Versaille 28.6.1919. Sopimus jolla ensimmäinen maailamansota virallisesti päättyi.
Sopimuksen tarkoitus: Liittoutuneiden halu rajoittaa Saksan valtion aluetta.
Haluttiin lisäksi määrittää uusien valtioiden rajat, jotka syntyivät Tsaarin venäjän, sekä Itävalta-Unkarin keisarikuntien raunioista.
Rauhan sopimus antoi saksalle kaksi valitus aihetta, jotka molemmat oli saksan rajat.
Ensimmäinen valitus: Saar alueen hiilikentät ja ranskan varuskunnat Saar alueella.
Toinen valitus: Puolalle anettu Danzing-käytävä, joka erotti Itä-Preussin saksasta.
St. Germain ja Triano sopimukset aiheuttivat muutaman euroopan maan keskuudessa
Puola halusi esittää lisää vaatimuksia. Nämä maat olivat : Neuvostoliitto, Romania ja Tsekkoslovakia.
Italia Halusi esittää lisää vaatimuksia, nämä maat olivat : Jugoslavia ja Itävalta.
Kroaatit halusivat itsenäistyä.
Saksalaiset vähemmistöt: Elsass-Lothringen, Puola ja Tsekkoslovakia, alueilla liittyä saksaan.
Locarno / Gustav Seseman, Austin Chamberlain, Aristide Briand and Von Schubert of France
Locarnon rauhan sopimuksen 1925 mukaisesti, liittoutuneet poisti kaikki Reinin maan miehitys-joukot, luottaen saksan lupaukseen: saksa ei lähetä joukkoja Reinin maalle.
16. maaliskuu 1936: Hitler julistaa saksalle voimaan yleisen asevelvollisuuden.
Näin suurennettiin armeijaa ja luotiin uudet ilmavoimat, jolle annettiin nimi, Luftwaffe.
Vuoden 1935 kansan äänestyksen seurauksena Saarland liittyi takaisin Saksaan, minkä Hitler tulkitsi tuen osoitukseksi kansallis-sosialistien politiikalle.
Hitler katsoi poliittisen tilanteen sopivaksi uhkapelille.
Saksan valtiopäivät 21.5.1936: Hitler ilmoitti, pelko saksan hyökkäyksestä on aiheeton.
Ranskan suurlähettiläs sai 21.11. 1936 selityksen: Ranskan ja Neuvostoliiton välisen sopimuksen rafitiointi mitätöi Logarnon sopimuksen ehdot.
Tätä sopimusta odotettaessa saksan yleis-esikunta sai Hiteriltä määräyksen valmistaa
suunnitelmat Reinin alueen miehitykselle.
Saksalla oli 1936 pieni armeija joka oli pienempi kuin monen muun euroopan maan.
Reinin maan miehitys pelko oli saksan kenraaleilla, jotka olettivat Englannin liittyvän
Ranskan rinnalle aselliseen vastarintaan, kun Saksan joukot etenevät Reinin maalle.
Saksan Sotamarsalkka Werner von Blomberg, (myös sotaministeri) antoi määräyksen
että joukkojen on palattava takaisin ilman taistelua, mikäli vastarintaa esiintyy.
Ranska ja Neuvostoliitto ratifioivat sopimuksen 27. helmikuu 1936.
7. maaliskuu 1936, Saksan joukot marssivat Reinin maalle, jonka saksalaiset siviilit ottivat ihastuneina vastaan.
Reinimaan miehitys tarkoitti vain kolmen saksalaisen pataljoonan eli muutaman tuhannen miehen näyttävää tiedotusvälineille suunnattua Reinin ylitystä.
Sotilaallisesti toimi oli mitätön, mutta poliittisesti Hitler onnistui juuri siinä missä halusikin eli Saksa sai takaisin sen suurvalta-aseman mikä sillä oli ollut ennen ensimmäistä maailmansotaa.
Ranska ei reagoinut, ei lähettänyt joukkoja, Englanti ei halunnut tehdä yksin aloitetta.
