9.2.6 Nazi Germany prepares for War -T-

AGE 9. The Time of World Wars
9.2.6. Nazi Germany prepares for War

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AGE 9. The Time of World Wars
9.2.6. Nazi Germany prepares for War


Slide 1 - Tekstslide

What is this lesson about?
Hitler and his Nazis had been clear from the start in stating that the Treaty of Versailles was a humiliation for the German people. 
After the Enabling Act was accepted, Hitler immediately ordered the rebuilding of the army and prepared the economy for an upcoming war. It soon became clear that Hitler planned on creating a Greater Germany.

In this lesson we learn how Hitler, between 1933 and 1939, provoked the former Allies to get what he wanted, slowly tearing down the Treaty of Versailles by breaking one rule after the other.
He knew that France and the UK were not ready to start another war. Hitler made sure that Germany would be ready.

Slide 2 - Tekstslide

people in this lesson
Benito Mussolini
(Il duce)
Adolf Hitler
Edouard Daladier
(prime minister)
Neville Chamberlain
(prime minister)
Great Britain

Slide 3 - Tekstslide

Word Duty

Greater German Reich: large state for all German peoples that Nazi Germany tried to establish.

League of Nations (Volkenbond): international organisation dedicated to solving problems between countries before they lead to war. 

Lebensraum: Hitler's claim for more territory for German people in Eastern Europe and part of Russia.

Axis Powers: alliance between Italy and Germany (1936); Japan joined in September 1940.

Anschluss: annexation of Austria by Germany in March 1938; literally translated as 'connection'.

Appeasement: policy of maintaining peace by giving in to the demands of your opponent.

Isolationalism: policy (by the USA) of remaining apart from the interests of the political affairs of other countries.


Slide 4 - Tekstslide

Important dates in this lesson:

1935: - Saar area back to Germany after plebiscite.
          - conscription re-introduced in Germany
1936: - German army enters the Rhineland
1938: - Anschluss with Austria (March)
          - Munich Conference (September)
          - German army enters Sudetenland (October)
1939: - Hitler occupies the rest of Czechoslovakia (March)

Slide 5 - Tekstslide

1. Hitler's territorial goals

Before the First World War, Austria-Hungary had been a multi-ethnic state. In every part of this great empire lived Germans. 
After the war, in 1918, Austria-Hungary was split into separate states. As a result, in most of these states, there lived large German minorities. Germany had also lost territory and its German inhabitants. Hitler promoted the idea of Heim ins Reich (back home to the Reich). He tried to convince Germans living outside Nazi Germany to join the regions in which they lived into one Greater German Reich (Grossdeutschland)

'Zurück zum Reich’ (back to the Reich). Schoolchildren in the village of Berus demonstrate for the reincorporation of the Saarland into the German Reich, 13th January 1935.
  1. Write down the title of the paragraph.
  2. Explain Hitler's 1st territorial goal: "Heim ins Reich" and also explain the link with Austria

Slide 6 - Tekstslide

His second territorial goal was 
to make the German economy 
self-sufficient: its people should be able to feed themselves from their own crops and industry should rely completely on its own raw materials such as iron and coal. After all, unlike the other European powers, Germany no longer had colonies. To gain possession of sufficient farmland and raw materials, Hitler wanted to conquer Eastern Europe and Russia as far as the Ural Mountains. He saw these areas as Lebensraum: future living space for the Aryan race (his third territorial goal). The Slavic people could work for the Germans after their territory had been conquered. To achieve this goal, Hitler needed an army.

The Greater Germanic Reich, to be realised with the policies of Lebensraum
write down, and briefly explain, Hitler's 2nd and 3rd territorial goals

Slide 7 - Tekstslide

2. German rearmament

According to the Treaty of Versailles, Germany was only allowed to have an army that did not exceed 100,000 men. However, Hitler had promised the German people in his speeches that he would not let the treaty stop Germany from becoming a great nation once more. In 1935, he introduced conscription and hired unemployed men as soldiers. By doing so, Hitler delivered on his promise to create jobs. Like the Americans, he wanted his people to have access to cars. In 1937, he ordered the production of the Volkswagen, a people’s car. Hitler ordered a network of highways to be built and the cutting down of forests for agricultural use; his government became German industry’s largest customer, especially for instruments of war: he called for the building of military aircraft and a vast force of tanks.

The newly formed Luftwaffe (German air force) in 1933, had developed long-range bombers, ‘bis zum Ural’ (as far as the Urals).
  1. write down the title of the paragraph
  2. explain that Hitler kept three promises  when he introduced conscription.
  3. Which 5 measures are mentioned in the text that Hitler took to create jobs?

