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Nazi Foreign Policy

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  1. Nazi Foreign Policy Redressing Versailles and beyond

  2. 1933 / 1934Initial Foreign Policy Aims • Priority 1) Avoid war until Germany is fully prepared • Priority 2) Stress continuity • Von Neurath - Nationalist Foreign Minister • Priority 3) Avoid Multilateral Pacts or Agreements • Lessons from outbreak of World War One • Priority 4) Avoid being isolated • Unilateral pacts • Cultivate relations with Britain and Italy • Priority 5) Seek to redress Treaty of Versailles injustices • France, Russia and new buffer countries

  3. 1933 / 1934 Which direction is Nazi Germany Travelling? • Withdraws from League of Nations and Disarmament Conference • Fulfilling election pledges • Manchuria lessons - ineffectiveness towards non-members • Dislikes Multilateral nature of League • Blames France for leaving (not Britain or Italy) • Sign a ten year non-aggression pact with Poland • Suggested reasonable Nazi Foreign Policy aims • Placated Poles • Secures Eastern Border • Breached French Eastern Alliance System (Locarno) • Unilateral - no complicating ties if pact is revoked

  4. 1934 A Step too Far • Foiled Anschluss • Austrian Nazis assassinate Chancellor Dolfuss • Invite Nazi Germany to ‘liberate’ Austria • Mussolini sends troops to Brenner Pass • Italian claims on Tyrol region • Hitler backs down and disclaims any responsibility

  5. 1935 Challenging VersaillesUnilaterally • Saar Plebiscite • 90% vote to join Germany • Domestic and International Triumph for Hitler • Luftwaffe announced • Conscription announced for 750,000 army • Britain, France and Italy denounce Germany and threaten action the next time Germany threatens Status Quo (Stresa Front) • Germany claims rearmament is necessary to protect Europe from the threat of Bolshevism • Rejects war in speech to Reichstag

  6. 1935 Challenging VersaillesBilaterally • Naval Agreement with Britain • German High Fleet will only be 35% of British High Fleet • 45% Submarine ration (becomes 100% in 1938) • Eases British strategic concerns • Cultivating relations with Britain • France Furious • Strains Stresa Front

  7. 1935 Breaking the Stresa FrontMussolini’s Abyssinian Adventure • Italian Colonial Ambitions • Britain’s demand for Sanctions against Mussolini • Infuriates Mussolini • Ineffectively applied • Destroys credibility of League of nations • Lack of Collective responsibility for their application • Deflects attention from German actions in Europe • Mussolini driven to Hitler

  8. 1936 Pushing at an Open Door • Rhineland Remilitarisation • Over rules German High Command • 14,000 troops • Orders • No French challenge • Emboldens Hitler • Page 384 • Plebiscite result • 99%

  9. 1936 The Anti-Bolshevik CrusadeThe Spanish Civil War • Luftwaffe’s Role • Franco • Condor Legion • Experimental bombing • Cements relationship with Mussolini • Britain and France Neutral • World War spark?

  10. 1936/37Speeding up Preparations for War • Four Year Plan • Axis and Anti-Comintern Pact • Italy, Germany and Japan • Ribbentrop to London • To secure alliance with Britain • Hossbach Conference • Prepare for war in 1940s

  11. 1938Anschluss • Economic arguments of Anschluss • Role of Austrian Nazis • Intimidation of Chancellor Schuschnig • Plebiscite called • Forced resignation of Schusching • Goering chooses new government • Hitler invades anyway • Combined Plebiscite (Germany and Austria) • 99% • British recognition of enlarged Germany • P 386

  12. 1938 Czechoslovakia - The Hors D’oeuvres • Emboldened by Austrian Triumph • “It is my unalterable decision to smash Czechoslovakia by military action in the near future” Hitler • Intense dislike for Slavic ‘Versailles’ nation • Nazi Sudeten Party • Munich conferences • Italy, France and Britain (No USSR or Cz) • Negotiated Settlement? • Hitler had to be content with just Sudeten areas • Rich in coal and copper, strong manufacturing base • Frontier Defences • German Generals cancel arrest plans • USSR cannot rely on West for security • (Nazi Soviet Pact)

  13. 1939 Czechoslovakia - The Main Course • Offers slices of Czechoslovakia to Poles, Hungarians and Romanians • Slovaks offered autonomy • Czech forces enter Slovakia to crush Nazi inspired unrest • Slovakia told to declare independence or be invaded by Hungary • Czechs agree to split with Slovakia • Bohemia/Moravia annexed by Germans - Slovakian nominal independence ended next day • Hungarians take Ruthenia (Poles - take a slice too) • Huge Skoda plant under German control • Non-Germans conquered for the first time • The West’s patience is exhausted • Anglo-French guarantee for Poland’s Independence two weeks later. • p390