The Road to War - 1935

In January, the population of the German province of Saarland votes for the full integration with Germany. As a consequence from the Versailles Treaty, this region was administrated and controlled by the British French since 1918. Coal and Mineral rich, this occupation was inadmissible to the nazi regime and as a result of the plebiscite, re-integration was started and finished in few months (June).

In February, France and Italy sign an agreement in which they state that neither will oppose each other’s colonial claims.

Following Hitler’s announcement that Germany will no longer follow the Versailles Treaty’s limitations on armament and armed forces growth, the conscription is re-introduced on the 16th of March. Though the number of 100 000 soldiers in not to be surpassed, an equal number of reservists will receive military training each year with the objective to have an available force of 400 000 men. This marks the beginning of the III Reich’s Wermacht (German Armed Forces). It was also stressed the will to create a fully operational Air Force.

Following that announcement, France, Britain and Italy sign the Stresa Front or The Final Declaration of the Stresa Conference. Although vague in the final statements it was seen as an attempt of a united trio to press Germany not to continue the violations to the Versailles Treaty. However it was used by Italy as an instrument to gain power and projection in exchange for very little against the German growth.

In June, Great Britain and Germany sign a naval agreement which allows the Kriegsmarine to achieve a total tonnage of 35% of the total tonnage of the Royal Navy. Although controversial the British objective was to limit the German future naval threat in a scenario of full rearmament.

In August, President Roosevelt signs the Social Security Act, establishing several measures to increase the support of the elder and unemployed.

At the annual Nazi Party rally, the Nuremberg Laws are introduced. These anti-Semitic principles stated that were only considered German Citizens those who had four “pure blood” grandparents. Those who had 3 or 4 Jewish grandparents where to be classified of Jews and deprived of citizenship rights. These laws marked the official beginning of the segregation of the Jewish minority although, since 1933 nazi’s rise to power, it was already common. And these laws were the principle that stated the persecution of several minorities throughout occupied territories until 1945.

Italy invades independent Ethiopia in October and though this was condemned in the League of Nations (after a heartbroken speech by Haile Selassie), France and Britain, more interested in bringing Mussolini to their side, made no effort to thwart the action. This conflict was also seen as the beginning of the end of the League of Nations as it showed powerless to cope with several situations of continued aggression and rearmament. The disproportion of means and capacity would bring down the Ethiopians in a few months, and the war was finished by June of 1936 as Haile Selassie went to exile in Great Britain.

In November Stanley Baldwin returns as Prime-Minister of Great Britain, leading a national government and a parliamentary majority. Anthony Eden will become Foreign Secretary the next month.

Finally in December, Communist leader Mao Zedong posts the Wayaopao Manifest, defending a wide national coalition against the fast growing Japanese invasion of continental China.

In this year, Frank Capra “It happened one night” swept the Oscars and Amelia Earhart flew solo from Hawai and California.


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