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Why was peace threatened in the 1930s?

Chapter 6.1.1: Hitlers Foreign Policy Aims

1. To make Germany strong again by breaking the terms of the TOV The TOV made Germany very weak to attack allies took away land and placed restrictions on Germanys armies. Hitler wanted to make the military strong again and take back all the land that Germany had lost.

Hitlers Actions
These are examples of how Hitler made Germany strong and powerful Rearmament Hitler showed that he wanted to go to war by building more weapons and enlisting more soldiers. In Feburary 1932, the LON met for a Disarmament Conference but there were many disagreements. Germany announced to disarm only if there was international disarmament. Hitler pulled Germany out of the Conference in 1933 and the LON. Hitler increased the size of the army from 100 000 to 300 000 men, and then to 550 000 men in 1935 and reintroduced conscription.

By challenging the TOV, Hitler brought

Europe closer to war as it showed that Hitler had a clear intention to expand Germany into a powerful country, through his aggression.

Examples: Rearmament, Remilitarisation of the Rhineland, Anschluss with Austria. 2. To get more land for Germany Hitler wanted more land so that all German people could live together in Greater Germany population required more lebensraum (living space).

Hitler also felt that Germanys growing

Remilitarisation of the Rhineland Hitlers actions of putting German troops in the demilitarized zone of the Rhineland brought Europe closer to war. Hitler remilitarized the Rhineland to test the worlds reaction to this violation of the TOV. The France wanted British support to drive Germany out. However Britain felt that Germany was only marching into its own backyard, thus no action was taken. Rhineland originally belonged to Germany Britain/France felt that Hitler was justified in regaining the Rhineland Policy of Appeasement

Therefore, Hitlers actions of wanting to

take away land that belonged to other countries made the outbreak of war in Europe more likely as it showed that Hitler had the clear intention to expand Germany through invasion of countries, thus war was eminent as actions had to be taken to stop further aggression. 3. To fight communism

Hitler made a war with Communist

Russia to fight Communism and get lebensraum for the Germans. Russia had plenty of land and resources fight communism made the outbreak of war in Europe more likely as it showed that Hitler had the clear intention to expand Germany into a powerful country, thus war was eminent as actions had to be taken to stop further aggression.

Therefore, Hitlers actions of wanting to

By remilitarizing the Rhineland, Hitler became bolder as it gave him confidence that Britain/France would not stop him (Policy of Appeasement). By remilitarizing the Rhieneland, it was evident that Hitler had the clear intention to expand Germany into a powerful country, thus war was eminent

as actions had to be taken to stop further aggression. Anschluss with Austria The TOV stated that there should be no Anschluss between Germany and Austria, however Hitler wanted to make Austria part of Greater Germany as he was born there. On 12 Feburary 1938, Hitler tried to take control of Austria when he met with Schuschnigg (Austria Chancellor) and threatened to send his army to Austria if he didnt agree. Schuschnigg prepared a secret plebiscite for the people to vote, thus Hitler prepared for an invasion, Schuschnigg then resigned and his plebiscite was abandoned. On 12 March 1938, German troops marched into Austria and a vote was held. Majority of Austrians voted and Schuschnigg was jailed for opposing Hitler.

Appeasement means one country tries to avoid war by giving another country what it wants. The policy of appeasement led to the outbreak of WWII as it failed to curb the rising ambitions and expansion of aggressive countries such as Japan, Germany and Italy. The Inaction on the part of the LON embolden Hitler who went over to take over the rest of Czechoslovakia. Reasons for adopting the Policy of Appeasement To prevent another World War British economy was damaged by WWI and Great Depression, government needed to rebuild the economy, and economy would be damaged by another World War. Germany has modernized its military and was ready to fight a war, Britain and France were not ready and appeasement would give time to modernize its army. It was difficult to win a war against Germany without the support of USA, but USA was following a policy of isolationism. Many Britons believed that the TOV was unfair to Germany, and Hitler was making this treaty less unfair. Chamberlain and British public believed that once Hitler got what was his, Germany would become peaceful again. Communism was a greater threat than Nazism, a stronger Germany would prevent Communism from spreading to Central and Western Europe. Example of Appeasement: Munich Agreement. a. Over 3 million Germans were living in Sudetenland and Hitler wanted it to be part of his Greater Germany. b. Hitler encouraged members of the Sudetenland Nazi Party to make trouble for the government to make it give up Sudetenland.


The LON failed in many areas in the 1930s to deal with powerful countries like Germany, Italy and Japan.

