Study Notes

Hitler’s Steps to War


Last updated 3 Sept 2018

Hitler came to power in 1933, and immediately set about building a German state according to his wishes. This meant starting to implement his foreign policy. Each development moved the world closer to war.

One of Hitler’s first acts in the step to war was to leave the League of Nations and increase the production of weapons and recruitment of soldiers. Other nations did not stop Hitler in his actions. In 1934, Hitler attempted to unite Austria and Germany in an Anschluss, but was ultimately stopped after pressure from Italy.

After several years of rearmament, Hitler held a rearmament rally at which he announced that in 1936, conscription would be introduced in Germany which would increase the size of the German Army. Later in 1936, Hitler remilitarised the Rhineland, but was cautious and instructed his forces to stop if they were challenged by France.

In 1937, the Spanish Civil War started and Hitler used this as an opportunity to test out Germany’s military might. Hitler sent the Luftwaffe to bomb areas of Spain to test out the Blitzkrieg tactic. This was done to great success. The following year in 1938, Hitler attempted Anschluss again with Austria and this time was successful. Shortly afterwards Hitler demanded and was successful in gaining the German speaking, Sudetenland area of Czechoslovakia, this was followed by the full invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1939.

Hitler invaded Poland on the 1st September 1939, and it was at this point that Britain and France declared war on Germany.

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