The Rearmament of Germany in the 1920s and 30s

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Looking back on the history, people begin to ask questions about why things happened the way that they did. Looking specifically in the field of World War 2, a popular question is “how was Germany such a successful force on the battlefield?” There are many explanations as to why Germany was so successful in all of its earlier military campaigns, but the largest reason is because of the secret rearmament that took place within Germany, years before the war. Several years before Hitler and The Second War, World War 1 ended in the humiliating defeat of Germany as a country. The conditions of Germany’s surrender were even more humiliating than the losses on the battlefield. As a result of the Treaty of Versailles, which Germany was forced to sign, the entire cause of the war was placed on Germany. Therefore Germany was forced to pay large sums of reparations and suffered several consequences militarily and economically. Those consequences were set up mainly by the British and French as a way to ensure that another war of aggression by Germany will not be able to happen again. First off, Germany’s military was disarmed and downsized. The number of troops allowed in the German army was never to exceed 100,000 men. Germany’s army was further disarmed when the victories allies forbade the use of tanks, poison gas, and large artillery pieces.1 The German navy was forced to hand over all its battleships, heavy cruisers, and U-boats, effectively making the navy useless against any power in a possible naval confrontation.2 The number of sailors allowed in the navy was also limited to 15,000 men as the maximum at any time.3 Lastly, the German air force was disbanded all together, as Germany was not allowed to possess any warplanes. Also to add to the limitations of the German military, the German economy was also limited as another way to prevent a German rearmament. The factories in the Ruhr area, where much of Germanys manufacturing took place, were taken over by the French.4 With no materials and no factories, the allies believed there was no way Germany could ever rearm themselves for war.

However after a period of time, the allies began to forget about Germany and the previous war. The allies lost interest in German affairs, as they faced their own economic problems at home. Britain and France both had to now focus on the economic depression of their own countries, and had little time to worry about the affairs in Germany. However in Germany, through a string of political moves, Adolf Hitler becomes named chancellor of Germany. Whenever the president Paul Von Hindenburg dies in 1933, Hitler proclaims himself the dictator, which officially puts an end to the Weimar government.5 One of Hitler’s very first objectives as new leader of Germany was to personally oversee the rearmament process of Germany. Germany immediately began secretly rearming itself for war. However in France, Britain, and even America, they were still suffering from the effects of the depression. No democratic nation had the resources or money to be building weapons of war. As a matter of fact, the democratic powers were actually downsizing their military spending while Germany was quickly rearming. This rearmament period in Germany is probably the biggest reason for all of Germany’s success on the battlefield during the early stages of the war. While the world is building projects of peace, Germany is building up weapons of war. It only makes sense that Germany was able to conquer most of continental Europe after they have been rearming and preparing for years, while the democratic powers had been disarming their own militaries. It can be quite obvious that due to Germanys prolonged period of secret rearmament, they had become so successful over the other world powers once fighting broke out again.

Contrary to popular belief, German rearmament of Germany did not begin under Hitler and the Nazis; Hitler was just the one that massively expanded rearmament....
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