3rd March 1938
At the end of the Great War, Germany’s colonial possessions were divided amongst the victors as agreed in the Treaty of Versailles. In the Pacific, the colonies were distributed between Australia, Great Britain, New Zealand and Japan. In Africa, Great Britain, Belgium and South Africa were the beneficiaries. Over a million square miles of German territory was lost. Hitler has often indicated the return of these colonies is a German right, although the issue doesn’t seem to one of his higher priorities.
British Prime Minister Chamberlain has seen fit to offer up a management proposal for large parts of Africa which would see an international consortium managing much of Central Africa, in an effort to preserve peace. Germany would take a leading role in the consortium in return for an agreement of non-aggression. The non aggression would include Czechoslovakia and Austria, two countries that seem to be clearly in Hitler’s sights, despite standing agreements to the contrary. Arms limitation would also feature as one of the trade-offs for the new agreement which would “establish the basis for a genuine and cordial friendship with Germany”.
Sir Neville Henderson, Britain’s Ambassador to Germany had the job of meeting with Hitler to present the proposal. His reception wasn’t pleasant, with Hitler stating he was interested only in the return of the former German colonies, not participation in an international group. He also stated it was outrageous for Britain to try to impose conditions on Germany’s conduct in Europe in exchange for parts of Africa. Hitler concluded the meeting by stating he’d rather wait 20 years for the return of the colonies than participate in the agreement and accept Britain’s peace conditions.