Third NAZI Referendum: Remilitarization of the Rhineland (March 1936)

NAZI referendum
Figure 1.--We believe this is a poster for the 1936 referendum. The poster shows a RAD boy. The NAZIs often used the RAD as a symbol of ending unemployment. The text read: "Before: Unemployment, hopelessness, desolation, strikes, lockouts. Today: Work, joy, discipline, comaradarie. Give the Führer your vote!"

Hitler did not believe in elections, he did utilize carefully calculated referendums or plebecites. The third such NAZI Referendum ratified Hitler's remilitarization of the Rhineland, which under the terms of the Treaty of Versailles, was to have remained demilitarized. The Versailles Treaty with its trasfer of territory and limitations on German military power was widely unpopular in Germany, Hitler ordered the Whermacht to mrch into the Rhineand (March 7). The resulting remilitarization of the Rhineland was one of his most popular actions. It was widely reported by Goebel's propaganda machine and proved hugely popular in Germany. The Referendum was a landslide victory for the NAZIs (March 29, 1936). The NAZI-controlled press reported that 99 percent of registered voters participated. And 98.8 percent of those voters voted voted "Ja"--44.5 million votes out of 45.5 million. There is no doubt that German voters were impressed with Hitler's action and the vote would have been heavily yes. What the actual vote was, however, is not known. While the specific issue was the remilitarization of the Rhineland, in a larger sence the vote was seen as a endorsement of NAZI rule.

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Created: 1:46 AM 5/5/2008
Last updated: 1:46 AM 5/5/2008