Nazi Germany Revision

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How did Hitler consolidate his power in 1933 and 1934?
1) Reichstag Fire 27 Feb 1933
The Reichstag (the German Parliament) burned down. A Dutch Communist named Van der Lubbe was
caught redhanded with matches and firelighting materials. Hitler used it as an excuse to arrest many of
his Communist opponents , and as a major platform in his election campaign of March 1933 . The fire was
so convenient that many people at the time claimed that the Nazis had burned it down , and then just
blamed the Communists. Modern historians, however, tend to believe that van der Lubbe did cause the
fire, and that Hitler just took advantage of it.
2) General Election 5 March 1933
Hitler held a general election, appealing to the German people to give him a clear mandate. Only 44% of
the people voted Nazi , which did not give him a majority in the Reichstag, so Hitler a rrested the 81
Communist deputies (which did give him a majority). Goering becomes Speaker of the Reichstag .
3) Enabling Act 23 March 1933
The Reichstag voted to give Hitler the power to make his own laws . Nazi storm troopers stopped
opposition deputies going in , and beat up anyone who dared to speak against it. The Enabling Act made
Hitler the dictator of Germany, with power to do anything he liked legally .
4) Local government 26 April 1933
The Nazis took over local government and the police . The Nazis started to replace antiNazi teachers and
University professors . Hitler set up the Gestapo (the secret police) and encouraged Germans to report
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
'crimes' as small as writing antiNazi graffiti, possessing a banned book, or saying that business was bad .
5) Trade Unions banned 2 May 1933
The Trade Unions offices were closed , their money confiscated, and their leaders put in prison . In their
place, Hitler put the German Labour Front which reduced workers' pay and took away the right to strike .
6) Political Parties banned 14 July 1933
The Law against the Formation of Parties declared the Nazi Party the only political party in Germany . All
other parties were banned, and their leaders were put in prison.
7) Night of the Long Knives 30 June 1934
The SA were the thugs who Hitler had used to help him come to power. They had defended his meetings,
and attacked opponents. By 1934 there were more than a million of them . Historians have often
wondered why Hitler turned on the SA. But Hitler was in power in 1934, and there was no opposition left
the SA were an embarrassment, not an advantage . Also, Rohm , the leader of the SA, was talking about a
Socialist revolution and about taking over the army . On the night of 30 June 1934 codeword
'Hummingbird Hitler ordered the SS to kill more than 400 SA men .
8) Führer 19 August 1934
When Hindenburg died , Hitler took over the office of President and leader of the army (the soldiers had to
swear to die for Adolf Hitler personally). Hitler called himself 'Fuhrer'.
How effectively did the Nazis control Germany from 1933 to 1939?
1) OneParty State
The Enabling Act (24th March 1933) made Hitler was the allpowerful Fuhrer of Germany . The Law
against the Formation of Parties (14 July 1933) declared the Nazi Party the only political party in
Germany. It was an offence to belong to another Party . All other parties were banned, and their leaders
were put in prison. Nazi Party members , however, got the best jobs, better houses and special privileges .
Many businessmen joined the Nazi Party purely to get orders.
2) Terror
The Nazis took over local government and the police . On 26 April 1933, Hitler set up the Gestapo (the
secret police) and the SS, and encouraged Germans to report opponents and 'grumblers' . Tens of
thousands of Jews, Communists, gypsies, homosexuals, alcoholics and prostitutes were arrested and sent
to concentration camps for 'crimes' as small as writing antiNazi graffiti, possessing a banned book, or
saying that business was bad. On the Night of the Long Knives (13 June 1934) Hitler used his legal
power to assassinate all his opponents within the Nazi Party.

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The German people were subjected to continual propaganda , under the control of Josef Goebbels . It was
the cult of personality everything was organised to make Germans permanently grateful to Adolf Hitler .
Germans were made to feel part of a great and successful movement in this respect the 1936 Olympic
Games were a propaganda coup.
The Nazis used the most uptodate technology to get their message across .…read more

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The Nazis considered much of the culture produced during the Weimar era to be `degenerate' and were
eager to replace it with forms of culture which promoted what they considered to be properly ` Germanic'
values: austerity, militarism, obedience and sacrifice.
Goebbels And `Hitler Myth'
In March 1933 , Hitler appointed Joseph Goebbels as Minister of Propaganda and charged him with the
mission of indoctrinating the German people with Nazi ideals .…read more

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Between 1933 and 1939, German military expenditure increased from 2 billion to 17 billion
By 1939, the German economy had financed the development of one of the most formidable and
technologically advanced war machines in the world.
Between 1933 and 1939, unemployment in Germany fell from 6.1 million to 0.4 million.…read more

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Jobdiscrimination against women was encouraged. Women doctors, teachers and civil servants were
forced to give up their careers.
· Women were never allowed to serve in the armed forces even during the war.
4) Youth
Most German young people were happy:
· Nazi culture was very youthoriented.
· The HJ provided exciting activities for young boys.
· The HJ and the BDM treated young men and women as though they were special, and told then they had
knew more than their parents.…read more

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It was the German workingclass which benefitted most from the reduction in unemployment
brought about by the Nazis between 1933 and 1939.
The implementation of the New Plan and the Four Year Plan meant that jobs for industrial
workers became so plentiful that Germany experienced a labour shortage from 1936.
Long Hours, Low Wages No
Between 1933 and 1939, the average working week for industrial workers increased from 43
hours to 47 hours.…read more

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Dietrich Bonhoeffer to topple Hitler. However, by 1943 the war was going disastrously wrong for
Germany and for the first time opposition to Hitler within the army became significant.
In 1944 opposition centred on a group led by General Ludwig Beck and a civilian conservative politician,
Dr Carl Goerdeler. They backed plans by Count von Stauffenberg to assassinate Hitler.
Why did von Stauffenberg want to kill Hitler?
In the 1930s von Stauffenberg had been a Nazi supporter.…read more

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Despite the bleak fortunes after Stalingrad propaganda was used to exploit patriotic defiance.
Goebbels Total war speech (Feb 1943) rallied many.
As German forces were defeated in North Africa, the Soviet Union, the Atlantic and Italy, there
emerged greater contempt for the Nazi leadership
Hitler's increasing isolation in his bunker in Berlin meant that the Fuhrer was prone to great
criticism and jokes.
The defeat at Stalingrad clearly marked a turning point in morale.…read more

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Communist opposition was undermined by the NaziSoviet Pact. After 1941 opposition did not come
from a single and united movement but from individuals and underground groups. The KPD and SPD
formed small groups, published reports and maintained contact with exiled leaders.
Resistance cells were set up in factories and were coordinated by Robert Uhrig. In the summer of 1941
there were 89 factory cells of opposition in Berlin alone. They produced papers and pamphlets and called
for acts of resistance.…read more

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From 1939 to 1942 the economy was not fully mobilised for war. Instead it fought a series of quick
wars (called Blitzkrieg) which did not place great demands on production. Thus strains in the
economy inevitable grew.
The lack of workers demanded increased efficiency. In February 1942 Speer was appointed Minister
for Weapons and Munitions who developed plans for the rationalisation of industry
By 1943 Germany was struggling on the Eastern Front, thus a campaign of total war was launched.…read more


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