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History 12

Rachel McMillan
UNIT FOUR
Hitlers Foreign Policy

The 1930s would be the time when Hitler would start to test the allies willingness to oppose any
aggressive movements on the part of Germany. Rank the events in Hitlers foreign policy from most
significant to least. For each event, say what happened, why the event is significant, who it is significant
to, and why you ranked it the way you did.
I. (b) Remilitarization of the Rhineland (1936)
While Germany was considered to have political control of the area between Germany and
France known as the Rhineland prior to World War II, the land had been declared by the
Treaty of Versailles to remain demilitarized. In 1936, however, Hitler marched 22,000 soldiers
into the Rhineland in an act of defiant remilitarization. Hitler performed this manoeuvre
virtually unopposed by Britain and France due to economic, political, and militaristic
circumstances existent in the Allied countries at the time. This operation, and its subsequent
success, may be considered the most significant of Hitlers foreign policy decisions, as it
resulted in the belief that German forces would be unchallenged in the future. This belief, in
turn, would become responsible for encouraging Hitler to continue pursuing fervent
imperialism and rearmament. While the Allies may not have confronted Hitler at the time of
this operation, this first aggressive territorial move would be an indication of Hitlers
capability, deeming it significant to the Allies as well.
II. (g) Germany occupies the rest of Czechoslovakia (1939)
In a final attempt to appease Hitlers imperialism, the remainder of Czechoslovakia was
essentially signed over to Germany with the creation of the Munich Pact, following
Germanys annexation of the Sudetenland. This can be considered immensely significant to
the Allies, as it revealed that Hitlers sole interests did not lie in the reunion of German people,
due to the fact that the Czechs were not German. Finally, the occupation of Czechoslovakia
displayed that Hitler could not possibly be stopped by negotiation, but only by war.
III. (a) Creation of the Luftwaffe(1935)
Upon first coming to power in 1933, Hitler began to discreetly develop the German air force
known as the Luftwaffe, the same air force which would prove to be a formidable opponent to
the Allies in the heat of World War II. As Britain announced an expansion of the Royal Air
Force in 1935, Hitler formally announced his Luftwaffe to the public. As the formation of the
Luftwaffe disobeyed the Treaty of Versailles, it is significant to the Allies as it acted as a
warning of Hitlers intentions and rapid rearmament policy prior to the beginning of the war.
The formation of the Luftwaffe can also be considered significant to Germany, as its existence
allowed Nazi Germany to secure extensive victories throughout the German campaign.
IV. (f) Germans take the Sudetenland (1938)
Formed in the wake of World War I, the Sudetenland of Czechoslovakia contained Germanic
speaking people under Slavic rule. After successfully annexing Austria in March of 1938,
Hitler turned to the Sudetenland in order to expand his German Empire, and entered the area in
October of the same year. This occupation of the Sudetenland was significant to Germany
because it facilitated Hitlers foreign policy for the future. Hitler gained control of a number of
important Czech fortifications, further divided the country, and weakened the Czech military.
Furthermore, the operation cost Britain and France the loss of an ally.

History 12

Rachel McMillan

V. (h) Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact (1938)


An alliance between Hitlers Nazi Germany and Stalins Soviet Union was reached in 1939 as
the Soviets faced the growth of the German Empire in Eastern Europe. In the absence of
solidified support from the Allies, Stalin reached out to Germany in order to protect Soviet
interests and earn time to remilitarize after earlier purges. The Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression
Pact stated that neither nation may directly or indirectly attack the other, but was violated only
two years later as Hitler entered the USSR. While such an agreement may be considered less
significant due to its short life, it also contributed sizeably to the war effort while it stood. The
Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact allowed Germany to invade Poland essentially uncontested,
and kept Hitlers forces from having to worry about a war on multiple fronts. These conditions
gave Germany an unquestionable advantage during the critical early stages of World War II,
deeming the pact significant to both Germany and the Allies.
VI. (e) Anschluss with Austria (1938)
Anschluss, a German term for union, was achieved between Germany and Austria in 1938
as the independent nation was brought under German rule. The alliance between the two
countries was forbid by the Treaty of Versailles, and was one of Hitlers first attempts to
reunite Germanic People. While this event remains a symbol of Nazi imperialism, the
Anschluss may be considered less significant to the Allies as many Austrians hoped for a
union with Germany, and therefore, may have been rather expected as World War II began.
VII. (d) Rome-Berlin Axis (1936)
The Rome-Berlin Axis saw the official alliance between Italy and Germany in 1936. As the
only two reputable Fascist powers present in Europe at the time, such a coalition between Italy
and Germany seemed to function more as a formality, as a mutual support between the two
nations was foreseeable. The Rome-Berlin Axis can be considered of lesser significance to
both Germany and the Allies, as it served only to clearly divide the European theatre between
allies and enemies. The official junction did not particularly contribute to the war effort,
especially considering that Mussolinis forces would not augment much success on behalf of
the German Empire.
VIII. (c) Assistance to Franco in the Spanish Civil War (1936)
The Spanish Civil War began in 1936 as a rising group of nationalist Spanish Army generals,
led by Francisco Franco, began to oppose elected government officials. As the Republicans, or
Loyalists, employed communists and socialists among their ranks, the group received military
and economic support from the USSR and other European countries. For the same reason,
Hitlers Fascist government assisted the rebelling force, the Nationalists, with arms and
equipment. The Nationalist forces would prove victorious due to such help in 1939. However,
Spain would be unable to provide similar support to Hitler during World War II due to the lack
of funds and resources caused by their recent conflict. While this event was responsible for a
positive relationship between Germany and Spain, it can be considered the least significant to
Germany and the Allies due to Spains neutrality throughout World War II.

History 12

Rachel McMillan

Works Cited
"Anschluss". Encyclopdia Britannica. Encyclopdia Britannica Online. Encyclopdia Britannica Inc.,
2015. Web. 05 Jan. 2015
"German-Soviet Nonaggression Pact". Encyclopdia Britannica. Encyclopdia Britannica Online.
Encyclopdia Britannica Inc., 2015. Web. 05 Jan. 2015
"Hitler's Plans for Czechoslovakia." BBC News. BBC, 2014. Web. 04 Jan. 2015.
"Spanish Civil War". Encyclopdia Britannica. Encyclopdia Britannica Online. Encyclopdia
Britannica Inc., 2014. Web. 05 Jan. 2015
"The Importance of the Rhineland." BBC News. BBC, 2014. Web. 04 Jan. 2015.