Areas annexed by Nazi Germany

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German-occupied Europe at the height of the Axis conquests in 1942.
A hypothetical extent of the Greater Germanic Reich.

The areas annexed by Nazi Germany were the following:

Fully annexed into the Third Reich:

  • The Sudetenland, in October 1938 from the inter-war Czechoslovak Republic. The areas bordering Germany of Austria-Hungary that been dissolved by the post-First World War treaties and part of the newly created country were predominantly German-populated. Adolf Hitler's demands for their autonomy or reattachment to Germany triggered the Sudeten Crisis and the threat of imminent war in Europe.
    It was resolved by the Munich Conference, which allowed their annexation (as well as other parts of the country by Hungary and Poland) in exchange by a guarantee from the Führer to respect the future territorial integrity of rump Czechoslovakia.
  • Eupen-Malmedy in June 1940, when the predominantly German-speaking in Belgium's border area was integrated with Köln-Aachen Gau. Historically a part of the Low Countries, they had been awarded to Rhenish Prussia by the Congress of Vienna in 1815 and to Belgium by the Treaty of Versailles in 1920.

Partially incorporated into the Großdeutsches Reich ("Greater-German Realm"):

  • The General Government; on 12 October 1939 following the annexation of the parts of Poland under German military occupation (corresponding roughly to the share annexed by Prussia during the course of the three partitions of Poland in the late 18th century), the remaining Polish territory passed under civil administration as a governorate called Generalgouvernement für die besetzten polnischen Gebiete ("General Government for the Occupied Polish Territories"). The name was officially shortened to just Generalgouvernement on 31 July 1940 by governor Hans Frank on Hitler's authority. In 1941 eastern Galicia, part of the Habsburg Austrian empire since the First Partition of Poland in 1772, was added to the governorate.

In the coming Nazi New Order, other lands were considered for annexation sooner or later, for instance North Schleswig, German-speaking Switzerland, and the zone of intended German settlement in north-eastern France, where a Gau or a Reichskommissariat centred on Burgundy was intended for creation, and that Heinrich Himmler had ambitions for it to be his SS's very own fiefdom. The goal was to unite all or as many as possible ethnic Germans and Germanic peoples, including non-Germanic speaking ones considered "Aryans", in a Greater Germanic Reich.

The eastern Reichskommissariats in the vast stretches of Ukraine and Russia were also intended for future integration into that Reich, with plans for them stretching to the Volga or even beyond the Urals. They were deemed of vital interest for the survival of the German nation, as it was a core tenet of national-socialist ideology that it needed "living space" (Lebensraum), creating a "pull towards the East" (Drang nach Osten) where that could be found and colonized, in a model that the Nazis explicitly derived from the American Manifest Destiny in the Far West and its clearing of native inhabitants.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Andreas von Arnauld: Völkerrecht, C. F. Winter, Heidelberg 2012, p. 34.
  2. ^ Michael Wedekind (2005). "The Sword of Science". In Ingo Haar; Michael Fahlbusch. German scholars and ethnic cleansing, 1919-1945. Berghahn Books. pp. 111–123. ISBN 9781571814357.