Depth Study notes

Was the Weimar Republic
doomed from the start?
Kaiser forced to abdicate
Democratic, Weimar Republic set up
Opposition from the left and right
Many ex-soldiers and civilians despised the new democratic leaders and
came to believe that the heroic leader Field Marshal Hindenburg had
been betrayed by the people
1) Kiel Mutiny
- The morale of the armed forces was low, with despondent soldiers
acknowledging the fact that defeat was inevitable
- There was a secret order by the German Navy to launch a final
suicide attack upon the British Royal Navy
Key facts:
- The sailors steadfastly refused the order on November 3rd 1918
Short term consequences:
- Triggered German revolution
- Kaiser abdicated
Long term consequences:
- Establishment of Weimar Republic
National income was one-third of what it was in 1913
600,000 widows, 2 million fatherless children
By 1925, one-third of budget was war pensions
50% milk production and 60% butter and milk production. Germans
were surviving on turnip (turnip winter of 1916-17) and bread (with flour
mixed with sawdust to make it go further). This happened since farmers
were drafted into the armed forces and the British formed a blockade
preventing imports
 Industrial production was two-thirds of 1913
 Huge gaps between living standards of the rich and the poor
 1.5 million demobilised soldiers, many disillusioned- joining violent
demonstrations against the war and the Kaiser
 German workers bitter about little pay while bosses were war profiteers
 Law and order broke down (especially in Berlin) since Germans were
appalled by the defeat
 750,000 Germans died from combined effects of hunger and disease
Treaty of Versailles terms:
Guilt  Clause 231 gave the sole blame to Germany for starting WW1
Army  army reduced to 100,000, no airforce, navy reduced
Reparations  Set at 6.6 Billion pounds
Land 10% of land, all colonies, 12.5% population, 16% coal, 48% iron
League of Nations  Set up
Anschluss  No union between Austria and Germany
Germany lost 2 million men in the war and these were the main workforce of
Germany. Even then, unemployment rates were alarmingly high.
Hyperinflation ran rampant and the Weimar Republic was in ruins by 1923.
People felt betrayed by the “November criminals” for signing the treaty of
Versailles and thought it was “Dolchstoss” or “a stab in the back”. However,
women became an integral part of society for the first time
 Ebert rose to power and was president from 1919 until his death
in 1925
 Revolts:
1) Spartacist Rising 1919
- To overthrow Ebert’s government and take control
- Wanted a socialist Germany like Russia
- Thought there would be little improvement in the lives of the
working people
Key facts:
- On the 5th of January, the Spartacists (far left communist party led by
Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht) staged at attempted revolution
- In Berlin, they captured headquarters of the government’s
newspapers and the telegraph bureau, hoping that they would
influence others into joining them (but this did not happen)
- The government ordered the army and the Freikorps (anticommunist, right-wing paramilitary group) to stop the uprising. By
the 10th of January, they took over the Spartacist headquarters and
by the 15th the Spartacists were crushed
Short term consequences:
- Over 100 workers killed by the Freikorps
- Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht were killed
- Over the next 4 months, the Freikorps crushed left-wing uprisings in
many cities killing thousands of Communist supporters
Long term consequences:
- Spartacist movement died out since they had no leaders to follow
and the movement did not recover
- Ebert succeeded in putting down the rebellion but at the same time
put his government in the hands of disloyal and violent groups.
2) Kapp Putsch
- The army was very unhappy with the Treaty of Versailles and it hated
the government for agreeing to the restrictions places on them
- Many demobbed soldiers joined the Freikorps
- When Ebert ordered the Freikorps to be disbanded since they had
already put down the Communist uprisings, what followed came to
be known as Kapp Putsch
Key facts:
- Led by Wolfgang Kapp, around 5,000 Freikorps marched into Berlin
and took over
- The government was forced to flee in order to stay safe and the
Freikorps put forward Kapp as the new leader of Germany
- Kapp failed to win much support from the people. In Berlin, workers
declared a general strike. This brought the capital to a halt with no
transport, food or water
- After 4 days, Kapp had to leave since it was impossible to stay in
Short term consequences:
- Kapp was hunted down and died awaiting trial. The rest of the rebels
went unpunished
- It reflected the political instability in the Weimar Republic. In the
summer of 1922, Ebert’s foreign minister Walther Rathenau was
murdered by extremists
Long term consequences:
- Between the unpunished rebels here and Munich Putsch (pardoned
by courts and judges), it was evident that Weimar’s right-wing
opponents had friends in high places
- Revealed the weakness of Ebert’s government
3) Red Rising in the Ruhr
- The leaders of the communist party channelled the anger of the
workers over their bad pay and bad working conditions
Key facts:
- In 1920, a communist “red army” of 50,000 workers occupied the
Ruhr region of Germany and took control of the raw materials (such
as coal)
- The German army and freikorps crushed the uprising
- Over 1,000 workers were killed
Short term consequences:
- The protests did not have a lot of support so they could not manage
to take over anything
4) The occupation of the Ruhr
- Germans did not keep up with their reparations payment in 1922
because the government felt they could not afford it (in reality
reparations payment was 2% of GDP)
- The French were growing impatient since they had to pay war debts
to the USA
Key facts:
- In 1923, French and Belgian troops invaded the Ruhr (an industrial
section of Germany filled with industry such as coal mines, factories
and railway lines) which was quite legal under the Treaty of Versailles
- Troops stole supplies and set up army posts in the streets
- This led to a German Workers Strike where all the workers in the
Ruhr area of Germany refused to work for the French and Belgian
soldiers. This was known as “passive resistance”
- 140 workers were killed during the strike
Short term consequences:
- Germany became even poorer
- To top the lack of production, money was being spent by the
government by paying the workers to remain on strike
Long term consequences:
- The German government decided to this print more money which led
to hyperinflation (in January 1919, $1 was worth 9 marks but by 1923
it was worth over 200 billion marks)
- People in debt
could afford to
pay back their
- Businessmen
found it easier
to pay back
money they
had borrowed
from the bank
to build up
- All savings were lost
- Pensioners, disabled people and the
unemployed did not have enough money to
live on and faced starvation
- Workers wages did not increase with inflation
- Prices would change rapidly
- Food shortages since farmers did not want to
sell food for worthless marks
- Trade was impossible
5) Munich Putsch
- The objective was to overthrow the Weimar government and replace
it with a Nazi government. The plan was to capture Munich and
march to Berlin from there
- Hitler believed it was an opportune time because the Weimar
government was preoccupied by the Ruhr crisis and Stresemann had
just called off passive resistance in the Ruhr. There was also
discontent in Germany due to the hyperinflation. Many nationalists
hated the TOV and were furious when Stresemann called off the
passive resistance and assumed paying reparations
- With this I mind Hitler was convinced that he would receive popular
support in Munich. Hitler thought that his collaborator General
Ludendorff would be able to persuade the army to desert the
government and support his Putsch
- Hitler also thought that he would receive support of the members of
the Bavarian government, because they too were right wing
- He was encouraged by the success of Mussolini in 1922 who had
seized power after a march in Rome
Key facts:
- On November 8th 1923 Hitler and the SA marched into a Bavarian
government meeting, between the Bavarian prime minister and some
businessman, Hitler announced that he was taking over the
government of Bavaria and Nazi storm troopers started taking official
- At gunpoint prime minister Kahr was persuaded to announce that he
supported Hitler’s revolution
- The next day Kahr went back on his promise to support Hitler
- Hitler staged a march through the streets in Munich in order to gain
public support
- Kahr alerted the police and the Weimar
- The Weimar forces responded by rounding up the storm troopers and
killing 16 Nazis
- Hitler and Ludendorff were arrested and charged with high treason.
High treason was a life sentence but Hitler impressed the judges so
much the he only got a five year sentence and Ludendorff was freed.
Short term consequences:
- Nazi party was banned
- It failed
Reasons for failure
 Hitler had miscalculated the mood of the German people and
overestimated the level of support Hitler would have from the people
 The army remained loyal to the Weimar republic and the prime minister
Kahr (Bavaria) alerted the armed police to break up Hitler’s march
 Prior to the putsch the Weimar government had taken decisive action to
depose the left wing state government in Saxony and Thuringia. This
action helped determine the loyalty of leading Bavarian politicians
 Hitler’s Nazi party was small with only 3000 members
Long term consequences:
- Nazi party gained nationwide publicity
- Hitler turned into a nationally known politician and gained enormous
publicity for himself and his ideas as every word he said was reported
in the papers
Hitler used his trial to make long speeches criticizing the government
and setting out his plans for the future of Germany
- It showed Hitler that the Nazi’s would not be able to seize power
because they did not have sufficient military force or the support
from the people for a putsch
- The putsch showed that the SA was no match for the police and the
armed forces in Bavaria and yet this was one of the strongest areas
for the Nazis
- Hitler realized that the only way power could be achieved was by
constitutional means through a ballot box rather than an armed
- That meant developing and building the Nazi party to make it more
acceptable for the electorate and hence building up a power base in
the Reichstag. It resulted in the Nazi party fighting the Reichstag
elections in may 1924
- Hitler only served 9 months of his 5 years in great comfort in
landsburg castle which showed that Hitler had support from
authoritative figures
- While in jail Hitler wrote mien kampf which set out Nazis main beliefs
and became the basis of the parties manifesto in future elections
and rules
The Munich Putsch drew the attention
of the world’s media and provided Hitler
and the Nazi Party with a huge amount of
Hitler subsequently became a political
celebrity within Germany and was seen as
a hero and leader figure by German
Neither the people of Bavaria nor
local military units were willing to give
the Nazis the support they needed for
the Munich Putsch to succeed.
The failure of the Munich Putsch
demonstrated that in 1923, the Nazis
lacked popular support at both a
national and local level.
The failure of the Munich Putsch led
Hitler to understand that the Nazis would
not gain political power by use of force
Hitler decided that the Nazi Party
should reorganize and focus its efforts on
gaining political representation within the
The new Nazi strategy was a vital factor
in their eventual rise to political power in
The failure of the Munich putsch led
to the imprisonment of the Nazi
leadership and the temporary
suppression of the Nazi Party as a
Between 1923 and 1925, the Nazis
were not permitted to hold rallies or
mass meetings in public and the
paramilitary units of the Nazi Party
were made illegal.
Weimar Constitution
The Weimar government was a democracy
- Every adult man or woman over 20 could vote
- A president elected every seven ears was head of state, the chancellor
appointed by the president was the head of government
- Election results were decided by proportional representation*
- This system meant that proportion of votes received by a political party was
approximately equal to the seats in the Reichstag
- This system was considered fair
Article 48:
- This was an article stating that the current president could override the
constitution in times of crisis and rule by his own decree
- This gave the president too much power and undermined respect and
confidence in the new parliamentary democracy
- It was invoked by Ebert 126 times
Forward looking features:
- The granting of equal voting rights to all Germans; men and women were
treated equally under the voting system
- The granting of human and civil rights such as rights to free speech, free
worship, and the holding of public meetings
- In some respects the Weimar constitution was the most democratic and
progressive in the world
Disadvantages of Proportional Representation:
- By allowing a party that won a small proportion of the vote, small extremist
parties were able to gain a foot hold in the Reichstag
- It was extremely difficult for any one party to gain 50% or more seats in the
Reichstag, therefore
all governments were coalition governments, which were short-lived which
created political uncertainty and instability
Stresemann became chancellor in 1924
- Stresemann got rid of the worthless marks and introduced the
rentenmark. The old notes were recalled and burned. 1 rentenmark =
1000 old marks. However, no compensation was given to the people
and so they felt betrayed
- Passive resistance was called off and the French were persuaded to
leave the Ruhr.
