History - Unit 2 - Germany 1918-1939

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  • History -Germany
    • Weaknesses of the Weimar Government
      • Proportional representation- instead of voting for an MP, like we do in Britain, Weimar Germans voted for a party. Each party was then allocated seats in the Reichstag exactly reflecting (proportional' to) the number of people who had voted for it. This sounds fair, but in practice it was a disaster it resulted in dozens of tiny parties in a coalition., and no decisions could be made.
      • Article 48- this article said that in the case of an emergency the President did not need the agreement of the Reichstag to issue a decree. The problem with this was that it did not say what an emergency was, and in the end, it turned out to be a back door that Hitler used to take power legally.
    • Nazi Beliefs
      • Lebensraum - the need for 'living space' for the German nation to expand
      • A strong Germany - the Treaty of Versailles should be abolished and all German-speaking people united in one country.
      • Führer - the idea that there should be a single leader with complete power rather than a democracy.
      • Social Darwinism - the idea that the Aryan race was superior and Jews were 'subhuman'.
    • Hitler's rise to power
      • Hitler was a great speaker, with the power to make people support him.
      • The moderate political parties would not work together, although together they had more support than the Nazis.
      • The 1929 depression created poverty and unemployment, which made people angry with the Weimar government. People lost confidence in the democratic system and turned towards the extremist political parties such as the Communists and Nazis during the depression.
      • The Nazi storm troopers attacked Hitler's opponents.
      • Goebbels' propaganda campaign was very effective and it won support for the Nazis. The Nazis targeted specific groups of society with different slogans and policies to win their support.
      • Hitler was given power in a seedy political deal by Hindenburg and Papen who foolishly thought they could control him.
      • Germany people wanted the end of the TOV so supported Hitler and Industrialists gave him money
    • How Hitler consolidated his power
      • Reichstag Fire - the Reichstag building is set on fire. A Dutch Communist, van der Lubbe, is caught red-handed in the burning building.
      • General Election- 44% of the population vote for the Nazis, who win 288 seats in the Reichstag.
      • Enabling Act- the SA intimidates all remaining non-Nazi deputies. The Reichstag votes to give Hitler the right to make his own laws
      • Trade Unions are abolished
      • Concordat- Hitler makes and agreement with the Pope, who sees him as someone who can destroy communism- this agreement is that Hitler can take over political power in Germany as long as he leaves the Catholic Church alone
        • Reichstag Fire - the Reichstag building is set on fire. A Dutch Communist, van der Lubbe, is caught red-handed in the burning building.
      • How Hitler consolidated power (part 2)
        • Political Parties are banned only the Nazi party is allowed to exist
        • People's courts- Hitler sets up the People's Courts where judges have to swear an oath of loyalty to the Nazis.
        • Night of the Long Knives
        • When Hindenburg dies Hitler declares him self president, chancellor and head of the army.
    • Role of Women
      • The Nazis wanted women to remain at home and look after the family.     Women were forced to give up their careers.
      • 3 K's:      Kirche - (church)  Kinder - (children) Kuche - (cooking)
    • Opposition
      • White Rose Group- formed by students at Munich Uni. They published anti-Nazi leaflets - however they were discovered and executed in 1943. These were young people who rejected Nazi views, drank alcohol and danced to jazz.
      • Edelweiss Pirates- more violent opposition. They showed anti-Nazi slogans, beat up Nazi officials. Also in 1944, the Cologne Pirates (Edelweiss Pirates based in Cologne), killed the Gestapo, so the Nazis publicly hanged 12 of them.
      • In 1944 a group of army officers and intellectuals called the Kreisau Circle tried to bomb Hitler, the bomb was set off but Hitler survived. In retaliation 5,000 people were executed.
    • Persecution
      • Tried to eliminate the Jews
      • Killed 85% of Germany's gypsies
      • Sterilised black people
      • Killed mentally disabled babies and mentally ill patients
      • Sterilised physically disabled people and people with hereditary diseases
      • Sterilised deaf people
      • Put homosexuals, prostitutes, Jehovah's Witnesses, alcoholics, pacifists, beggars, hooligans, criminals and Jews into concentration camps - they regarded these groups of people anti-social.
    • Timeline - key events
      • Autumn 1918- Weimar constitution is set up
        • May 1919- Treaty of Versailles
          • 1923- Hyperinflation
            • November 1923- Munich Putsch
              • 1924-   Dawes Plan
                • October1929- Wall Street Crash and Depression
                  • 30th Jan. 1933- Hitler became Chancellor
                    • 27th Feb. 1933- Reichstag Fire
                      • 30th June 1934- The Night of the Long Knives
                        • August 1934- Hitler became Der Fuhrer
                          • 1936-     Berlin Olympics
                            • Nov. 1938- Kristallnacht
                              • 1939- Outbreak of WW2

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