The Third Reich: Peace (1933–9)

  • A. J. Ryder


Hitler’s coming to power was watched by Germany’s neighbours with obvious concern. His foreign policy had three main objects: to destroy the treaty of Versailles; to enlarge the Reich by the incorporation of Austria and other German-speaking territories such as the Sudetenland; and to conquer land and resources (Lebensraum) capable of supporting a larger population.1 The Germans were constantly reminded that they were the only great nation without an empire, a hemmed-in Volk ohne Raum. These aims had all been made public in Hitler’s writings and speeches, as well as in the programme of the N.S.D.A.P. Unlike William II, his primary interest was continental, not world policy: as befitted a man born in the centre of Europe, he showed little enthusiasm for seapower, and not much more for colonies. Whereas William had sought Lebensraum overseas, Hitler pursued it in Eastern Europe, and he combined it with a racial policy more extreme than that of the Pan-German League in its heyday. How were these objectives to be gained? Germany in 1933 was still disarmed and vulnerable to the threat of preventive war; though not without friends, she lacked allies; and she was still surrounded by the French girdle of defensive alliances as well as subject to the security guarantees (for what they were worth) of the League of Nations.


Foreign Minister British Government Military Expenditure Peace Treaty Nazi Regime 
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Copyright information

© A. J. Ryder 1973

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. J. Ryder
    • 1
  1. 1.St David’s University CollegeLampeterUK

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