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This Day In Market History: Hitler's First Aggression

This Day In Market History: Hitler's First Aggression
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Each day, Benzinga takes a look back at a notable market-related moment that occurred on this date.

What Happened?

On this day 82 years ago, Germany entered the Rhineland, breaking the Treaty of Versailles.

Where The Market Was

The S&P 500 was trading at 14.86 and the Dow was at 153.50.

What Else Was Going On In The World?

In 1936, American track star Jesse Owens dominated the Olympics, and construction of the Boulder Dam, later renamed the Hoover Dam, was completed. A gallon of gas cost 10 cents.

First Signs Of German Aggression

Adolf Hitler defied the Treaty of Versailles when he took over the Rhineland in March 1936 in a mostly uncontested invasion. The invasion didn't officially mark the beginning of World War II, but U.S. investors certainly didn’t like what they saw developing in Europe. When the U.S. market reopened the following Monday, the Dow dropped 3.3 percent.

At the time, the U.S. was suffering through the worst part of the Great Depression. Europe was looking to void another war as well, and France and the U.K. did little in response to Hitler’s initial aggression. In September of 1938, Hitler met with France, Britain, and Italy and signed the Treaty of Munich. As part of the treaty, German was given the Sudetanland territory of Czechoslavakia, and Hitler promised peace and an end to his military aggression.

In March 1939, Hitler invaded Czechoslavakia. On Sept. 1, 1939, Hitler invaded Poland. Two days later, Britain and France officially declared war on Germany, starting World War II.

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Image credit: Mihailo1997, via Wikimedia Commons

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