Hitler saavutti moraalisen voiton omista esikunta upseereista, sekä suuren arvokkaan
Merkittävä etu Hitlerille oli Ranskan ja Englannin osoittama piittamattomuus, epäröinti
jonka tiedostaminen auttoi Hitleriä seuraavien vuosien aikana erittäin paljon.
In early 1936, the British Foreign Secretary Sir Anthony Eden had secretly unveiled a plan for a "general settlement" that was intended to resolve all of Germany's grievances. Eden's plan called for a German return to the League of Nations, acceptance of arms limitations, and renunciation of territorial claims in Europe in exchange for remilitarization of the Rhineland, return of the former German African colonies and German "economic priority along the Danube"As such, the Germans were informed that the British were willing to begin talks on allowing the Rhineland to be remilitarized in exchange for an "air pact" outlawing bombing and a German promise not to use force to change their borders. Eden defined his goal as that of a "general settlement", which sought "a return to the normality of the twenties and the creation of conditions in which Hitler could behave like Stresemann." (Gustav Stresemann was a German chancellor and foreign minister during the 1920s, much respected in Britain.)
The offer to discuss remilitarizing the Rhineland in exchange for an "air pact" placed the British in a weak moral position to oppose a unilateral remilitarization, since the very offer to consider remilitarization implied that remilitarization was not considered a vital security threat, but something to be traded, which thus led the British to oppose the way that the act of remilitarization was carried out (namely unilaterally) as opposed to the act itself. In January 1936 during his visit to London to attend the funeral of King George V, Neurath told Eden "If, however, the other signatories or guarantors of the Locarno Pact should conclude bilateral agreements contrary to the spirit of Locarno Pact, we should be compelled to reconsider our attitude" Eden's response to Neurath's veiled threat that Germany would remilitarize the Rhineland if the French National Assembly ratified the Franco-Soviet pact convinced him that if Germany remilitarized, then Britain would take Germany's side against France.
During January 1936, the German Chancellor and Führer Adolf Hitler decided to reoccupy the Rhineland. Originally Hitler had planned to remilitarize the Rhineland in 1937, but chose in early 1936 to move re-militarization forward by a year for several reasons, namely the ratification by the French National Assembly of the
Franco-Soviet pact of 1935 allowed him to present his coup both at home and abroad as a defensive move against Franco-Soviet "encirclement"; the expectation that France would be better armed in 1937; the government in Paris had just fallen and caretaker government was in charge; economic problems at home required the need for a foreign policy success to restore the regime's popularity; the Italo-Ethiopian War, which had set Britain against Italy had effectively broken up the Stresa Front; and apparently because Hitler simply did not feel like waiting an extra year. In his biography of Hitler, the British historian Sir Ian Kershaw argued that the primary reasons for the decision to remilitarize in 1936 as opposed to 1937 were due to Hitler's preference for dramatic unilateral coups de grace to obtain what could easily be achieved via quiet talks, and because of Hitler's need for a foreign policy triumph to distract public attention from the major economic crisis which gripped Germany in 1935–36.
On the February 12, 1936, Hitler met with Neurath and his Ambassador-at-Large Joachim von Ribbentrop to ask their opinion of the likely foreign reaction to remilitarization. Neurath supported remiltarization, but argued that Germany should negotiate more before doing so while Ribbentrop argued for unilateral remilitarization at once. Ribbentrop told Hitler that if France went to war in response to Germanremiltarization, then Britain would go to war with France, an assessement of the situation that Neurath did not agree with, but one that encouraged Hitler to go ahead with remiltarization.
On the 12th of February Hitler informed his War Minister, Field Marshal Werner von Blomberg, of his intentions and asked the head of the Army, General Werner von Fritsch, how long it would take to transport a few infantry battalions and an artillery battery into the Rhineland. Fritsch answered that it would take three days organization but he was in favour of negotiation as he believed that the German Army was in no state for armed combat with the French Army. The Chief of the General Staff, General Ludwig Beck warned Hitler that the German Army would be unable to successfully defend Germany against a possible retaliatory French attack. Hitler reassured Fritsch that he would ensure that the German forces would leave at once if the French intervened militarily to halt their advance.