- He also organised the Dawes and Young plans
 Dawes plan: Signed in 1924, it did 2 key things. Firstly, it
reduced the amount to an affordable 2,500,00 marks a
year. The plan also gave them more time to do so.
Moreover, it included France withdrawing from the Ruhr
and the Dawes plan set the foundation for the US to loan
$3000 million to Germany over the next 6 years to “Kickstart its economy”
 Young plan: Signed in 1929, it made changes to the
reparations. Annual payment was further reduced to
2,000,000 marks a year and the plan extended the time
Germany had until the completion of payment (58
years). The French also agreed to withdraw from
demilitarized Rhineland for 5 years before the ToV had
otherwise states.
- Stresemann used the American money to build schools, houses and
roads. The money was also given to German businesses and pensions
and wages rose. Some American companies also set up factories in
Germany. By 1928, Germany finally achieved the same level of
production as before the war and regained its status and the world’s
second most industrial power (behind the US)
- Stresemann brought Germany back to the international platform. He
decided to accept the ToV hoping the allies would give them some
land back. In order to do so, he signed the Locarno pact in 1925- a
series of treaties with Britain, France, Belgium and Italy in which
they promised not to invade each other. However Stresemann
avoided giving any guarantees over Germany’s eastern frontiers. At
the same time he agreed to settle peacefully with Poland
Czechoslovakia. The Locarno treaty allowed Germany to join the
League of Nations and normalised German relations with other
great powers
- In 1926, Stresemann took Germany to the League of Nations. Its
status as a great power was recognised and Germany was given a
permanent seat on the council alongside Britain and France
- There were no more attempted revolutions after 1923 and by 1928,
moderate parties had 136 more seats than radical parties.
- Germans thought Stresemann was weak since he had “given in” to
French demands at Ruhr
- Army generals believed that Stresemann should have started building
up the army to take back the land by force
- Used the American money, the culture in Weimar Germany changed
 There had been censorship under the Kaiser but now
there was greater freedom in which criticism of the
government and songs and books mentioning sex were
 Berlin became a hub of art with over 120 newspapers
and 40 theatres. It was known for its night-life
 Women were allowed to smoke and go out alone late
at night
 Bauhaus style of architecture of design developed
 Marlene Dietrich and Fritz Lang were some of the
internationally acclaimed German cinema stars
- The German economy was very dependent on the American
- 6% unemployment by 1928
- Farmers only earned half of national average wage and their food
prices remained low
- Small shopkeepers saw the large businesses (mostly owned by Jews)
as a huge threat
- Vulnerable to money markets and investor confidence
- Trade unions strengthened and strikes grew so heavy industries
struggled to make money
- Coalitions collapsed
- Nazis and communists were building up party organizations
- 30% of vote regularly went to parties that opposed a republic
- Hindenburg (president in 1926) was autocratic and was opposed to
- Orthodox Germans thought it was “Nicht Deutch” or a cultural
Why was Hitler able to dominate
Germany by 1934
In spirit- when Hitler joined the German Workers’ Party in 1919 it had hardly
any members, very little money and no real political programme. Over the next
14 years Hitler made it the most powerful party in Germany
 January 1919, the German workers party was established by Anton
Drexler a Berlin locksmith
 In July 1919, Hitler was appointed intelligence agent of the Reichswehr
/army with the role to infiltrate the DAP. Hitler was employed as a spy
by the army
 Hitler found himself agreeing with many of the DAP ideologies and
approved of the leader Anton Drexler and joined the DAP in September
 Drexler realized Hitler had great talent and put him in charge of
propaganda, publicity and organization of public speeches, and
organization of meetings within a matter of months.
 In February 1920 the party published itself the 25 point program and
renamed itself the national socialist German workers party- Nazi for
short. They adopted the swastika as there emblem
 When the Germans Workers Party which was the fore runner to the Nazi
party was founded in 1919 it was strongly nationalistic and anti-Semitic
 Hitler was discharged from the army in 1920 and became a full time
member of the NSDAP
 These characters remained key features of the Nazi party throughout
the 1920’s
 1921 Hitler replaced Drexler as chairman of the party and insisted that
the headquarters should be in Munich
 Hitler’s energy commitment and his powerful oratory skills attracted
attention very soon
 He stirred nationalist passions in his audience. He gave them scapegoats
to blame for Germany’s problem: the allies, TOV, the communists, the
 In 1921 Hitler setup the SA to protect party meetings and disrupt
opponents meetings. The SA was also known as the storm troopers or
brown shirts.
 In 1923 he attempted the Munich putsch to overthrow the Weimar
government. Though this failed it gave the Nazis a high profile
 In 1924 he wrote Mein Kampf and published it
25 -point program
Do from homework
- Destroy the Treaty of Versailles and end the reparation payments
- Destroy Weimar republic
- Destroy Marxism
- Challenge terror or violence with your own terror or violence
- Remove all jews from all positions of leadership in Germany
- No non-germans to be newspaper editors
- Educate gifted children at state’s expense
- Nationalise important industries (but when they found out
industrialists did not like this point- they immediately dropped it)
- Only those of German blood may be allowed to be German; therefore
no Jewish people allowed as members of the nation.
- All non-German immigration stopped.
- Taking over land in Eastern Europe in order to provide ‘living space’
(Lebensraum) for the growing German population.
- Criminals against the nation should be punished by death.
Provide generous old age pensions.
- Abolish incomes not earned by work (war profiteers)
- Help should be given to small businesses
- Pupils at school should be taught to love their country. Sport and
gymnastics must be compulsory to encourage physical fitness
- Mein Kampf: One strong leader. No democracy allowed; decisions to
be made by one man (not woman). End to Communism. Unite the
Germans in one country (including Austria which Hitler saw as
German). Rebuild an army and take over Eastern Europe. Aryan race
is superior: all other races are inferior.
The SA
Hitler organised the Nazi party along military lines. In 1921 he set up his own
private army called the SA (sturm-Abteilung or stormtroopers). They were the
violent thugs of the nazi party. They were mostly young men- some of whom
were former freikorps. They dressed in brown and were sometimes called the
Brownshirts. Supposedly the SA was formed to protect speakers at Nazi
meetings from intimidation by left-wing opponents. In practice the SA often
started the violence themselves by breaking up meetings of the Social
Democratic Party which often ended in drunken brawls. In 1925 he enlarged
the SA and about 55% came from the unemployed. The SA was important to
the rise of the NAZI party because they attracted further followers to the NAZI
party. Many unemployed and unhappy young people were keen to follow the
NAZI’s because they admired the discipline and fighting qualities of the SA.
The SS
They were like the SA but more loyal to Hitler personally. Initially quite small
but grow in size and importance
The Swastika
Hitler personally designed the Swastika. The colours red, white and black had
also been colours of Germany’s flag under the Kaiser. Very quickly it became
the best known political symbol in Germany
Important Nazi members:
Josef Goebbels: He was the son of an office worker in a factory. Although he
was small and weak, he was very well educated, intelligent and articulate. He
joined the party in 1922. At first he opposed Hitler but soon became his most
influential supporter. He was appointed editor of the Nazi Newspaper
“people’s freedom”
Hermann Goering: WW1 hero. He was a loud, swaggering character who was
witty and charming but also vain and greedy. He joined the Nazi party in 1922
and was put in charge of the SA a year later
Rudolf Hess: WW1 hero. Soft, sensitive and humourless man. He did not crave
power but worshipped Hitler. He was first Hitler’s secretary but later was
responsible for matters of party administration
Heinrich Himmler: Frail, timid and clumsy but also hard-working and very
precise. He joined the party in 1923 and his early posts were as Gauleiter for
various regions
Ernst Rohm: Tough, brutal but efficient leader. He had a very violent temper.
He was a part of the freikorps who crushed the spartacist rebellion. He was a
founding member of the German worker’s party in 1919. He supported Hitler
when he took over as Nazi Leader in 1920 and he set up and ran the SA for
Hitler in 1921
Development of the Nazi party from 1924-28:
 As soon as he was released from prison Hitler set about rebuilding the
Nazi party, so that it could take power through democratic means
 The Nazis organised evening classes in order to make their members
better public speakers (like Hitler, who was a great orator).
 Local leaders of the Nazi Party organised public meetings with visiting
speakers in an attempt to gain more support.
 The Nazis received money from their members, both as donations and
charges to attend their meetings.
 The propaganda they used was very effective and targeted specific
areas/issues that the public felt were important, such as the economy.
 They also adopted the raised right arm as a salute and swastika as their
symbol. This made the Party members instantly recognisable and they
could see who supported the Party if they also saluted.
 Nazi’s fought the Reichstag elections and won 32 seats
 Encouraged by the win Hitler created a network of local Nazi parties
which in turn setup other organizations like Hitler youth, the Nazi
students League, the teachers League and the women’s League, to try to
appeal to certain interest groups
 In 1925 Hitler persuaded the authorities to lift the ban on the Nazi party
 When the ban was lifted Hitler made a speech so critical of the republic
that he was banned from making speeches for two years
 In 1926 a Nazi party rally was held at Weimar. This began the pattern of
military style rallies and parades
 In 1926 Hitler called a party conference and persuaded the members of
the party to re-adopt the original twenty five point programme
 In 1927 branches of the party were set up all over Germany and each
regional organization, or gau, was put under the control of a party
official known as a gauleiter
 Emphasis was placed on expanding party membership, which increased
from 3000 to over 100000, and improving the professionalism of the
party machine. Party activists were given coaching and training in public
speaking, and propaganda methods were refined and improved.
 While the two keystone principles of nationalism and anti-Semitism
remained, the Nazis were prepared to revise any policy to achieve
maximum popularity. For example when the Nazis learnt that they were
getting support from farmers as the farmers were sharing the Weimar’s
prosperity, the Nazi’s highlighted the importance of the peasants in their
plans for Germany promising to help agriculture. They praised the
peasants as racially pure Germans
 Nazis used propaganda to project and contrast the image of the
supposedly immoral crime ridden Weimar culture as compared to the
clean and simple morals and cultures of peasants. They used their hate
for the new Weimar culture to appeal to conservatives in small towns
who saw the new city life and culture as iniquitous.
 In 1925 Hitler enlarged the SA . About 55% of the SA came from the
ranks of the unemployed. Many were ex servicemen from the war.
 He also setup the SS. The SS were like the SA but were fanatically loyal to
Hitler personally. Membership of the party rose by over 100,000 by 1928
 Hitler appointed Joseph Goebbels to take charge of Nazi propaganda.
Goebbels was highly efficient at spreading the Nazi message. He and
Hitler believed that the best way to reach what they called the masses
was by appealing to their feelings rather rational argument. Goebbels
produced posters, leaflets films and radio broadcasts; he organized
rallies he set up photo opportunities
 The Nazis used the SA (Storm troopers/ Brown shirts) first as guards of
the Nazi meetings, so they were not interrupted by other parties.
 By 1928 the SA’s aim was to disrupt the Nazi opposition from spreading
their messages by any means possible.
 The SA also helped to protect the Nazi speakers (like body guards) and
helped deliver propaganda leaflets to people’s homes. They were much
organised but also very violent.
Why did the Nazis have little success before 1930s?
