The Road to War, 1936–1939
Between 1930 and 1936 the National Socialists blew hot and cool on the issues affecting war and peace. Hitler vowed to overthrow the Versailles settlement and restore equality for the Reich among its neighbors. He also conjured up the vision of a peaceful Germany in harmony with a Europe restored to balance and security for all. In the spring of 1933 he conferrred diligently in a four-power conference; in the autumn he explosively walked out of the League of Nations. In March of 1935 Hitler startled Europe with full-scale rearmament; two months later he soothed the powers with fervent pleas for peace and subsequently negotiated a naval agreement with Britain. A year later he suddenly smashed the Locarno treaties by marching into the demilitarized Rhineland and won resounding approval from Germans by also portraying his action as strengthening the prospects for peace. All of these events won the favor of a sizeable majority of Germans, for they satisfied national grievances felt since 1919: Indeed, Hitler probably won considerable additional support because he was a man of action—and a successful one.
KeywordsForeign Exchange German Economy German Nation Economic Mobilization General Staff
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