The nature of German Foreign Policy was largely determined during 1933-39 by the aggression and force of Nazism. Hitler’s ambitions impacted on foreign policy in four main areas: the overthrow of the harsh (Diktat) Treaty of Versailles and its restrictions in order to restore German status as a major European power; to unite all German- speaking peoples within the Reich; the rebuilding of Germany’s armed forces to strengthen her military position and most importantly, to secure lebensraum (living space) for the ‘master race’.
After taking power the Nazis focused on the dismantling of the humiliating treaty of Versailles and to heighten nationalism within Germany especially to get back the “Lost” lands. Versailles bit deep into Germany’s frontiers with Alsace-Lorraine returned to France, Silesia cut in two and Danzig a free city under League of Nations control cut off by the new state of Poland. Millions of Germans living in Poland and the Polish Corridor encouraged Hitler’s resolve to unite all Germans into a Greater Germany.
In October 1933 Hitler pulled out of both the disarmament conference and the League of Nations, this gave Germany freedom of action and it enabled Germany to start rearming. His reason was that Britain and France had not also disarmed to Germany’s levels after World War One although rearmament was secretly taking place in Russia since 1919. By 1935 Hitler re-introduced conscription and the numbers began to swell past the 100,000 limit set by the Treaty of Versailles and as the British relaxed some of the terms of Versailles with the signing of the Anglo-German Naval agreement to permit Germany to build a Navy 35% of the size of the Royal Navy as Prime Minister Neville Chamberlin said “This morning I had another talk with the German Chancellor, Herr Hitler, and here is the paper which bears his name [Hitler] upon it as well as mine.... We regard the... [continues]
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