Origins of World War II. Hitler’s Foreign Policy Aims. Hitler sought to unite the German people “protecting the 10 million Germans living outside the Reich”
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The U.S. had rejected the Peace of Paris and was caught up in the Depression; Russia was consolidating its revolution; Britain was caught up in the Depression; France alone was left to hold Germany down.
Also, Nazi propaganda in the U.S. and Britain portrayed Hitler as the best check on Communist Russia.
The British and French feared a new war and went to great lengths to avoid confrontation. France built immense fortifications, called the Maginot Line, but lacked the mobile strike force necessary to counter an aggressive Germany.
Hitler next turned his attention to Poland. He demanded the return of the city of Danzig and use of the Polish corridor. Poland refused and France and Great Britain warned that they would support Poland if attacked.
On May 22, 1939, Hitler and Mussolini entered into a pact, promising mutual aid in the event of war.
On August 23, 1939, Germany and Russia signed a nonaggression pact, giving Hitler the green-light to invade Poland.