EXPLAIN WHY RELATIONS BETWEEN BRITIAN AND GERMANY CHANGED IN 1936-39
The relations between Britain and Germany steadily changed during the years 1936-39 . As the League of Nations crumbled into pieces, The British Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain believed in the policy of appeasement. This was the policy of giving Hitler what he wanted to stop him from going to war. It was based on the idea that anything that Hitler wanted was perfectly reasonable and, when his reasonable demands had been fulfilled, he would stop. Appeasement was the starting point and was the main reason why relations between Britain and Germany changed and was recognised in the actions of Britain before 1936, when Hitler reached a naval agreement with Britain. This agreement allowed Germany to build up to 35 percent of British naval strength and up to 45 percent of their submarine strength. This agreement simply implied that Germany had the right to rearm which broke a term of the Treaty of Versailles.
This is a preview of the whole essay
The Rhineland was demilitarised by the Treaty of Versailles which Germany accepted by signing the Locarno Treaties in 1925. Although, the League of Nations was busy with sorting out Italy’s invasion of Abyssinia. Hitler took this opportunity and claimed that the action of Russia and France recently making a treaty against German attacks, threatened Germany and that he should be allowed to put troops on Germany’s borders. Hitler suspected Britain would not get involved but he knew that if the French army moved in, the German forces would pull out immediately but France was in the middle of an election campaign – so no one would even think about starting a war. Even though France and Britain protest; but there was still some British sympathy for German action and refuse to support military response. Hitler was clearly breaking part of the Treaty of Versailles which Britain thought was ‘reasonable’.
In 1938, Germans living in the border areas of Czechoslovakia (The Sudetenland) started to demand union with Hitler’s Germany. The Czechs refused and Britain, France and the USSR agreed to support the Czechs if Hitler invaded even though he promised Chamberlain that he would not invade Czechoslovakia. Hitler tried to claim that the Czech government was discriminating against the Sudeten Germans and organised demonstrations to stage protest marches and riots that the area should become part of Germany. In May 1938, Hitler threatened to go to war with the Czechs. In September 1938, Chamberlain goes to see Hitler to negotiate. At this point the relationship between Britain and Germany started to deteriorate because Hitler changed his demands breaking more and more terms of the Treaty. Hitler wanted to ‘rescue’ the Sudeten Germans on the 1st October and Czechs to hand over territory claimed by Hungary and Poland but Chamberlain did not use appeasement but rather classed it as unreasonable. Then on 29th-30th September, Hitler invited Chamberlain, Daladier and Mussolini to a conference in Munich. After discussions the four leaders produced the Munich Agreement. Britain and France agree to give Hitler the Sudetenland but guaranteed the rest of Czechoslovakia would stay put. Even though Chamberlain previously rejected Hitler’s demands, he gave into these new demands because he believed Hitler would keep to his promise. The Munich Agreement clearly portrayed appeasement – allowing aggressive countries like Germany what they wanted in order to avoid war and amplified the effects of the invasion of Poland- the road to the Second World War.
Chamberlain thought he had prevented war but in March 1939 Hitler took over the rest of Czechoslovakia. Britain immediately ended their policy of appeasement and made an agreement with Poland to support it in case it was invaded because: Hitler had proved that he could be trusted to keep a promise and Chamberlain was furious at Hitler’s betrayal of his trust. This set the stage however for the Invasion of Poland which was the main reason why relation deteriorated completely. Hitler began to threaten Poland and did not believe Britain (and France) would fight for Poland on their own. Furthermore, the USSR made a pact with Hitler, signed in August 1939 agreeing not to attack each other and secretly planned to invade Poland. They agreed that if Germany invaded Poland, the USSR would get Latvia, Estonia, Finland and East Poland – but Hitler never really intended to let them keep those areas. On the 1st September 1939 Hitler invaded Poland. This action was too much – and Britain and France ordered him to leave but Hitler ignored them and Britain declared war on Germany on 3rd September 1939 after they had vowed to protect Poland if Germany invaded. Poland was the final stage at which Britain must abandon appeasement and sped up rearmament.