While the Nazi party made considerable progress in terms of its organization,
membership and finances, during the 1920’s, it made little impact in elections,
in May 1924 it achieved 32 seats. However this initial success may have been
because of the publicity enjoyed by Hitler during his Trial after the Munich
putsch. After the 1928 elections there was still a fringe minority party who had
the support of less than 3% of the population. They were the smallest party
with the least amount of seats even less than the communists
Why? Because 1924-29 in Germany was a time of peace and prosperity
 People were content with the Weimar government as economic,
political and international conditions were improving. The German
people had little reason to support a right-wing party
 The party failed to gain the support of the workers who remained strong
supporters of the Social Democrats (SPD). Those workers with radical
views supported the communists
 The Nazi party had been banned for a short time after the Munich
Putsch and could not campaign and build up support
 The failure of the Putsch leading to the imprisonment of the leader for
high treason put people off for supporting them
 Many people hated the violence of the SA who had gained the
reputation of thugs
Events from 1929-33
How it affected people:
The world depression changed the prospect of the NAZI party. From 12
deputies in 1928 they got 107 by 1930
American bankers and business men lost huge amounts of money. And to
pay their debts they demanded their money back from Germany
This caused an economic collapse in Germany
In Germany there was wage cuts, unemployment and homelessness and
poverty on a scale Germany had never seen before. Budget cuts and
pension reduction as well
By 1932 unemployment reached 6 million
Businesses went bankrupt and farmers struggled
Weimar government:
Brunings government actually cut wages, welfare payments and raised
He urged Germans to make sacrifices
This made the Weimar government unpopular and made them look weak
At the same time Stresemann died and germany had lost the most able
politician that had the ability to steer them out of this situation before
Increased support for extremist parties
 In desperation voters changed support to parties who had been most
critical of the Weimar government, the NAZI’s
 The Nazi’s offered the people radical solutions to Germany’s problems
 The Nazi’s 25 points were very attractive, to those who were most
vulnerable to the depression who were the unemployed the elderly and the
middle class
 They promised to destroy the TOV and the saint Germaine treaty and
punish those who stabbed Germany in the back, to restore Germany’s pride
and prosperity and this appealed to the masses
 Their promise of work food and bread was very popular, because they
promised to tackle unemployment with public work schemes and increasing
the armed forces, which would lead to new industries coming up
 The economic depression also boosted the fortunes of the communist
parties, who argued that the root of the problem was the capitalist form of
 This played into the hands of the Nazi’s who were all for capitalism
Hitler’s role
 Hitler was a powerful speaker
 He was ahead of his times as a communicator
 With his brilliant oratory skills he persuaded people that he was speaking to
them individually
 With his energy he appeared a dynamic man of the moment, the leader of a
modern parties with modern ideas
 At the same time he appeared to be a man of the people who knew and
understood their problems
 Hitler ran for president in 1932, despite the defeat the campaign raised his
profile hugely aginst Hindenburg
Campaigning, Joseph Goebbels/ propaganda:
 The Nazi propaganda chief Goebbels created his own version of the events
that transpired between 1929 and 1933
 It portrayed Hitler destined to become Germanys leader
 The Nazi propaganda machine worked at full capacity, as the party message
was spread by thousands of posters pamphlets and broad sheets
 Those already faithful to the party were invited to attend rallies and
 These rallies impressed people with their enthusiasm and sheer size
 Nazi’s relied on generalized slogans rather than detailed policies
 If any point was disagreed with or criticized they simply took it down
 The Nazi’s were masters of spectacle and pageantry and seemed to offer a
hope for a better future
 They were also masters of modern technology, during the 1932 presidential
election where Hitler lost to Hindenburg, the Nazi leader flew by plane from
one speaking venue to the next so he was able to visit 5 speaking venues on
the same day
 The Nazi’s at every opportunity offered scapegoats or culprits for
Germany’s troubles
 They blamed the Jews for the economic problems, communists were
portrayed as scheming revolutionaries in league with the Jews
 The Weimar politicians were branded the November criminals and the
Weimar’s democratic system was scathingly criticized
 The TOV was blamed for all of Germany’s problems
 The Nazi’s offered the people radical solutions to Germany’s problems
 The Nazi’s 25 points were very attractive, to those who were most
vulnerable to the depression who were the unemployed the elderly and the
middle class
 They promised to destroy the TOV and the saint Germaine treaty and
punish those who stabbed Germany in the back, to restore Germany’s pride
and prosperity and this appealed to the masses
 Their promise of work food and bread was very popular, because they
promised to tackle unemployment with public work schemes and increasing
the armed forces, which would lead to new industries coming up
 Many women were also attracted to the party with their promise of family
life and self discipline
Nazi organization in propaganda
 They organized soup kitchens and provided shelter in hostels for the
 There were frequent street battles between communist gangs and the
 Large numbers of unemployed, unruly communists gathered on street
corners, in contrast the SA and SS gave an impression of discipline and
 The Nazi’s were good at raising money for the election campaigns
 While a lot of money came from ordinary members, the Nazi’s also
attracted huge loans from business men like Fritz Thyssen
Negative cohesion:
 People supported the Nazis not because they shared Nazi views, but
because they shared the Nazi fears such as communism
Disillusionment with democracy:
 Dissatisfaction with democracy in Weimar Germany. Politicians seemed
unable to tackle the problems of the depression.
 When the depression began to bite the chancellor actually began to reduce
budgets, which made him and his government increasingly unpopular
 There was a series of chancellors between 1929-1933- Muller, Bruning, Von
Papen and von Schleicher- none of them were unable to tackle underlying
 Increasingly Hindenburg started ruling by presidential decree as the
Reichstag started meeting less and less. In 1930 there were 5 presidential
decrees but by 1932 this number grew to 66
 The impression was that democracy involved politicians squabbling over
which job they would get. Meanwhile, they did nothing about the real
world, where unemployment was heading toward 6 million and the average
German’s income had fallen by 40% since 1929. The Reichstag seemed
The communist threat
 As the crisis deepened the communist support was also rising. The Nazi’s
turned this to their advantage. Fear of communism was another shared fear
 Business leaders feared the communists because of their plans to introduce
state control of businesses. They were also concerned about the growing
strength of Germany’s trade unions
 They knew that communist policy would mean that their industries would
be placed under state control, which they did not want. Hitler promised to
combat the threat of communism. The industrialists began to donate large
sums of money to the Nazi party
 Farmers were also alarmed by the communists. In the USSR, the communist
government had taken over all the land. Millions of peasants had been
killed or imprisoned in the process. In contrast the Nazi’s promised to help
Germany’s struggling farmers
Hitler had a very weak opposition:
 The Nazi’s two main rivals were the SDP and KDP who were not prepared to
work together and stop the Nazis
● The new strides in Weimar culture were considered decadent and a sign of
moral decay
● The Nazi’s used this as a point to bring down the name of the Weimar
● They promised to restore old fashioned German values
Political maneuvering from 1932-33
 After the Reichstag elections of July 1932, the Nazi’s were the largest single
party with the largest number of seats, 230, but not the largest majority
 Hitler demanded the post of the chancellor from the president Hindenburg.
But Hindenburg was suspicious of Hitler and refused him
 He allowed the current chancellor von Papen to carry on
 He then used his emergency powers to carry out the measures von Papen
hoped would solve the unemployment problems
 Without Nazi cooperation von Papen was unable to devise a stable coalition
that would be supported in the Reichstag. As a result there was a second
election in November
 In November 1932 the Nazi’s came out once again as the largest party
although their shares of the votes, which Hitler counted as a disaster as he
had lost 2 million votes and 38 seats in the Reichstag, but they still
remained the largest party in the Reichstag
 Hindenburg again refused to appoint Hitler as chancellor
 Von Papen found that it was still impossible to form a stable coalition and
von Schleicher was appointed
 He was Hindenburg’s advisor and a bitter rival of von Papen, and soon
without Nazi cooperation von Schleicher was forced to resign
 It was clear that the Weimar style of government was not working and
Hindenburg had to invoke article 48 of the Weimar constitution and ruled
by decree. He was supported by army leaders and rich industrialists
 Hindenburg had already overthrown the principles of democracy by ruling
by decree
 At this point Papen began to play the part of the power broker in order to
displace von Schleicher and return to position of political influence
 Through January 1933 Hindenburg and von Papen met secretly with
industrialists army leaders and politicians and on the 30th they offered Hitler
the post of chancellor
 Why? With only a few Nazis in the cabinet and von Papen as vice chancellor
they were confident they could limit his in influence and resist his extremist
 The idea was that the policy would be made by the cabinet which was filled
with conservatives like von Papen and Hitler with his largest single party
would be there to get support in the Reichstag for those policies and to
control the communities
 They thought they could control him like a puppet. But they were so very
Consolidation of his power
 Why did he need to?
 Support for the Nazis was falling (37%  33% during 1932)
 In order to control the Reichstag, Hitler needed over 50% of the vote,
which he did not have.
 Hitler could be dismissed by Hindenburg at anytime
 Apart from Hitler, only two other Nazis had been given positions in the
new government. The nine other positions were filled with allies or
puppets of Hindenburg and von Papen
 Hindenburg planned to use Hitler like a puppet
 Once he was chancellor Hitler took steps to complete the Nazi takeover
of Germany
 He called for an election in March 1933 to get a Nazi majority in the
Reichstag and used the same tactics such as speeches, rallies, street
fighting, but now with the added resources of the state media and
control of the streets
The Rigged German Elections Led To Cynical Psychopathic Nazi Führer
R  Reichstag Fire
G  General Elections
E  Enabling act
L  Local Government
T  Trade Union
C  Concordat
P  Political Parties
N  Night of long knives
F  Führer
Reichstag fire:
 On 27th Feb. the Reichstag building was set on fire
 Marinus van der Lubbe, a dutch man who as a teenager was a
communist was caught at the scene
 this information was used by goering who claimed this was evidence of
the fact that the KPD was trying to overthrow the government
 The night of the fire 4000 communists were arrested and imprisoned
thus removing the threat
 The next day Hitler persuaded Hindenburg to grant him emergency
powers through the Reichstag fire decree which meant that he could act
by his own decree, and gave the police the power to arrest people
without trial
 The Nazi’s used these powers to arrest communists breakup meetings
and frighten voters
 The Nazi’s also closed down their opponents newspapers
 In the march elections the Nazi’s used the police and the SA to put
pressure on the political opponents
 They used the radio to broadcast their anti-communist message. This
helped the Nazi’s get the maximum ever percent of the vote, 44%
Why was the Reichstag fire useful to Hitler:
 Hitler used the burning of the Reichstag building to intensify anticommunist hysteria
 The Nazis hated the Reichstag as it was seen as a symbol of the Weimar
republic, its burning down removed the symbol
 The emergency powers gave Hitler the right to search houses, confiscate
property and detain people without trial
 The fire occurred just before the 1933 elections
General elections- 5 march 1933
Secret meeting were held to raise funds for the nzi party
Hitler was confident he would win a majority
The Nazis won 44% and Hitler was furious
He kept his coalition with the DNVP to control a majority
He arrested 81 communist deputies to give him more seats
Goering became the speaker of the Reichstag
This gave Hitler enough votes to pass the enabling act
It conveyed an important message- everyone was not in favour of the Nazi
ideology but at the same time Hitler would stop at nothing until he became a
Enabling act- March 23 1933:
 Hitler wanted the enabling law as this law would give him the power to
bypass the Reichstag and the president in any decision he would make.
