GERMAN ADHERENCE TO INTERNATIONAL LAW DURING WORLD WAR II: THE CASES OF CZECHOSLOVAKIA, POLAND, AND FRANCE

Open Access
Author:
Dilts, Zane Robert
Area of Honors:
Political Science (Behrend)
Degree:
Bachelor of Arts
Document Type:
Thesis
Thesis Supervisors:
  • John King Gamble, Jr., Thesis Supervisor
  • Robert W. Speel, Honors Advisor
Keywords:
  • International Law
  • World War II
  • Germany
  • Poland
  • France
  • Czechoslovakia
Abstract:
Adolf Hitler and the Nazis turned Germany into a country devoid of the rule of law. One would expect this lawlessness to extend to international law. However, this is an oversimplification. The Third Reich appeared to respect international jus ad bellum laws, going to great lengths to offer a fig leaf to the international community prior to their invasions of Czechoslovakia, Poland, and France. However, the nature of Germany’s occupation of these countries undoubtedly violated the international legal rules of occupation stated in the 1899 and 1907 Hague Conventions. At the same time, there are numerous instances of German circumvention of these rules. International law before World War II largely lacked nuance, thus allowing Germany and other belligerent states to appear to be in adherence, while usually transgressing the original intent. I dealt extensively with these breaches of international law committed by the Third Reich in their invasions of Czechoslovakia, Poland, and France, highlighting the limitations of pre-World War II international law as codified in the 1899 and 1907 Hague Conventions.