When the Nazis came to power in 1933, Germany was economically and militarily weak.
As the Nazis focused on stabilising internal problems, they maintained the guise of moderation abroad.
However, the Nazi regime still took steps to break with international order, even at this early stage.
Concordat with the Vatican
The first success in Nazi diplomacy was the Concordat signed between the Vatican and Nazi Germany on the 20 July 1933.
This Concordat agreed that the Nazis would not interfere in the activities of the Catholic Church. In return, the Vatican would diplomatically recognise the Nazi regime – the first state to officially do so.
The Concordat was an international success. It also helped to consolidate Nazi power internally within Germany by reducing Catholic opposition to the party.
Withdrawal from the League of Nations
One of the key priorities of early Nazi foreign policy was overturning aspects of the Treaty of Versailles.
Just three months after signing the Concordat, Hitler made his first major break with the Treaty of Versailles by withdrawing Germany from the League of Nations on the 14 October 1933.
Under the terms of the Treaty of Versailles, and following the creation of the League of Nations, there was an international consensus that disarmament should take place.
France, however, had refused to disarm due to fears about future wars with Germany following the devastation that they experienced in the First World War.
Hitler used other countries refusal to disarm as a pretext for withdrawing Germany from the League of Nations.
On the 12 November 1933, Hitler held a plebiscite on his decision to withdraw Germany from the League of Nations. The results of the plebiscite seemed to show that the German public overwhelmingly voted in support of the move, although this should not be taken at face value, as there was a large amount of pressure from the Nazis to vote this way.
Polish Non-Aggression Pact
On the 26 January 1934, the Nazis made an unexpected diplomatic peace move by signing the German-Polish Non-Aggression Pact. Hitler signed this pact because he wanted to ensure that Poland did not sign a military alliance with France, as Germany was not yet prepared for another war.
This pact gave Poland assurance that Germany would not invade in the immediate future and therefore gave them no reason to have a military alliance with France. This, in turn, gave Germany time to fully rearm.
The pact agreed that both countries would work together diplomatically to address any issues, and would not engage in armed conflict with each other for a minimum of ten years.
The pact caused some concern to France, who was a close ally of Poland. France was still highly suspicious of Germany following the devastation that France suffered during the First World War.