IGCSE History


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Hitler and the League

In 1935 Hitler began rearmament. Conscription was reintroduced and the army, navy and airforce were all built up. The League protested but did nothing.

The Anglo-German Naval Treaty was an agreement that allowed Germany to build a navy up to 35 percent the size of Britain's. This broke the terms of the Treaty of Versailles and encouraged Hitler to go even further.

On 7 March 1936, Germany reoccupied the Rhineland. In fact Hitler had committed virtually his entire trained military forces to the reoccupation and the commanders carried sealed orders, which ordered them to retreat if opposed, but he got away with it.

Hitler now set out to achieve the Anschluss, the union of Germany and Austria, which had been specifically banned by the Treaty of Versailles.

Hitler had been born in the town of Braunau-am-Inn in the former Austro-Hungarian Empire. He was not technically a German citizen, even though he had lived in Germany since 1913.

On March 1, unrest broke out in parts of Austria caused by Nazis. Soon the whole country was in chaos.

On March 11, Hitler sent an ultimatum demanding the resignation of Schussnigg, the Austrian chancellor. German troops were massed on the border.

On March 13, Austria and Germany were united.

On April 10 a plebiscite was held which gave a 99.75 % majority in favour of Anschluss. Austria was immediately incorporated into the German Reich.

The speed at which these events took place made reactions by Britain and France difficult. The two countries protested, but did little more.

 

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