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“Hitler’s foreign policy successes between 1936 and 1939 rested on his remarkable tactical skills and ability to exploit his opponents weaknesses.” Discuss this view.

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Introduction

"Hitler's foreign policy successes between 1936 and 1939 rested on his remarkable tactical skills and ability to exploit his opponents weaknesses." Discuss this view. It is certain that Hitler's tactical skills and ability to exploit weaknesses shown by opponents was a key part of his successes from 1936 to 1939. But I don't agree that they are solely the cause for his successes, more just a part of the overall cause of success. Some of the actions undertaken by Hitler would surely have been attempted by any authoritarian government that came to power. Such as the 1933 withdrawal of Germany from the League of Nations and Disarmament Conference. Whether or not they would have successfully achieved these ambitions or not is another matter, but they would have at least been attempted. Hitler's foreign policy was mainly concerned with revision and expansion. Revision of the Treaty of Versailles which Hitler hated immensely, and expansion of Germany to include all German people; also for Lebensraum. His 1936 to 1939 successes were mainly concerned with revisionism, whilst silently building the foundations for expansionism. ...read more.

Middle

The three countries didn't necessarily regard the re-occupation as aggressive because at this time Germany was still militarily weak. Plus a year earlier Germany had peacefully negotiated the return of the Saar land. So Britain, France and Italy let this go Hitler's way. This episode in Hitler's plans was, as we can see, successful. The reasons for his success here though are not entirely down to his own tactical skills and his ability to exploit events to his advantage but also the policies of foreign countries, which Hitler couldn't choose. Events that were taking place (Italies invasion of Abyssinia) and the policies of the main foreign countries (Britain and France's policy of appeasement) played right into his hands. The fact that Hitler could then use these events to produce the outcome he most desired is what made him successful between 1936 and 1939. Another example of Hitler successfully carrying out his foreign policy is of course the 1939 'Anchluss' of Germany with Austria. Which bridged the gap between revisionism and expansionism. He had now almost completed the revision of Versailles but for the destruction of the Polish Corridor, and he had taken his first step towards expansion. ...read more.

Conclusion

Therefore there were no objections thrown to Hitler. His timing had once again been spot on. With these two examples of Hitler being successful in his foreign policy aims. I can now look and see whether or not the successes were totally because of his tactical and exploitational skills or not. The Rhineland and Austria scenarios show Hitler as very tactically aware. He has a plan that he carries out in full but only when the time was right. He made the right time by doing deals with Britain and Italy peacefully. So that the other countries got into a frame of mind that Germany was doing everything by the book and peacefully. Hitler then exploited his opponents' mindset by taking what he wanted and making it look like it was the right thing to be doing and would be better for everybody. But at times he was also helped by events taking place that were out of his hands, such as France's political problems. However, he incorporated this into his plan to make the whole situation easier for himself and so exploited it. Therefore I think that Hitler's successes in the 1936/9 period were about 90% down to his tactical and exploitational skills. Mark Wicks 11-12-01 ...read more.

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