Remilitarization of the Rhineland Paul Go



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Remilitarization of the Rhineland Paul Go

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  • The remilitarization of the Rhineland took place on March 7, 1936, wherein German military forces entered the Rhineland, a violation of the terms of the treaty of Versailles, marking the first time that Germany had entered this region prior to the end of World War 1.

  • Under Articles 42,43 and 44 of the Treaty of Versailles, Germany was "forbidden to maintain or construct any fortification either on the Left bank of the Rhine or on the Right bank to the west of a line drawn fifty kilometres to the East of the Rhine"

  • The treaty states that if a violation of any manner were to take place, it shall be regarded as a hostile act.

  • Locarno Treaties (signed by Germany), stated that the Rhineland should continue its demilitarized status permanently

  • In May 21, 1935, Hitler promised that the Germans would uphold and fulfil all obligations of the Locarno treaty.

  • Sir Anthony Eden (British Foreign Secretary), planned for a general settlement that would resolve Germany’s grievances, planning to return Germany to the league of nations, acceptance of arms limitations, as well as returning former German African colonies.

  • His rash decision to remilitarize because of the ratification by the French Army (Franco Soviet Pact), in order to create a defensive move against Franco-Soviet encirclement.

  • Kershaw argues the Hitler decision to remilitarize early was because Hitler needed to distract public attention from the major economic crisis that plagued Germany from 1935-36

  • Reactions from other nations

    • France

      • Upon hearing of the remilitarization the French government hinted that military action was possible (even under their current financial situation), however mobilization was later ruled out.

      • They instead tried to gain ‘continental commitment’ (similar to the commitment Britain gave France during World War 1)

      • France wanted to go to war over the Rhineland Issue.

      • French Generalissimo Gamelin told the government that there was no chance that France would win a prolonged war with Germany and would need British aid.

      • Decided not to fight because elections were at hand and war would have been very bad publicity.

    • Britain

      • Mixed reactions about Germany’s move

      • General consensus around Britain was that it was not worth going to war over, it’s like Germany just reclaiming what is rightfully theirs.

      • British prime minister claimed that the country lacked the resource to enforce her treaties.

    • League of Nations

      • Only nation in favour of sanctions against Germany was the Soviet Union. Council declared this a breach of the Treaties of Versailles and Locarno. Hitler was invited to plan a new scheme for European security, he claimed he had no territorial claims in Europe and wanted a 25 years pact with Britain and France. (Nothing ever materialized from this pact)


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