• GERMANIC MIGRATIONS AND
  • FRANKISH KINGDOM
  • JOHANNES REUCHLIN
  • THE WEIMAR CONSTITUTION
  • W
  • INFLATION, REPARATIONS, AND
  • THE STRESEMANN ERA, 19231929
  • STABILIZATION AND LOCARNO,
  • CULTURE AND SOCIETY
  • ROAD TO DICTATORSHIP,
  • T
  • CONSOLIDATION OF POWER
  • THE NAZI TOTAL STATE
  • ULRICH VON HUTTEN
  • PERSECUTION OF THE JEWS
  • RELIGION AND THE CHURCHES
  • FOREIGN POLICY
  • W
  • THE BATTLE OF BRITAIN
  • INVASION OF RUSSIA
  • HITLERS PLANS FOR EUROPE
  • TURNING OF THE TIDE,
  • THE HOME FRONT
  • THE RESISTANCE
  • PHILIP MELANCHTHON
  • D-DAY TO DEFEAT NAZI GERMANY
  • THE HOLOCAUST
  • A
  • ALLIED PLANS AND CONFERENCES
  • DENAZIFICATION
  • POLITICAL PARTIES AND TRADE
  • LOCAL STATE FORMATION
  • PARLIAMENTARY COUNCIL AND THE
  • ECONOMIC RECONSTRUCTION
  • T
  • ERASMUS OF ROTTERDAM
  • BUNDESTAG ELECTION AND
  • REGAINING SOVEREIGNTY AND INTEGRATION
  • RECONSTRUCTION AND THE ECONOMIC
  • TRANSITIONAL YEARS AND
  • THE GRAND COALITION AND YOUTH
  • THE SOCIAL-LIBERAL COALITION
  • OSTPOLITIK (FOREIGN POLICY
  • CULTURE AND SOCIETY
  • SOCIAL STRUCTURE
  • SCHMIDT ERA: SOCIAL UNREST,
  • PRINTING AND MEDICINE
  • THE KOHL ERA, 19821998
  • T
  • UPRISING OF JUNE 17, 1953
  • ECONOMIC SYSTEM
  • SOCIETY, EDUCATION, AND
  • RELATIONS WITH THE FEDERAL
  • R
  • CONSEQUENCES AND PROBLEMS OF
  • ECONOMIC UNIFICATION,
  • P
  • RENAISSANCE ART
  • UNIFICATION POLITICS AND ITS
  • FOREIGN POLICY
  • GOVERNMENT AND ELECTIONS,
  • HISTORICAL DICTIONARY A
  • A
  • Abwehr
  • Adenauer, Konrad
  • Afrika Korps
  • Agadir Incident
  • Agrarian League
  • NEED FOR CHURCH REFORM
  • Agricola, Rudolf
  • Air Force
  • Albert (Albrecht) of
  • Albert V
  • Algeciras, Conference of
  • Allied Control Council
  • Alsace-Lorraine
  • Altdorfer, Albrecht
  • Amiens, Battle of
  • Anabaptists
  • P
  • Anglo-German Naval Treaty
  • Anschluss
  • Anti-Comintern Pact
  • anti-Semitism/Jew hatred
  • anti-Semitism
  • Anti-Socialist Law
  • Ardennes, Battle of the
  • Arendt, Hannah
  • Armed Forces (Wehrmacht)
  • Armed Forces (Bundeswehr):
  • LUTHER AND MELANCHTHON
  • Army (Prussian to 1860)
  • Army (Second Empire,
  • Asylum Law
  • Atlantic, Battle of the
  • Auerstadt, Battle of
  • Augsburg, Diet of
  • Augsburg, Religious Peace of
  • Augsburg, War of the League
  • Augsburg Confession
  • Augspurg, Anita
  • LUTHER AND ZWINGLI
  • Auschwitz-Birkenau
  • Austerlitz, Battle of
  • Austria
  • Austrian Succession, War of
  • autarchy
  • autobahns
  • Axis, The
  • B
  • Baden-Württemberg
  • Ballin, Albert
  • CAROLINGIAN EMPIRE
  • KNIGHTS REVOLT AND GREAT
  • Barbie, Klaus
  • Barmen Declaration
  • Barth, Karl
  • Basic Treaty
  • Bauernschutz
  • Bauhaus
  • Baumer, Gertrud
  • Bavaria
  • Bavarian Peoples Party (BVP)
  • Bavarian Succession, War of
  • REFORMATION AND THE TOWNS
  • Bayer AG
  • Bayreuth
  • Bebel, August
  • Beck, Ludwig August Theodor
  • Beckmann, Max
  • Beer-Hall Putsch of 1923
  • Beethoven, Ludwig van
