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Why War Broke Out In Europe In 1939

2533 words - 10 pages

Why War Broke Out in Europe in 1939
When Hitler came to power in Germany in 1939, he was not at all
secretive about his plans for Germany. He had four main aims, which
were:

- Abolish the Treaty of Versailles

- Expand German territory

- Defeat communism

- The creation of One Reich

He, like many others, believed the Treaty of Versailles was unjust and
planned to abolish it. He called the German leaders who signed the
Treaty the “November Criminals”. The treat was a constant reminder of
Germany’s defeat in the First World War and their mortification by the
Allies. The first step of getting revenge on the Treaty would be
rearmament. When Hitler came into power thousands of unemployed
workers were drafted into the army. He kept the rearmament secret at
first, yet he soon withdrew from the League and openly staged a
massive rally celebrating Germany’s armed forces in 1935. He managed
to get away with the rearmament, which also boosted the Nazi support.
Hitler planned on reintroducing conscription (which he did in 1936)
and remilitarising the Rhineland. Hitler wanted to get back Germany’s
territory as well as unite with Austria (Anschluss). He wanted German
minorities in other countries, e.g. Czechoslovakia to rejoin Germany,
and provide Lebensraum (living space) for the German people by taking
over land in the east. This would help create One Reich and being back
Germany’s self determination which was taken away from them at the end
of World War 1. Hitler also hated Jews, communists and all other “sub
humans”. He wanted to destroy Bolshevism, as he believed Bolsheviks
helped defeat Germany in the First World War as well as had plans to
take over Germany. After Hitler started rearming, his first real
‘action taken’, was remilitarising the Rhineland. This was a big
gamble for Hitler for he did not know how the League would react. If
he were told to withdraw he would have no choice, as his forces were
still not that strong. This would have meant losing support of the
German army and facing humiliation. The League however, had more
pressing matters at hand (Abyssinian crisis) and so didn’t react.
Before this, in 1935, Hitler also regained control over the Saarland.
This was given to the League to supervise over a period of 15 years,
after which a plebiscite would be handed out to see where the people
wanted to belong (France or Germany). 90% voted for Germany, which was
a big morale boost for Hitler. In 1938, Hitler managed to take over
Austria, which yet again got him closer to his goal. Hitler encouraged
the Nazi’s in Austria to make a riot and call for a union with
Germany. Hitler told the Austrian chancellor Schuschnigg that only an
Anschluss could sort these problems out. Britain and France refused to
help and so Schuschnigg called for a plebiscite. Hitler...

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