German Expansionism and the Road to War

German Expansionism and the Road to War

German Expansionism and the Road to War 1920-1939 Roots of German Nationalism Roots of Nazism are found in German unification in 1871 and was achieved (as in Japan and Italy) by a combination of * Internal social and political conflicts * External military conflicts Boundaries were never clearly defined, loyalty to local states remained strong Ultra-nationalists campaigned for imperial expansion (in order to compete with Britain, France) By end of 19th century, Germany had colonies in * Africa * Pacific Map of Colonial

Claims, 1900 German colonies: Angola Namibia (German

Southwest Africa) Mozambique Tanzania (German East Africa) Cameroon Ghana/Togo (Togoland) New Guinea Solomon Is. Nauru Mariana Is. Micronesia Rise of German Nationalism * HISTORICAL DEBATE * Nazism emerged as a direct result of WWI (resentment over the peace

treaties, economic struggles) Wanted (like Italy) to redraw the European borders set up during the peace conference, expand national territories (lebensraum living space) Great Depression (1929) played an important role in rise of Nazi power (made expansion more attractive because of access to much-needed raw materials) Historians have argued over the struggle to accurately define fascism because it lacks a coherent world view (weltanschauung). Some of the key characteristics include: Belief in violent action Racial supremacy

Nationalism and empire Some historians have argued it a populist form of ultranationalism that is reactionary The German Stab in the Back Theory The German people had been convinced (through skillful propaganda) that Germany was winning the war and the armistice (Nov 1918) came as a complete surprise Nationalists felt betrayed and saw the following groups as responsible for Germans failure: - liberals, democrats, socialists, communists, Jews The stab-in-the-back theory (the belief that the liberal Weimar government betrayed the undefeated heroes of the war by surrendering to the Allies just as victory was near) This theory (not true) was effectively used by Hitler and the Nazi party in the 1920s Political Cartoons, 1919

Political cartoons from 1919 illustrate the stab-in-the-back theory supported by many rightwing Germans following Germanys defeat in World War I. Reinforced anti-liberalism, antiSemitism. German Nazism German Nazism goals: 1. Lebensraum and resources for German people by expanding into eastern Europe (outlined in Mein Kampf) 2. This expansion was aimed at stopping the spread of communism (SU) and allow Germany to be self-sufficient 3. Increase Germanys birthrate (to ensure soldiers for future inevitable wars of conquest) These varied from those of Japan and Italy in that Germany was not attempting to build an empire. Gustav Stresemann, Chancellor and Foreign

Secretary 1923-1929 German Economy Pre-World War I Germany was very industrialized (had fastest growing economy in Europe pre-WWI), very protectionist economic policy Coal, iron, railway, electrical, chemical Used $$ from industrialization to build a larger military

Rapid industrialization + rapid militarization = WAR Post-World War I War was expensive, lost industrial consumers Initially not as bad off as rest of Europe (war guilt clause hurt, but didnt cripple, economy) Made quick recovery under Gustav Stresemann, Dawes Plan

Great Depression ended prosperity (no more US loans) and industry Rise in Nazi Popularity Hitler used the bad economy to his advantage and became chancellor in January 1933 Complete consolidation of Nazi power by March 1933 Goals included: - improve economy through government programs (4-Year Plan) - establish German autarky (economic self-sufficiency and isolation) - create war economy so Germany could fight and win a total war in the future

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