  • Benjamin, Walter
  • Benn, Gottfried
  • Bennigsen, Rudolf von
  • ANABAPTISM AND MÜNTZER
  • Benz, Carl Friedrich
  • Bergen-Belsen
  • Berghof
  • Berlin
  • Berlin, Battle for (Fall of)
  • Berlin, Congress of
  • Berlin-Baghdad Railway
  • Berlin Blockade
  • Berlin Conference
  • Berlin Wall
  • CALVINISM IN GERMANY
  • Bernstein, Eduard
  • Bethmann Hollweg, Theobald
  • Biedermeier
  • Biermann, Wolf
  • Bismarck, Otto Eduard Leopold
  • blank check
  • Bleichröder, Gerson von
  • Blenheim, Battle of
  • Blomberg, Werner von
  • Blücher, Gebhard
  • CHARLES V AND THE REFORMATION
  • Böll, Heinrich
  • Bonhoeffer, Dietrich
  • Bonn
  • Bormann, Martin
  • Born, Max
  • Borsig, August
  • Bosch, Robert
  • Bosnia-Herzegovina
  • Brahms, Johannes
  • Brandenburg
  • C
  • Brauchitsch, Walther von
  • Braun, Eva
  • Braun, Karl Ferdinand
  • Braun, Otto
  • Braun, Wernher von
  • Brecht, Bertolt
  • Bremen/Bremerhaven
  • Brentano, Elizabeth Bettina
  • Breslau
  • The Bridge
  • THE THIRTY YEARS WAR
  • Britain, Battle of
  • Brüning, Heinrich
  • Buchenwald
  • Bülow, Bernhard von
  • Bundesrat
  • Bundestag
  • Burschenschaft
  • C
  • Canisius, Peter
  • canton system
  • A
  • Carlsbad Decrees
  • Celtis, Conrad
  • Center Party
  • Chamberlain, Houston Stewart
  • Charles V
  • Charles VI
  • Charles VII
  • Charlottenburg, Palace of
  • Christian Democratic Union
  • Christian Social Union
  • LITERATURE
  • Civil Code, German (Revised
  • Clausewitz, Carl von
  • Concordat of 1933
  • Condor Legion
  • The Confederation of the Rhine was a
  • Confessing Church
  • Congress of Vienna
  • conservatism
  • constitutional traditions
  • Counter-Reformation
  • MUSIC
  • Cranach, Lucas, the Elder
  • cultured elites
  • D
  • Daimler, Gottlieb
  • Danish War
  • Danzig
  • Dawes Plan
  • D-Banks
  • D-Day
  • Degenerate Art
  • SAXON AND SALIAN DYNASTIES,
  • SCIENTIFIC REVOLUTION
  • denazification
  • Denck, Hans
  • Depression, The Great
  • Depressions
  • détente
  • Diesel, Rudolf
  • Dietrich, Josef Sepp
  • Diplomatic Revolution of 1756
  • Dix, Otto
  • Döblin, Alfred
  • GOTTFRIED WILHELM VON LEIBNIZ
  • Dönitz, Karl
  • Dresden
  • Droste-Hülshoff, Annette
  • Dual Alliance
  • Dürer, Albrecht
  • Düsseldorf
  • E
  • Edict of Toleration
  • Ehrlich, Paul
  • Eichendorff, Joseph von
  • PIETISM
  • Eichmann, Adolf
  • Eicke, Theodor
  • Einsatzgruppen
  • Einstein, Albert
  • Eisner, Kurt
  • El Alamein, Battles of
  • Elbe River
  • Ems Telegram
  • Enabling Act
  • Engels, Friedrich
  • ROCOCO
  • ENIGMA/ULTRA
  • Enlightenment
  • Erasmus, Desiderius
  • Erfurt Program
  • Erhard, Ludwig
  • Ernst, Max
  • Erzberger, Matthias
  • Eugene, prince of Savoy
  • European Coal and Steel
  • European Defense Community
  • A
  • European Economic Community
  • European Union
  • euthanasia
  • expressionism
  • Falkenhayn, Erich von
  • F
  • Fatherland Party
  • Federal Constitutional Court
  • Federal Republic of Germany
