German Foreign Policy Timeline



1923 - 1928

Gustav Stresemann was a leading figure of the German People's Party, during the Weimar Republic. Stresemann was seen as the most influential memeber of the Weimar Republic, and was appointed Chancellor of Germany in 1923 but only got to keep his position for 102 Days. He was also the Foreign Minister from 1923-1929.

Gustav Stresemann and Aristide Briand, the Prime Minister of France at the time, won the Nobel Peace Prize together in 1926, for making ammends between Germany and France.


September 18, 1931

Manchuria, the region of northeast China, was on September 18th, 1931, invaded by the Japanese Kwantung Army. This was the result of the Mukden Incident, where a Japanese lieutenant blew up a small amount of dynaminte by the South Manchuria Railway and thenblamed it on the Chinese. After this Staged event Japan invaded and occupied Manchuria until the end of WW2.

The occupation of Manchuria affects Germany during this time because it had a really negative impact on the moral strength and influence of the League of Nations. This event showed members of the League of Nations how any powerful Nation could commit blatant aggression without serious consequences. This awareness caused Adolf Hitler to follow in Japans footsteps with Czechoslovakia and Poland.



In 1933 the stock market crash in the United States caused the country to enter the Great Depression. Although the Weimar Reublic had helped Germany's economy briefly advance in 1924-1929, the Great Depression still had a huge impact on Germany and its economy in the 1920s. All loans Germany got from the United States to help stabalize the economy after WW1, were withdrawn. This caused German money to increasingly lose more and more of its value.

Germany withdraws from League of Nations


9 months after Adolf Hitler was appointed Chancellor, Germany withdrew from the League of Nations. The main reason for this was the refusal of the western states to accommondate in Germany’s demands for military consistency.

After leaving the League of Nations, Germanys military grew enourmously although thid went agaisnt several agreements Germany made after WW1.

Nou Agression Pact with Poland


The Nou Agresssion was an international treaty between Nazi Germany and the Second Polish Republic signed on January 26, 1934.

After border disagreements caused by the Treaty of Versailles, this pact stabilized the situation between Germany and Poland, making Germany realize and recognize Poland's borders.

Saar returns


On January 23rd, 1935, a referendum on territorial status was held in the Territory of the Saar Basin. A vast majority of 90% voted for the reunification of Germany. Another 9% voted for the status quo as a League of Nations mandate territory and less than 0.5% voted for unification with France.



England did not want to punish Germany, but as a result of France wanting to, the Treaty of Versailles did not allow Germany to have an Air Force. In February, 1935, even though the treaty had forbidden it, Hitler secretly began to organize the Luftwaffe in order to to accelerate the speed and power of the German rearmament. He appointed Hermann Göring Commander in Chief of the aerial branch of the German Wehrmacht.

The German Luftwaffe soon became one of the most sophisticated, technologically advanced and battle-experienced air forces in the entire world.

Anti-Comintern Pact with Japan


This pact was an anti-communism pact between Nazi Germany and the Empire of Japan. After these two nations signed the pact in Berlin, 1936, other fascist governments, like Italy and Spain, also signed the pact.

Rome-Berlin Axis


In 1936, Italy’s foreign minister, Galeazzo Ciano, created an agreement that informally created a bond between the two fascist countries of Italy and Germany.

4-Year Plan


The 4-Year-Plan were the measures Hitler was going to take to bring economic prosperity to Nazi Germany. The Plan was part of the alternative governmental structure created by Hitler, which included the unification of the SS and the German police forces, including the Gestapo. Just like the Luftwaffe, Hitler put Hermann Göring in charge.

Rhineland repossesed


Once again violating the Treaty of Versailles, German forces on March 7th, 1936, went into the Rhineland. The balance of power shifted back to Germany, rather than France after this.

Anschluss of Austria


The 1938, Anschluss of Austria refers to the unification of the two countries to form a “greater Germany”.

Hitler becomes Supreme Commander


The only thing keeping Hitler from power at this point (after the Night of Long Knives, 1934) was the President of Germany, Paul von Hindenburg. Hindenburg was 87 years old and his death could not have come at a better time in order for Hitler to gain power.

Annexation of Czechoslovakia

March, 1938 - 1939

The occupation of Czechoslovakia began with the Nazi forces entering the country from the northern and western borders. Hitler's reasoning for invading Czechoslovakia was that there was an ethnic german population suffering from living in that area.

France and England guarantee Poland safety

Feb. 1939

Hoping that this would keep Germany from expanding even more, France and England guaranteed Poland safety in the case of a German invasion as it was likely to be the next victim.

Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact

Jul. 1939

In 1939, Joachim von Ribbentrop, Foreign Minister of Nazi Germany signed a non-aggression pact with Vyacheslav Molotov, Chairman of the Soviet Union. This pact declared both nations as having a neutral relationship with the other and did not allow any attacking or invading of the other.

Hitler invades Poland

1 September 1939

As expected by France and England, Germany's next victim indeed was Poland.

France and England declare war on Germany

3 September 1939

Keeping their promise to Poland, France and England try to keep Poland safe by declaring war on Germany.

Hossbach Memorandum

1943 - 1945

On November 5th, 1937 Adolf Hitler and his military and foreign policy leadership had a meeting where he outlined the future expansionist policies. This meeting is considered the turning point of Nazi Germany where it officially becomes radicalized.