He could also make his own laws without consultations for 4 years
 Legal foundation of his dictatorship
 He needed 66% support of the Reichstag but knew that the social
democrats wanted to boycott his plan
 Herman goering who became the president of the Reichstag found a
constitutional loophole whereby he could deem present any deputy who
was not at the session and did not have a “good reason” for not being
there. Additionally no communist was allowed to vote
 On the day of the vote, to pressurize others, Hitler filled the hall with SA
and SS soldiers. SA soldiers also stopped opposition deputies going in
and beat up anyone who dared to speak against it
 He also shut down the newspaper
 The catholic centre party decided to cooperate as Hitler promised to
protect the catholic Church
 Only the social democrats voted against the Law
 The enabling Law was passed 444 to 94 votes
 -After this the Reichstag voted themselves out of existence and the
Weimar republic and democracy had come to an end
 Germany was now a dictatorship
 There were still a variety of organizations such as the civil service
judiciary army etc. which could undermine him. Therefore he took the
following steps:
Local governments:
Germany was divided into 42 gaus (split region)
Each gau had a gauleteir
Collective gaus was run by a blockleiter
The overall boss was the Gestapo. Heinrich muller was appointed and he
ruled with terror
On 26th April 1933 nazi took over local government and the police
They replaced anti nazi teachers and professors
Gestapo encourages reporting of opponents and “grumblers”
Tens of thousands of jews, communists, protestants, Jehovah’s
witnesses, gypsies, homosexuals, alcoholics and prostitutes were
arrested and sent to concentration camps for something as small as
owning a banned book or saying business was bad
Trade unions:
 The threat they posed was that they could organize a general strike
 On the 2nd of May 1933- Trade unions were abolished, their leaders
arrested, their premises and equipment seized, and their funds were
 Workers had to now belong to a Nazi lead German Labor Front (DAF).
This reduced worker’s pay and took away the right to strike
 On June 20th 1933 Hitler brokered a deal with Pope Pius XI
 The pope wanted Hitler to destroy communism. He did not mind Hitler
banning the Catholic Zentrum Party as long as he left the catholic church
 This was very useful to hitler since there were 22 million catholics in
 The reich concordat was drawn with 32 articles
Political parties:
 The threat they posed was that they could challenge him in elections
and undermine his absolute power
 On July 14 1933, A law was introduced against the establishment of
 By this point the SDP and KDP were banned and other parties were
broken up
 All existing party leaders were put in prison
 Germany became a one party state
Civil service:
 Threat from civil service: they could stall procedures, making it difficult
to introduce Nazi laws
 The civil service were purged of all Jews and enemies of states as per
Hitler, in order to make it loyal and reliable
18 state governments:
 Those state governments could have pursued not Nazi policies
 Nazi state governors were appointed to make state laws
 Hitler later abolished these governments
 The new officials had the power to make state laws
 A law was introduced where all political parties apart from the Nazi
parties were banned. Germany became a one party state
The night of the Long knives:
 A significant threat to Hitler came from within the Nazi party
 The SA had become a major problem as they now had 3 million
 Rohm the Leader of the SA, wanted to merge the SA into the German
army and gain control of it
 Hitler feared that Rohm’s control over the 4 million SA men made him a
 Himmler and Goering convinced Hitler that Rohm was a threat, as they
were jealous of his power
 Rohm wanted a second revolution to put socialist policies into practice
 Hitler no longer needed the SA as he had the SS, and he was
embarrassed by the continual violence of the SA
 Hitler had another reason for attacking the SA; he wanted to reassure
the army and their leaders
 The army was smaller than the SA. However it was well trained, modern
and disciplined, it was the only organization that could overthrow Hitler
 The army was supported by powerful businessmen who wanted Hitler to
expand the army and buy new weapons
 Rohm’s left wing views were offensive to these businessmen who Hitler
now wanted to work with
 He wanted to show the SA leaders who was in control Rohm or Hitler
 He chose between the army and the SA
 On 30th June 1934 squads of SS men broke into the homes of Rohm,
and 400 other members of the SA, and arrested them
 Hitler accused Rohm of plotting a revolution to overthrow and murder
 They were dragged from their beds to Nazi headquarters where they
were shot dead
 After Rohm refused to commit suicide he too was shot dead, von
Schleicher was also murdered even though he had no connection with
 The army was completely reassured that Hitler favored them over the SA
 The SA were not disbanded. The SA was brought firmly under the control
of Hitler’s leadership. Many of the members were absorbed by the army
or SS
 Hindenburg thanked Hitler for his action which nipped treason in the
 In august of 1934, Hindenburg died
 Hitler took over as president as well as chancellor. He became supreme
 The entire army swore an oath of loyalty and agreed to stay out of
 In return Hitler spent vast sums on rearmament, reintroduced
conscription and promised to make a vow to glorify a greater Germany
By the end of 1934 Hitler was in a completely different position:
Papen had resigned.
Hindenburg was dead and Hitler was now President, as well as
Chancellor. (Remember the President appoints the Chancellor).
The army had taken an oath of personal loyalty to Hitler.
The Nazis were the only political party.
All threats to the Nazi party had been removed.
Hitler had the power to introduce any law he wanted.
The Nazi Regime
(a) How effectively did the Nazis control Germany, 1933–45?
Why was there little opposition to the Nazi’s?
Hitler had setup a police state to remove any opposition to the Nazi’s by terror. The Gestapo
was most feared as they could arrest citizens, and send them to camps without trial
The SS were responsible for the concentration camps, and had the primary job of destroying
opposition to Nazism
The top jobs in the police, were given to high ranking Nazi officials
And the courts were appointed by Nazi’s themselves so a fair trial was impossible
The Gestapo had a huge network of informers and encouraged people to snitch on their
neighbours, and kids to inform on their parents.
Anyone criticizing or opposing the Nazi’s were killed, exiled or put into prison
The Nazi success
Many Germans admired Hitler’s economic success and trusted Hitler’s decisive leadership
The economic recovery under the Nazi’s was deeply appreciated
Many people felt that the Nazi’s were bringing discipline back to Germany by resorting to
traditional values
Hitler’s success in foreign affairs made Germans believe that Germany was a great power
with an empire, unlike the humiliation after world war one.
Hitler’s firm line against the communists was very popular
Economic fears
German workers feared losing their jobs if they expressed any opposition
People were terrified by the prospect of unemployment, because of the depression
Businesses that did not contribute to the Nazi party funds risked bankruptcy
Goebbels propaganda maintained the positive image of Hitler.
Germans found very little about the bad things that were happening
All other political parties had been banned
People had no one else to turn to.
The Edelweiss pirates
- Established in late 1930s by youth in west Germany
- Wasn’t a formal organisation, rather a band of people
- They opposed the Hitler Youth and what it stood for (slogan
“Everlasting war on Hitler Youth”
- They went camping and sang songs but openly mocked Germany and
sometimes attacked Hitler Youth leaders
- They wrote anti nazi graffiti on walls
- They were also active in helping allied airmen evade capture
- They were rebellious (listened to jazz music and grew their hair long
What happened to them
- Unlike other minorities the government couldn’t send them to
concentration camps since they were potential workers and soldiers
- They initially decided to ignore them
- Since the activity grew too much in 1944 a group of 13 “Navajos” was
caught in Cologne and were hanged (charged with helping the
enemy). Over 700 were arrested during the Nazi era
Swing kids
- Informally formed in the mid 1930s by mostly more wealthy, upper
or middle class high school students
- They rejected Nazi attempts at directing the German youth into an
appreciation of “Germanic Culture”
- To rebel they listened to jazz music (which was banned by Hitler since
it was “degenerate music” with African American roots) and dressed
in American fashion
- They talked a lot
- Initially started off as a way for young Germans to express their
feelings but soon began openly defying Nazi ideology as they didn’t
like the censorship
White Rose
- Established in the early 1940s by Hans and Sophie Scholl who were
students at the university of Munich
- They would vote and distribute anti-Nazi leaflets around their
university calling for an increase in “passive resistance” against the
- The leaders were arrested by the Gestapo in 1943 and executed for
Religious opposition
Catholic church:
- Hitler was deeply concerned about religious opposition since there
were 22 million catholics in Germany (who could be influenced),
many of whom were deeply religious
- The Concordat stated that Hitler would safeguard the rights of the
Church in regards to youth groups, education and appointments
- As Hitler broke the concordat, the pope had a letter smuggled into
Germany (the encyclical) in 1937 to be read out aloud in all catholic
churches condemning the Nazis
- There were protests against taking crucifixes out of schools
- The bishop of Munster Clemens ran a successful campaign against
euthanasia of disabled people due to which it stopped temporarily
Protestant churches:
- The Protestant Lutheran Church was joined together to form the Nazi
“Reich Church” (headed by the protestant Ludwig Muller)
- In the Reich church, leading Nazis would oversee the messages being
read at each sermon, but many Germans felt their true loyalties lay
with their original churches in their local areas rather than the state
approved church
- Goebbels attempted to introduced a Volks ( peoples religion), which
was a pagan faith, focused on worshipping the Nazi symbols in the
form of the sun for strength etcetera but was not popular
- Many formed their own “Confessional church” based on the anti-nazi
ideal of socialism
- They did not have much impact since they were not united and acted
in self interest
- Prominent pastors like Niemöller (who formed a rival church to the
Nazi Reich Church) and Bonhoeffer were arrested and sent to
concentration camps. Niemöller narrowly survived while Bonhoeffer
died in 1945
- Hundreds of catholic priests and protest ministers were imprisoned
under the Nazis
Military opposition
- Many German military leaders a part of “The Kreisau Circle”
questioned Hitler’s judgement and his policies
- By 1944 Germany was losing the war and many generals felt Hitler
was leading Germany to disaster
- In 1944 a senior officer- Colonel Von Stauffenberg managed to plant
a bomb in the conference room were hitler was meeting. The bomb
went off however somehow Hitler still survived. Within 24 hours the
Valkyrie/ July bomb plot (as it is known) was ended. Hitler ordered a
round up of those responsible. Many were hanged by piano wire and
Stauffenberg was shot. Over 5,000 executions took place in the July
bomb plot
Hitler set up a police state to remove any opposition to the Nazis. Hitler was
the overall head but important figures such as Goebbels, Goerring (army head)
Heydrich (Gestapo boss) Himmler (SS Head) were known as Reichsleiters.
 The Gestapo was a secret state police which investigated any opposition
 Under Heydrich Gestapo agents had sweeping powers
 They could tap telephones, open mails and collect information from a
huge network of informers (who reported people they believed were
‘anti-nazi’, in order to discover the enemies of the state and eradicate
 They could arrest citizens on suspicion, torture them and send them to
concentration camps without trial
 They were the most feared of the Nazi organization and promoted
 The primary responsibility of the SS was to destroy opposition to NAZIism
 The role was to carry out the racial policies of the Nazi’s
 The SS had 3 branches: 1) SS forces for national security 2) the Waffen SS
were special who fought in the army 3) Death Head Units who ran
concentration camps
 Led by Heinrich Himmler who imposed very high physical standards (had
to be recognisably Aryan)
 They were fanatically loyal to Hitler, and were highly trained.
 By 1939 it had 240,000 members
 They had unlimited power to search houses, confiscate property and
arrest people frightened of speaking out.
 Ordinary police force continued their normal work
 Top jobs in the local police force were given to high ranking Nazi
officials, who reported to Himmler.
 the police added political snooping to their normal role, and ignored
crimes committed by Nazi agents
 Nazi officials replaced all the judges so the judges, courts and
magistrates were under the Nazis
 Opponents of Nazism rarely received a fair trial
 Number of offences carrying the death penalty went up from 3 in 1933
to 46 in 1943 (it included listening to foreign radio stations, having a
sexual relationship with a jew and being a habitual criminal)
Concentration Camp:
 They were run by the SS death head units
 Prisoners were forced to do hard labor for nazi-owned businesses
(Himmler owned over 150 companies who used slave labour to make all
kinds of goods including munitions)
 Death in the camps were very common
 Anyone who criticized the Nazi’s such as Jews, Socialists, communists,
trade unionists and church leaders ended up there.
Local Wardens:
 Nazis had a strong local structure
 Every town was divided into small units called blocks
 The Block Warden, a local Nazi, visited every home in the block each
week, collecting donations to the Nazi Party and checking in on
 The Block Warden wrote a report on everyone who lived in the block.
This could affect whether or not you got a job.
