Germany under Hitler

Living Under Hitler 1933-1939
The historian, Simpson argued that Hitler’s Nazi policy was so successful
by 1939 that it controlled over ‘almost every social, professional and
economic organisation and institution in Germany’. He did this by using the
‘carrot and the stick’, meaning he used a combination of reward and
intimidation to keep control over the German people.
In this unit you will learn the methods used by Hitler and the Nazis to
control the people. This will include:
 Tactics of fear and intimidation
 The ‘Carrot’ of economic recovery
 Propaganda, rallies and militarism
 The persecution of the Jews
 Nazi Education and youth policy
 Eliminating or controlling opposition
1. Why did the Historian Simpson argue that Hitler was successful
between 1933- and 1939?
2. Make a bullet point showing the methods used by Hitler and the Nazis
to control the people of Germany.
Nazi control of civilian life
What would
you respond
The term ‘carrot and stick’ is used to describe how Hitler controlled the
people of Germany as it includes the rewards the people of Germany
received if they acquiesced and the consequences if they went against
Hitler. The skill of the Nazis success was to balance these two factors as
a means of encouraging or enforcing loyalty.
The Stick
The threat of intimidation was a reality for many German
people and as a result they were frightened into accepting
the Nazis. The Gestapo and concentration camps instilled
the most fear as these were run by the SS, Hitler’s personal elite
The Gestapo was set up in 1933 by one of
Hitler’s most trusted men, Hermann Goering.
Over 45,000 joined the Gestapo as spies and
160,000 agents or informers supplied
information on people they suspected of
going against the Nazis.
If someone was suspected of going against Nazism whole families could
be arrested and sent to a concentration camp without warning or a trail.
As a result people sent along with the Nazis as they genuinely feared the
Gestapo and being sent to concentration camps.
The Gestapo was also responsible for rounding up Jews and Communists
as they were seen to be enemies of the German state. The use of torture
was common and feared by many as Source A shows.
Source A: An extract from the memoirs, Ernest Theaelmann a Communist
They ordered me to take off my trousers and then two men grabbed me
by the back of the neck and pushed me onto a footstool. A uniformed
Gestapo officer beat me with a whip across my bare back whilst another
held my mouth shut and beat me with a stick.
1. Describe the role of the Gestapo in intimidating people into
following the Nazis.
2. How effective do you think the Gestapo were in controlling the
people of Germany. Give evidence and reasons to support your
Heinrich Himmler was head of the SS, his most well
known roles was during the Night of the Long Knives. He
was powerful and his SS soldiers were the most feared
of all the Nazis. They were selected for their Aryan
qualities as they were seen to be the most ideal for
running Hitler’s master race. They ran the SS and
controlled concentration camps.
Dachau Germany’s first concentration camp opened in within one month
of Hitler coming to power. They were
meant to be temporary places of arrest
until the regime could ‘re- educate’
offenders. Instead, they became a tool of
terror, greatly feared by the masses. Nazi
propaganda convinced the people that
these prisoners were housing ‘enemies of
the state’ which effectively sanctioned the
mistreatment of inmates. Communists, Jews and men of the cloth were
sent to the camps for opposing the Nazi state; most never returned.
Who were the SS and what was their role?
What was concentration camp meant to be?
Why were people scared of the camps?
In three bullet points, list what you have learned.
 E.g. The Nazis used tactics of _______ to control the
 Across a double page in your jotter, draw a donkey or stick the
picture provided in the centre of the page.
 Draw a carrot in front of its mouth and a stick hitting the
donkey at the back.
 Near your stick list the ways in which the people of Germany
were intimidated by the Nazis.
Nazi Economic Policy
Hitler’s rise to power occurred during the
worst economic depression known in German
history. Unemployment stood at 25.9 % and the
standard of living experience by the average
German was very poor. However, by 1939
unemployment had fallen to 1% and wages had
increased significantly. Goebbels claimed that
the Nazi economic policy was a ‘miracle’. You will study the evidence and
decide whether it was a real miracle by looking at the German Labour
Front which controlled most of the workforce and the Strength Through
Joy (Kdf) organisation which influenced the private leisure time of the
German people. In this way, it can be argued that the Nazis used
economic carrots to maintain the support of the people.
