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Study notes

Remilitarisation of the Rhineland

  • Levels: GCSE
  • Exam boards: AQA

The Treaty of Versailles prohibited Germany from placing its military in the Rhineland. The Rhineland was to be demilitarised. The Rhineland stayed this way until March 1936. It was at this point which Hitler felt he had the best chance of success. The rearmament process was well underway. It was however, a risky move. If Hitler had been defeated here he would have lost the support of the German army.

Hitler calculated that he would have the best chance of success in March 1936. France and the USSR had signed an agreement in which they promised to defend each other against attack by Germany. Hitler used this a pretext to support remilitarisation, as Germany was now threatened. Whilst Hitler knew that Britain wouldn’t intervene he was less sure about France.

Hitler issued orders to his forces that if they faced resistance from France, then they should withdraw from the Rhineland. Hitler had been worried as France was still far stronger than Germany. However France did not intervene and neither did the League of Nations. France would not act without Britain and the League of Nations were busy dealing with the Abyssinian Crisis. Success here, was a confidence boost for Hitler which would encourage him to take further risks in the future.

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