Hitler’s Foreign Policy:

Hitler aimed to make Germany into a great power again and this he hoped to achieve by: destroying the hated Versailles settlement, building up the army, recovering lost territory such as the Saar and the Polish Corridor, and bringing all Germans within the Reich. This last aim involved the annexation of Austria and the acquisition of territory from Czechoslovakia and Poland, both of which had large German minorities as a result of Versailles.

There is some disagreement about what, if anything, Hitler intended beyond these aims. Whatever the truth about his long-term intentions, Hitler began his foreign policy with a series of brilliant successes (one of the main reason for Hitler’s popularity in Germany). By the end of 1938, almost every one of Hitler’s aims had been achieved. Only the German’s of Poland remained to be brought within the Reich. Unfortunately, it was when Hitler failed to achieve this by peaceful means that he took his fateful decision to invade Poland.

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The first steps Hitler took, given that Germany was still militarily weak, were his withdrawal from the Disarmament Conference and the League of Nations on the grounds that France would not agree to German equality of armaments. At the same time, he insisted that Germany was willing to disarm if other states would agree to do the same, and that he only wanted peace. This was one of his favorite techniques, to act boldly while soothing his opponents with the sort of conciliatory speeches he knew they wanted to hear.

Next, Hitler signed a ten-year non-aggression pact with the Poles. ...

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