1. Why did Goebbels claim the Nazi economic policy was a miracle?
2. What two carrots will you study to examine Hitler’s economic
The German Labour Front replaced trade
unions in 1933 and members gained an extra
day’s holiday as well as protection from being
sacked. This was then followed by The German
Labour Service known as RAD was in 1935. All
men aged 16- 25 had to work for the
government for 6 months.
Workers wore
military style uniforms and many felt the
government was giving them an opportunity to
work together in building a stronger and better
Germany. Between 1933 and 1936 over 5 billion Reich marks was spent on
public programme construction projects such as the autobahn (motorway)
However, with no trade unions workers could not campaign for higher
wages or better working conditions. Plus, workers for the Labour Front
could not leave a job without permission from the government. Working
hours also increased from 60 to 72 per week and books were kept on each
worker keeping records of their timekeeping and behaviour. If a worker
was not seen to be performing or making an effort he could be sacked.
This made it difficult for workers to find other jobs.
Sources B and C show how some people felt about the Labour Front.
Source B is from an interview with a member of the German Labour Front
in 1938
I joined the party because I thought and still think Hitler did the
greatest work for Germany in 25 years. I saw 7 million men rotting on the
streets- I was one of them. When Hitler came to power, he took them off
the streets and gave them job security.
Source C was written by an American journalist living in Germany during
the 1930s.
Businessman cheered the way Hitler put workers in their place as this
allowed them to make good profits. There were no more demands for
higher wages and there were no strikes. Wages were actually reduced by
25%, even though the cost of the living increased. As a result many
people found it difficult to make ends meet.
By the end of 1932, German unemployment started to decline as a result
of the upturn in the world economy after the Wall St crash. Additional
work for German men was also found in jobs previously occupied or
performed by Jews or women. Many young men were also conscripted into
the Army. Their numbers were not included in the unemployment figures.
Predictably, the Nazi government took credit for this. So the Nazis
manipulated the figures to make it look that unemployment was
decreasing down to their economic policies.
1. Go back to your Donkey image. Draw one carrot and bullet point
how the German Labour Front and Service encouraged the
people to support the Nazis.
2. Using evidence in Sources B and C ;
What supports the view that the Nazis did perform an economic
What supports the view that the Nazis did not perform an
economic miracle?
(N4: 5m / N5 6m)
3. How far do you agree that the Nazis performed an economic
(N4 4m / N5 5m)
You must use evidence from the sources as well as your own
knowledge in your answer.
Credit pupils must give a balanced answer.
Source D: KdF propaganda poster, 1937
The Nazi government used organisations
such as Strength through Joy (Kdf) to
control the leisure time of German
workers. They offered cheap holidays in
order to attract support. Two cruise liners
were built to take people to the Canary
Islands and the coast of Norway. Families
were also offered weekend hiking holidays
as well as affordable people’s car called
the Volkswagen. By 1938, over 180,000
had been on a holiday or cruise with the
organisation. However, no one received a
car, even though they paid 5 marks month
towards it. Obviously no one dared to
4. Turn back to your Donkey image and draw another carrot. Add
how the Strength Through Joy organisation encouraged the
German people to support the Nazis.
Enquiry Skills
5. How fully does Source D show why the German people supported
the Nazis?
(N4 4m / N5 5m)
You must use evidence and recall in your answer
Propaganda, Rallies and Militarism
Propaganda is very different from advertising as it is meant to
make you think or feel a particular way. It is a biased or one sided
view that exaggerates the truth.
Censorship is when information to the people is controlled by
either removing or changing the content.