 The Warden noted any signs of ‘independent thinking’ such as not flying
the Nazi flag on celebration days, or not being enthusiastic about Hitler
and his achievements.
 Hitler and the NAZI’s used propaganda very effectively to promote
the NAZI party, control and indoctrinate the German people
 From 1933 Goebbels was made minister for enlightenment and
 He controlled the news, radio, films, books, plays, art and decided
what the people should and should not hear. There were strict rules
about what people could write and publish
 The media and arts were supervised to ensure that only ideas that
would make the Germans loyal to Hitler and the Nazi’s were used.
The German people were constantly subjected to NAZI ideas and
molded their opinions
o In 1933, books that were not in keeping with the NAZI policy
were publicly burned and over 2500 writers were banned
(these included books written by communists and socialists or
jews or containing any ideas they disapproved of)
o By burning books they were preventing people from reading
and thinking beyond the Nazi messages
o All new books were censored by the Goebbels ministry
o Only Nazi approved painters and artists could show their work
o These were usually paintings or sculptures of heroic-looking
Aryans, military figures or images of the ideal Aryan family
The Newspapers:
o The newspapers were not allowed to print anti-Nazi ideas, and
anti-NAZI newspapers were closed down.
o Jews were banned from owning or working for newspapers
o Goebbels’ Ministry of Propaganda sent out daily instructions
for all remaining newspapers, telling them what to print, what
kind of pictures to publish and what ‘angle’ they should take on
the news.
o Display boards were set up in public places so everyone could
read the newspapers.
o Newspaper circulation decreased by 10% under the Nazis
o By 1944 there were only 1000 daily newspapers (most
controlled by the Nazis) out of the 4700 ones in 1933
The Cinema:
o The cinema had to carry a pro Nazi message.
o The news reels which preceded the featured films showed the
massive achievements Of Nazi Germany and the greatness of
o Goebbels personally censored all foreign films coming into
o Cinema was very popular in the 1930s and over a 1000 films
were made during the third reich
 Music by black, Jewish or American artists was banned. Jazz was banned.
 Posters, books, leaflets, promoting NAZI ideas were everywhere, from
street bill-boards to school books
 Goebbels saw the potential for radio broadcasting for spreading the
NAZI message.
 The Nazi regime was quick to harness the new technology of radio as a
propaganda weapon. They formed the Reich Radio company which
controlled all local radio stations
 To sustain the widest possible audience the government produced
millions of the people’s radio, costing only 35 Reich marks.
 By 1939 over 70% of German households had radios
 Radiobroadcasts had the twin advantages of commanding authority and
of establishing comfortable intimacy between the Fuhrer and his people
 Hitler personally made 50 broadcasts in 1933
 Hitler’s and other Nazi leaders speeches were played on the radio played
over and over*, until the ideas expressed in them such as German
expansion in Europe, and inferiority of the Jews came to be believed by
the German people.
 Listening to BBC was punishable by death.
 Just in case people didn’t have a radio, Goebbels placed loudspeakers in
public places and bars
 The Nazi’s exploited the techniques of enforced communal listening, in
factories, schools, offices and shops
*Goebbels once said, “A lie told once is a lie but a lie told a thousand times
becomes the truth”
Nuremburg Rallies:
 Nuremburg rallies were yearly festivals to display German strength,
organization, and for Hitler to impress the crowd with his brilliant
speeches. The rallies brought colour and excitement into people’s lives.
 They gave them a sense of belonging to a great movement, and showed
the German people the power of the state, and convinced them that all
Germans supported the NAZI
Olympic games 1936:
o was a great propaganda opportunity to create the best
facilities and to show that Germany was an advanced civilized
and successful nation. It was a showcase for showing the Aryan
race was superior to all races. Germany won 33 gold medals.
What did Hitler hope to achieve from staging the 1936 games? What
actually happened?
 was a great propaganda opportunity both within Germany and
 Hitler thought the Olympics could be a showcase for their doctrine that
the Aryan race is superior to all other races.
 It would show the world the achievements of Nazi Germany and its
technical efficiency.
 Germany would be presented as a modern civilized and successful
 To achieve this Goebbels built a brand new stadium that could hold
100,000 people. Modern electric lighting was used along with television
cameras, and sophisticated photoelectric stopwatches were installed
 America initially refused to come, owing in large part to the prevalent
anti-Semitism. In response, the Nazis included a token Jew in their team
 49 countries participated
What happened?
 Foreign visitors were highly impressed with the scaled of the stadium,
excellence of the facilities, and efficiency of the organization
 Germany came top of the medal table, by winning 33 gold’s, 26 silver,
and 30 bronze medals.
 To Hitler’s great dismay, Jesse Owens a black sprinter from America
shattered 11 world records, and won 4 gold medals.
Hitler sought total control of all forms of media because to him, media was the
most effective way of propaganda. Through the radio he continually
broadcasted his speeches, and the speeches of other Nazi leaders. These ideas
were put forth continuously, and were indoctrinated. With the total control of
the media, Hitler could ensure that his opposition had no means of publishing
their anti-Nazi message, hence providing some measure of security to Hitler’s
power. Additionally, with the continuous broadcast of Nazi controlled media
and radio, the German people were lead to believe that Hitler had no
opposition and believed that the Nazi way was the only way. Furthermore,
media was used as a popularity campaign, and showcased just how popular
Hitler was. Rallies, such as the Nuremburg rally could be broadcasted, and this
helped motivate common people, to become pro-Nazi. By controlling cinema,
Goebbels incorporated a short film before each movie which emphasized
Hitler’s achievements. Goebbels also realized that propaganda, in the form of
the radio, would be a highly effective and economical way of spreading the
Nazi message. The Nazi ideas gradually were accepted by the people, and the
idea of territorial expansion, was embedded within the minds of the Germans.
Another message that the radio helped spread, was the message of antiSemitism. Writers were banned, and state approved books were published,
because the old books might have had an anti-Nazi message. Art was also
controlled by the state, and paintings which portrayed the Aryan race as
superior were allowed to be exhibited. Music that was black, Jewish or Romani
was banned.
In the 1936 Olympics, the Nazi’s used media effectively to spread the idea of
Aryan dominance and superiority, with Germany finishing top of the table.
 The Nazi’s believed in the superiority of the Aryan race. They believed
that Aryan’s were naturally superior in terms of, intelligence, physique
and work ethic.
 To preserve the superiority of the Aryan race, it was essential, to
discourage contact between Germans and minorities
 They persecuted any group they thought challenged Nazi ideas
 Homosexuals were a threat to Nazi ideals of family life and Aryan
 Gay men and women were forced to register, and some were castrated,
or sent to concentration camps and used for medical experiments
Disabled, and mentally handicapped
 They were not considered a part of the perfect master race
 They thought that German society would be healthier without them.
Since they did not contribute to the economy they were a burden on the
 The Nazi’s felt that both mentally and physically disabled people did
not fit in to society
 over 300,000 men and women were compulsorily sterilized (negative
eugenics), between 1934-45
 A euthanasia program started in 1939. And severely mentally
handicapped children and men were killed, either by injection or
 Between, 39-41, 70,000 mentally ill patients were gassed
Gypsies and Blacks
 were thought to be inferior people
 Over 80% of Gypsies were killed by the Nazi’s
People of eastern European descent
 Were considered racially inferior and were treated harshly.
 They were robbed of their citizenship
Other undesirables:
People who:
 refused to pull their weight
 Or indulged in alcohol or drug addiction
 Work shy
Hitler regarded these people as a strain on the resources of the state, and
these resources could be better deployed supporting the fit and healthy. They
contributed little and cost vast sums of money on welfare.
 Resentment against such as these people, such as juvenile delinquents,
alcohol, drug addicts was increased by propaganda campaigns
 Sterilization law was passed in 1933 and thousand wee sterilized, and
others were sent to camps.
The Jews
 Nazi’s persecuted the Jews because they undermined the superiority of
the Aryan.
 Hitler knew that many Jews were wealthy businessmen or had well
paying jobs
 He believed that the Jews were sub-human and should not be more
successful than the Aryans
 Hitler blamed Jewish businessmen and bankers for Germany’s defeat in
the First World War. He thought they had forced the surrender of the
German army
 The persecution of Jews was also religious, because many people
blamed them for the death of Jesus Christ
 Since 1933 when Hitler came to power, he began to use the powers of
the state against the Jews.
 Jews were banned from civil service
 They were banned from other jobs that involved public services, such as
broadcasting and teaching
 SA and SS troops organized boycotts of Jewish shops and businesses
which were marked with a Star of David.
Nuremburg laws:
 In 1935, the Nuremburg laws took away many rights from the Jews. They
lost their German citizenship
 They were forbidden to marry a non Jew
 They couldn’t hold a government job
 They had to wear a yellow star
 Goebbels propaganda bombarded German children and families, with
anti-Semitic messages.
 Jews were often refused jobs. People in shops refused to serve them. In
schools Jewish children were humiliated and segregated
 Jews weren’t allowed to have sex with German citizens.
 They weren’t allowed to own radios, typewriters or bicycles.
 Jews weren’t allowed to own their businesses.
 Jews were banned from cinemas, theatres and concert halls.
 Jews were not allowed to buy Newspapers
 They were not allowed to attend state schools or universities.
 Male Jews were forced to add the name ‘Israel’ and female Jews were
forced to add the name ‘Sarah’.
 In 1938, an angry Jew killed a German diplomat in Paris. Hitler seized this
opportunity, to increase the persecution of the Jews and extract violent
 Plain clothed SS troopers were issued pickaxes and hammers, and were
given the addresses of Jewish businesses.
 Kristallnacht, was a night of smashing Jewish homes, shops, rioting and
 91 Jews were killed
 100s of synagogues were burned, and 20,000 Jews were sent to
concentration camps (Dachau, Buchenwald and then in Poland
Treblinka, and Auschwitz)
 1000s of Jews left Germany and were encouraged to do so.
 ‘Final solution’: in 1942, at the Wannsee conference, the final solution
was determined, where the concentration camps were to have gas
chambers, to systematically kill the untermenschen (underclass)
 Himmler was put in charge of the systematic killing of all the Jews within
Germany, and German occupied territory
 Slave labour and death camps were setup such as Dachau, Buchenwald
and Auschwitz, and then in Poland Treblinka,
 The old the young and the sick were killed immediately. Able bodied
people were used as slave labour and appalling medical experiments.
 6 million Jews, 500,000 European Gypsies, countless political prisoners,
homosexuals, Russian and Polish POW’s were sent to this camp
Ultimately the groups could be classified as:
 Those who wouldn’t work. Habitual criminals, tramps, beggars,
alcoholics and others like them were seen as useless. They were
rounded up in 1933 and 500,000 of them sent to concentration camps.
 Those who couldn’t work. The physically disabled and mentally ill were
also regarded as a burden. From 1938 onwards the Nazis began to put
these people to death in the gas chambers. Around 35,000 men and
women who were said to produce ‘inferior’ offspring or who carried
inherited conditions were compulsorily sterilised. People who lived in
hospitals were often murdered in their beds and their bodies dumped,
buried or burned by hospital staff.
 Those who did not fit into ‘normal’ families. This included homosexuals,
who were savagely persecuted. About 15,000 were arrested and sent to
concentration camps. Many were castrated or used in medical
experiments. Himmler was shocked to discover several homosexuals in
the SS and ordered them to be sent to a camp where they were ‘shot for
trying to escape’.
 Those who would not make Hitler their first loyalty. Socialists and
Communists refused to do this for political reasons and Jehovah’s
Witnesses for religious reasons. All were put into concentration camps.
