Germany's Post-War European Relations

April 2, 1936

Report Outline
Hitler's Peace Plan and Continuing European Crisis
Period of Passive Resistance to Foreign Subjection
Locarno and the Conciliatory Policy of Stresemann
Positive and Defiant Foreign Policy of Third Reich
Unsatisfied Nazi Demands as Threat to Future Peace

Hitler's Peace Plan and Continuing European Crisis

Anew Stage in the international crisis precipitated on March 7 by German reoccupation of the demilitarized Rhineland was reached on April 1, when the German government delivered at London an elaboration of proposals previously advanced by Chancellor Hitler for the pacification of Europe. The new note added little to the earlier offers. It failed in particular to contain any positive contribution of the kind earnestly sought by Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden to facilitate commencement of negotiations for solution of the problems presented by the Reich's unilateral denunciation of treaties affecting the Rhineland. The request for a pledge from the Reich not to proceed with fortification of that area was not even mentioned. While the German government offered not to send additional troops into the Rhine district for a period of four months and to agree to appointment of an international commission to supervise observance of that pledge, it conditioned both of those offers on French and Belgian acceptance of similar provisions respecting their border areas.

The British government immediately announced that the German plan provided an inadequate basis upon which to start negotiations. It was at once decided that conversations among the general staffs of Great Britain, France, and Belgium should be begun without delay. Great Britain, moreover, in accordance with a previous agreement with the Locarno signatories, dispatched to France and Belgium letters extending official assurance that, in the event of failure of efforts at conciliation, she would consult with those countries on steps to be taken to meet the situation thus created and would immediately come to their assistance in case they became victims of unprovoked aggression. In the meantime, renewed attempts were being made to impress upon the German government the necessity of taking some further action to demonstrate its good will.

While the prospects of finding an early way out of the latest in a long series of European crises thus appeared dark at the beginning of April, hope of discovering the means of allaying tension and of framing a permanent settlement had not been abandoned. Notwithstanding the threatening outlook, General Smuts, distinguished South African statesman, said on March 22 that he regarded “this Rhineland trouble as a great opportunity when peace can be rewritten.”

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Dec. 22, 1989  A Primer on German Reunification
Apr. 19, 1985  German Reconciliation
Feb. 25, 1983  West Germany's ‘Missile’ Election
Jan. 14, 1970  German Reconciliation
Jan. 29, 1969  West German Prosperity
Mar. 30, 1966  German Border Question and Reunification
Aug. 18, 1965  West German Election, 1965
Feb. 24, 1965  War Guilt Expiation
Jul. 01, 1964  German Question
Sep. 01, 1961  Captive East Germany
Aug. 23, 1961  West German Election, 1961
May 04, 1960  Berlin Question
Dec. 24, 1958  Berlin Crisis and German Reunification
Aug. 21, 1957  German Election, 1957
Oct. 19, 1955  European Security
Jun. 15, 1955  Germany and the Balance of Power
Oct. 19, 1954  German Rearmament
Jan. 19, 1954  West German Recovery
Mar. 12, 1953  Harassed Berlin
Apr. 26, 1950  German Problem
Feb. 18, 1948  Rehabilitation of the Ruhr
Oct. 23, 1946  Future of Germany
Nov. 25, 1944  Transfers of Populations
Nov. 01, 1940  Economic Controls in Nazi Germany
Mar. 09, 1939  Foreign Trade in German Economy
Apr. 02, 1936  Germany's Post-War European Relations
Nov. 02, 1934  The Coming Saab Plebiscite
Apr. 23, 1931  The Austro-German Customs Union Project
Feb. 05, 1929  The Rhineland Problem
Nov. 07, 1924  German National Elections December, 1924
Apr. 30, 1924  The German National Elections
Regional Political Affairs: Europe
War and Conflict
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World War II