Back to Smart Guide

[O] History(Elect) Smart Guides

0% Complete
0/0 Steps
  1. Unit 1: The World in Crisis

    1. Impact of World War I in Europe
    14 Topics
  2. 2. Stalin's Soviet Union
    12 Topics
  3. 3. Hitler's Germany
    27 Topics
  4. 4. Outbreak WWII in Europe
    13 Topics
  5. 5. Germany's Defeat in World War II
    21 Topics
  6. 6. Outbreak War in Asia Pacific
    6 Topics
  7. 7. Japan's Defeat
    10 Topics
  8. Unit 2: Bi-Polarity and the Cold War
    8. Reasons for the Cold War in Europe
    21 Topics
  9. 9. The Korean War
    19 Topics
  10. 10. Cuban Missile Crisis
    25 Topics
  11. 11. The End of Cold War
    19 Topics
Chapter 4, Topic 6
In Progress

Hitler’s Expansionist Policy (Conscription and Rearmament)

Chapter Progress
0% Complete

Conscription and Rearmament

A World War II era German Luftwaffe Focke-Wulf Fw-190
  • Hitler planned a massive rearmament programme to restore Germany’s pride and strength and build up Germany’s defences after the humiliation of the Treaty of Versailles.
  • Hitler’s secret rearmament and conscription programme took place from 1933 to 1934, yet he only announced the programme in March 1935.
  • By March 1935, Germany possessed a 2,500- plane Luftwaffe and a 300,000 strong army.
  • Compulsory conscription was instituted for a planned army of 550,000.
  • However, Hitler kept emphasising his commitment to peace to allay the fears of the Allies.
  • At this point, the Allies still had a stronger military than Germany and were able to keep Germany in check.
  • However, the Allies only made verbal protests, instead of imposing sanctions, due to the pacifist mood in the post-war period as well as the weakness of the League.
  • Hitler was thus free to transform Germany into a formidable military power.
  • Britain, then practising appeasement, signed the Anglo-German Naval Agreement in June 1935 with Germany, allowing Germany a limited build-up of its navy.
  • From 1936 onwards, the Germans spent great amounts on military production.
  • A build-up of military capabilities and machinery enabled Hitler in his expansionist plans.

❖ Remilitarisation of Rhineland (1936)

  • Hitler’s confidence & popularity among German people also increased in this incident.
  • Hitler had often complained of the unjust demilitarisation which had been accepted by the Weimar government.
  • 7 March 1936: Hitler ordered German troops to cross Hohenzollern Bridge & remilitarise Rhineland, using the Franco-Soviet Alliance as an excuse, saying that Germany was now under threat and should be allowed to defend its frontiers.
  • Franco-Soviet Alliance: Treaty between France & USSR to check on Germany’s aggression, & both countries to provide aid to each other if Germany invades either side.
  • Hitler was certain of Britain’s sympathy (pacifist mood) towards Germany but unsure about France’s response which explained Hitler not sending a strong force.
  • Troops sent to Rhineland lacked essential equipment and they had no air support; they had been told to withdraw if attacked.

France, however, did not respond with force as they were about to hold elections.

  • French politicians did not want to be seen as starting a war.
  • British were unlikely to support France against Hitler due to prevailing pacifist mood.
  • League of Nations condemned Hitler’s actions but did nothing else.
  • League was distracted by Abyssinian Crisis.
  • France & Britain could have contained Hitler if they had responded against his actions.
  • As a result, his standing among the German people & military increased tremendously, and he became even bolder in his demands.
Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.
How can we help you to make a better decision?