 Those who were not ‘Aryans’. This included black people, Gypsies and
Jews. Around 385 black Germans were compulsorily sterilised. Gypsies
were harassed for two reasons: they were not Aryans and they did not
do ordinary work. Gypsies were put into concentration camps and
around 500,000 later killed in death camps.
The Holocaust
‘Holocaust’ meaning ‘total destruction’ is name given to the events in Germany
in which the Nazis began the systematic extermination of millions of European
Jews, Roma or Gypsies, Slavs, intellectuals, homosexuals and political
prisoners. In 1939, before the war, there were over 350,000 Jews living in Nazi
Germany. As the Nazis invaded Poland and the USSR, 6 million Jews came
under their control. Behind the invading armies were special SS killing squads
called the Einsatzgrüppen. They rounded up Jews in each town, took them out
into the country and ordered them to dig a trench. The Jews were then shot
and fell into the trench which became a mass grave.
The Ghettos
In Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Lithuania, Jews were forced into
separate areas of the cities, called ghettos. The Warsaw ghetto, for example,
held 400,000 Jews, 30% of the population of the city, in a tiny area, surrounded
by a 3m high wall. The ghettos were shut off from the rest of the city and were
crowded and filthy. Food, water and power were cut off. Hundreds of Jews
died there every day and anyone who tried to leave was shot.
The Final solution
The established ghettos in occupied Poland held Jews from all of the Nazi
occupied areas. Polish and Western European Jews were deported to these
ghettos. During the German invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941, mobile killing
(Einsatzgrüppen) began killing entire Jewish communities. The methods used,
mainly shooting or gas vans, were soon regarded as inefficient and as a
psychological burden on the killers. After the Wannsee Conference in January
1942, the Nazis began the systematic deportation of Jews from all over Europe
to six extermination camps established in former Polish territory. They all had
good railway links so Jews could be brought in from all over Europe; a journey
of several days. Each of these camps had gas chambers capable of killing 2000
people at once, and large ovens to dispose of the bodies; Auschwitz-Birkenau
(the largest death camp, had killed over 1,100,000 people), Chelmno (over
150,000 Jews were killed here), Belzec (at least 600,000 Jews, mainly from
Poland and several thousand Gypsies were killed here), Sobibor (at least
300,000 Jews as well as thousands of Soviet prisoners of war killed here),
Treblinka (a tiny camp, only 600 by 800 metres. At least 850,000 Jews, mainly
from Warsaw, but also Europe were killed, as well as over 2000 Gypsies and
Roma) and Majdanek (60,000 Jews from all over Europe as well as non-Jewish
Poles and Russians were killed here). Extermination camps were killing centres
designed to carry out genocide. About three million Jews were gassed in
extermination camps. These camps were designed differently from the earlier
concentration camps; those camps were not built to kill people, although
thousands did die from brutality, disease and starvation. In every country that
the Nazis ruled, lists of Jews were drawn up. They were then taken from their
homes and put on trains. On arrival, the camp inmates walked past a Nazi
doctor who indicated whether they should go left or right: left to work or right
to the gas chambers. About 80% of the arrivals were killed at once; those put
to work normally only lasted a few months before dying of malnutrition and
In its entirety, the "Final Solution" consisted of gassings, shootings, disease and
starvation that accounted for the deaths of about six million Jews- two-thirds
of European Jewry, as well as Gypsies, homosexuals and around 4 million
Russian prisoners of war.
Carl Friedrich, a political thinker, defines a totalitarian state as a state that has:
1) An official ideology
 Nazis: Pure German race, Anti Semitism among other values and
2) A single mass party
 Nazis: All other parties were banned
3) Police control based upon terror
 Nazis: No room for dissent…for eg the SA was purged + Gestapo
4) Total control over the media
 Nazis: radio, cinema, newspapers and books
5) Total control over armed forces
 Nazis: Oath of loyalty to Hitler
6) Total control of the economy
 Although can rebut saying they tried**
The Nazi party gets a score of 5/6
**Another point for the other side is talking about how there was opposition
(but the rebuttal will be how they were crushed)
Political system Nazi Germany was a one party state with Hitler was the leader. Political
opponents placed no threat. Virtually all aspects of political life in Germany were
Economy was largely in the hands of private enterprise which enjoyed a measure
of independence
Nazi control over German society was extensive but not complete. A significant
minority of teenagers rebelled against conformity
Mass media and In this aspect Nazi control was more or less complete through the use of
The Nazis never managed to control the Catholic church. Attempts to form the
Reich church were not successful
Nazi Germany was a totalitarian state. How far do you agree with
this statement?
A totalitarian state can be defined as a state which controlled media, the
economy, had no opposition, and controlled all aspects of private life,
including religion. In accordance to this definition Nazi Germany fulfills some of
the criteria while, it doesn’t others.
On the political front, Nazi-Germany was a single party state with Hitler, a
strong leader at its front. The Nazi’s made sure that most citizens were loyal to
them, and investigated any opposition by setting up a police state. The SS
which had the primary responsibility of destroying any opposition to Nazi-ism,
acted violently using fear to control the common people. Another feared
organization of Nazi Germany was the Gestapo. They had sweeping powers to
confiscate property and relied on a network of informers to determine the
loyalty of the people to Hitler, and filter out any opponents. Since their driving
force was fear, most people cooperated with the SS and Gestapo, hence
leaving hardly any opposition from the people. Furthermore all other political
parties were banned.
The government regulated and intervened especially in the industries
associated with war production. Since the Nazi’s had promised to increase
employment through new industries, they started rearming. All arms
producing industry was brought under state control, nationalizing it, and in a
way making the economy dependent on the state. The Nazi controlled German
labour front also took over all directing all work forces, thereby making the
workers dependent on the Nazi’s in large industries; hence further bring the
economy under Nazi control.
Socially the Nazi’s had an extensive reach. Through propaganda the Nazi’s
indoctrinated millions of Germans, as they controlled literature, radio, film, art
and the newspaper. This propaganda was absolute and saw little to no
opposition. The Nazi’s exercised considerable control over German women and
children, through organizations such as Hitler youth, Hitler maidens, and
policies which encouraged traditional family values. This made the next
generation mostly under Nazi control, by controlling them from a young age
and instructing them how to go about daily life, and how to live a state
approved life. The ‘Strength Through Joy’ program was also encouraged which
organized the leisure time for many adults, which again was state approved.
On the religious front the Nazi’s managed to come to an understanding with
the Catholic Church which retained its independence, through the concordat, a
pact between the Vatican and the Nazi’s in which the Nazi’s promise to leave
the Churches alone as long as they stayed out of politics. The Nazi’s also
introduced a state approved protestant Church, called the Reich Church, which
furthered the control of the Nazi’s in people lives.
Though the Nazi’s were successful in eliminating opposition, there were still
considerable political opponents. The communists, The KDP, formed a cell of
30,000 members who operated underground, producing anti-Nazi newspapers,
which undermined total state control. The social democrats too posed a threat
to the Nazi party, as they too operated underground and produced anti-Nazi
leaflets. Though they never posed a serious threat to the regime, thanks to the
Gestapo, they did form prominent resistance, and defied the regime.
The economy could never truly be under state control, because it was largely
in the hands of private enterprises; most industries and financial services
enjoyed a measure of independence. Since the Nazi’s relied on private
industries for funding, the economy could never really be under their control
as they themselves did not have total control of the industry.
Though the Nazi’s did control people private lives, young rebellious resistance
groups also existed. These resistance groups consisted primarily of teens, such
as the Edelweisspiraten, and Die Weiss Rose, who criticized the regime and
told dirty jokes about it and insulted it. The Nazi police generally ignored them
but 12 members of the pirates were hanged in 1944 as an example for helping
deserters and escaped prisoners. Die Weiss Rose also produced pamphlets on
anti Nazi propaganda. Die Weiss Rose’s leaders Sophie and Hans Scholl were
killed as well. However, their existence proves that the Nazi control of social
life was far from complete.
On the religious front, many of the bishops spoke out against the regime. The
founding of the Confessional Church founded by Martin Niemöller frustrated
Nazi attempts to make one uniform Church; the Reich Church.
In conclusion, therefore it is fair to conclude that while Nazi Germany aimed at
being a totalitarian state, there were many criteria that weren’t met, and they
so faced opposition on almost every front, with the media as the main
exception, they were far from it.
(b) What was it like to live in Nazi Germany?
Hitler once said, “He who owns the youth, gains the future”
 For Hitler to achieve his thousand year Reich, it was imperative, that the
younger generations of Germans be fully immersed In Nazi ideology
 The indoctrination of young people, therefore, became a primary
objective so that the new generation of Germans would give Hitler their
unquestioning loyalty
 When these people reached adulthood they would support the Nazi
policies without question.
 Hitler wanted to train the young boys, in Hitler youth, for the army and
great emphasis was placed on physical fitness and military training, to
prepare boys for their adult-role as soldiers
 The girls were also trained in Hitler maidens, to prepare for motherhood
 It was also a good way of ensuring adults followed the Nazi policies
because children were taught to report their parents for simple broken
rules such as telling anti-Nazi jokes or listening to foreign radio stations.
 Through the membership of Hitler youth and Hitler maidens
 Through indoctrination in education, through controlled school
curriculum promoting Nazi ideas.
 Through Nazi controlled propaganda such as radio
Hitler youth
 The Hitler youth organization was under the leadership von Schirach.
 Hitler youth was organized into separate sections for boys and girls, and
for different age groups
 From 1936 membership became virtually compulsory
 Boys:
o Hitler Youth was designed to make boys into soldiers
o They were taught basic military training and discipline, with a host
of activities to enhance fitness, such as athletics, running etcetera.
o There was also political indoctrination with members having to
learn about the evils of the Jews, and the injustices of the peace
o The organization also offered a variety of leisure pursuits, with an
excellent chance to enjoy all outdoor life and music.
o They were taught drill, camp craft, map reading, cleaning and
firing a rifle.
 Girls
o at 14 joined the Hitler Maidens (league Of German maidens), and
were prepared for motherhood, together with an emphasis on
fitness, they were also taught domestic skills, such as sewing,
cooking, and managing a household budget
o Members were also encouraged to inform on anyone who
criticized the regime be it their own teachers or even their parents
to weed out dissent.
o There was also political indoctrination with members having to
learn about the evils of the Jews, and the injustices of the peace
o Activities on training girls on how to bring up a baby
o There were sessions on German history folk dancing and singing
o The girls were encouraged to go to camps which involved outdoor
training, in activities like running, Jumping, swimming, to ensure
health for a future German mother
 Hitler appointed Rust to the Reich minister for science education and
 Schools were controlled by the Nazi Ministry of Education
 It was rust’s task to purge the teaching profession of Jewish and left
wing teachers, and enforcing a new syllabus which taught Nazi ideology
 The teachers had to swear an oath of loyalty to Hitler, and joined the
Nazi teacher’s league.
 The new curriculum allowed extra time for physical education (15% of
the curriculum was PE) in order to make sure the new generation was fit
to serve the military.
 History was studies as a means of politically indoctrinating Germans
about their pasts
 The children learnt that the German army was stabbed by the back in
the Versailles treaty, by weak politicians who made peace.
 They learnt that the hardships of 1919-1923 were caused by jaws,
squeezing profits out of honest Germans
 The Weimar republic was depicted as decadent and corrupt
 Biology became the study of racial stereotypes, and the supposed
superiority of the Aryan race
 Math and science concentrated on military matters, such as explosives
and ballistics
These subjects were also used to pass on racial messages
Religious education was scrapped
Girls learnt about domestic science and other subjects for motherhood
Boys had more sport and military training
Nazi propaganda deliberately sought to capture German youth by
appealing to its energy, with colourful portrayals of national glory and
How successful were the Nazi’s in the control of young people?
