1933: German Rearmament
In 1933, Hitler walked out of the World Disarmament Conference and quit the League of Nations as he faced opposition from leading countries in the League and at the Conference.
He had blamed France for the failure of disarmament, claiming that he could not leave his border defenceless when France refused to compromise and react by reducing their armaments.
After Hitler’s withdrawal from the World Disarmament Conference, it was clear that he aimed to rearm Germany, against the Treaty of Versailles’ terms. Germany began to openly rearm in violation of the Treaty of Versailles. Which restricted Germans armed forces to only 100,000 men in the army, no submarines or aeroplanes, and only six battleships.
How did Hitler rearm?
How did countries respond?
The Stresa Front
This was an alliance/pact between Britain, France and Italy formed in April 1935. It aimed to:
In June 1935, Only 2 months after the Stresa Front was established, Britain and Germany signed the Anglo-German naval agreement in which Germany was allowed to increase its navy to a maximum of 1/3 of the British navy. This was done without consulting Italy or France.
Hitler claimed that the Anglo German naval agreement was necessary to protect Germany and Britain was understanding to Germany's security needs.
Britain indirectly benefited from rearmament as they were close trading partners.
Why did Britain and France not take any action when Hitler defied the Treaty of Versailles?
Anthony Eden, The British Foreign Secretary at the time, had met with the German ambassador and made his proposals. However, when Hitler refused to withdraw his troops, the British Government did nothing as the British people felt the Treaty of Versailles was too harsh.