It's early 1935, and Germany is fast at work building up it's ground and air forces. Its Navy, however, which was largely scrapped at the end of World War I, needed an overhaul. The Treaty of Locarno, which imposed a weapons quota onto Germany, stood in the way of Germany's naval prosperity. Hitler had no desire to defy the treaty and agitate the British, who to this day possess one of the world's largest fleets, before he was well prepared. So Hitler initiated negotiations with Britain, and on June 18, 1935 the Anglo-German Naval Agreement was born.

The agreement stated that Germany was allowed to build 45% of the total tonnage of submarines in the British Navy. For every other class of ship, only 35% total tonnage was allowed. The British weren't hesitant at all, and saw no problem in this agreement. They felt a Navy of such a small fraction of their own would bring no threat to the homeland or precious trade routes.

To give an idea of what the Germans had to work with, these are the tonnages that were allowed:

U-Boats (Subs): 42,000 tons
Aircraft Carriers: 47,000 tons
Heavy Cruisers: 51,000 tons
Destroyers: 52,000 tons
Light Cruisers: 67,000 tons
Battleships: 184,000 tons

Britain made a big mistake by allowing Hitler to build more U-boats, thinking that the future scourges of the North Atlantic were harmless. On top of that, Hitler, being one sneaky bastard, lied about the number of ships that were already under construction.

This agreement did nothing in the long run, as it only served to delay the inevitable. One year after the agreement, Hitler abandoned the Treaty of Locarno, thus freeing Germany from any weapon quotas.

World War II - A Photographic History, By: David Boyle

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