Hitler's Foreign Policy In The Years 1933 39

1643 words - 7 pages

Hitler's Foreign Policy in the years 1933-39

When looking at Hitler's foreign policy it is difficult to pin point
one particular year as a turning point through which Hitler's actions
change from cautious to aggressive. When looking at this statement it
is therefore assuming to describe the years leading up to 1937 as a
period of pure restraint and caution as the Hitler's actions before
37' suggest he employed tactics that were both restrained and
provocative. It is far easier to speculate a mix of aggression and
caution in Hitler's actions both before and after 1937. In order to
agree or disagree with this statement as a summary of Hitler's foreign
policy in the years 1933 to 1939 we must compare his cautious actions
before 1937 and his aggressive actions after 1937 with his aggressive
actions before 37' and his actions of restraint after 37'.

In agreement with this statement there are various examples of
Hitler's caution in foreign policy before 1937. From early 1933 one of
Hitler's main objectives was to rearm, an action that would not only
violate the treaty of Versailles but depict him publicly as an
aggressive nationalist. This is where we see the first signs of
caution in foreign policy not necessarily in Hitler's actions, as he
did not hesitate to rearm once in power, but in his desire to
camouflage this militaristic move from the general public. Throughout
1933 he exclaimed in various public interviews and speeches that
'nobody wishes for peace more than I' yet in secret by February 1933
he had already told the generals and the cabinet that rearmament was
Germany's main priority. I think that Hitler's desire to keep
rearmament a secret shows that at this time his foreign policy had a
degree of caution.

On 26 January 1934 Hitler signed a non-aggression pact with Poland.
This was surely a diplomatic move that enabled Hitler to appear the
cautious statesman in public. However Hitler's true motives were
simply to buy time with the pact as he had 'no serious intention of
maintaining a friendship with Poland.' This political agreement
contradicts his plans for lebensraum in the east, yet Hitler knew that
if his foreign policy was to succeed he would first have to play
cautious so as not to be stopped too soon. He followed up the pact
with another diplomatic agreement that was slightly more useful to
Hitler than the non-aggression pact. The Anglo-German Naval agreement,
signed 8th of June 1935, restricted Germany's naval strength to a
third the size of Britain's. This was clearly another diplomatic move
that cleverly disguised any aggressive intentions that Hitler had. By
publicly agreeing to limit part of his military strength he was giving
the impression that he was not interested in expanding his empire
overseas. Both pacts act to back up the idea that Hitler was playing...

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