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Adolf Hilter and The German Military

Adolf Hitler marched into the Rhineland with the German military on March 7, 1936. He had been threatening to remilitarize the Rhineland for some time, and suddenly, just two hours after he had proposed a twenty-five year non-aggression pact with Britain, France, and Belgium, he surprised everyone and simply marched in. Rhineland had been demilitarized by the Versailles Peace Treaty of 1918 and confirmed at the Locarno Agreement of 1925. To the French it served as a military buffer zone between France and Germany. The Rhineland had no real territorial value; its significance was purely symbolic. Great Britain had been the post World War I mediator between Germany and France up to this point, but once Germany entered the Rhineland, the French called for immediate support from the British. Although the British condemned Hitler’s action, they wanted to avoid war at all costs.
The Versailles Peace Treaty of 1918 was the end result of the brutal First World War. Europe was devastated, and the Allied forces were faced with the task of coming to terms with their former German enemy. It is well known that the French were determined to punish Germany; they sought revenge and made little attempt to hide their objective. At the Versailles Peace Conference the struggle between the French and Germans began a new path. The French demanded large reparations payments and several other drastic measures that would keep Germany from ever being capable of attacking them again. The agreement that was reached enacted several harsh measures against Germany. Aside from the huge reparations that they would be forced to pay, the Allied nations forced the Germans to completely demilitarize their military. Germany was also str...

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...w by pursuing what they believed to be the “best-case scenario.” Hitler probably could have been stopped if the British had stood up to him in the Rhineland Crisis. Because it was so early in his pursuit for continental domination, he did not yet have the mainstream support that he would by the actual beginning of the war. If he had failed Germany early, perhaps he might have been overthrown. However, all of the agreements and dilemmas described were much too overwhelming for the British government to handle alone, and the optimistic results that the British hoped for would never transpire. After Hitler was able to manipulate the British into signing the Anglo-German Naval Pact, he knew that each nation and League could be dealt with separately in order to achieve his goals. It was during the Rhineland Crisis that the precedence for World War II was set.

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