Anglo-German Naval Agreement

With the known as the Anglo-German Naval Agreement memorandum dated June 18, 1935, the British government of Germany, their naval allowed to 35% as measured by the British is currently expanding. This Agreement, bypassed by the method of the diplomatic exchange of notes, the British Parliament, de facto replaced the corresponding provisions of the Versailles Treaty.

The proposal, to communicate with England to a thickness ratio of about 1:3, dates from the spring of 1934. After Germany had left the Geneva Disarmament Conference and the League of Nations in October of last year, the Nazi government felt no limitation of armaments longer bound. Since the former German desire Allies England but could not be alienated, suggested the navy on a contractual limit to 33% and later 35 % of the British fleet, which corresponded to the French and the Italian quota from the Washington Naval Treaty. The German desire for a thickness ratio of 50 % had to be postponed.

After a mixture of offers ( many allusions by Adolf Hitler on a German -British togetherness and various peace speeches) and threats (like the barely veiled upgrade at the U- boats and the Luftwaffe ) was during the stay in Berlin by the British in March 1935 Foreign Minister Simon and Lord Privy Seal Eden a German Navy delegation to London invited. This delegation, chaired by the Ambassador and later Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop, their negotiations with the British began on June 4.

As a basis for negotiations on the German side following demands were:

  • Qualitative equality in ship types
  • Definition of the German fleet strength to 35 % of the UK
  • Rated 35% by Global tonnage, that is free embodiment of the composition of the fleet

In addition, Germany signaled willingness to support certain British proposals, scheduled for the end of 1935 International Naval Conference.

After Ribbentrop introduction invoked the need for a future close German -British cooperation, Simon told the British intentions: The talks and a possible bilateral agreement were to be understood as a transitional measure, to Germany would be part of an international naval armament system. He was referring to a German participation in the Naval Conference, which should meet the end of the year in London. In the following days, the Germans managed to push through the most important points. In its note of June 18, the British government announced their agreement to the following frame with:

  • Permanent strength ratio of 35 to 100
  • Germany undertakes not to exceed this limit even with massive armor of other powers.
  • The intensity ratio applies to the total tonnage as well as separately for the classes of ships.
  • The submarines Germany may own up to 100 % of British strength, any increase over 35 % has to be borne by the other ship classes. Germany declares, for the time being not to go beyond 45 % of British submarine strength.

This resulted in the following permissible total tonnage of each ship classes (1 ts ≈ 1016 kg ):

  • Battleships up to 183,750 ts
  • Heavy cruisers up to 51,000 ts
  • Light cruisers up to 67,000 ts
  • Aircraft carriers up to 47,000 ts
  • Destroyers up to 52,000 ts
  • U- Boats up to 24,000 ts

The obligation that Germany had to comply with the 35 % limit even with upgrades of other powers, resulted from the British efforts to maintain the international fleet system and avoid a renewed general arms race. The submarine weapon was the mid-1930s as outdated and ineffective by new technical means of defense, a concession on this point up to 100 % of the especially small British submarine weapon was, thus, on the British side as relatively harmless. On the whole, the agreement had interim character, which should be finally resolved at the International Naval Conference of London in late 1935. The conference, which was held until March 25, 1936 Germany was not invited. At the provisions agreed there joined by a bilateral treaty with England on 17 July 1937 ( the provision for submarine use after prize regulations already on November 23, 1936).

With the results of at least Hitler was highly satisfied. He designated 18 June 1935 as the "most beautiful day of his life " as he saw the agreement as a first step towards the desired alliance with the island kingdom. Within the Navy, however, the feelings were mixed: While the agreement allowed the immediate tripling of its own fleet strength as well as the construction of battleships and aircraft carriers, of which the Navy Department had dreamed of in the 1920s. On the other hand, managers were determined by the 35 % to a maximum limit, which was below the French. Thus, although a set for about 10 years, continuous construction phase began, went internal planning soon beyond the scope of the Agreement beyond, culminating in the "Z- Plan" in January 1939. After Hitler had occupied the " Resttschechei ", gave England and France warranty Statement from Poland. Led England on 26 April 1939, a general conscription. The guarantee in respect of Poland took Hitler on April 28, 1939 as an opportunity to denounce both the Anglo-German Naval Agreement and the non -aggression pact with Poland.