Monday, September 26, 2011

Germany's Lightning War 1939-1943

When Adolf Hitler was appointed chancellor in January 1933, he promised the German people that he would reverse the humiliations imposed on the nation by the Versailles Treaty and return Germany to a dominant position in Europe. In direct contravention of the terms of the treaty, Hitler instigated a vast expansion of the armed forces and started the process of rearmament, concentrating on the production of aggressive instruments of war: tanks, bomber aircraft and U-boats. By 1936, the growing strength of Germany's armed forces emboldened Hitler to adopt an increasingly belligerent foreign policy. Despite the presence of the League of Nations, Hitler was helped by the refusal or inability of other major powers to put a brake on his territorial ambitions.The Soviet Union and the United States were not members of the League, and both nations adopted a policy of non-intervention in world affairs. Britain and France were the two major powers within the League, but - weakened by their efforts in World War I - neither country had the will to act decisively against Hitler.