International relations, c.1933-1939

International relations, c.1933-1939

Rise of Aggressive Powers

  • Hitler’s rise to power (1933) - Hitler’s appointment as German Chancellor marked a turning point in international relations.
  • Reintroduction of conscription in Germany (1935) - This broke the Treaty of Versailles’ terms and signified further defiance from Germany.
  • Italian invasion of Abyssinia (1935) - Showed the failure of the League of Nations to maintain collective security and control Italy’s fascist aggression.

Policy of Appeasement

  • Appeasement - The British and French policy of making concessions to fascist powers with the hope of avoiding war.
  • The Rhineland remilitarisation (1936) - German forces moved into the demilitarised Rhineland; this further breaking of the Treaty of Versailles was met with appeasement by Western powers.
  • The Munich Agreement (1938) - Allowed Nazi Germany’s annexation of Sudetenland from Czechoslovakia, marking the pinnacle of appeasement.

Expansion of Aggression

  • Anschluss (1938) - Germany annexed Austria, with no intervention from other countries, illustrating the absence of collective security.
  • Nazi-Soviet Pact (1939) - Non-aggression pact between Germany and USSR showing alignment of totalitarian regimes.
  • Invasion of Poland (1939) - Invasion by Germany marking the start of World War II.

Failures of Collective Security

  • Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) - Despite non-intervention agreements, Italy and Germany supported Franco’s Nationalists.
  • Failure of the League of Nations - With major powers acting in their own interests, the League failed to maintain collective security and prevent further conflict.

The period 1933-1939 was characterised by the rise of aggressive powers leading to an increase in tensions and the ultimate failure of the League of Nations, which was proven unable to prevent or effectively respond to increasingly belligerent actions of Germany, Italy, and Japan. With a policy of appeasement that only encouraged further aggression, it paved the way for the outbreak of World War II.