Slide 8 - Tekstslide

3. A Greater Germany

After WW1, he Saar region was put under control of the League of Nations for a period of fifteen years as part of the terms of the Treaty of Versailles. In 1935 its inhabitants voted to live under German authority again. It was considered Hitler’s first step to uniting all Germans.
France and Britain had not interfered with Hitler’s ambitions, even when he sent troops into the Rhineland in March 1936, an area on the west bank of the Rhine. Germany had been forced to demilitarise this part of its territory under the Treaty of Versailles. Between 1919 and 1930, French and Belgian forces had occupied the Rhineland. The people welcomed the German troops and Hitler was praised in his country for being their Führer who would lead them to a great future. 

The expansion of Nazi Germany, 1936-1939.
You can fill in the two events in the schematic at the end of this lesson.

Slide 9 - Tekstslide

German troops are enthusiastically welcomed by the inhabitants of the Rhineland when they cross the Rhine bridge.

Slide 10 - Tekstslide

Hitler was further encouraged 
to expand his empire after he established an alliance with Mussolini’s Italy, called the Rome-Berlin Axis, in 1936. 

The Axis Powers agreed to support each other’s territorial ambitions and oppose Britain and France together. 

Hitler’s next step is often referred to as the Anschluss: after the Austrian Nazi Party came to power in March 1938, German troops marched into Austria, annexing it into Germany, in a great show of strength. Even then, Hitler had already chosen his next victim: Czechoslovakia.

Austrian girls welcoming German troops as they enter the capital city of Vienna
what were the Axis powers?
What was the Anschluss?
Fill in the details in the schematic

Slide 11 - Tekstslide

Der Anschluß
March 1938

  • Hitler wants all Germans in one Great German Empire (Heim ins Reich).
  • He cleverly abuses the political chaos in Austria and responds to the feelings of the Austrian people.
  • He takes in Austria and declares it as a part of the German Empire
in short:

Slide 12 - Tekstslide

Like Austria, the Sudetenland is covered by the Heim ins Reich policy, where all areas with Germans have to belong to Germany again. Sudetenland became part of the new state of Czechoslovakia after the First World War.
Hitler's next victim: Czechoslovakia

Slide 13 - Tekstslide

4. The Munich Conference

From 1938 onwards, the Nazis started to cause unrest in Sudetenland, the German name for the Czechoslovakian area that bordered Germany. This area was mostly inhabited by Germans and possessed most of Czechoslovakia’s natural resources. Hitler planned to take over Sudetenland in May 1938. However, Britain, France and Russia all threatened that this invasion would have repercussions. Encouraged by Mussolini, who was not ready for war yet, the British Prime Minister Chamberlain finally commenced peace talks. He got together with Mussolini, Hitler and the French Prime Minister at the Conference of Munich on 29th September 1938. As bizarre as it might sound, Stalin and Czechoslovakia were not even invited. Hitler was allowed to annex Sudetenland in return for his promise that this would be his last territorial demand in Europe. Chamberlain was convinced that he had ensured a long lasting peace between Germany and Britain.

Picture taken just before signing the Munich Agreement, from left to right: Chamberlain, the French Prime Minister Daladier, Hitler and Mussolini. Dated 29 September 1938.
Statement made by Neville Chamberlain, 30 September 1938
  1. What is the Sudetenland?
  2. Why did Hitler want this?
  3. Who were meeting at the Munich Conference?
  4. Why were they meeting?
  5. Who was not invited?
  6. What was the result of the conference?

Slide 14 - Tekstslide

Munich Conference 
September 1938

  • France and England have been shocked by the Anschluß.
  • Hitler promises that there will be no war if he still gets Sudetenland, Czechoslovakia.
  • Germany, England, France and Italy come to an agreement.
in short:

Slide 15 - Tekstslide

Hitler takes the rest of Czechoslovakia
March 1939

  • Although Hitler had said in Munich to settle for Sudetenland, he occupied Czechoslovakia half a year later.

  • England and France condemn the occupation, but do nothing.

Slide 16 - Tekstslide

5. Appeasement

Why did France and Britain, who had been allies against Germany in World War I, allow Hitler to violate the Treaty of Versailles? This is because they focused on the policy of appeasement: The former Allies believed that if they gave in to some of Hitler’s demands, further conflict could be avoided in the future. Britain and France wanted to avoid war at all cost for a number of reasons: firstly, both countries were suffering from the economic crisis. A new war would come at a high price. Secondly, the memory of the First World War and all its victims was still very much alive. Last but not least, they did not know if they could count on American support. The United States had declared a policy of isolationism after the First World War.

a cartoon published in a British newspaper on 8 July 1936
a cartoon published in a British newspaper on 8 July 1936
a cartoon published in a British newspaper on 8 July 1936
  1. What is the main question of this paragraph?
  2. What is the answer?
  3. Explain appeasement
  4. Write down 3 reasons why England and France used the policy of appeasement

Slide 17 - Tekstslide

Germany prepares for war 
copy and fill in the overview to create your own summary

Slide 18 - Tekstslide


Slide 19 - Tekstslide

Slide 20 - Video

Slide 21 - Video