  • Federation of German Industry
  • TURKISH WARS
  • Federation of German Womens
  • feminism, 18151945
  • feminism, 19452005
  • Ferdinand II
  • Feuerbach, Ludwig Andreas
  • Fichte, Johann Gottlieb
  • Final Solution
  • Fischer, Josef Joschka
  • Fischer von Erlach, John
  • Fontane, Theodor
  • WARS OF AUSTRIAN SUCCESSION
  • Four Year Plan
  • Francis II
  • Frank, Anne
  • Frank, Hans
  • Frankfurt am Main
  • Frankfurt Parliament
  • Frederick I
  • Frederick II, The Great
  • Frederick III
  • Frederick III, The Wise
  • STATE REFORMS
  • Frederick William
  • Frederick William I
  • Frederick William II
  • Frederick William III
  • Frederick William IV
  • Free Corps
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  • FOREIGN POLICY AND KAUNITZ
  • Friedrich, Caspar David
  • Fritsch, Werner von
  • Fugger, Jacob the Rich
  • Führerprinzip
  • G
  • Galen, Clemens August von
  • Gellert, Christian
  • General Directory
  • Genscher, Hans-Dietrich
  • Gentz, Friedrich
  • JOSEPH II AND REFORM
  • German Christians
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  • German Confederation
  • German Conservative Party
  • German Democratic Party
  • German Democratic Republic
  • German Labor Front
  • German National Peoples
  • German Peoples Party
  • German Progressive Party
  • HOHENSTAUFEN DYNASTY,
  • VIENNA AND ARCHITECTURE
  • German Reich (Imperial) Party
  • German Womens Bureau
  • German Workers Party
  • Germany Treaty
  • R
  • FREDERICK III
  • FREDERICK WILLIAM I, THE
  • FREDERICK THE GREAT
  • SEVEN YEARS WAR
  • S
  • ECONOMY
  • POLITICAL DECENTRALIZATION
  • SOCIAL STRUCTURE
  • HABSBURG DYNASTY
  • CULTURE
  • THE ENLIGHTENMENT
  • LITERATURE AND DRAMA
  • PHILOSOPHY
  • SECRET SOCIETIES
  • T
  • R
  • THE ROMANTIC MOVEMENT
  • NATIONALISM AND LIBERALISM
  • EARLY INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION
  • CITIES AND CRAFT GUILDS
  • REVOLUTIONS OF 1848
  • ARMY REFORM AND PARLIAMENTARY
  • O
  • THE DANISH WAR, 1864
  • AUSTRO-PRUSSIAN WAR, 1866
  • THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR,
  • COLLAPSE OF THE SECOND FRENCH
  • I
  • N
  • ART AND ARCHITECTURE
  • ORIGINS OF CAPITALISM
  • SOCIAL STRUCTURE AND WOMEN
  • EDUCATION
  • T
  • POLITICAL PARTIES
  • THE KULTURKAMPF, SOCIALISM,
  • FOREIGN POLICY AND ALLIANCE
  • BISMARCKS DISMISSAL
  • WILHELMINE GERMANY
  • T
  • THE QUESTION OF
  • LATE MEDIEVAL CULTURE
  • CONDUCT OF THE WAR
  • PEACE RESOLUTION, REFORM, AND
  • AN UNPLANNED REVOLUTION
  • N
  • POLITICAL PARTIES UNPREPARED
  • A REVOLUTIONARY PATTERN
  • WORKERS AND SOLDIERS
  • KURT EISNER AND REVOLUTION IN
  • A REPUBLIC PROCLAIMED
  • A SEVERE ARMISTICE
  • T
  • ESTABLISHMENT OF A REVOLUTIONARY
  • EBERT MAKES A DEAL WITH THE
  • THE SPARTACISTS
  • INTERPRETATION OF THE
  • A VENGEFUL PEACE
  • V
  • THE GOALS OF THE PEACEMAKERS
  • TERMS OF THE TREATY
  • WAR GUILT AND REPARATIONS
  • DENUNCIATION AND RELUCTANT
  • GERMANIC MIGRATIONS AND
  • FOREIGN POLICY