 The Hitler Youth was founded in 1926.
 By 1939 it had over 7 million members- the vast majority of German
youth, covering ages from 10-18. Membership was made compulsory in
 Boys were trained to be fearless soldiers, and girls to be loyal,
submissive and prolific mothers
 Regimentation and indoctrination was disguised, by the offer of sport,
leisure and a sense of adventure
 Many were happy to join, as other associations, were banned, and there
were very few youth clubs to join
 Education was Nazified
 It was rust’s task to purge the teaching profession of Jewish and left
wing teachers, and enforcing a new syllabus which taught Nazi ideology
 Biology became the study of racial stereotypes, and the supposed
superiority of the Aryan race
 History was studies as a means of politically indoctrinating Germans
about their pasts
 The dictatorship also attempted to control the moral and social conduct
of its young people
 In 1940 young people were banned from the streets after dark, if
unaccompanied and under 16s were banned from drinking and smoking.
Concluding note: there is no doubt that young people in general responded
enthusiastically to the regime especially, in its early years. Employment
prospects were good and there was a mood of optimism and national selfconfidence, compared to the depression and the humiliations of the 1920’s.
Many young people were intoxicated by the sense of comradeship, travel
and adventure offered by the Hitler Youth.
 In 1936 even though the membership of the Hitler Youth was made
compulsory, 1 million Youth didn’t join
 only 63% of children were going to schools
 Many joined the catholic youth organization rather than the Hitler
 As the war progressed, Hitler youth programs became focused on
war and military drills. This lead to a decrease in the popularity in
youth movements and some young people objected to the lack of
freedom and protested. Anti-Hitler Youth movements started to
 The students also didn’t like the Nazified education system
 A minority young people repelled by the brutality of the dictatorship
actively opposed the regime
 In the 1930’s gangs began to appear in street corners: The Swing
Movement, Edelweisspiraten, and Die Weiss Rose
In conclusion the Nazi’s managed to gain support from the majority of the
youth who felt strongly about the regime. In terms of their Youth programs
the Nazi’s were opposed only by a few minority groups, so it is safe to
conclude that they had succeeded.
Nazi Women
Why were women important in Hitler’s plans for Germany?
Role of women:
 The Nazi’s championed traditional ideas about the role of women as
subservient wives and prolific mothers
 She was to be the guardian of moral virtue, domestic harmony and the
life spring of racial purity
 Hitler believed in family, partly because it gave stability to society, but
most importantly because it gave the best prospect of increasing the
birth rate
 Nazi ideas became sloganized into the three K’s Kinder, Kuche, Kirche.
Child, kitchen, church
 Hitler was alarmed that the birth rate was falling since women were
concentrating on pursuing jobs and careers
 The Nazi’s were determined to boost the birth rate, more and more
German men would be required to replace losses at the battlefront and
work in war supporting industries
 They wanted enough members of the master race to occupy defeated
territories, and populate territories and conquests
 Unemployment was high and Hitler wanted to employ men, and so
women were encouraged not to go out and work.
 But during the late 1930’s the Nazi’s changed their views as they had to
get women to go back to work in order to support the war effort.
 Since there was a labour shortage especially in the armament industries,
and women were enticed to go back to work
How did Nazi rule affect women?
During the Weimar republic women had acquired new freedoms including the
right to vote and stand for the Reichstag elections. They earlier had the right to
enter professions such as law, and medicine, with equal pay with men
The Nazi’s were determined to reverse this
 Women were deprived of their vote and were prevented from sitting in
the Reichstag
 They attempted to reduce female employment, by excluding women
from the civil service judiciary and medicine, and restring their entry into
 They drafted men into employment and discouraged women from going
out to work so they could concentrate on family and motherhood.
 Women were expected to stick to the three K’s hence Nazi policies were
designed to encourage marriage and child bearing
Success of the Nazi’s toward women and family
 The Nazi’s believed that the place of the woman was in the house
 They wanted to boost the German birth rate by getting the women to
practice the three K’s
 In order to achieve this:
Profession: Women were deprived of the vote
 They were either forced out of profession or had their numbers
substantially reduced
 They were pushed out of work so that they could follow the triple K, in
order to
 They did this so unemployment could decrease and professional jobs the
Women held could go to the men
 From 1933-37 female employment declined by 37%
 In Weimar 10% of the deputies were female but they were all dismissed
Childbirth and home life:
 Women were encouraged to keep healthy and develop house hold skills
as part of being a mother
 Marriage loans of thousand Reich marks were avoided and generous tax
inducements were introduced (but only if the woman had left her job to
look after the children)
 Family allowances of 100 Reich mark for each child was awarded and
mothers were honoured with gold medals for eight children, silver for 6,
and bronze for 4
 Classes and home craft and parenting skills were provided by the nazi
 Contraceptives and abortions were outlawed however it was
compulsory for women with inherited diseases or weaknesses such as
colour blindness to be sterilised
 Under the Lebenborn program, selected unmarried children were
encouraged to, get themselves impregnated by racially pure SS men, and
denote the child to the Fuhrer to be reared in the state institution
 As a result of these measures there was a decrease in the age of
marriage and a rise in the birth rate from 1.2 million to 1.4 million
However after 1937 the Nazi regime changed its policy toward working
 Because the increasing labour demands of German industry especially in
rearmament could not be met from the pool of men they had
 As a result the number of working women rose from 11.6 million to 14.6
 The marriage loan was cancelled and unmarried women were required
to perform a compulsory duty year which meant working in a farm or in
a family home
 The women as objected to their role as second class citizens because the
wages were very low and the working conditions were very poor, and
some joined illegal political paries such as the KPD and the social
After 1939 the Nazi regime became increasingly confused in its attitude toward
women, as it tried to pursue to contradictory objectives; the increase in birth
rate, which required the women to stay at home, and the well being of the war
economy, which required women to come to work.
Perhaps the best example of the contradictory nature of the Nazi’s is when the
German women are given employment in the German armed forces, in non
combative work such as, administration and communication
In conclusion the Nazi policies of restricting women to the house, to birth more
children and increase the employment for men, enjoyed temporary success,
but was later flatly contradicted by the Nazi’s decision to employ women as
war demanded it. Thus it is fair to conclude, that after the initial success, the
policy had indeed failed.
Nazi mothers were ought to :
1) not go to work
2) be blonde, heavy-hipped and athletic, in a full skirt, and wearing flat
heels and no make up
3) always use up left-overs; once a month on a Sunday they had to prepare
a one-dish meal, a sort of stew made of cheap meat and left-overs that
everyone was meant to eat. The SA could come round and check on
whether or not this was being observed
4) use home products- produced substitutes for imported wool, cotton and
5) not smoke
6) encourage children to worship the Fuhrer and join the Hitler Youth
Economic recovery
Actions taken to reduce unemployment
 Hitler and the Nazi’s had promised to use radical methods to solve the
country’s two main problems; desperate unemployment and a crisis in
German farming
 The economist Dr. Hjalmar Schacht organized Germany’s finances to
fund a huge program of work creation
 The National Labour Service sent men on public work projects to build a
network of motorways or autobahns, which made it compulsory for all
18-25 year olds to serve for 6 months.
 Railways were extended or built from scratch
 There were major house building programs, and public building projects,
such as the Reich chancellery in Berlin
 This lead to a major reduction in unemployment
 The other reduction in unemployment was rearmament
 The need for weapons equipment and uniform created jobs in coal
mines steal and textile mills. He recovered the Saar coalfields after a
plebiscite, steel and textile mills
 When the Luftwaffe was created it also gave employment to engineers
and designers, as did the rapid increase in submarines and naval ships
 Conscription created even more jobs when people were conscripted into
armies. Therefore unemployment was reduced from 6 million to a few
hundred thousand
 In 1936 Hitler announced a four year plan under Goering to get the
economy ready for war
 Women, Jews and minority groups were forced to give up their jobs, so
that the Aryan men could occupy them.
 Hitler wanted Germany to be self-sufficient and autarchy was
 This made it possible to reduce imported raw goods and increase
 The Nazi’s created jobs by giving government lands to farmers and
manufacturers in an effort to make the country self sufficient in food
and raw material.
 The support of the working class was retained through the benefits
provided by schemes such as strength through joy and the beauty of
labour which kept the workers happy, because it gave them leisure
activities and great working facilities, such as low cost canteens in the
work place
 Farmers: Hitler introduced the Reich food estate in 1933. These were
central boards to buy goods from farmers and distribute them across
 This guaranteed the farmers goods at a regulated price
 The Reich entailed farm law gave peasants farm law for their farms so
the banks could not seize their lands if they defaulted on loan and
mortgage payments
 The Nazi’s philosophy was blood and soil. They believed that the peasant
farmers were the bases of Germany’s master race. And they were the
backbone of the new German empire in the east, and therefore their
way of light had to be protected
Farmers negative:
 The Reich food estate meant that the efficient farmers were held back
by having to work through the same process as the less efficient farmer
 The Reich entailed farm law, lead to banks being reluctant to loan out
money to farmers
 Only the eldest child could inherit the farm, as a result many farming
children, left to work for German industry which paid better.
Business and industry:
 Small operators gained from Nazi laws to restrict the number and
growth of department stores, and the removal of Jewish business. large
firms gained contracts from the rearmament programmes and
benefitted from the absence of trade unions and the elimination of the
communist threat
 Substantial profits were made by big businesses during the Nazi rule
In conclusion:
1) Small businesses were better off. Despite the fact that the number of
self-employed skilled craftsmen fell from 1,650,000 to 1,500,00 between
1936 and 1939- the value of their trade nearly doubled between 1933
and 1937
2) Farmers had no debt and reaped profits from higher food prices.
However at the same time they resented government meddling (each
hen HAD to lay 65 eggs per year) and suffered from a shortage of
3) Big businesses made a lot of money from the rearmament contracts. The
average salary of managers rose by nearly 70% between 1934 and 1938.
However at the same time the government took control of process,
wages, profits and imports, and decided who should receive scarce raw
materials. They also made industry produce what they wanted
4) Unskilled workers who made up a large part of the unemployed sector
after the great depression found jobs in the public work schemes.
However sometimes the wages on government’s work schemes were
lower than unemployment benefits
How far did Nazi economic policies from 1933-1939
benefit German male workers:
 Reduction of un employment:
 Hitler and the Nazi’s had promised to use radical methods to solve the
country’s two main problems; desperate unemployment and a crisis in
German farming
 The economist dr. Schacht organized Germany’s finances to fund a huge
program of work creation
 The National Labour Service sent men on public work projects to build a
network of motorways or autobahns, which made it compulsory for all
18-25 year olds to serve for 6 months.
 Railways were extended or built from scratch
 There were major house building programs, and public building projects,
such as the Reich chancellery in Berlin
 This lead to a major reduction in unemployment
 The other reduction in unemployment was rearmament. Armed forces
were increased from 1,000,000 to 1,400,000 and all males aged 18-25
had to serve 2 years military service
 The need for weapons equipment and uniform created jobs in coal
mines steel and textile mills. He recovered the Saar coalfields after a
plebiscite, steel and textile mills
 When the Luftwaffe was created it also gave employment to engineers
and designers, as did the rapid increase in submarines and naval ships
 Conscription created even more jobs when people were conscripted into
armies. Therefore unemployment was reduced from 6 million to a few
hundred thousand
 In 1936 Hitler announced a four year plan under Goering to get the
economy ready for war
 Women Jews and minority groups were forced to give up their jobs, so
that the Aryan men could occupy them.
 Hitler wanted Germany to be self-sufficient and autarchy was
 This made it possible to reduce imported raw goods and increase
 The Nazi’s created jobs by giving government lands to farmers and
manufacturers in an effort to make the country self sufficient in food
and raw material.