The operation was codenamed Winter Exercise. At the same time, Neurath started preparing elaborate documents justifying remilitarization as a response forced on Germany by the Franco-Soviet pact, and advised Hitler to keep the number of troops sent into the Rhineland very small so to allow the Germans to claim that they had not committed a "flagrant violation" of Locarno (both Britain and Italy were only committed to offering a military response to a "flagrant violation"). In the statement justifying remilitarization that Neurath prepared for the foreign press, the German move was portrayed as something forced on a reluctant Germany by ratification of the Franco-Soviet pact, and strongly hinted that Germany would return to the League of Nations if remilitarization was accepted.
In January 1936 Benito Mussolini - who was angry about the League of Nations sanctions applied against his country for aggression against Ethiopia - told the German Ambassador in Rome, Ulrich von Hassell, that he wanted to see an Austro-German agreement "which would in practice bring Austria into Germany's wake, so that she could pursue no other foreign policy than one parallel with Germany. If Austria, as a formally independent state, were thus in practice to become a German satellite, he would have no objection".
Italo-German relations had been quite bad since mid-1933, and especially since the July Putsch of 1934, so Mussolini's remarks to Hassell in early 1936 indicating that he wanted a rapprochement with Germany were considered significant in Berlin. In another meeting, Mussolini told Hassell that he regarded the Stresa Front of 1935 as "dead", and that Italy would do nothing to uphold Locarno should Germany violate it. Initially German officials did not believe in Mussolini's desire for a rapprochement, but after Hitler sent Hans Frank on a secret visit to Rome carrying a message from the Führer about Germany's support for Italy's actions in the conquest of Ethiopia, Italo-German relations improved markedly.
On 13 February 1936 during a meeting with Prince Bismarck of the German Embassy in London, Ralph Wigram, the head of the Central Department of the British Foreign Office stated that the British government (whose Prime Minister from 1935 to 1937 was Stanley Baldwin) wanted a "working agreement" on an air pact that would outlaw bombing, and that Britain would consider revising Versailles and Locarno in Germany's favor for an air pact. Prince Bismarck reported to Berlin that Wigram had hinted quite strongly that the "things" that Britain were willing to consider revising included remilitarization. On 22 February 1936 Mussolini, who was still angry about the League of Nations sanctions applied against his country for aggression against Ethiopia told von Hassell that Italy would not honour Locarno if.
Historians debate the relation between Hitler's decision to remilitarize the Rhineland in 1936 and his broad long-term goals. Those historians who favour an "intentionist" interpretation of German foreign policy such as Klaus Hildebrand and the late Andreas Hillgruber see the Rhineland remilitarization as only one "stage" of Hitler's stufenplan (stage by stage plan) for world conquest. Those historians who take a "functionist" interpretation see the Rhineland remilitarization more as ad hoc improvised response on the part of Hitler to the economic crisis of 1936 as a cheap and easy way of restoring the regime's popularity. As Hildebrand himself has noted, these interpretations are not necessarily mutually exclusive. Hildebrand has argued that though Hitler did have a "programme" for world domination, that the way in which Hitler attempted to execute his "programme" was highly improvised and much subject to structural factors both on the international stage and domestically that were often not under Hitler's control.
Heinz Guderian, a German general interviewed by French officers after the Second World War, claimed: "If you French had intervened in the Rhineland in 1936 we should have been sunk and Hitler would have fallen". A German officer assigned to the Bendlerstrasse during the crisis told H. R. Knickerbocker during the Spanish Civil War: "I can tell you that for five days and five nights not one of us closed an eye. We knew that if the French marched, we were done. We had no fortifications, and no army to match the French. If the French had even mobilized, we should have been compelled to retire." The general staff, the officer said, considered Hitler's action suicidal.
Hitler himself said:
The forty-eight hours after the march into the Rhineland were the most nerve-racking in my life. If the French had then marched into the Rhineland we would have had to withdraw with our tails between our legs, for the military resources at our disposal would have been wholly inadequate for even a moderate resistance.