US Policies leading to WWII
Appeasement: to keep peace by giving in to someone’s demands
– 1936 Germany marches troops into the Rhineland (breaking the Versailles Treaty)
– 1938 Germany annexes Sudetenland, a portion of Czechoslovakia inhabited by Germans
– 1938 Germany annexes Austria
1939 Russia & Germany sign treaty
1939 Poland & GB sign mutual assistance pact
Formed “America First” – to promote Isolationism
Withheld loans & weapons from warring nations
1939 Germany invades Poland, officially beginning WWII
Between September 1939 & June 1940, Axis defeats: Poland, Norway, Denmark, Belgium, Luxembourg, and France
Lend-Lease Act: GB needed economic help (alone vs. Axis) – US gave war supplies, pay later
Rise Of Hitler
Hitler made chancellor Jan. 30, 1933 – sought revisionism of Versailles and Washington treaty systems
National Socialist party won 1932 parliamentary election
Sept. 27, 1933 Reichstag fire – Nazis blamed communists
March 23, 1933 – Enabling Act made Hitler dictator – Dachau built
Oct. 1933 – Hitler withdrew from League and Geneva Disarmament conference, gained support of business leaders such as Porsche and Krupp to rearm Germany
June 30, 1934 – Night of the Long Knives – rise of Himmler’s SS
March 1935 – Hitler restored draft, issued Nuremberg laws against Jews
April 11, 1935 – Britain, France, Italy met in Stresa, Italy, sought to cooperate with the Little Entente of Czechoslovakia, Romania, Yugoslavia, but failed to agree on any blockade or sanctions against Germany
May 1935 – Franco-Russian alliance
June 1935 – British agreed to allow German navy at 35% of British navy
March 1936 – Hitler reoccupied Rhineland
On Feb. 27, 1933, a fire destroyed part of the Reichstag building. Hitler immediately accused the Communists of having set the fire. President von Hindenburg proclaimed a state of emergency and issued decrees suspending freedom of speech and assembly. The elections gave a bare majority of seats to Hitler’s National Socialists and their allies, the German Nationalists. Severe measures were taken against the Communist party, and its deputies were barred from the Reichstag.
The “Night of Long Knives,” which took place on June 30, 1934, was the official purge of SA leadership by the Nazi government. The major forces behind this action were the German regular army and the SS, who plotted to convince Hitler that the SA were planning a revolt against him. Hitler, needing the support of the army for his dictatorship, ordered the arrests of Ernst Rohm, Edmund Heines, and many other powerful SA members and leaders. Furthermore, he capitalized on the opportunity to rid himself of many Nazis who opposed him, though they were not members of the SA. Gregor Strasser was one of those killed for his opposition to Hitler. Over one hundred were killed this night.
The first law, Reichsburgergesetz (Law of the Reich Citizen), was designed to deprive Jews of their German citizenship. Only Germans or those with related blood were considered citizens of the Reich from then on. The second law, Gesetz zum Schutze des Deutschen Blutes und der Deutschen Ehre ( Law for the Protection of German Blood and German Honor), or simply Blutschutzgesetz, forbade marriage or sexual relations between Jews and those of German blood. This law also prohibited the employment of German maids under the age of forty-five in Jewish households. Jews were not even allowed to raise the German flag. This law basically stated that the purity of German blood was absolutely necessary in order to preserve the German people.
On account of these laws German Jews lost their independence from night to morning. Jews were no longer allowed to vote or hold public offices since they were no longer considered citizens of the Reich. The Nuremberg Laws also made it more difficult for the Jews to go out into public places such as the theater or shops. Jews were not even allowed to seek medical attention anymore. Soon thereafter all Jews were recognized by the big red “J”, which was short for “Jude,” that was stamped on their passports. “Jews Forbidden” signs also went up all over Germany, which made it very difficult for the Jews to get service or lodge in hotels. The Nuremberg Laws were only the beginning to the Nazi policy of Anti-Semitism. The Nuremberg Laws paved the way to the Holocaust, which showed people how far Germans would go to “cleanse” their nation.