Hitler's Plans for Germany
As early as 1934, Hitler
began developing plans to ensure that the German military would
be ready for a future war. The goals in preparing the military were
reflected identified in Mein Kampf. They included:
1. Germany needed to be strong to reject the Treaty of Versailles.
The treaty had blamed Germany for the war, took away German land,
expected money for causing the war, and reduced the German military
to almost nothing.
2. Germany needed to be strong to unite all German-speaking people
into one great nation. At this time, many German-speaking people
lived in Austria, Czechoslovakia and Poland. Hitler wished to bring
them together to help create one powerful country.
3. Germany needed to be strong to claim "lebensraum" or
living space for its overcrowded people. The rich lands in Poland
and western Russian were of particular interest to Hitler.
The goals identified above became major policies once Hitler became
the dictator of Germany.
Within one year of taking power, secret orders were issued by
Hitler to expand and improve the German army, navy and air force.
Great secrecy was required because the Treaty of Versailles had
placed limits upon the German military. Hitler expanded the army
from 100,000 to 300,000 men. The navy began construction of two
battleships and six submarines, and the air force developed new
planes. Pilots for the new air force were trained in civilian flying
clubs to hide the rearmament program from the Allies.
By 1935, Hitler no longer bothered to keep his rearmament program
a secret. He openly challenged the former Allies by announcing,
in public, that compulsory military service would begin. This meant
that all eligible German men were required to join the military.
In addition, the army was expanded to 550,000 men. England, France
and Italy did not act to enforce the Treaty of Versailles or stop
Hitler's program. Instead, they began making alliances with various
countries in case the situation became worse.
Hitler Announces Germany's