4.6 Why Was There Another World War?

Hitler was determined to make Germany a strong and powerful country again. He had fought for the defeated German army in the First World War and, like millions of Germans, was humiliated by the agreement Germany had to sign at the end of the fighting. Three days after becoming leader of Germany, Hitler broke the treaty by telling his military chiefs to start building up the armed forces. In 1936, he broke another of the treaty’s terms by sending his soldiers into the Rhineland area of Germany. These films show the events in the build up to the Second World War.

1 MIN 24 SECS, SOUND, B/W, 1936

A British newsreel reporting on the movement of Hitler's troops into the Rhineland in 1936. Germany had accepted the Treaty of Versailles’ (1919) terms that no German soldiers would enter the Rhineland, a German region close to France, so this breaking of terms worried many countries.


2 MINS 37 SECS, SOUND, B/W, 1938

In March 1938, German troops marched into Austria, the country of Hitler’s birth. Once again Hitler had broken terms of the Treaty of Versailles. No other country stopped Hitler and many Austrians wanted to be a part of Germany. He next turned his attention to Sudetenland, a small area of Czechoslovakia that contained many people who spoke German as their first language.


Chamberlain Meets with Hitler

2 MINS 2 SECS, SOUND, B/W, 1938

In September 1938, Neville Chamberlain, the British Prime Minister, made several visits to Germany to discuss Hitler’s demands in the hope of avoiding war. Chamberlain got Hitler to sign a piece of paper (known as the Munich Agreement) saying that Britain and Germany would never go to war with one another again. In this clip, Chamberlain talks to the press about a promising resolution.



1 MIN 58 SECS, SOUND, B/W, 1938

On 30 September, at a meeting in Munich (shown in this clip), the British and the French agreed to let Germany have the Sudetenland. The Czechoslovakian leaders were not at the meeting but went along with the more powerful countries decision. The world breathed a sigh of relief at the war they thought they had prevented.

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