Origins of ww ii
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Origins of WW II:. A History, 1936-1941. Increasing Aggression: 1936. Remilitarization of the Rhineland 7 March German military marches into Rhineland ending its demilitarization (term of Treaty of Versailles)

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Origins of ww ii

Origins of WW II:

A History, 1936-1941


Increasing aggression 1936

Increasing Aggression: 1936

  • Remilitarization of the Rhineland

  • 7 March German military marches into Rhineland ending its demilitarization (term of Treaty of Versailles)

  • Hitler offered to negotiate new demilitarized zones on either side of the border, non-aggression pacts w/France & Belgian, and mutual guarantees against air attacks

  • No serious ramifications for Hitler


Increasing aggression 19361

Increasing Aggression: 1936

  • Remilitarization of the Rhineland

  • Why did Hitler do it?

    • Revoked treaty of Versailles

    • Sense of nationalism

    • Sense of national self-determination

    • Abyssinian Crisis—western nations preoccupied & less willing to act against Germany

    • Pretext: ratification of Franco-Soviet Pact (Hitler claimed violated spirit of Locarno


Increasing aggression 19362

Increasing Aggression: 1936

  • Remilitarization of the Rhineland

  • The Reactions & Explanations

    • France: political will to fight a large-scale engagement over Rhineland lacking; lack of political cohesion

    • Britain: Anthony Eden (Foreign Secretary): British policy was designed to “come to peaceful agreed solutions by appeasement of justified grievances,” perception of ToV, The Times wrote Hitler was only “going into his own back garden” (it was part of Germany)

    • LoN: no reaction


Increasing aggression 19363

Increasing Aggression: 1936

  • Remilitarization of the Rhineland

  • Why did it succeed?

    • French & British situations & perceptions

    • Expectation for years to settle question since allies evacuated in 1930—had never happened

    • Abyssinia did give some distraction (not the most important factor

    • “The mixture of a military fait accompli with a diplomatic smokescreen was masterly, and the temptation for nervous and peace-loving governments to examine the offer [Hitler proposed diplomatic negotiations] was overwhelming”


Increasing aggression 19364

Increasing Aggression: 1936

  • Remilitarization of the Rhineland

  • The Affect:

    • Hitler’s popularity soared at home

    • Hitler emboldened: gained confidence, influence in relation to Armyc and a growing perception of western reluctance to act

    • Italy: Mussolini impressed by increasing power of Germany & started thinking of increasing relations (fundamental shift in view of Germany)

    • Britain’s 1st hint of Appeasement (not policy yet)

    • France’s defensive nature made apparent

    • Belgian declared neutrality, ending an alliance w/Fr

    • LoN lost rest of its credibility


Increasing aggression 19365

Increasing Aggression: 1936

  • Spanish Civil War

  • July: Nationalists (largest party) started rebellion vs. republican govt. (coalition of parties)—presented as struggle of fascism & democracy (much more complicated)

  • Generalissimo Francisco Franco asked for military assistance from Hitler & Mussolini & received it—most famously Germany’s new air force—Condor Legion

  • Br & Fr: adopted policy of no intervention

  • USSR: supported communist elements of the republican faction


Increasing aggression 19366

Increasing Aggression: 1936

  • Spanish Civil War

  • Why did Hitler & Mussolini intervene?

    • Ideological struggle vs. communism

    • Access to Spanish raw materials important for warfare (various metals & ores)

    • Strengthened ties between two countries

    • Valuable training ground for military

    • Hitler: diverted attention from growing military

    • Mussolini: matter of prestige


Increasing aggression 19367

Increasing Aggression: 1936

  • Spanish Civil War

  • The Reaction & Explanations

    • USSR opportunity for increasing communism

    • Br & Fr linked communism to republican side—saw it as greater threat than Germany or Italy

    • Neither had political will to get involved


Increasing aggression 19368

Increasing Aggression: 1936

  • The Rome-Berlin Axis (Tokyo added 1940)

  • Loosely agreed collaboration between the fascists countries

  • Why did they sign it?

