Monday, October 7, 2013

Lead-up to WWII, Rhineland, Czechoslovakia and Neville Chanberlain


There were two events leading up to WWII, if there had more a show of force, maybe war could have been avoided.  After WWI, with the treaty of Versailles, Germany had been hemmed in, as being blames as the primary cause of the war.  Several areas were ceded from Germany, and The Rhineland, though not ceded was suppose to not be militarized.  It was sort of a neutral buffer zone between Germany and France.  The first aggressive act by Germany or the Nazis was moving in with military force into this area.  Many of the military people did not think it could be done, that England and France would not allow it.  At this time France and the British had greater military strength than Germany.  The instructions from Hitler were to try the waters, but to turn back if there was armed resistance.  However there was no resistance, and with this the German morale increased and they gained confidence to make other demands. 
German also began to rearm, using conscription, and expanding beyond 100,000 soldiers allowed by the Versailles Treaty.
Another thing leading up to armed conflict was the political annexation of Austria by Germany.  Germany threatened the Chancellor of Austria to resign, or be invaded.  He resigned and a Nazi Chancellor was installed, and Austria and Germany combined. 
The next threat was that Germany started making demands to expand into Czechoslovakia where over 2 million Germans resided.  This was a sore point of negotiation.  Czechoslovakia was prepared to defend her freedom and territory.  However in the Munich Treaty, England and France capitulated, and gave the territory to Germany for as Chamberlain said "Peace in out time."  Czechoslovakia did not participate in the conference, but capitulated, and much of the country was controlled by Germany.  Poland claimed other chunks, and Slovakia declared her independence. 
So again, in the name of peace, Nazi Germany was able to expand, gain more power, and prepare for war.

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