Foreign Minister Konstantin von Neurath Justifies Germany’s Withdrawal from the League of Nations in Front of the International Press (October 16, 1933)
Hitler's foreign policy goals were based on his combined understanding of race and space. According to his beliefs, the German national community needed unlimited “living space” [Lebensraum] to propagate and develop its full racial potential. When Hitler’s foreign policy from 1933 to 1939 is viewed within this context, it becomes clear that he was preparing for a war of conquest. While his government emphasized its peaceful intentions and demanded no more than equal rights for Germany on the international level, Hitler was pursuing the strategic-military goal of making the country ready for war once again [Wiederwehrhaftmachung]. The Nazi regime’s first important step in the area of foreign policy was the announcement of Germany's withdrawal from the Geneva Disarmament Conference and the League of Nations on October 14, 1933. Hitler presented the pull out as a form of protest – namely, against the alleged humiliations inflicted upon Germany by Europe’s great powers since the end of World War I and against the violation of Germany's right to self-determination. Domestically, the withdrawal from the League of Nations was a great success. According to official data, more than 95% of Germans expressed support for this step in a referendum held on November 12, 1933.
© Bildarchiv Preußischer Kulturbesitz