In Germany propaganda was used to make people believe what the Nazis
wanted them to believe. Censorship ensured the message was clear. Huge
rallies and marches were held to celebrate Nazi rule and its successes,
over time these rallies became more military and patriotic in style with
the use of flags, uniforms and drums.
Under the direction of Josef Goebbels, propaganda and censorship was
used to sell Nazi ideology to the people. It was called the ‘Ministry of
Popular Enlightenment’ and its task was indoctrinating the people by
presenting no alternative view or criticism of Nazi views or ideas.
“The task of the state is to
simplify complicated ways of
thinking so even the smallest
man on the street can
Source D: Goebbels Book Burning
Campaign, Berlin 1933
There was never anything negative allowed to
printed or seen. Newspapers could only report
what the Ministry allowed them to and even
music, cinema and theatre was censored. ‘Good
Germans’ were also encouraged to burn books
that disapproved of the Nazis or their ideas.
The Source D shows university students burning
over 20,000 books written by Jews and
Without television, many Germans depended on the radio for
news. By 1939, over 70% of German homes had a radio and this
was no accident. The Nazis made thousands of cheap radios
with limited range. As a result, listeners could only pick up local
Nazi stations so they never heard any foreign or anti Nazi
views. One of Hitler’s advisors said the ‘radio deprived 80
million people of the ability to think for themselves’. Even
workers were ordered to stop working to listen to Hitler’s
Source E is a notice from a local newspaper in Frankfurt, 1934
Attention! The Fuhrer is speaking on the radio. On Wednesday 21 March
between 11.00 and 11.50.
The District Party Headquarters has ordered that all factory owners,
department stores, offices, shops, pubs, blocks of flats put up
loudspeakers an hour before the that the whole workforce
can participate.
What is propaganda?
What is censorship?
What was the aim of Nazi propaganda?
Why did Goebbels want all information censored?
Bullet point or draw a mind map to show what the Ministry
censored? Use Images!
6. How important was the radio in selling Nazi ideas?
Page 16
Every September the Nazis held huge rallies at
Nuremburg. Thousands of people attended to
celebrate German successes. Mock battles and
military parades were organised to encourage a
sense of belonging and pride in the German
nation and Nazi ideology. Nazi flags hypnotised
the crowd whist thundering drums and blasting
trumpets flooded the air. People cheered and
waited for the main speaker; Hitler, to take the
stage. At this point mass hysteria would engulf
the crowd; to many the Fuhrer was more like a
god. As night fell, the show came to end with burning torches and light
beams. Source F below shows the impact of rallies on the people.
Source F: An extract from a diary written by Frau Solmitz, 1938
It was 10pm before the torches were lit. 20,000 Brownshirts followed
one another like waves in the sea. Their faces shone with enthusiasm in
the light of the torches. It was a magnificent picture, the snow white,
scarlet, black and green colours, the fantastic berets, boots, gauntlets,
flags and swords dancing in the light of the torches. We were drunk with
Germany was a military state which means it focused heavily on the armed
forces as well building arms (weapons). Propaganda was used to sell the
militarism to the people. It encouraged people to believe that Germany
should be prepared for another war.
The militaristic theme of the Nuremburg Rallies was reinforced and reenacted in all areas of German life. Military subjects were brought into
the school curriculum; even school timetables were decorated with Nazi
flags and soldiers. Rallies for Hitler Youth were held in local villages and
the SS organised marches for the local men.
1. Add rallies and militarism to your mind map or bullet point list.
2. Imagine you were at Nuremburg in 1938. Write a diary extract
including facts and emotions of your experience.
3. Why do you think Hitler introduced militarism into the school
Enquiry Skills
4. How fully does Source E explain the use of Propaganda in Nazi
(N4 4m / N5 5m)
You must use evidence and recall in your answer.
The impact of propaganda cannot be under estimated as it entered every
area of the peoples’ lives. However, some historians suggest propaganda
did not change the way the people thought, especially the educated
middle classes. Instead, it gave the people a chance to believe in
something they wanted; a new greater Germany. So many people in
Germany acquiesced or went along with Nazi propaganda because they
wanted to believe it.
