Anglo German Naval Agreement
Anglo German naval agreement refers to a naval agreement of 18th June 1935 between Germany and Britain to regulate the size of Kriegsmarine in its relation to Royal Navy. This agreement fixed the ratio in which the overall tonnage of Kriegsmarine would be 35 percent of total tonnage of Royal Navy on permanent basis. This agreement was registered in the treaty of series of the League of Nations on 12th July 1935. However, Hitler renounced this agreement on 28th April 1939.
At first, Adolf Hitler said that he was the happiest person because his government had for long sought the signing of the naval agreement and it was lastly signed. According to Hitler, the agreement marked the beginning of a new alliance between his country and Britain against the Soviet Union and France. He called it a partnership between leading nations in Europe. He considered German as being the largest nation by the land armies and Great Britain by the sea. He considered the agreement as the first step towards defeating enemies in Europe.
Anglo German naval agreement also released Germany from Treaty of Versailles in naval rearmament. This is because in the treaty of 1919, Germany was not allowed to build submarines, engage in naval aviation or battleships. Germany was allowed a total of six naval forces each being light and heavy cruisers, torpedo boats and 12 destroyers.
Over the years, Germany was fighting these restrictions arguing that all European nations should be forced to disarm to the levels of Germany. Alternatively, Germany argued that it should be allowed to rearm itself to the levels of other European nations. Every government that preceded the Hitler’s Third Reich was impeccably opposed to terms imposed on Germany by the treaty of Versailles. Britain was aware that terms of the treaty of Versailles were unjust, indefensible and unstable. Any relaxation of the terms was vetoed by France.
Deep cuts made to Royal Navy and imposed by the two conferences as well as great depression effects that resulted from the collapse of the shipbuilding industry of Britain in the 1930s necessitated the evaluation of the existing treaties. British aimed at ensuring its sea supremacy and this was something that she was not ready to negotiate.
Anglo German naval agreement was an attempt to enhance the relations between Berlin and London founded on the basis of the conflicting expectations of the two nations. Nevertheless, the agreement was controversial because the British viewed it as a way of limiting German expansionism while German viewed it as an alliance against the Soviet Union and France.
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