France and the Nazi Menace: Intelligence and Policy Making, 1933-1939

By Peter Jackson | Go to book overview

3

Intelligence and the National Socialist
Gleichschaltung, 1933–1936

DURING THE first three years of National Socialist rule, German foreign and domestic policy focused on establishing the necessary political, social, and economic preconditions for unlimited rearmament and a war of conquest in eastern Europe. France's intelligence services correctly reported that the Nazi Party was restructuring German society and reorganizing the German economy to serve the aims of Hitler's expansionist foreign policy. They also provided detailed warning of the decisive head start which the German rearmament effort had gained over the moribund French armaments and aircraft industries. This information only deepened the sense of inferiority and vulnerability in relation to Germany that characterized French perceptions of the German threat. On one level, this sense of inferiority was entirely justified. German demographic and industrial superiority meant that the Reich possessed considerably greater military potential. On another level, however, French intelligence suffered from what might best be described as an inferiority complex when it came to evaluating German military power. Intelligence assessments tended to focus on the iron grip the Nazi regime had imposed on the state, on the remarkable recovery of German industrial production, and on the apparently total subordination of the national economy to the requirements of rearmament. The weaknesses which analysts identified in German military potential, conversely, did not figure prominently in the sweeping assessments of German military power produced by the Deuxième Bureaux. Intelligence assessments both reflected and at the same time contributed to the growing pessimism of the defence establishment during this period.

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France and the Nazi Menace: Intelligence and Policy Making, 1933-1939
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Acknowledgements vii
  • Contents ix
  • Abbreviations xi
  • Introduction 1
  • 1: The Intelligence Machine and the Decision Making Process 11
  • 2: French Intelligence and the Nazi Machtergreifung, 1933 45
  • 3: Intelligence and the National Socialist Gleichschaltung, 1933–1936 82
  • 4: Initial Responses to Nazi Rearmament: Intelligence and Policy, 1934–1935 109
  • 5: The Rhineland 161
  • 6: Intelligence and the Rearmament Programmes of 1936 178
  • 7: Paralysis 207
  • 8: Munich 247
  • 9: A Change in Perspective 298
  • 10: Girding for War 337
  • 11: Decision for War 379
  • Conclusion 388
  • Appendices 397
  • Bibliography 403
  • Index 435
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