    • Slowly increased perception of mutual ideals & aims

    • Lost chance of Anglo-German alliance—Britain saw it as giving Hitler a free hand in eastern Europe

    • Hitler begins seeing possibility of Britain as antagonist


Increasing aggression 19369

Increasing Aggression: 1936

  • November: Anti-Comintern Pact

  • Germany & Japan promised alliance against spread of communism (Italy joins November 1937)

  • Why did they sign it?

    • Ideological reasons—militarism, nationalism, Social Darwinism (each saw as superior power in respective region)

    • Imperial goals—USSR potential threat to these goals for both countries


Foreign policies the development of appeasement 1936 1937

Foreign Policies & the Development of Appeasement: 1936-1937

  • French Foreign Policy (1930s)

  • Clearly Germany potential enemy

  • Manchurian Crisis led Fr to turn from Disarmament

  • Not affected by Great Depression until mid-late 1930s

  • Economic collapse weakened political system (highly partisan)

  • 1932-1935: 11 different governments—inconsistent policies, domestic & foreign leading to inertia

  • General revulsion of war (echoes of WW I)

  • Reliance on Britain (stated & private)—appeasement

  • Ambivalence & Indecision


Foreign policies the development of appeasement 1936 19371

Foreign Policies & the Development of Appeasement: 1936-1937

  • British Foreign Policy (1930s)

  • Imperial concerns

  • Revisionist (ToV): growing sense of mediator Fr-Ger instead of Fr ally

  • Manchurian—Japanese threat meant Naval concerns

  • Public favor of LoN & opposition to rearmament

  • Abyssinia & German rearmament—growing threat of Germany & Italy plus concerns of Japan


Foreign policies the development of appeasement 1936 19372

Foreign Policies & the Development of Appeasement: 1936-1937

  • British Foreign Policy (1930s)

  • March 1936: 4-year plan of rearmament

  • Sense of impending threat, weakened state of military led to cautious foreign policy

  • reactive instead of proactive

  • lack of direction except avoid confrontation due to weakness

  • Idol to German conscription & Rhineland; uninterested participant in Stresa front; no commitment to Abyssinia; avoided Spanish Civil War


Foreign policies the development of appeasement 1936 19373

Foreign Policies & the Development of Appeasement: 1936-1937

  • Appeasement—British foreign policy that can be applied to aspects & periods of French foreign policy

  • Neville Chamberlain, PM 1937-1940

  • Munich Crisis & Munich Agreement 1938

  • Failure to prevent outbreak of war


Foreign policies the development of appeasement 1936 19374

Foreign Policies & the Development of Appeasement: 1936-1937

  • Appeasement: What is it?

  • Come to mean peace at any price; failure to stand up to bully, even cowardice

  • Origins different:

    • Anthony Eden, 1936: “it is the appeasement of Europe as a whole that we have constantly before us”

    • Can be interpreted as desire for peaceful Europe

    • Keep peace w/willingness to satisfy reasonable grievances w/concessions to avoid war


Foreign policies the development of appeasement 1936 19375

Foreign Policies & the Development of Appeasement: 1936-1937

  • Appeasement: How did it develop in mid-1930s?

  • Assumptions regarding Germany

    • Restoring rights denied by ToV via negotiations

    • Hitler was a reasonable man—deal possible: return of colonies, air pact, resolve German grievances in eastern Europe

    • Mussolini would put some restraint on Hitler (misplaced trust)

    • Hitler would be satisfied w/rectify larger issues of ToV, but not necessarily all of them


Foreign policies the development of appeasement 1936 19376

Foreign Policies & the Development of Appeasement: 1936-1937

  • Appeasement: Were there alternatives?

  • Supported collective security & LoN—probably too late anyhow

  • Creation of a grand alliance of anti-fascist powers (suggested by Winston Churchill, who saw dictators responsive only to force)

    • Some saw this as return to alliance system


Foreign policies the development of appeasement 1937

Foreign Policies & the Development of Appeasement: 1937

  • Meanwhile in Germany

  • The Hossbach Memorandum

    • Meeting of Hitler’s future plans recorded by Colonel Friedrich Hossbach (most historians agree to its authenticity)

    • Conquest in the East-1943-1945

    • Austria & Czechoslovakia must be seized

    • Might provoke war w/Br & Fr (‘two hate inspired antagonists’)

    • Evidence of firm plan or desire to inspire military?


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