside Germany, that he could expand legally and that the League feared him greatly
  16. 16. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vCiLQ6KVNPs
  17. 17. 1935 ➤ Remilitarisation ➤ In March, Hitler announced the expansion of the army to 550 000 troops and the creation of the German Air Force ➤ Secret plans to expand had been in place since 1933 (Army was 300 000 and had built 2500 war planes) ➤ Conscription was re-introduced ➤ In June this was made legitimate with the Anglo-German Naval Agreement, allowing the German navy 34% of the tonnage of the British navy ➤ Beginnings of appeasement - foster good relations and stop Germany feeling cornered by harsh conditions of Versailles
  18. 18. 1936 ➤ Hitler Remilitarises the Rhineland ➤ In March, German troops moved into the Rhineland (border of France and Belgium) ➤ Direct contravention of Versailles ➤ Britain and France unwilling to act - Italy had dropped out of the Stresa Front and was moving towards relations with Germany ➤ “I see no reason to risk war in order to stop Hitler marching into his own backyard” - Lord Lothian, British editor and foreign affairs commentator ➤ Germany built a line of forts along the border and stationed troops
  19. 19. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mdWEJU3bLfw
  20. 20. 1936-37 ➤ Fascists rally together ➤ In July, Germany and Italy sent armaments and troops to support Franco in the Spanish Civil War ➤ In October, Germany and Italy signed the Rome-Berlin Axis, promising to promote mutual foreign policy aims ➤ In November, Germany and Japan signed the Anti-Comintern Pact, promising to contain the spread of Communism but with a secret clause promising to consult and protect common interests if either power was attacked by the Soviet Union ➤ But Hitler declares peaceful aims: The German people do not wish to continue waging war to readjust frontiers. Each readjustment is bought by sacrifices out of proportion to what is to be gained
  21. 21. 1938 ➤ Anschluss with Austria ➤ In March, Hitler decided to make a second attempt to take Austria ➤ Austria had always wanted union with Germany but this drive had decreased since 1933 ➤ Hitler, a native Austrian, wanted to bring his homeland into the volk ➤ Austrian Chancellor Schuschnigg tried to appease Hitler - appointing a Nazi Minister of Police, amnesty for Nazi prisoners, German-Austrian agreement on foreign policy 1936 ➤ However Hitler was not satisfied - ordered Austrian Nazis to stage demonstrations in major cities (if law and order broke down he could justify marching into Austria to restore it) ➤ Austrian Chancellor Schuschnigg was losing control of his country
  22. 22. 1938 ➤ Wed March 9 - In a desperate act, Schuschnigg announced a plebiscite to decide whether they would join Germany. Hitler furious - a vote against him would take away the legitimacy of his invasion ➤ Thu March 10 - Hitler orders generals to prepare for invasion and Schuschnigg to call off vote. Schuschnigg concedes ➤ Fri March 11 - Hitler reassures Czechoslovakia that they would not be involved ➤ Sat March 12 - German troops march into Austria unopposed. ➤ April - In a rigged referendum Hitler shows that the Austrian people approved of being under German control
  23. 23. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t75ldUNc2Xw
  24. 24. 1938 ➤ Impact of the Anschluss ➤ In March 1938 the whole French government resigned - this political turmoil meant that they did not oppose the Anschluss ➤ British PM Chamberlain was determined to appease Hitler and was also experiencing political turmoil over his new relationship with Italy - did not oppose Germany ➤ Germany added 7 million people and an army of 100 000 to the Reich ➤ Gained new resources - steel, iron ore ➤ German influence increased in the Balkans ➤ Czechoslovakia now surrounded on three fronts
  25. 25. 1938 ➤ The Sudetenland ➤ After his success in Austria Hitler set his sights on the German-speaking Sudetenland, a region of Czechoslovakia ➤ It had coal and copper mines, power stations, farmland, the biggest arms works in the world, and offered the Alps, a chain of fortresses and protection to the East ➤ 3 million German Sudetens who would be useful to him - historians Mau and Krausnick (1959) argue that Hitler took advantage of the minority status of the Sudetens to convince them of the need to rebel and create chaos in Czechoslovakia, giving him an excuse to invade
  26. 26. 1938 ➤ The Munich Agreement ➤ In September Hitler encouraged the Sudeten Nazis to rebel and demand union with Germany - Czech government declared martial law, Hitler threatened war ➤ Neville Chamberlain visited Hitler and, without consulting Czechoslovakia, agreed to give Hitler all areas where more than 50% of the population was German ➤ Hitler demands the whole Sudetenland and Chamberlain refuses ➤ War threatens but Chamberlain tells the British people that the crisis is “a quarrel in a faraway country between people of whom we know nothing” ➤ France, Britain and Germany meet in Munich and agree to give Hitler the Sudetenland if he agrees to leave the rest of Czechoslovakia alone ➤ German troops march into Sudetenland, welcomed as heroes ➤ Chamberlain famously declared he had won peace in our time
  27. 27. 1939 ➤ Consequences of the Munich Agreement ➤ Weakened Czechoslovakia ➤ Scared Hungary, Yugoslavia and Romania who all reached out to Hitler ➤ Proved the extent of appeasement ➤ Convinced Russia that they would have to oppose Hitler alone ➤ Gave Britain, France and Germany time to rearm ➤ Hitler promised he was done: The Sudetenland is the last territorial claim which I have to make in Europe
  28. 28. 1939 ➤ The invasion of Czechoslovakia ➤ On March 15 1939 German troops marched into Czechoslovakia, taking over Bohemia and establishing a protectorate over Slovakia ➤ Showed that Hitler was not just interested in “greater Germany” - the Czechs were not German ➤ On March 17 Chamberlain gave a speech stating that he could not trust Hitler not to invade other countries ➤ On March 31st Britain promised to protect Poland if Hitler invaded them ➤ Hitler maintained his stated commitment to peace: In general we have but one wish - that in the coming years we may be able to make our contribution to the general pacification of the whole world
  29. 29. 1939 ➤ Agreements ➤ May - Germany and Italy signed the Pact of Steel promising to stand together during war ➤ August - Germany and the Soviet Union signed the Non-Aggression Pact with the USSR promising not to attack Germany for invading Poland. In return, Russia would get half the Polish territory ➤ Hitler avoided a war on two fronts and was given a chance to test Britain and France’s commitment to appeasement ➤ Stalin was able to delay what he saw as inevitable war to rearm and was able to get back at Britain and France for not involving him in the Munich Conference
  30. 30. 1939 ➤ The invasion of Poland ➤ On September 1 1939, Hitler invaded Poland ➤ The Germans swept through using tanks from Czechoslovakia ➤ Reasons included lebensraum, to test Chamberlain’s resolve, to defend Germans in Poland against persecution, to overturn Versailles, ➤ Britain and France demanded that he stop ➤ When the Germans continued, Britain and France declared war on Germany on September 3
  31. 31. 1939 ➤ Ian Kershaw believes that Hitler invaded Poland out of an over-estimation of his own abilities ➤ Argues that the yes-men and Fuhrer cult, along with Chamberlain’s appeasement, convinced Hitler he was untouchable and thus to make a move into Poland before their military was fully ready ➤ This led him to a calamitous over-estimation of his own abilities, coupled with an extreme denigration of those - particularly the military - who argued more rationally for greater caution

HSC Modern History

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