6. How successful do you think propaganda was in encouraging the
people to follow the Nazis?
Source G is taken from the Social Democratic Party on public opinion in
Germany, 1937.
The most shocking thing is the ignorance of the many people as to what is
going on in Germany. A large section of the people no longer reads a
newspaper. They don’t seem to care what is in the newspapers. The Nazis
try to turn everyone into enthusiastic Nazis by making sure they have no
interest in anything else.
Source H was written by the Us Ambassador to Germany in 1936
A systematic propaganda campaign has started to breakdown the
resistance of those who did not support Nazism and to strengthen those
already supporting Nazism. With steam roller effectiveness the Ministry
reached out into every corner of Germany, into every part of their lives.
Enquiry Skills
5. Describe the attitude of Source G towards the effectiveness of
Nazi propaganda?
(General 3m / Credit 4m)
Point- Quote- Analysis
6. How useful is Source G as evidence for the effectiveness of
Nazi propaganda?
( General 3m / Credit 4m)
7. How far do Sources G and H agree about the effectiveness of
Nazi propaganda?
(General 4m / Credit 5m)
Use a framing sentence and then back it up evidence from both
The Persecution of the Jews
Anti- Semitism: Hatred of Jews
Anti Semitism was not new, in fact Jews had been
used as scapegoats for many problems in Europe
and some had fled to Germany to escape
persecution in other countries.
However, by the 1930s, Jews were full members
of German society enjoying the same rights as any
other German citizen. When Hitler came to power,
he used Jews as scapegoats for all of Germany’s
problems such as losing the war, causing the
economic crisis of 1924 and 1929. He also argued
that Jews were responsible for Communism, saying
they wanted to dominate the world. According to Hitler, it was the duty
of all true Germans to help get rid of all Jews.
Propaganda was used to indoctrinate the people into hating all Jews. This
message was put across in films, books, newspapers and even in nursery
rhymes. The poster above was one of many used by the Nazis to
encourage the people of Germany to hate Jewish people.
1. What is anti- semitism?
2. What is a scapegoat?
3. Why did Hitler say it was the duty of all Germans to help to get
rid of the Jews?
4. Bullet point or mind map the types of propaganda used to
encourage the people to hate Jewish people?
On April 1st 1933, only one month after Hitler came to power, the
persecution of the Jews began with a one day boycott. Brownshirts
stood outside Jewish owned shops to make sure the boycott was
In the same year, Jews were sacked from any official jobs such as
lawyers and civil servants. Many shops and restaurants started to refuse
Jews putting up signs on the window saying ‘Jews not allowed’. In some
areas Jews were banned from public places such as parks and swimming
baths. Synagogues were vandalised and some Jews were even attacked in
the street as the Source A on the following page shows.
Source A: Martha Dodd ‘My Days in Germany’, 1939
In the centre of the road was a young girl being brutally shoved and
beaten. Her head had been shaved and across her chest was a board
saying ‘traitor’. My brother asked what was the matter. We were told she
had been dating a Jew.
The Nuremberg Laws of September 1935 stripped all Jews of their
citizenship rights as well as outlawing mixed race marriages. The Law was
called: The Protection of German Blood and Honour.
The Protection of German Blood and Honour
Marriage between Jews and German blood is forbidden
Sexual intercourse between Jews and German blood is forbidden
Jews are forbidden to flag the Nazi flag or Reich colours as they are
not pure.
Jews are no longer citizens of Germany. They have no legal rights and
their passports will be retrieved.
All Jews must carry identity card with a large ‘J’ for Jew and wear the
‘Star of David’ badge at all times.
