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Appeasement and the Road To War. The Reoccupation of the Rhineland. Aims:. To look at the position of the Rhineland by 1936. To identify the importance of the Rhineland to both Germany and France. Importance of the Rhineland. 15 million Germans lived there

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Appeasement and the road to war

Appeasement and the Road To War

The Reoccupation of the Rhineland

Appeasement and the road to war

  • To look at the position of the Rhineland by 1936.

  • To identify the importance of the Rhineland to both Germany and France.

Importance of the rhineland
Importance of the Rhineland

  • 15 million Germans lived there

  • Had been demilitarised as part of the Treaty of Versailles

  • France had at one point wanted the Rhineland to become a small independent republic.

  • Demilitarisation of the Rhineland was reinforced by the Treaty of Locarno 1925.

Franco german hostility
Franco-German Hostility

  • France had been invaded twice by Germany in 1870 and 1914

  • France feared Germany wanted revenge for the Treaty of Versailles

  • Rhineland provided an important buffer between France and Germany.

  • France regarded the area as essential for her long-term security.

Treaty of locarno 1925
Treaty of Locarno 1925

  • Signed by Britain, France, Germany and Italy.

  • Germany accepted and recognised her Western borders with France and Belgium.

  • Britain and Italy would act as guarantors of this treaty.

  • No mention was made of Germany’s eastern borders.

Class discussion
Class Discussion

Why do you think that the Rhineland

was important to Hitler?

Think about:

  • Aims of Hitler’s foreign policy

  • Ethnic table – Cameron page 16

Why march 1936
Why March 1936?

  • The French Parliament had just ratified the Franco-Soviet pact in February 1936. Both countries agreed to come to the other’s assistance if they were attacked.

  • Hitler claimed this was an attempt by hostile powers to encircle Germany – on the 7th March 1936 22,000 German troops moved into the Rhineland.

  • France was between governments and in the middle of a general election campaign.

  • The invasion took place on a Saturday when politicians were away for the weekend.

  • Events were a ‘fait accompli’ by the time politicians could formulate a response.

Hitler s viewpoint
Hitler’s Viewpoint

‘Why must Germany continue to be

threatened? France refuses to disarm and

has now made a treaty with Russia. Why?

A look at the map of Europe will tell you.

France and Russia want to destroy

Germany. We are facing a threat from two

sides. We must defend ourselves. The first

step must be to defend our borders in the

Rhineland. It is not fair that France could

easily attack us and destroy our industry.

We must have a strong frontier, defended

by our brave soldiers.’

Reoccupation of the rhineland key opinions
Reoccupation of the Rhineland – Key Opinions

Study the following sources which

outline different views on the

Rhineland crisis.

In your own words, explain the view

contained in each source.

Hitler s viewpoint1
Hitler’s Viewpoint

‘The 48 hours after the march into the

Rhineland were the most nerve-

racking of my life. If the French has

then marched into the Rhineland, we

would have had to withdraw with our

tails between our legs.’

Lord lothian s viewpoint
Lord Lothian’s Viewpoint

‘They are only going into their own

back garden.

Lord Lothian was an influential British

politician and diplomat during the

1920s and 1930s.

Stanley baldwin s viewpoint
Stanley Baldwin’s Viewpoint

Military intervention would be ‘out of

proportion to what Germany had


Baldwin was the British Prime Minister

at the time of the Rhineland crisis.

Harold nicholson s viewpoint
Harold Nicholson’s Viewpoint

‘We know that Hitler gambled on this coup.

Thus if we send an ultimatum to Germany she

ought in all reason to climb down. But what

is the good of that? It would only mean

communism in Germany…….. Moreover the

people of this country absolutely refuse to

have a war.

Nicholson was a Labour MP at the

time of the Rhineland crisis.

Ajp taylor s viewpoint
AJP Taylor’s Viewpoint

‘It has been said at the time, and has often

been said since, that 7 March 1936 was ‘the

last chance’….when Germany could have been

stopped without all the sacrifice and suffering

of a great war. Technically, on paper this was

true: the French had a great army, and the

Germans had none.’

AJP Taylor, a well-known historian who wrote

‘The Origins of the Second World War’ in 1964

Reaction to the reoccupation
Reaction to the Reoccupation


To examine the reaction of Britain,

France and Germany to the

reoccupation of the Rhineland.

The french reaction
The French Reaction

  • Politically unstable – there had been rioting by right wing fascist groups in 1934. There was concern this might happen again.

  • They were in the middle of an election

  • Overestimated strength of the German army

  • Would not take action without British support

The british reaction
The British Reaction

Lord Lothian

‘They are only going into their own

back garden’

Stanley Baldwin – Prime Minister

Military intervention would be ‘out of

proportion to what Germany had


The british reaction1
The British Reaction

  • No great opposition from public.

  • Many politicians felt that the Treaty of Versailles had been too harsh on Germany

  • Franco-Soviet Pact had unduly provoked Hitler.

  • The Rhineland was German territory

  • Military defeat of Hitler could lead to a communist takeover in Germany.

  • A more conciliatory approach was needed rather than confrontation.

The german reaction
The German Reaction

Hitler suggested:

  • A new demilitarised zone on both sides of the French-German border

  • That perhaps Germany might return to the League AND resume disarmament talks.

Appeasement and the road to war