Under this treaty, Germany was given some conditions which it was expected to comply. For example, its army size was to be reduced to 100000 men, to accept to be responsible for the war outbreak and therefore to pay for damages that were caused by the war. These were called reparations and were to be divided amongst the victorious nations which included: Britain, French, Belgium and Italy. Hitler believed that if his army was not divided then, he could not have been defeated. He thought Germany was defeated because it was betrayed by the army but not because it was defeated by the Allies.
Because of these reasons he violated the Versailles treaty by re arming. In this essay, I am going to discuss on the relationship between Germanys aggression and her weapons or how arming his army led to the Second World War. Hitler was the leader of the Nazi party. He became a chancellor of Germany in 1933 and in 1934 he became its leader. He remained in power from that time until he committed suicide in 1945. Hitler used his oratorical skills, charisma and propagandas in putting hope to the population of Germany that had been traumatized by the war.
Hitler started building up his army again increasing its size more than it was agreed. He revived the economy and also refused to accept that he was solely responsible for the First World War. He accepted only when he was promised another war by British and France. Those nations thought that by Germany paying the reparations, they could reverse their economic statuses which had been destroyed by the war but Germany refused to pay. The treaty of Versailles was signed on 28th June 1919 in the palace of Versailles near Paris. The victorious or the allied powers forced two Germans to accept the terms on behalf of the Germany.
This treaty refused Germany to join the League of Nations. The territories it had conquered were taken by the allies and then shared amongst them. Germany was not allowed to have submarine and air force. The navy was to have only six war ships. Its army was limited to only 100000 men. Also Rhineland an area of 50 miles wide was declared no mans land or a buffer zone and Germany was not allowed to place its army there (Hoover A. J. ,1994) This treaty backfired because instead of making the world a better and safer place, it caused more problems and helped Hitler to ascend to power.
Germany was not happy with those terms. They complained against its army size that it was vulnerable to attacks. It refused to pay the reparations giving the reason that its economy had been destroyed by the war, it was also bitter because it lost a tenth of its land to the victorious nations. Other nations even smaller than Germany were given free determination as opposed to Germany. The German in other states were not allowed to unite for example, the Australian Germans. They felt they were not to be blamed for the Russia was responsible.
They also hated it because they were not allowed to be in the conference. This treaty created a political atmosphere for they blamed everything that went sour to the treaty and the lost war. Also whenever Hitler violated the Versailles treaty he shouted that Germans have refused or want no more. He stated to them openly that he would do away with the oppressive treaty of Versailles. He promised to rearm and unite all Germans who were in other smaller nations. Germany was technical keeping to the terms but in real sense he was not. Hitler violated this treaty in many ways.
For example in 1925 under the Locarno treaty he agreed that he would not cross the area bordering France, Belgium and the demilitarized Rhine land but on 7th March1936, Hitler violated this treaty by marching on to Rhineland. Britain and France complained but neither of them took action. In 1932 at a conference at Lausanne, Germany France and Britain signed a treaty to cancel the reparations that Germany was supposed to pay the allied powers. In 1935 Hitler introduced a compulsory military conscription thus mobilizing his army. These included the new navy and air force.
Also in 1935 in appeasing Germany who had already started rearming himself, the treaty was violated again by allowing Germany to have submarines. This happened when Germany and Britain signed Anglo Germany Naval Agreement. In 1936, Hitler took the demilitarized territories especially in the Rhineland. In 1938, 12th March Germany entered Austria after gaining a lot mass support. On the following day, he conquered Austria and it became part of Germany. In 1938 Hitler wanted to break war unless he was allowed to take Sudetenland which was on its border.
Also in the same year on September 29 the allied powers allowed Germany to take The Sedeten land and on 29th September 1938 they allowed Germany to move ahead but on condition that he would maintain world peace. At first Czechoslovakia refused but it was pressurized to accept that. In 1939 Hitler violated this treaty and occupied Czech province and Slovakia became independent. Later Hungary invaded and Czechoslovakia ceased to exist. In 1939 Hitler made demands on Poland because he wanted the Danzig province and be given a route for accessing it through the Polish Corridor.
Since the time Hitler started to violate the treaty, the allies were trying to appease Germany but it proved that Germanys desires were insatiable. Whenever he was allowed to take a section of its former colonies it insisted on all of it. When it gave an ultimatum to attack Poland, another war was promised by the allies to Germany and when he refused to bow down, he was attacked and the second war broke out in September 1939. There was a relationship between the way Hitler armed himself and the way he resulted to be aggressive.
The more he equipped his army the more he became aggressive because he thought he would attack and defeat other nations. In his 2001 book Breuer says that Hitler armed himself more than before in terms of research and development. He even trained new crew members in the U-boat business. Something that was contrary to the treaty. The Germanys military which had so many limitations after the First World War started developing new and most efficient tactics. They started using tanks and aircraft for the ground warfare. Germany also learned about more advanced ideas from British military scholars.
In 1929 a German infantry officer was given the task of administering the German-Russian school which was located in Kazan. Its goal was to train Germans on how to operate tanks in Russia. Hitler was militarily creative and wanted the future war to be a totally different from the First World War (Breuer W. B. , 2001) It can be said that Hitler was sorely responsible for starting the war of 1939 because immediately he became the Chancellor of Germany in 1933 he began building up his army secretly. He also started compulsory army conscription.
All these moves were against the Versailles treaty and although the allies were aware of this, they tried to appease Hitler so that he could help them fight against the spread of communism which had proved to be a big threat to them. They thought that by making Germany stronger, it would check the spread of communism. This policy of appeasement continued until Germany went as too far as to attack Poland (Weinberg G. , 1994) Hitler felt that he was fully prepared for the war because of the loyalty he received from his people plus the outstanding army he had built.
He had a very potent army and his air force had become second to none in the whole world. He prepared his army with the new war strategy called blitzkrieg (lightning war) where by heavy ground armies were established and many war aircrafts accompanied these men who were highly mobile. This was a new strategy which had never been seen before. He believed that he was a great power in Europe and thus there was a need to strengthen his army. That is why in 1933 he ordered war planes to be increased to one thousand and army barracks were built.
He even quit the Geneva conference after his plan of having his army to re-arm to the level of French or French to his level was refused. For the next two years his military might expand in secret and by 1935 march, he felt that he was prepared enough to arm his Nazi army publicly thus violating the Versailles treaty. As time went by, Germany had 300,000 army men and 2,500 war planes in Luftwaffe and Wehrmacht respectively. He ordered the army to be comprised of 550,000 men. In 1936, he repossessed the Rhineland, in 1938 he annexed Austria and in 1938 he demanded to be allowed to occupy Sudeten land at Munich.
In 1939 he took over Bohemia and Monrovia and then made strident move to acquire back his territory Danzig at the Polish Corridor. The attack he made on Poland is what led to the Second World War outbreak. To conclude this essay, we can say that Hitler idea of building up his army made him to feel that he was ready to face any other nation that appeared to be a threat to him. He assumed that no other nation especially the allied powers would dare attack him and that is why he went ahead to reclaim all the territories that had been taken from him and were now being administered by the victorious powers like France and Britain.
If the Versailles treaty was not violated, perhaps then there could not have been a second world war.
1) Breurer W. B. ,( 2001) Deception of World War II, New York: John Wiley and Sons Inc 2) Hoover A. J. , God (1999) Britain and Hitler in World War II: the view of the British clergy, 1939-1945. Praeger publishers. 3) Weinberg G. L, (1994) A World at Arms: A global history of World War II, Cabridge, Cabridge University Press.