On the 9- 10th of November 1938, ‘spontaneous’ rioting occurred
throughout Germany. The catalyst for Kristallnacht was supposed to be
the murder of a German diplomat in France by a Jewish man. It was called
Kristallnacht due to the amount of broken glass lying on the streets the
next day. Shops and homes were attacked and synagogues burned. Over
100 people were murdered and a further 20,000 sent to concentration
camps. However, these events were not spontaneous, but a direct result
of Goebbels as Source B below shows.
Source B: Order from the SS, 9th November 1938
Demonstrations against the Jews are expected throughout Germany on
the 9- 10th of November. The instruction below should be followed.
 Leave all burning synagogues unless there is a danger of the fire
spreading into German buildings
 Places of business and homes may be destroyed but there should
be no looting.
 The demonstrations cannot be prevented by the police
 Jews in all areas, but especially the rich should be arrested if they
try to stop the burning or destruction.
After 1939, and the outbreak of WW2, the persecution of the Jews
intensified when all were rounded up and put in ghettos and then
concentration or work camps. Over 11 million people died in concentration
or work camps. Jews, Poles, gypsies, homosexuals, mental and physically ill
people, anyone who went against German occupation was sent to the
camps. The ‘Final Solution’ policy was put into effect from 1942 onwards.
Only Jews were to be murdered in gas chambers on a mass scale; out of
the total 11 million people killed, 6 million were Jewish.
1. Using the margin for your dates, construct a time line that shows
how the persecution of the Jews intensified between 1933 and
1939. See example below
April 11th 1933
1 day boycott- this banned all people buying from
Jewish shops
Draw an image below!
P9- 10 in Booklet
Construct a wordsearch no larger than 10 by ten squares. Your
puzzle must contain at least eight words or phrases. The words
can go in any direction and be spelled forwards or backwards.
This will be used next period when someone else will complete your
Nazi Youth and Education Policy
Hitler believed the young were very important to Nazi
Germany. He had to make sure the young Germans
would stay loyal to him and continue the ‘1000 year
Reich’ once he was dead.
Hitler controlled every part of young Germans’ lives,
including school and their spare time afterwards. He
made it very clear what he expected young Germans to be like. The aim of
Nazi Youth policy was to turn boys into soldiers and girls into housewives
and mothers.
Hitler made his argument clear.
“You may disagree with me, but your
children are mine already!”
The Nazi Classroom
When the Nazis came to power the
curriculum (subjects taught) was
changed. All teachers had to be
checked by local Nazi officials. Any
teacher who spoke out against the
Nazis was sacked. All teachers had to
be careful about what they said as
children were encouraged to inform the
authorities if a teacher said
something that did not fit in with the Nazi's curriculum for schools.
Jewish children were discriminated against in school and were forced to
sit apart from their ‘pure’ German classmates. Bullying against Jewish
children became common.
A portrait of Hitler hung in every classroom. And every day before lunch
they said the following prayer.
Source A: A prayer said by pupils before each meal
Fuhrer You rescued Germany from its deepest need. I thank you for my
daily bread. Stay for a long time with me, leave me not. Fuhrer, my
Fuhrer, Hail my Fuhrer!
A number of subjects were changed in school. The main subjects changed
were biology and history, however most subjects were altered.
Subjects such as History were rewritten to emphasize Nazi
themes of racial struggle and German pride. History was
based on the glory of Germany and their defeat in WWI was
explained as the work of Jewish and Communist spies. The
Treaty of Versailles was the work of nations jealous of
Germany's might and power while the hyperinflation of 1923 was the work
of Jewish saboteurs. However children were taught that it was Hitler ho
had made Germany great again.
Biology promoted the purity of the
Aryan Race as well as the inferiority
of other impure peoples such as the
Source B: A photograph taken
in a German School in 1938
The girl in the photograph is being
taught how to spot a ‘pure’ German
and how to spot a Jew.
Older pupils were taught about the importance of selecting the right
"mate" when marrying and producing children. Children were taught that
inter-racial marriages could only lead to a decline in Aryan purity. In
other words Germans were not to destroy their pure blood by having
children with ‘inferior’ groups such as blacks, Asians, gypsies or,
particularly, Jews.
