The Nazis were determined that Germany be a militarist state, whereby the country was prepared for war at any time. For this to become a reality, the Nazis launched an ambitious rearmament programme. They also relied on the education system to prepare young men for military service, both physically and mentally.

  • The Hitler Youth developed survival skills and physical strength. It also taught boys military skills which they would perfect when they entered the army.
  • Rearmament involved increasing the amount of weapons for the army, air force and navy as well as stockpiles of munitions. German businesses received huge orders for tanks, aeroplanes and ships, as well as guns, bombs and bullets.
  • The size of the army was increased from 100,000 men to 1,400,000. Men under 25 had to carry out at least two years of military service.
  • Conscription was introduced in 1935 and as a result most young men were drafted into the army.
  • From 1936 to 1939, Hitler’s armed forces helped fascist leader Franco to victory in the Spanish Civil War. This provided the Nazis with an opportunity to train men and test equipment and tactics.

The video below describes rearmament and preparation for war.