The remilitarisation of the Rhineland was the invasion and occupation of the Rhineland by the German military, and the first foreign military operation under the command of Hitler. The movement of soldiers into the Rhineland commenced on the 7th of March, 1936, the unit deployed consisting of 22000 German soldiers. Hitler purposely utilised a small military unit, as he wished to avoid provocation of an attack from either Britain or France, the march into the Rhineland simply acting as a test to observe the response of the two nations to non permitted territory expansions. Due to the utilization of the Rhineland as a buffer zone between France and Germany, the division of soldiers did not encounter any opposition from foreign military forces. Following the successful deployment of the soldiers, Hitler claimed the Rhineland as German territory, beginning the construction of resource depots and factories within the Rhineland. The success in the remilitarisation of the Rhineland provided two primary benefits to Hitler. Firstly, the factories located within the Rhineland were restored to German control, which increased production of steel, coal, and iron. The collection of these resources was significant, as they were utilised to further the military capabilities of Nazi Germany both in preparation for and during the second world war. Secondly, the success of the Rhineland earned Hitler the support of the German army, as the reclamation of the Rhineland was generally perceived as Hitler adhering to his promise of a “greater German empire”.This enabled Hitler to continue his aggressive foreign policy, alongside achieve his objective of maintaining a powerful German army. The occupation of the Rhineland was a direct violation of the terms established under the Treaty Of Versailles but was accepted by surrounding European nations for a plethora of reasons. Britain did not wish to initiate hostilities with Germany, and thus did not oppose the reclaimation of the Rhineland.Furthermore, the British Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain, wanted to utilise Germany as a buffer zone between the Soviet Union and the western nations of Europe in order to negate the spread of communist ideologies and believed providing Germany with the Rhineland would make them increasingly effective in this position. France was concerned at the expansion of Germany into the Rhineland, but it was unable to counteract the German soldiers, due to fear of condemnation by the League Of Nations. Alongside this, the French government has already established a line of military defences across its German border in the form of the Maginot Line and had the intention to maintain a defensive position if Germany were to attack.
“Remilitarization of the Rhineland (Mar. 7, 1936) Summary & Facts.” Totally History, 9 Jan. 2014, totallyhistory.com/remilitarization-of-the-rhineland/.