Science and Maths
Children were taught in science about the effects of poisonous gasses
and bridge building while in maths problems were written which
emphasised the German hatred of the Jews
Can you imagine seeing problems like the ones below in your maths
"A bomber aircraft on take-off carries 12 dozen bombs, each weighing 10 kilos. The
aircraft takes off for Warsaw (the capital of Poland) the international centre for Jewry. It
bombs the town. On take-off with all bombs on board and a fuel tank containing 100
kilos of fuel, the aircraft weighed about 8 tons. When it returns from the crusade, there
This next one is just as scary…
are still 230 kilos left. What is the weight of the aircraft when empty?”
"To keep a mentally ill person costs approximately 4 marks a day. There are 300,000
mentally ill people in care. How much do these people cost to keep in total? How many
marriage loans of 1000 marks could be granted with this money?"
Boys giving the Nazi salute before a
football game
PE became a very important
because the Nazis believed
children had to grow up
healthy. Boys would be strong
enough to fight while girls
would be fit enough to have
babies. This meant PE every
compulsory for boys. Those
who failed fitness tests could
be expelled from their schools
and face humiliation from
those who had passed tests.
Boys considered exceptional were sent to different schools. Those who
were physically fitter and stronger than the rest went to Adolf Hitler
Schools where they were taught to be the future leaders of Germany. Six
years of tough physical training took place and when the pupils from
these schools left aged 18, they went to the army or to university.
The very best pupils went to Order Castles. These were schools which
took pupils to the limits of physical endurance. War games used live
ammunition and pupils were sometimes killed at these schools. Those who
graduated from the Order Castles could expect to attain a high position
in the army or the SS.
1. Why were the young so important to Hitler?
2. Why do you think he started the indoctrination of children
3. Across a double page in your jotter, using a bullet point list or
mind map, construct a detailed guide to learning in a Nazi
Classroom. Include:
History, PE, Biology, Teachers and Daily Routines.
 P 11- 13 in Booklet
 Create a Nazi Exam including at least 5 questions and the
This will be used next period when someone else will complete your
Hitler Youth
Hitler also controlled life outside school. Children joined Nazi Youth
organisations from the age of 10 and did not leave until the age of 18. At
first, membership was voluntary, but over a period of time it became
compulsory. By 1935 over 3.5 million children were members of the Hitler
Youth groups and by 1939 almost 8 million children had joined.
Girls joined the German Maidens (Bund Deutscher Madel) were designed
to prepare girls for motherhood. From the age of 14 particular emphasise
was placed upon the three K’s- Kinder, Kirche and
Kuche (Children, Church and Kitchen). Girls learned
how to cook and look after themselves to prepare
for giving birth.
From aged 17 onwards, girls could join the Faith and
Beauty organisation. This specialised in home
economics and preparation for marriage.
They were told they could look forward to winning
the ‘Mother’s Cross’ bronze for having 4 children,
Silver for 6 and Gold for 8! Thank goodness they didn’t have a platinum
Boys joined the Deutsches Jungfolk at 10,
graduating to Hitler Youth at the age of 14. By
1936, over 60% of boys were members of some
form of Nazi Youth organisation.
The main focus was on physical fitness as well as
military training such as marching, camping and
shooting. Boys were also tested on their knowledge
of Nazism. Those who passed got a dagger marked
‘Blood and Honour’.
Historian’s debate the impact of Hitler youth policy in indoctrinating the
young people of Germany. Most agree that children were willing and
enthusiastic members. However, by 1939 support was beginning to weaken
due to the compulsory nature of the groups.
1. Using 3 bullet points and 1 image, explain the role of girls in
Hitler Youth
2. Using 2 bullet points and 1 image, explain the role of boys in
Hitler Youth
3. How important do you think Hitler Youth was in indoctrinating
Homework P 14-15 in Booklet
Source A: German Maidens
Poster, 1937
Source B: An extract from Isle McKee
memoirs, a member of the German Maidens
We were told form a very early age to
prepare for was our duty to
rear the future German race. Some
Maidens were encouraged to sleep with SS
soldiers or Nazi Youth boys. Sometimes
the girls did not have a choice. It didn’t
matter if your baby was illegitimate as long
as it was Aryan. There was no scandal.
