Hitler’s Foreign Policy and the Treaty of Versailles Treaty of Versailles, signed with Germany in 1919 had one main purpose ??? to protect the planet from another world war. Germany, the country guilty for the World War One had to accept a number of unfavorable conditions: 1. Enormous reparations (6,6 billion pounds) were implied 2. The army was limited to 100??000 soldiers 3. Tanks, fleet and aircraft were banned However, the main ideas concerned the foreign policy: 1. Poznan was to e come a Polish province 2. Danzig was announced a free city 3. Alsace and Lorraine were to be returned to France . Germany lost all of its colonies 5. The union of Austria and Germany was forbidden Today historians argue that the treaty was too unfair towards the German nation and lead to revanchism inside the country. Hitler used these moods to come to power in 1933. As a matter of fact, the multiple discriminations towards Germany inside the text of the treaty lead to the rise of the Nazi regime. Was the treaty more adequate and weighed, World War II might never have happened. As soon as the Nazi party came to power in Germany, it started the course to slowly dismantle the Treaty of Versailles.
It is quite interesting to not that Hitler actually never hid his plans for the future ??? in his book “Mein Kampf” (My struggle) he clearly stated the general ideas Germany would follow in the nearest future. Hitler clearly spoke of the “Jewish dominion” in Europe, advocated against the France and its positions, and predicted alliance with Italy and perhaps England. He clearly intended to change the balance in Europe to the German side, promised to take some of the Polish and Czech lands, as well as regain the colonies. The method for all these changes war rather clear ??? war.
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Starting with 1933, Hitler’s government started gradually and constantly breaking some parts of the peace treaty. The pattern of the international policy is, however, brilliant. Germany cleverly plays the role of an offended side and slowly takes steps to improve the unfairness. One by one, Hitler puts the conditions of the Treaty of Versailles aside and then waits for the consequences. He than waits a bit, making sure the disturbances in the international relations calm down a bit, and if ex-Allies show no real action and do not intend to start war straight away, further steps are taken.
This way, Germany gradually refuses to fulfill all of the Treaty of Versailles’ statements. 1. In 1933 Germany leaves the League of Nations. Germany first struggled for the right to be a member of this organization, and was admitted in 1926. Entering the League of Nations and fulfilling its requirements was an important part of the Versailles Treaty. When Germany left the organization and then started using aggression to achieve the goals, it broke the peace treaty for the first time. 2. A bit later, Hitler officially refused to pay any reparations to the allies.
The payments have not been processed for some time already, because of the global economic crisis that struck the German economy. But the official statement to refuse the payments was another severe violation. 3. In the same year, Hitler starts rearming. He gives orders to create an army of 300??000 men (3 times bigger than allowed) and 1000 aircrafts (not allowed at all). In March 1935 the Nazi regime felt strong enough to officially refuse to fulfill the statements of the Versailles Treaty that consider the military limitations.
European democracies were chocked to learn that Germany already had a considerable continental army and one of the most powerful air fleets (Luftwaffe with 2500 planes). Hitler proposed a provoking treaty to France, supposing that it should disarm to the level of German army to keep the balance of forces on the continent; otherwise Germany would arm to the France’s level. Obviously, the French refused and Hitler withdrew from the peace negotiations, intending to increase the army to 550,000 people. 4.
In June 1935 the treaty was ignored again, when Great Britain allowed Germany to greatly increase the Navy (to size of one third of the British one). This has been done because the British realized the Germans would do so anyway, and the positive attitude of Great Britain should promote peace between the two countries. The Germans, however, saw it as a sign weakness. After 1935 the Treaty of Versailles basically had little sense, as most of its parts have been violated. Some points, that still seemed to have some strength have been intentionally destroyed a bit later.
In 1936 Germany reoccupied the demilitarized Rheinland zone, under feeble protests from the side of France. Two years later, in 1938 the Germany announced an “Anschluss” with Austria and basically devoured the smaller state, creating a controlled Nazi government. Same year, following the Munich agreement, Hitler gained the Sudetenland of Czechoslovakia. In 1939 the final, most severe violation of the basic principles of international law and virtually all of the existent treaties, lead to the beginning of World War II.
When “Vermacht” invaded Poland, Great Britain and France declared war on Germany. It is clearly seen that all parts of the Hitler’s international politics in 1930-s are aimed to begin a war. Unfortunately, the Appeasement strategy of the democratic western states allowed the terrible regime to rise and gain strength, causing the most devastating catastrophe in the human history. . Works cited: 1) “Causes of World War II” accessed July 25, 2008 at: http://facstaff. gpc. edu/~proseman/CausWWII. htm 2) “Versailles Treaty” Spartacus Educational website, accessed July 25, 2008 at: http://www. partacus. schoolnet. co. uk/FWWversailles. htm 3) “The Road to World War II: The Failure to Contain Hitler” published 25/02/07, accessed July 25, 2008 at: http://wheremydogs. at/index_files/the-road-to-world-war-ii-the-failure-to-contain-hitler. html 4) “Chains Broken! ” Mar. 25, 1935, Time website accessed July 25, 2008 at: http://www. time. com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,748593-1,00. html 5) “Germany and rearmament” History Learning site, accessed July 25, 2008 at: http://www. historylearningsite. co. uk/germany_and_rearmament. htm