 Schemes such as strength through joy gave them a chance to buy
cheap cinema tickets and sports event tickets
 Another scheme such as beauty of labour improved working conditions
in factories by introducing washing facilities and low cost canteens
 Their economic policy boosted the workers’ national pride in Germany
 Farmers benefitted greatly as a result, by price guarantees of their
produce, reduction or elimination of debt
 Many workers could save up in a state scheme to buy a Volkswagen
Failures of the economic policy of the male workers
 Though more jobs were created there was no improvement in the
standard of living
 Workers lost their main political party, the SDP and the trade unions
 All workers had to join the DAF, German workers front, general labour
front, which kept strict control of workers. They could not strike for
better pay and conditions, and they were prevented from moving to
better paid jobs
Strength through Joy:
 It was a state controlled Leisure scheme
 It was part of the German labour front
 It gave them cheap theatre and cinema tickets, organized courses, and
discounts on luxury liners
 Thousands of workers were given the opportunity to buy a Volkswagen,
but they didn’t get it
Why was it important?
 It helped to ensure Hitler’s popularity among industrial workers
 Workers were important to the Nazi’s as good workers contributed to
creating the industries that helped make Germany great, and establish a
German empire in eastern Europe
 Such schemes would encourage loyalty from industrial workers and
schemes like this would also be an indicator of economic recovery
Ultimately, Hitler wanted all germans to think of themselves as a part of a
national community or Volksgemeinschaft. The people would prioritise
Germany and Hitler over their own social group. The people would be proud to
belong to a great nation that was racially and culturally superior to other
Nazi policy of autarky
 Autarky was the policy of making Germany as self-sufficient as possible
 Hitler wanted to stop Germany’s dependence importance
 By the reduction of imports of raw materials and food it would save
money and reduce the effectiveness of an allied war time blockade if
war began
 Production of steel rubber iron oil and food was increased
 Schemes were devised whereby certain products could be produced by
substitutes, such as coffee from acorns, petrol from coal, and textiles
from pulped wood.
 Farmers were subsidized to produce
 Autarky had limited success and in 1939, Germany was still dependent
on imports for a number of essential materials.
Why did Hitler launch the 4 year economy plan in 1936?
The war economy
 In 1936 Hitler announced a 4 year plan under the control of goering to get
the German economy ready for war
 The emphasis was to increase the investment in military expenditure
 Rearmament to build up the country’s military defenses; the need for
weapons, uniforms, equipment, would create jobs in the coal mines, steel
and textile mills, thereby reducing unemployment
 Conscription reduced unemployment heavily as well by conscripting the
unemployed into the army
 Hitler wanted Germany to have a world class air force; the Luftwaffe and
because this would boost Hitler’s popularity
 This was a direct defiance of the terms of the TOV, which he had previously
set out to abolish, and had also mentioned it in Mein kampf
 Hitler wanted Germany to practice autarky and hence goring focused on the
issues of self-sufficiency in essential raw materials of steel oil, coal and
Failures of the four year plan:
 This wasn’t a radical restructuring of the economy
 There were advances on the war economy and unemployment was
substantially reduced, but autarky was by no means complete
 Autarky failed because the decision makers of the regime differed with
each other on how to achieve it
 Food rationing began in September 1939. Clothes rationing followed in
 Hot water was only available 2 times a week
 Propaganda encouraged support of the war effort. The Gestapo watched
for people who did not give their support
 The gamble of invading the soviet union in 1941 resulted in civilians
facing cutbacks, shortages and longer working hours. Labour shortages
saw increasing numbers of women in factories
 From 1942 Albert Speer began to direct the war economy. Everything
was focused on the armaments industry
 In 1944 Germany directed all its resources in a “Total War”
 Women were drafted in increasing numbers
 The cinemas remained open and were the only entertainment on offer.
They showed propaganda films
 Goebbels redoubled his censorship efforts
 There were massive bombings on German cities, undermining morale.
One of the most significant was the bombing of Dresden (killed between
35,000 and 150,000 people in 2 days
 Bombing made people homeless
 By the end of the war, 3 million civilians had died and people were short
of food
Kalsi’s war 40 marker:
How significant was the war of 1939 in changing the lives of people
in Germany? Explain your answer.
The war of 1939-45 was significant in changing the lives of Nazi people because
of the acute shortages the Nazi citizens faced, the bombings that flattened
German cities, the conversion of Germany into a total war state, and the
introduction of the Final Solution. However there is evidence to suggest that
the war was not all that significant as, rationing was introduced before there
were shortages, the role of women did not change, the economy had already
been prepared for war, and the successes the German army experience until
the invasion of Russia, in 1942. In order to reach a sustained conclusion both
sides of the argument must be evaluated.
Firstly the war was significant because of the severe shortages Germans began
to face as a result of the war. People were starving and were forced to eat
scraps and sometimes even horse meat. There were shortages of all basic
domestic necessities such as toilet paper and soap. As a result, they became
increasingly disillusioned with the war and the Nazis- this was something the
Nazis had strove not to let happen throughout their time in power, hence
indicating a shift and change in the lives of the German people. As the war
progressed the shortages increased, and as a result there were significant
changes even on the military scale with the Kreisau circle attempting the July
bomb plot to overthrow Hitler in 1934. A bomb was placed in his office,
however Hitler escaped and as a result had 5000 people executed. Before the
war Hitler was loved and adored, however after the war, evidently he was not.
This was due to the state of ruin that Germany was in due to the
disillusionment and shortages. Thus shortages were significant, and lives had
changed in Nazi Germany as a result of the war.
Secondly, Germany was severely bombed from 1942-1945. Under the Nazis
and the war, Germany saw the bombing of 3.6 million homes with a similar
number of casualties. Many more were made homeless by the bombing, and
increasingly children were evacuated to rural parts of the country (2.5 million
by 1945). This was against Nazi promises of not letting Germany be bombed,
and hence people were frustrated with the government which was a
contrasting change to the enthusiastic response to the war that had first come
about. With the evacuation of children, the Hitler youth became redundant
and therefore Hitler’s strict policies too, were meaningless. In particular, in
1945 in February in Berlin Dresden, Hamburg and Cologne, 150,000 Germans
lost their lives in two days of extensive bombing . Thus life had changed quite a
lot in Nazi Germany.
Nazi Germany was made a total war state which was very significant in
changing their lives up until 1945. The meaning of a Nazi total war state meant
that Nazis diverted the finance that they had to the war. All resources went
toward increasing war production. This was a changed because pre-war, the
everyday German citizens enjoyed a share in Germany’s economic success.
Goebbels introduced a series of emergency measures such as a reduction in
rail and postal services, the closing down of all public places of enjoyment and
as a result led to mass disillusionment with the regime. Before the war workers
enjoyed the strength through joy programme and the beauty of labour
programme, which were both considerably downsized, thus changing lives.
Cinemas however were kept open as they provided excellent propaganda
opportunities for Goebbels who used them as a method to boost support for
the war. This propaganda would have worked before the war, but with the
destruction of cities and shortages, they were not swayed. Thus life in Nazi
Germany changed significantly as a result of the war.
The Nazi party also introduced the Final Solution, which significantly changed
lives for minorities such as the Jews. The Final solution was decided at
Wannsee in 1942, in order to answer ‘the Jewish question’. It was decided that
Jews or the untermenschen would be systematically killed in concentration
camps under the Death’s Head SS unit. Gas chambers were to be installed and
as a result would wipe of thousands instantly, such as in Auschwitz or Dachau.
The result was that Jews were now being eradicated without real cause and
were simply being sent to concentration camps to be killed. This was a change
because the Jews prior to the war were used as labour or discriminated against
but not simply killed. As a result by 1945, 6 million Jews and 500000 gypsies
had been killed. Thus the war was significant in changing the lives of Germans
from 1939-45.
On the other hand, life remained the same before and during the war in terms
of food until 1943, which is the majority of the war fought. The Nazi's rationed
food but nothing significant enough like starvation or food shortages.
Rationing had been introduced since the conquests in Czechoslovakia, and the
people were prepared for the rationing of food that was introduced in 1939.
Clothes had also begun to be rationed, but Germans still had enough to keep
them warm leading up to 1943. The war only changed lives in terms of
shortages after 1943 which was nearing the end of the war. Bombings were
expected and the only significant bombing raid came in 1945, nearing the end
of the war. Thus there were no major changes up till 1943. However there
were still changes even if they came toward the end of the war, thus the war
was significant.
Life had not changed significantly in Nazi Germany during the war in terms of
women. In 1937, women were forced back into the work force due to a
shortage of male workers that had been conscripted and were looking into
territorial conquest. Though the Nazis had laid out the three k programme for
women which encouraged them to stay at home, this had already changed in
1937, so in so in 1939, there was no real severe change from 1939. Women
were used in factories, in administrative work because of the absence of men,
and the three k policy had failed as a result of Hitler's territorial ambitions but
not specifically the war of 1939-45. Throughout the years 1939-45, women
played relatively the same role in all aspects of the economy. They worked the
same jobs throughout the war so therefore not much had changed for the Nazi
women. Thus the life of women in Nazi Germany had not changed after 1939
as the Nazis were already unsuccessful in 1937. However the war still increased
the number of women called up, which went against their attempt to increase
the birth rate, thus making the war significant.
Life in Nazi Germany did not change much because of the military victories
bridging the gap between expenditure and income- i.e materials like jewels,
pearls, furs and silks were flowing into Nazi Germany which kept people
optimistic about the war. Conquest and armed fighting was not foreign to the
German citizens because Hitler had been preparing for this for years, such as in
the Spanish civil war and in Czechoslovakia in 1938. The war of 1939-45,
therefore was no major change to the Nazi life in 1943. Further the
propaganda machine under Goebbels’s intensified the victories in Norway, and
Sweden, and especially France, boosting nationalist pride using film and radio,
which led the Germans to believe that their lives would carry on normally even
during the war; which it did until 1942. However little of the spoils of war ever
actually made their way to regular Germans so they were not well
compensated for their sacrifices before the war, hence indicating that war had
changed their lives.
Lastly, the war did not change their lives because of the introduction of the
war economy in 1936, which aimed at preparing Germany for war through
Autarky, and the buildup of the armed forced which would help the economy.
The policy of Autarky saw vast lands being granted to farmers, in order to
increase production. The policy also issued substitutes to goods that would
have ordinarily been imported such as making petrol from coal, coffee from
acorns, and textiles from pulped wood. The aim of this policy was to ensure
that an allied blockade would not affect the economy of Germany when the
war finally broke out. This saw success as food was simply rationed until 1943.
Additionally, since 1935 Hitler had spent ast sums on rearming, and
conscription was reintroduced to the German army. The Luftwaffe was built up
giving thousands employment like Hitler promised. This did not change as a
result of the war as the unemployment before and during the war was a
miniscule few hundred thousand. Thus life in Germany had not changed
significantly. However the Nazi policy of autarky failed and there were acute
shortages, so life had in fact changed.
In conclusion, life for people in Nazi Germany changed very significantly as a
result of the war as the war saw them starve and scavenge for food which
reduced support for the Nazis, there were bombings that reduced German
cities to the ground which was quite a change to before 1939, and there was
the introduction of the Final solution which saw the systematic persecution of
Jews, and the conversion of Germany into a total war state, all of which
contributed significantly to changing lives in Nazi Germany. Other factors such
as how food was already being rationed and thus there was not much change,
and the creation of the war economy which prepped germany economically for
war, the successes of the German army until 1942 and the role of women
staying fairly consistent after 1937, still did not change the fact that the war
had ravaged Germany. Thus the war changed their lives significantly.
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