to 1945 were called the Wehrmacht (defence force). In addition to Hitler's stated purpose of acquiring Lebensraum, this large-scale offensivecodenamed Operation Barbarossa was intended to destroy the Soviet Union and seize its natural resources for subsequent aggression against the Western powers. Germany regained control of the Saarland through a referendum held in 1935 and annexed Austria in the Anschluss of 1938. The Coming of the Third Reich. In a referendum held in November, 95 percent of voters supported Germany's withdrawal.