Enquiry Skills
1. How useful is Source A as evidence of the success of Nazi
Youth organisations.
(N4 4m / N5 5m)
2. How fully does Source B explain the role of Hitler Youth in
(N4 4m / N5 5m)
 You must use evidence and recall in your answer
Opposition to the Nazis
Opposition to the Nazis was very limited due to the powers of the Nazi
State. You will learn that resistance to Nazi rule was limited as it was
small in scale and often based around youth groups that were more anti
authority as opposed to anti Nazi.
Even before the Nazis came to power political opposition to them was
divided. Communists and socialists would not co-operate in resisting
Hitler. This went back to the Spartacist rising of 1919 when the social
Democrats (SDP) organised the destruction of the communist revolt.
The Enabling Law of 1933 allowed Hitler to ban all opposition parties.
The leaders of these parties were put in prison or were forced to leave
the country. Consequently opposition parties had to meet in secret, often
without their most effective leaders. Hence, the Nazi state legally
crushed any major political opposition. Trade Unions were also banned and
its leaders were arrested. Newspapers which criticised the Nazis were
banned and their offices closed down, journalists arrested and printing
machinery smashed.
The Nazis sent any opposition to the concentration camps. The fear of
being beaten and sent to Dachau was a strong deterrent to many who may
have wanted to oppose the Nazis.
Hitler had also used the SS to remove any potential opposition
from the Nazi party in 1935 during the Night of the long knives.
Around 400 enemies to Hitler were killed on this night.
Even if groups wanted to organise resistance, the presence of the secret
police or Gestapo and informers as well as the lack of communication
between groups made opposition on a large scale impossible.
It was impossible for opposition groups to raise funds and very difficult
to have effective leadership as most had been arrested and sent to
concentration camps. Fear of Gestapo spies meant that opposition groups
tended to be limited to trusted friends.
In essence, there was little opposition to the Nazis as most forms of
opposition had either been banned or removed by the Nazi State. Plus,
those that remained found it difficult to meet and organise an effective
resistance to Nazi rule due to fear of arrest.
1. Using bullet points or a mind map, show the different reasons for
why there was no effective opposition to the Nazis. Use images
and full sentences to explain each point.
PEE all over it!
E.g.The Night of the Long Knives
Hitler got rid of all opposition within the Nazi Party in 1935
by murdering 400 SA Brownshirts. This meant no one would tackle
his authority within the party.
Even though resistance or opposition was
dangerous, some Youth Groups did challenge
the Nazi State, but they paid a high price.
One youth group known as the Edelweiss
Pirates had the slogan ‘Eternal war on Hitler
Youth’. This was made up of working class
children aged 14- 18 who did not want to be part of Hitler Youth.
Most members were friends who lived in the same area. Some of these
gangs were known as ‘Roving Dudes’ and ‘Navajos’ and they organised
hiking and camping weekends where they would attack Hitler Youth
groups. One of their campfire songs is shown below.
Source A: Edelweiss Pirate campfire song
Hitler’s powers may lay us low and keep us in locked in chains. But we will
be free again! We’ve got fists and we can fight, we’ve got knives and we’ll
get them out. We want freedom!
The Swing Kids was a group that was influenced by American
jazz and swing music. They usually came from big cities such as
Munich and Berlin and organised secret dances. They followed
American fashion and even allowed Jews into the club.
However, membership was forbidden as much of the music and
clothes was influenced by Black Americans and these were seen
as inferior to Aryan Germans.
