Appeasement and the Road to War
1933-1939
German Rearmament
1933-35
Outcomes
By the end of this lesson you will:
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Know how Hitler rearmed Germany.
Why the rearmament issue is an early
example of Appeasement in action.
Be able to discuss whether or not Britain’s
reaction was justified.
Rearmament Timeline
1933- Hitler withdrew Germany from, disarmament talks
and the League.
1934 – Hitler signed 10yr non-aggression pact with
Poland
1935 – March - the Saarland was returned to Germany
providing much needed resources for rearmament.
- Goering announced the existence of the Lufwaffe
(banned by Versaille)
- Hitler announced the reintroduction of conscription and
an increase in army divisions (also banned)
Hitler justified these action by claiming he had been forced
to do this for defence purposes, since no other country
had complied with the declaration in the League
Covenant of general disarmament.
German population were
delighted by the news –
crowds gathered to watch
parades, newspapers hailed
the overturning of Versailles.
Reactions throughout the rest of
Europe were not so positive!
International Reaction
League of Nations
USSR
The League Council
condemned Germany for
breaking the Treaty of
Versailles.
Stalin found Hitler’s
behaviour threatening.
However, nothing was done
when Germany continued
to rearm.
In May Russia signed a
Mutual Assistance Pact
with France and one with
Czechoslovakia. The
Franco – Soviet Pact
1935.
France
Italy
Britain
Formed a common front against Hitler by attending a
conference at Stresa in Italy
“Stresa Front”
In April Italy, France & Britain
issued a formal protest against
Hitler’s flouting of the
disarmament clauses of the
Treaty of Versailles.
British Reaction
Opinion in Britain was divided about what to do.
Winston Churchill
Hitler is
“moving
along the
road to war”
Germany had
genuine
grounds for
grievance!
Government view
Backbench MP
Even while the Stresa discussion were taking place the
British government formed the view that it was better
to limit German rearmament by negotiation than stop
it by threat or force.
Anglo-German Naval Agreement
In June 1935, Britain and
Germany signed a Naval
Agreement without
consulting France or
Italy.
In the agreement Britain
accepted the expansion
of the German navy and
the use of submarines.
Anglo-German Naval Agreement
Germany can build her navy up to
35% the size of the British navy.
Germany can equal the submarine
strength of British Empire.
Consequences
The consequences of the Anglo-German Naval Agreement
were shattering:
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Britain was viewed as unpredictable and unreliable.
The Stresa Front was weakened because Italy and
France had not been consulted.
France was angered by the deal and the allies were
now divided.
Britain had ignored League resolutions and had
agreed that Hitler be allowed to break terms of
Versailles, undermining the Treaty and the League.
Hitler appeared to be in the right and score a
diplomatic and propaganda victory.
Task:
• The Anglo German Naval Agreement is often
described as the first example of British
Appeasement.
• Was Britain’s reaction justifiable?
• To answer this you have to think about the
‘bigger picture’ - what else had happened,
what were British relations with the other major
powers?
• For this question you have to write a short essay
of several paragraphs.