Germany under National Socialism (1933-1945) Part II

By | October 16, 2021

Foreign Policy (1933-39)

In the initial phase (1933-35) Hitler tried to disguise the extent of the rearmament that was immediately initiated and to express his own will for peace. By breaking away from collective ties (leaving the League of Nations, leaving the Geneva Disarmament Conference, October 14, 1933), he tried to create the impression of a moderately revisionist attitude by means of bilateral agreements, some of which were surprising (especially the non-aggression agreement with Poland, January 26, 1934). to prevent the early formation of a broad coalition against Germany. Despite the murder of E. Dollfuss (July 25, 1934), an attempt to “annex” Austria by means of a putsch carried out by Austrian National Socialists failed. With the The German-British naval agreement (June 18, 1935) achieved Hitler a limited success. In breach of the Versailles Treaty, the “Law for the Development of the Wehrmacht” (March 16, 1935) introduced compulsory military service. After that, National Socialist Germany took over the demilitarized zone of the Rhineland (March 7, 1936), intervened in the Spanish Civil War (July 20, 1936), the Berlin-Rome axis was established (October 25, 1936) and the Anti-Comintern Pact was concluded with Japan (November 25, 1936) the transition to the second phase, to a policy of unlimited risk. The contrast between British and Soviet European policy made this policy easier for Hitler just like Britain’s ties to the Mediterranean and East Asia and France’s weakness. However, J. von Ribbentrop, who was sent to London as ambassador, did not succeed in bringing about the desired alliance with Great Britain. With the implementation of the Olympic Games in Berlin (opening on August 1st, 1936 by Hitler), the world public could briefly be deceived about the conditions in Germany. Learn more about Germany and Europe, please click

With the invasion of Austria (March 12th) and its annexation to the now “Greater German Reich” (March 13th, 1938), Hitler initiated the third phase, that of open expansion. The international »Sudeten crisis« ​​he staged (April – September 1938; Runciman Report) ended for the time being in the Munich Agreement (September 29, 1938) when Great Britain, France and Italy ceded the Sudeten German territories to the German Reich (occupation on October 1, 1938).). With the occupation of Bohemia and Moravia (March 15, 1939) Hitler left beyond the “Greater German” vision, which he had previously justified with the right of self-determination of the German people, and turned into imperial channels. On May 22, 1939, Germany signed the »Steel Pact« with Italy. After the conclusion of the Hitler-Stalin Pact (August 23, 1939), Hitler let the German Wehrmacht invade Poland and triggered the Second World War (September 1, 1939). On September 3, 1939, Great Britain and France declared war on Germany.

Germany in World War II (1939-45)

After the military defeat of France (May – June 1940) Great Britain fought on with the backing of the (still) neutral USA; notwithstanding this, Hitler decided to attack the USSR. On June 22, 1941, he launched a race-ideologically motivated war of extermination against them with the aim of exterminating their “Jewish-Bolshevik” ruling class, decimating the Eastern European peoples and securing a “German-Germanic” area from the Urals to the Atlantic over the long term.

The terrorist traits of the National Socialist system increased in the course of the war. The “final solution to the Jewish question” decided during the preparations for the attack on the USSR, enforced after the so-called Wannsee Conference(January 20, 1942), led to the murder of large parts of European Jewry throughout Germany in the extermination camps in Poland (Holocaust).

The methods of suppression against the resistance movements in the occupied territories (Night and Fog Decree), increased in the east by the Commissar’s order, and the forced deportation of “foreign workers” to the German Reich aggravated the cruelty of the war. Under the impressions of the war, protests against the National Socialist system and attempts to overthrow it intensified in Germany (White Rose, Kreisauer Kreis).

A group of opponents was active in the resistance organization Rote Kapelle. After the German defeat at Stalingrad (January 31 and February 2, 1943), the Communist-oriented “National Committee Free Germany” and the “Association of German Officers” were formed in the USSR. The attempt of military and civilian forces in the resistance movement, through a by C. von Stauffenberg perpetrated assassinate Hitler bring on 20/07/1944 in the “Wolf’s Lair” near Rastenburg overthrow of the regime failed (Zwanzigster July). Many resistance fighters were sentenced to death by the “People’s Court” and executed.

The armed forces of the “anti-Hitler coalition” pushed the German armies back into Reich territory from the west and east. From the end of January 1945, a million-fold flight to the west was triggered, especially in the east. While the civilian population in the cities was exposed to devastating British and American air raids (especially Cologne, Magdeburg, Dresden), the Nazi terror system intensified (“total war”). Only with Hitler’s suicide in the bunker of the “Reich Chancellery” in Berlin (April 30, 1945), the capitulation of Berlin (May 2) and Hitler’s successor, Grand Admiral K. Dönitz (7.5., Reims; 8./9.5.1945, Berlin-Karlshorst) and the occupation of all of Germany by the Allied armies, the National Socialist regime collapsed.

Germany under National Socialism (1933-1945) 2