• German troops invaded Poland on the 1st of September 1939, giving the starting signal for the Second World WarGerman troops invaded Poland on the 1st of September 1939, giving the starting signal for the Second World War
  • At the Munich conference, Prime Minister Chamberlain acted rather reserved, on the basis of the appeasement policyAt the Munich conference, Prime Minister Chamberlain acted rather reserved, on the basis of the appeasement policy
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  • Through a non-aggression pact between Hitler and Stalin they assured each other neutrality concerning PolandThrough a non-aggression pact between Hitler and Stalin they assured each other neutrality concerning Poland

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Foreign affairs

From the outset the war had been an aim of the National Socialists. However they did not only desire to reclaim territories lost in the Treaty of VersaillescustomThe Treaty of Versailles was a peace treaty after the End of World War I in 1919. It forced Germany to disarm, make substantial territorial concessions, and pay reparations to certain countries that had formed the Entente powers, they also hoped to create “habitat in the east”. According to the National Socialists the German territory was not sufficient to nourish the German population. This racist idea was popularised in Hitler’s book “Mein KampfcustomMein Kampf is an autobiographical manifesto by Nazi leader Adolf Hitler from 1925. He outlines his political ideology and future plans for Germany”; the intended “Greater German Reich” was drafted to stretch over Poland onto Russia. Another aim followed by the national socialistic politics was the racial realignment within Europe: Minority like Jews, Romani people and Sinte, who were considered unworthy to live, were to be extinguished in order to upvalue the Aryan race.

Sudeten crisis

The political upheavals were, at the beginning, accepted. Hitler managed to reintroduce compulsory military service and 1935 and began to set up the military. The British government and Prime Minister ChamberlaincustomNeville Chamberlain served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from May 1937 to May 1940 acted rather reserved, on the basis of the appeasement policycustomAppeasement is a diplomatic policy of making political or material concessions to an enemy power in order to avoid conflict. Primary military aims targeted by Hitler were the recapture of Austria and Czechoslovakia, in order to ensure the supply with aliments. After the annexation of Austria in 1938 the Sudeten crisiscustomThe Sudeten crisis began with the Nazi annexation of Czechoslovakia's northern and western border regions, known collectively as the Sudetenland, following the Anschluss of Austria to Nazi Germany, in March 1938 became the principal focus of the international attention. At the Munich conferencecustomThe purpose of the Munich conference (September 1938) was to discuss the future of the Sudetenland in the face of ethnic demands made by Adolf Hitler the European heads of state agreed to allow Germany to incorporate the SudetenlandcustomSudetenland is the name for northern, southwest, and western areas of Czechoslovakia which were inhabited mostly by German speakers as the British hoped to evade another world war1.

Divestiture of the Czech Republic

In March 1939 German troops occupied the so called “Rest-Tschechei“and thus breached the Munich Agreement. The conquest of Czechoslovakia was strategically important as the Czech territory stretched far into Eastern Europe. From then on the main aim in foreign affairs was the conquest of Poland that was to be captured at the earliest opportunity. For all European major powers it was now obvious that the German government was not at all interested in maintaining the European peace.

Hitler-Stalin-Pact

After the violent conquest of CzechoslovakiacustomThe German occupation of Czechoslovakia began with the Nazi annexation of Czechoslovakia's northern and western border regions. The incorporation of the Sudetenland into Nazi Germany left the rest of Czechoslovakia weak and it became powerless to resist subsequent occupation Great Britain and France decided to assure military support to Poland that was threatened by a German invasion. They now considered the Soviet Union an important power that could have impaired with the German troops’ expansion in Poland. Through a non-aggression pactcustomThe Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact was a non-aggression pact between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union in August 1939. Official intentions were a guarantee of non-belligerence by either party towards the other and a commitment that neither party would ally itself to or aid an enemy of the other party between Germany and the Soviet Union the heads of state assured each other neutrality concerning Poland. Nevertheless German troops invaded Poland a mere week later, on the 1st of September 1939, thus giving the starting signal for the Second World War. The Hitler-Stalin-Pact had included a secret protocol that stipulated the division of Poland in case of a serious conflict, as Hitler considered the occupation of Poland a possibility to begin a war against the Soviet Union in order to extinguish the Jewish BolshevismcustomThe term Jewish Bolshevism was used in Nazi Germany to equate Jews with communists, implying that the communist movement served Jewish interests and/or that all Jews were communists. In consequence of those actions France and Great Britain met its’ obligations to Poland and declared war on Germany2.






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1933 - 1945

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