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Hitler’s Foreign Policy

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Essay title: Hitler’s Foreign Policy

Germany suffered great losses after being defeated in World War One. The Treaty of Versailles had crippled Germany economically and socially, taking away large chunks of German land and population. The aims of Hitler’s Foreign Policy were to regain all that Germany had lost, and in order to do so, he would have to undo what the Treaty of Versailles had done. His objective was very clear and consistent, and in order to achieve his aims, he would have to take full advantage of the situation, exploiting every opportunity that is available to him.

An example of Hitler’s opportunism can be witnessed in 1933. Before Hitler could invade other countries or intimidate his opponents, he needed to increase the size of the German Army, although this was clearly prohibited by the Treaty of Versailles. With the Great Depression happening in the background, however, Hitler was able to claim that having a large army would provide jobs and fix unemployment problems in Germany. Britain sympathized with Germany’s situation and even made an agreement in 1935, the Anglo-German Naval agreement, which allowed Hitler to have a larger German Navy than originally intended by the Treaty. This agreement was done without the approval of the French, who then became angry with Britain, thus benefiting Hitler even more, since the French could not do anything without British support. This was shortly followed by the collapse of the Stresa Front; the military union between Britain, France and Italy.

Being in such a position, Hitler was able to carry out even more actions in violation of the Treaty. After having re-armed his people, he decided to take back the Rhineland. Britain thought that it was appropriate to allow German forces back into their �own back yard.’ France, being very upset about the whole situation, could still do nothing against Hitler without British support. Even though Russia and the USA had the power to do something about it at that time, they were too busy with their own affairs, and saw no real threat from allowing Hitler to reoccupy the Demilitarized Zone. Again, we can see Hitler’s opportunism here, as he exploits the ongoing bitterness between France and Britain, and the indifference of Russia and the USA to achieve his ends.

Having reached this far, Hitler was by now confident that Britain and France would appease him for whatever actions he might take next. His next move was to reunite Austria with Germany, and so he puts immense pressure on the Austrian Chancellor. In a desperate attempt to regain control, Chancellor Schuschnigg called for a referendum, which was suppressed by Hitler. Claiming that riots were occurring, and that order needed to be restored, he sent Nazi troops into Austria. All the people in the government who opposed Hitler were arrested, and were replaced by Nazi politician. Seyss-Inquart was then appointed Chancellor, and the Anschluss with Austria was complete. During the whole incident, the rest of the World had their heads turned the other way.

In 1929, Hitler continued to expand German borders. This time, he wanted the Sudetenland back from Czechoslovakia. In alignment with his Foreign Policy aims, he claimed that many Germans were living in that area, and that he needed more living space. The German army was prepared to invade Czechoslovakia, but before he even needed to do so, France and Britain held a meeting, and decided to simply hand over the Sudetenland to Hitler,

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