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The Rumblings of War

The rise of the National Socialist party in Germany triggered alarm bells in the bastions of power in the UK and Europe and when Hitler and his party came to power in 1933 all their fear’s were heightened.

At the time Britain had run down her military establishments to the point that she was militarily weak, and could not assert her authority in Europe, thus the only policy that could be initially be followed was that of appeasement.

The urgency to re-arm began a few years later when Hitler and his henchmen started their policy of creating Lebenstraum (living space). This started with the reoccupation of the Rhineland on the 1st of March 1936, and was then quickly followed by the incorporation of Austria into Germany (Union)/(Anschluss) on the 13th of March 1938 both were prohibited under the treaty of Versailles.

Rt Hon Stanley Baldwin PM 1923 & 1924 -1929 and 1935 - 1937

 

Adolf Hitler (Reich Chancellor 1933-1945)

What followed was the demand that the Sudetenland be annexed by Germany, at the time it was part of Czechoslovakia; although it was mainly ethnically Germanic. It was at this time that the then British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain had no alternative but to accede to the Hitler’s demands, and so delay possible future conflict between the two nations until Britain was militarily stronger.

The occupation of the Sudetenland took place on 29th of September 1938, followed by the rest of Czechoslovakia in March of the following year.

In this atmosphere the mandarins in Whitehall began planning in earnest for what some saw as an inevitable conflict between the British Empire and the Third Reich; so preparing for war now took on a new meaning in the corridors of power in Whitehall.

Double Click image to hear the speech.

Rt Hon Neville Chamberlain (PM 1937-1940)

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