THE DEMILITARIZATION OF THE RHINELAND AND THE RHINE CRISIS OF 1936.
The article analyzes the most important resolutions of the Treaty of Versailles in 1919 on the German problem. The author singles out the creation of the Rhineland demilitarized zone, intended to complicate the attack of Germany to France and informs that the decision on it was a compromise between the allies. The United States and England had to conclude the guarantee agreement with France for assistance in case of unprovoked aggression of Germany, but this agreement was not signed – France was left without a guarantee that inspired it to create a system of French alliances in the East. The article briefly presents the problem of reparations and the Ruhr crisis, «Dawes Plan», Soviet factor and their impacts on the positions of Germany and France. The author touches upon the essence of the Locarno Treaties, especially the Rhine guarantee pact. The author proves the fact that the policy of Locarno was a certain modus vivendi in relations between Germany and Western countries. In Germany, it was considered that the Treaty of Versailles should be reviewed, especially regarding East and Locarno is only a stage in the process. It relied on patience, compromise and agreement of the European consensus and saw no need for revision of Versailles by force. However, Germany has not achieved one of its main objectives – the recognition of its equality in armament.
The author highlights Hitler’s basic steps in elimination of military articles of the Versailles Treaty, the preparation and reoccupation of Rhineland zone. Those facts were facilitated by a conciliatory policy of England and French leaders’ inability to resist German aggression. The Rhine crisis has dramatically weakened the position of France on the borders with Germany and the East. It was possible to protect Eastern Europe from German attack only if France had chosen the offensive strategy, which could be based on using the Rhine demilitarized zone as a kind of hostage. Capturing of the Rhineland zone by Nazi Germany in its consequences was decisive in its transition to a policy of territorial expansion in Europe.
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