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A Glorious Plan

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M@ Hix

A Glorious Plan

When Germany was under a monetary crisis after having to pay reparations for World War I, people had turned to Adolf Hitler. He made promises of restoring Germany to its original form and many people were willing to support him. However, the failure of the Munich Putsch in 1923 had failed and had led to his imprisonment. Here, Hitler wrote a book, Mein Kampf, where he introduced his ideology of Germany, his aims and ambitions. (Giblin, 156) In January 1933, when Hitler was appointed chancellor and soon became sole dictator of Germany. He then put his aims to action.

Hitler had three main aims in preparing Germany for war. His first goal was to tear up the Treaty of Versailles, which brought an end to WWI. This treaty blamed Germany for starting the war; it took away large amounts of land, money and materials from her, and cut her armed forces down to a minimum. (Hitler, 135)

Hitler's second aim was to unite all Germans into one single country. As there was millions of Germans scattered in neighboring countries such as Austria, Czechoslovakia and Poland, these countries would have to be brought under his control. (Ibid, 302)

His third aim was to provide Germany with what he called "lebenstraum" or living space. He said that Germany was overcrowded and did not have enough food or raw materials for her needs. All three of these aims could only be achieved if Germany rearmed, massively increasing her armed forces. (Ibid, 370)

Hitler fulfilled these aims by rearming Germany. In 1934, only a year after Hitler had come to power, he gave out a top-secret order for the armed forces to expand. The number was to increase from 100,000 to 300,000 men. The navy was to build two pocket battleships and six submarines. (Bailey, 78) Goering was to create an air force and secretly train pilots in civilian flying clubs. These were all forbidden by the Treaty of Versailles. (Kershaw, 147)

In 1935, all was revealed when Hitler re-introduced conscription and that the army would be built up to 550,000 men. Three countries, Britain, France and Italy, signed an agreement condemning Hitler's announcement. But no country took military action to stop this breach of the Treaty of Versailles.

In 1936, Hitler ordered his army to march into the Rhineland. The Versailles treaty forbade the German army from going within 50 km of the River Rhine, so Hitler's order was a deliberate challenge to this treaty.

As well as remilitarizing the Rhineland in 1936, Hitler made a number of foreign alliances. When a civil war began in Spain, he sent his best air force unit to fight on the side of the nationalist General Franco. If Franco won the war, Hitler would have Spain as an ally. In the same year, Hitler had also made an agreement with Benito Mussolini, dictator of Italy, that they would work closely together in foreign affairs. This agreement was called the Rome-Berlin Axis pact. An agreement with Japan the Anti-Comintern Pact gave him an ally on the other side of the world. (Kershaw, 235)

By 1938, Hitler felt strong enough to plan a union, or Anschluss, with Austria. This was part of his aim to unite all German-speaking people in one country, but it was also forbidden by the Treaty of Versailles. (Hitler, 370) He therefore had to be very careful about how he went about it.

Hitler's next destination was Sudentenland, an area in Czechoslovakia where three million of the people there spoke German and most of them supported a nazi-style party called the Sudeten German Party. It's leader, Konrad Henlein, was told to arrange riots and distract the country so Germany could come in and make that as an excuse to stop the riots. The Czechs soon found out what Hitler was up to and had a big army and strong defenses and they also had France supporting them. Hitler was not prepared to fight two countries at the one time. Hitler, however, got his second chance from Neville Chamberlain, Prime Minister of Britain. Chamberlain thought that the Sudentenland should belong to Germany and if Germany didn't get her own way it would create a war, a war in which France and Britain would be involved. He would go to almost any lengths to avoid such a war. This policy was called appeasement. (Giblin, 454) So now Hitler could continue with his invasion without having to worry about France.

Neville Chamberlain was still determined to prevent war, so he arranged to meet Hitler in Germany to discuss a peaceful solution to the problem. In 1938, Chamberlain had seen Hitler three times. The last



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