A resurgent Germany which appeared strong on the world stage helped the Nazis to control the German population.
There was great support for Nazi foreign policy that sought to overturn the territorial terms of the Treaty of Versailles:
Hitler's plans to strengthen Germany and undermine the Treaty of Versailles were given a boost in 1935. The German-speaking Saar region voted to reunite with Germany. Important for coal production, Saar had previously been removed from German control as a term of Versailles to weaken Germany industrially.
In 1935 Hitler reintroduced conscription of men into the armed forces. In the same year he revealed that he had built up an air-force and signed the Anglo-German Naval Agreement that allowed him to enlarge his naval forces.
One of the terms of the Treaty of Versailles was that the Germans would not be able to keep military forces in a 50km stretch of the Rhineland. Hitler resented this term as it made Germany vulnerable to invasion.
In 1936 Hitler boldly marched 22,000 German troops into the Rhineland, in a direct contravention of the Treaty of Versailles.
Hitler wanted all German-speaking nations in Europe to be a part of Germany.
To this end, he had designs on re-uniting Germany with his native homeland, Austria.
In March 1938, Hitler’s troops crossed the border into Austria. There was no fighting and many there greeted the Nazis. Austria was united with Germany and became part of the Reich.
In 1938 Hitler turned his attention to the Sudetenland - a largely German-speaking area of Czechoslovakia.
The country had been formed in 1918 when it declared itself independent of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The population was made up of two Slavic peoples, the Czechs and the Slovaks, along with three million German speakers from the Sudeten area on the border with Germany, and smaller numbers of Hungarians, Ukrainians and Poles.
The Sudeten Germans were not happy at their inclusion in a Slav-controlled state. In October 1938, Sudeten Germans rose up against Czechoslovak control. The Sudetenland became part of Germany.
The reoccupation of the Rhineland in 1935 and the Anschluss with Austria in 1938 were popular in Germany.
The protection the Sudeten Germans received from the Nazis also encouraged German citizens. They were signs that Germany was recovering from the humiliations of Versailles.