    National Socialist foreign policy went beyond the revision of the Treaty of Versailles.

    It entailed the acquisition of new living space (Lebensraum) and the

    establishment of a Great German Reich of the German Nation. In the first

    years of the regime Hitler pursued only a revisionist policy. As he continued to

    be successful, he finally embarked upon an imperialist expansionist policy

    when he occupied the rest of Czechoslovakia in spring 1939. In 1933 the foreign

    office still remained unaffected by the seizure of power, and a revisionist

    policy of the Weimar period continued. After the concordat with the Vatican in

    July 1933, Hitler signed a nonaggression pact with Poland in January 1934, easing

    tensions in German-Polish relations. The increase in Hitlers international

    standing weakened internal opposition to him. The reoccupation of the Saar in

    January 1935 was seen as further success in Nazi foreign policy. So far Hitler

    had not violated the Treaty of Versailles. By contrast, however, the reintroduction

    of conscription in March 1935 and the reconstruction of the air force

    142 Germany

    (Luftwaffe) were violations of the treaty. Germany left the League of Nations

    in 1933, which brought condemnation of Germanys violations, but the European

    powers failed to form a united front against Hitler. Instead of imposing

    sanctions, the foreign powers effectively approved such violations of the treaty.

    The Anglo-German Naval Agreement of June 1935 averted the threat of German

    isolation and encouraged Hitler to violate the treaty yet again by ordering

    German troops into the demilitarized Rhineland in March 1936. When the

    Spanish civil war broke out in July 1936, the German Condor Legion was

    sent to support the anti-republican Falangists of General Franco. The weapons,

    which had been developed as a result of the German policy of rearmament,

    were tested for the first time in Spain. Nevertheless, Hitler saw Mussolini rather

    than Franco as a potential ally of his own military plans, and the two reached

    an agreement on the demarcation of their respective policies of expansionism

    in October 1936 in the formation of the Rome-Berlin Axis, which was a prelude

    to the future wartime alliance. The agreement also paved the way for the

    annexation of Austria to the German Reich. In March 1938 German troops

    marched into Austria and were met by jubilant crowds, and the country was

    annexed as Ostmark. Thus the Greater German Reich was established by a

    policy of surprises and blackmail. The Gestapo accompanied the German troops

    into Austria, and by December 1938 had taken more than 20,000 people into

    custody. The Anschluss with Austria was another violation of the Treaty of Versailles.

    England and France continued to follow their policy of appeasement. In

    September 1938 they agreed to cede the Sudetenland in Czechoslovakia

    because they did not yet feel ready for a military conflict with Germany. Hitler,

    of course, was not satisfied; his next aim was the takeover of the remaining

    areas of Czechoslovakia. The alleged persecution of the German minority by

    the Czechs served as a pretext. The press were given orders to dramatize their

    reports of horror, murder, and mistreatment in order to demonstrate the barbaric

    nature of the Czechs. Hitler also used the conflict between the Czechs and

    the Slovaks as an excuse for ordering German troops to the area that became

    known as the protectorate of Böhmen and Mähren, through which Slovakia

    became an autonomous state under the protection of the German Reich. As a

    reaction to his open aggression Great Britain and France issued a joint declaration

    guaranteeing protection for Poland. The Anglo-German Naval Agreement

    was revoked by Hitler in April 1939. The Pact of Steel firmly committed

    Italy to Germanys expansionist policy. Then, to the astonishment of all of

    Europe, Hitler and Stalin signed a Nazi-Soviet nonaggression pact in August

    1939, which protected Germany from the prospect of a two-front war. Hitlers

    decision to invade Poland on September 1, 1939, in blitzkrieg fashion (a lightning

    war through the use of mechanized armies and overwhelming air power)

    started World War II as Great Britain and France declared war in fulfillment of

    their treaty obligations to Poland.

    The Nazi Dictatorship 143

    There is no doubt that World War II was Hitlers war. It was rooted in the ideology

    of National Socialism and the quest for living space (Lebensraum) and began

    with the invasion of Poland. Hitler intended to reverse the Treaty of Versailles,

    which had made the German city of Danzig a free city and provided Poland with

    a corridor to the sea, an area composed of former German territory that also had

    cut off eastern Germany from the rest of the Reich. Now he demanded the return

    of Danzig and a territorial path through the corridor. Secretly instructing his generals

    to prepare a military campaign to solve the Polish problem, Hitler also

    diplomatically prepared the path for war by abrogating Germanys nonaggression

    pact with Poland. Then, on August 23 a nonaggression pact was signed with

    Russia, which protected the German armies from being attacked by the Soviet

    Union. Hitlers orders to his generals indicated the character of the coming war.

    They were to act brutally, without pity, and completely annihilate Poland.

    The German invasion of Poland truly was a lightning war (blitzkrieg). Having

    learned from the slaughter of trench warfare in World War I, the German

    army wisely created a plan of invasion that used speed and efficiency, employing

    mechanized columns of panzer divisions (300 tanks) supported by massive

    air power in order to penetrate enemy lines and encircle and destroy entire

    armies. Needless to say, the Polish army was outnumbered and poorly equipped

    and was quickly defeated. To make matters worse, Russia attacked Poland from

    the east. Even though Hitler had desired to avoid a European-wide war, Britain

    and France disappointed him when within two days they declared war on Germany.

    However, that did not matter as French armies never attacked in the

    west, even though German defenses were weak. Within four weeks all Polish

    resistance ended. On September 28, 1939, Poland was divided by Germany and

    Russia. A stalemate resulted when the Western democracies took up defensive

    positions and did not attack Germanys vulnerable western border. Lasting the

    winter, the stalemate was called the phony war.

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