Meuten groups were usually from working class strongholds
such as the city of Leipzig, were found anti Nazi gangs called die Meuten
('packs'). These groups were very similar to the Edelweiss Pirates,
except they tended to come from more organised socialist or communist
traditions. Because of this background, they received more official
attention from the Nazis than other youth groups. Between 1937 and
1939 the Gestaop estimated there were 1500 Meuten members in Leipzig.
There were complaints that many areas were 'no-go' areas for Nazis, due
to the abuse and violence dished out by the Meuten.
One youth group known as the White Rose Society was found
distributing anti Nazi leaflets in a Cologne University in 1944 during the
Second World War. Brother and sister- Sophie and Hans Scholl paid the
highest price and were hung. The youngest member of the group was only
16 years old. This acted as a strong deterrent to many who wanted to join
anti Nazi groups.
Historians debate if all members of these anti Nazi groups were totally
against the Nazis or whether they were against authority. However, most
agree that their existence showed that young people were willing to stand
up for different ideas.
1. Draw a table with 3 columns and 4 rows in one new page in your
jotter. Complete the table showing the name, interests and
threats to the Nazis. E.g.
Threat to Nazis
2. Which of the youth groups did the Nazis consider the most
serious threat and why?
3. Homework- Pages 17-19 in booklet
Churches in Nazi Germany
The Church in Nazi Germany was subjected to as much pressure as any
other organisation in Germany. Any threat to Hitler could not be
tolerated - and the churches of Germany potentially presented the Nazis
with numerous threats.
In 1933, the Catholic Church had viewed the
Nazis as a barrier to the spread of communism
from Russia. In this year, Hitler and the Catholic
Church signed an agreement, or a concordat. He
would not interfere with the Catholic Church
while the Church would not criticise the Nazis.
However, this only lasted until 1937, when Hitler
started an organised attack on the Catholic
Church arresting priests and forcing Catholic
young people into joining the Hitler Youth. In
1937, the pope, Pius XI, issued his "Mit brennender Sorge" statement
("With burning anxiety") over what was going on in Germany. However,
there was never a total clampdown on the Catholic Church in Germany as
it was a worldwide movement with much international support.
The Protestant Church was really a collection of a
number of churches- making them easier to deal
with. The Protestants themselves were split. The
German Christian Church was lead by Ludwig
Muller who believed that any member of the
church who had Jewish ancestry should be sacked
from the church. Muller supported Hitler and in
1933 he was given the title of "Reich
Bishop". The German Christians adopted Nazi
style uniforms and marches.
In 1936, it was replaced by the German Christian Church. This did not
have the Christian cross as its symbol but the swastika. The Bible was
replaced by "Mein Kampf" which was placed on the altar alongside a
sword. By it was a sword. Only invited Nazis were allowed to give sermons
in a Reich Church.
Those who opposed the views of Muller were called the German
Confessional Church. They believed political parties should not control
the church. One of their leaders was Martin Niemoller. He was famous in
Germany, as he had been one of German’s best WWI U-boat captains and
had been awarded the Iron Cross. Therefore, he was
potentially an embarrassing foe to the Nazis.
Regardless of this, he was not safe from the
Gestapo who arrested him for opposing Hitler.
Niemoller was sent to a concentration camp for 7
years where he was kept in solitary confinement.
Many other Confessional Church members suffered
the same fate while others such as Dietrich
Bonhoeffer were executed.
Some of the smaller religious groups were also persecuted by the Nazis.
Jehovah’s Witnesses became victims of Nazi abuse as their belief in
pacifism was totally against Hitler militaristic policies. If they refused
conscription they were sent to concentration camps. It is estimated that
5000 Jehovah’s Witnesses died in the camps.
1. Read the following statements and gather as much evidence as you
can to support each one.
 The Nazis feared the Christian churches in Germany
 The Nazis wanted to destroy the church completely
 The Nazis wanted to control the churches
 The Nazis accepted the church had nothing to do with them and left
them alone as long as the church left them alone.
Pages 20-21 in Homework booklet
Wa- hey, now it’s time to revise!