Hitler's Foreign Policy and the Causes of World War II

Leaving Cert > Dictatorship and Democracy in Europe > Hitler's Foreign Policy and the Causes of World War II
Europe in September 1939. Image adapted from Wikipedia.
You've examined Hitler's foreign policy before. In Third Year you only need to look at three angles: Hitler's destruction of the Treaty of Versailles with the Anschluss and remilitarising, the reactions of Britain, France and America, and the Munich Conference which allowed Hitler to annex the Sudetenland.

Now, you'll look at Hitler's foreign policy in more detail. You'll learn how his actions brought Europe closer and closer to a war which finally began in September 1939 when Hitler invaded Poland in his quest for "lebensraum".

Continue to World War II





It might seem like there's more than usual to know for this section, but there are no Key Personalities and no Case Studies associated with it, so it balances out.
  • Hitler's Aims:
    • Destroy the Treaty of Versailles, create a "Grossdeutschland", Lebensraum.
  • Early Actions:
    • Disarmament conferences.
    • Dollfuss and Mussolini.
    • Anglo-German naval agreement.
    • Italy and Abyssinia, the Spanish Civil War.
    • Remilitarising the Rhineland.
    • Hossbach Memorandum.
  • Hitler's Successes:
    • Anschluss with Austria.
    • The Sudetenland (Munich Conference, Appeasement, invasion of Czechoslovakia).
    • The Polish Corridor (Nazi-Soviet Pact)
    • War.
  • The Causes of World War II:
    • Hitler's aims and methods.
    • The weakness of the League of Nations.
    • The policy of appeasement.
    • Isolation of the US.

Key Terms:  
Lebensraum
(click here)

Key Personalities: 
Adolf Hitler


British Prime Minister Chamberlain and Hitler sit down to dinner during the Munich Conference.





Higher Level (100 marks each)
2015, 2012: To what extent was Hitler's foreign policy, 1933-1939, responsible for the outbreak of World War II?


Ordinary Level:
2011, Dictatorship and Democracy, Part C:
How did Adolf Hitler manage foreign policy up to the outbreak of World War II? (40)



A poster encouraging people to vote for the union of Germany and Austria. A plebiscite (referendum) on unity was held on 10 April 1938. The poster lists Hitler's foreign policy achievements, presenting them as propaganda to entice people to vote for union.
Adolf Hitler has destroyed the Diktat (forced Treaty) of Versailles!
1933: Germany left the League of Nations of Versailles!
1934: The reconstruction of the army, the navy and the air force began!
1935: The Saar returned home! Military sovereignty of the Reich is restored!
1936: Rhineland completely liberated!
1937: War guilt extinguished!
1938: German Austria joins the Reich! Grossdeutschland (Greater Germany) is realised!
On the 10 April, commit to the liberator of Germany, Adolf Hitler.
Everyone vote Yes!






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