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'German Foreign Policy was mainly motivated by the need to regain territory lost by the Treaty of Versailles.' How valid is this assessment of German foreign policy in the 1930s?

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Introduction

'German Foreign Policy was mainly motivated by the need to regain territory lost by the Treaty of Versailles.' How valid is this assessment of German foreign policy in the 1930s? The argument that Hitler's intention was to expand the Reich is one that cannot be argued against, however, was this factor motivated Hitler's Foreign Policy. At the end of the First World War, Germany was forced to sign the Treaty of Versailles from the victorious powers, which made up the Triple Entente. The signing of the Treaty of Versailles meant that Germany were to be taking full responsible for the outbreak of WWI (Article 231). In addition, Germany were to be pay reparations for damages and so forth, and it also meant that Germany lost some of her historic territory, for example Alsace-Lorraine, which was of particular importance to Germany because it contained raw materials, and as a result their economy suffered. Not surprisingly, this led to problems back in Germany, such as the anger felt at the government because they had signed the treaty, and so forth. Then, during the 1920s, the failure of the Weimar Republic and the Great Depression which had hit Germany badly, meant that people in Germany were worse of than they were before, thereby, turning to radical parties such as the Nazis. ...read more.

Middle

Military security was very important as Hitler realised that he could not pursue his foreign policy aims, which contradicted those of other countries without an army to enforce them. Therefore, Hitler needed to increase his army, which had been cut due to the Versailles settlement. Also, rearmament was so enthusiastically pursued that foreign observers contemplated that Germany possessed large scale and well equipped resources sooner than was actually the case, leading to fears of Germany when in fact there was no need to. The fact that rearmament was 'pursued vigorously' leads me to think that maybe German foreign policy was mainly motivated by the need to rearm, because the other factors in Hitler's foreign policy may not have been able to happen if it wasn't for an increased army and weapons which were decreased as part of the Treaty after WWI. Another factor that could have motivated German foreign policy is economic developed. In 1933 Germany was a depressed economy due to the effect of the Wall Street Crash and subsequent Depression in America at the end of the 1920s. Therefore, the Nazi Party had to promise to recover the German economy in their foreign policy to gain votes to be able to come to power. The reason for this is because unemployment was becoming increasingly high and therefore the German people needed a party to believe in that would turn Germany back to a major power. ...read more.

Conclusion

To conclude, I believe that 'German foreign policy was mainly motivated by the need to regain territory lost by the Treaty of Versailles' because by gaining more living space especially by force proved that Germany at this time was a Great Power again in Europe and a power not to contend with. Also, I believe that some of the other factors I have mentioned in this essay, for instance, military security and economic developments were used to eventually be able to gain lebensraum. The military would have to be involved with gaining more 'living space' because other powers would have fought against the aggressor to protect the country from being invaded, therefore, Germany would had to have a strong and large army to be able to conquer their chosen territory. However, it is possible that another of Hitler's aims would have motivated the German foreign policy. For example, Hitler eventually wanted Germany to become self-sufficient and therefore, one of her main aims would have to been to improving the economy in Germany. Also, it is possible that all of these aims from Hitler's Foreign Policy are as important as one another. One of Hitler's aims was to defy and not revise the Treaty of Versailles. All of the things I have mentioned in this essay are connected with the Treaty of Versailles. Therefore, it could be argued that the German foreign policy during the 1930s was mainly motivated by the defiance of the Treaty of Versailles. Rhiann Johns ...read more.

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