The League members were not willing to work together in the policy of collective security to deal with aggressors. a. Members of the LON put their own
interest first Failed to exercise collective security No military army to enforce security

b. Absence of USA: No effective force to deal with aggression in the 1930s. c. The LON also failed to make all countries disarm. By failing to convince countries to disarm and repeating the errors that led to WWI and authoritarian regimes to flourish, the shift to WWII began. Example: Japans Invasion of Manchuria (1931) Example 2: Italian Aggression in Abyssinia (1935) Example 3: Spanish Civil War (1936)

c. The Czech government refused as Sudetenland had weapons/barriers that protected Czechoslovakia and heavy industries, losing it would make it vulnerable to Germany. d. Britain and France saw that a war could break out due to Sudetenland, thus they wanted to avoid war. e. Chamberlain (Britain PM) went to Germany thrice in September 1938 to prevent WWII. f. First meeting: Hitler only wanted the parts of Sudetenland where there are many Germans and voted to join Germany. On 19 September, his request was approved.

The Nazi Soviet Pact allowed Hitler to attack Poland with confidence knowing very well that he would not need to face a 2 front war against Soviet Union. Hitler would have been able to handle a counter attack without the assistance of the Soviet Union The attack also made it clear to the Allies Hitler's intentions. As Hitler broke his promise, Britain and France declared war against Germany.

War in the Asia Pacific

Japanese Foreign Policy Aims
1. Build an empire in the Asia Pacific Region: Japan was eager to expand its territories, build a huge empire to match its status as the leading country in the region. 2. Greater East Asia Co Prosperity Sphere Asia Pacific Region which included countries like Australia, New Zealand and Thailand. To free Asians from Western control: This would allow Japan to be the leader of these countries and form a block where there will be free trade. i. This is because as the strongest military power in Asia, the Japanese felt they would have to lead the fight to end Western imperialism. ii. In addition, the Japanese felt that it was their destiny to become the leaders (Big Brother) of Asia. iii. This area will allow movement of free trade to take place and together build up the prosperity of these countries. This made war in Asia Pacific likely as Japan had to start war against colonial powers like Britain, France and Netherlands to achieve .

g. Second meeting: Hitler wanted all of Sudetenland as the Czech government was ill treating the Germans living there. It looked that they were ready for war however Chamberlain still wanted to avoid war. h. Third meeting: Britain and France said that they would give Hitler Sudetenland, provided that he did not take any more land from Europe.


1. Nazi Soviet Non Aggression Pact

a. The pact brought the inevitability of

WWII forward. It accelerated the coming of war as it allowed Hitler to focus on fighting the Western Powers without having to fight a 2 front war. i. Prior to signing of the pact on 23 August, no one expected Hitler and iv. Stalin to ally with each other as both of them used to be enemies. ii. As Hitler was fearful that an invasion of Poland might trigger war with USSR, with the signing of the Pact the fate of Poland was sealed between the 2 allies. iii. Germany and Poland agreed to split Poland among themselves. 2. Invasion of Poland


1. Japan had to find room for its growing population: Japans population grew from 30 million in 1870 to 70 million in 1937. The growing population needed more space as Japan is a mountainous country and overseas expansion would provide land to house all the people.

2. To control resources: Shortage of space, food and raw materials due to the Great Depression. 3. Effects of the Great Depression:

vii.Fighting broke up between the Chinese and Japanese troops in Shanghai before an armistice was called. Marco Polo Bridge Incident: A soldier went missing during a regular patrol. Japanese Army demanded to search the Chinese section for missing soldier but Chinese refused. Both sides exchanged fire. Missing soldier showed up shortly afterwards; however Japanese demanded that the Chinese withdraw from the Marco Polo Bridge and the area around the railway bridge. Chinese refused. Both sides exchanged fire again. It carried on throughout the night and grew into a full scale Japanese invasion of China. The Japanese Military: The Japanese Army felt that the Chinese did not put up much of a fight to defend the Northern Chinese provinces as its victories in those provinces were easy. In addition, the Japanese believed that it is best to invade China while its economy and military strength was weak. The International Situation: Japan feared a war on 2 fronts (China and Soviet Union). However, Japan felt that there should not be a war on the Russo-Japanese border as due to Stalins purge of his officer corps and growth of German power in Europe, allowing Japan to concentrate its military resources on defeating China quickly. Japaneses Government political control of the Japanese Army in Manchuria was weak: The Kwantung Army in Manchuria once again, acted on its own accord in Northern China. The government could not prevent the escalation as withdrawal was considered to humiliating, in addition if the government did not support the army, it would face political instability in Japan. The Japanese Zaibatsus: They were guilty of encouraging war as they saw war with China as a chance to gain Chinas markets, industries and natural resources, and to destroy Chinese business competition in Northern and Southern China. An ineffective LON: Japans invasion of Manchuria in 1931 was a challenge to the LON as Japan was

led to the rise of protectionism: Each country started protecting their own economy by imposing taxes on other country's goods. Trade imbalance: Lesser exports but import levels are maintained.

thus Japan wanted to conquer lands as means of obtaining an overseas market for their goods. Japan saw Manchuria as a solution for the countrys economic problems as Manchuria could provide Japan with cheap manpower, raw materials and an overseas market for Japans goods.


1. Rise of Japans Military Acquired Port Authur, South Manchurian Railway, an area near Liaodong Peninsula and Germans overseas colonies in the Pacific after WWI Military started acting without government consent The Mukden Incident


i. The officers of the Japanese Army bombed a

train where the Manchurian warlord was traveling as the officers hoped that the warlords death would lead the government in Tokyo to take control of Manchuria. However, the plan failed and the army also had acted on its own, causing long-term consequences. It showed that the armed forces in Japan had enough influence to invade other countries without seeking permission from the government. It had the unintended effect of worsening Japans position in Manchuria as the warlords son opposed Japanese ambitions more vigorously and reached a peace agreement with another country to become allies against Japan. As a result, the army leaders felt that they needed to seize control of Manchuria. On 18 September 1931, a train carrying Japanese passengers outside Mukden exploded. The army accused the Chinese of attacking them and thus the soldiers occupied Southern Manchuria.




v. vi.


a founding member of the League; it has violated the rules of the League by invading another country. Leagues slow response to the crisis: Took about1 year before the report of investigators was given to the League. Members were weak: The Great Depression weakened the economies of Britain and France, thus they were unwilling to send troops to fight in China. Members put self interest first, lack of collective security: Britain and France were more concerned with getting their economics to grow again, and were not willing to maintain world peace. League had no power to prevent attacks (1932): Japan ignored the recommendations in the Leagues report Japans withdrew from the LON after it was criticized for invading Manchuria. LON did nothing and Japanese troops stayed in Manchuria This convinced military leaders that the Western powers were too weak to prevent the expansion of Japan.

abroad due to the war in Europe (demand/prices increased). c. Japan thus had to conquer land in British Malaya/Dutch East Indies for its war materials.

2. Japans Neutrality Agreement with the

Soviet Union: Japan was concerned about fighting a war in 2 fronts (China/Russia). a. In April 1941, Japan signed a neutrality agreement with the Soviet Union and both countries agreed not to fight each other. b. The threat of a war against Soviet Union became more unlikely when Germany invaded the Soviet Union, leaving Japan free to attack SEA and Pearl Harbour. 3. Worsening Ties with the US a. Japan saw USA as a threat to its plans to build an empire: USA was trying to stop Japans plan to control the Asia Pacific Region. Hoover-Stimson Doctrine: Moral condemnation of Japans invasion in 1931, refusal to recognize Manchuria as an independent state. Neutrality Acts 1935: During Japans expansion in North China, USA refused to ship war materials to countries at war b. The USA had a large Pacific fleet to protect its territories and trading ships. It increased the size of its navy. c. US Embargo on steel, scrap iron and oil In 1941, the USA placed an embargo on Japan by prohibiting exports of these materials to Japan. The embargo was considered as a threat to Japans survival as Japan could not fight the war in China without these materials. Japan could only get oil if it left China (USA agreed to sell oil to Japan if it left China) or invade the Dutch East Indies. d. Breakdown of US Japan talks in 1941 In 1941, Japans ambassador and US Secretary of State held talks to improve relations to their countries. Both sides offered suggestions for peacefully ending Japans war in China; last ditch attempt to prevent conflict 2 diverging goals: US foreign policy was aimed at forcing Japan to withdraw from China whereas Japan felt peace could only be achieved if China accepted Japanese Occupation. 4. Hideki Tojo became Prime Minister

4. Worsening relations between Japan and the West: Many Japanese felt that the West was biased against Japan. e.g. Washington Naval Conference: Japan nationalists believed that the British and Americans wanted to prevent Japan from expanding into the Asia Pacific region. In December 1934, Japan announced it would no longer follow the treaty which made war more likely as Japan could increase the size of its navy and threaten the security of the Asia Pacific region.

War in the Asia Pacific The Trigger

1. War against China: The Marco Polo
Bridge Incident marked the start of Japans war against China. a. Japan used this incident to demand more land from China and faced fierce retaliation from the Chinese. b. The war used up nearly all of Japans resources. Japan did not have enough essential war materials. In addition, it could not import raw materials from

War Minister Tojo became Prime Minister in 1941 and felt that war could not be avoided. Leaders who supported negotiating with USA were less influential and were removed from the government. This made war likely as the general who supported an aggressive foreign policy was in charge of the Japanese Government.