A Level OCR Democracy to Dictatorship 1939-63

Impact of War pt 2


  • The use of cheap forced labour from peasants from Eastern Europe, eg, Poles and Czechs, despite this conflicting with the Nazi views. Although rural communities complained of hardship because of shortage of farm machinery and animal food supplies, they were largely self sufficient and did not suffer the same levels of bombing as those in cities.


  • The number of female workers actually decreased. Also, there was less incentive for women to work since families of conscripted soldiers received benefits, the Nazis were caught in the contraictions of their own ideology between the theory and practice of female employment. Military expansionism needed to employ women effectively, so, in the final 2 to 3 years more women were working.
  • Last desperate 12 months of the war women to the age of 50 conscripted taking up roles in the armed forces. By 1945 women conscripted nearly 60% of the workforce. They took on responsibilities in and out of the home and in the countryside German women experiences considerable hardship meeting the continual demands of running farms on thir own.


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The Four Year Plan

The Four Year Plan-1936

'Guns or Butter' (highlights the choice between rearmament and comsumer goods) 1936 led by Goring in October 1936 he was named 'Director of the Four Year Plan'. The aims;

  • regulate imports and exports and prioritise strategic sectors like chemicals and metals at the expense of agricultural imports.
  • control the key sectors of the labour force, prevent price inflation.
  • to increase the production of materials, to reduce the cost of importing vital goods like, steel, iron and alunimium.
  • to develop substitute products like, oil (from coal) and artificial rubber.
  • to increase agricultural production.

Effects; Production levels fell short in key commodities of rubber and oil did not reach demanded levels, still needed third of materials from abroad, there were shortages of food snd comsumer goods, labour shortages amoung skilled workers forced wages up also created social discontent.

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Opposition and Resistance

Conservative opposition-

  • Germany's upper classes who dominated the civil service and the officer corps, these were the same conservative nationalists who had initially given sympathetic backing to the Nazi Dictatorship. 

The Kreisau Circle- 

  • From 1942 elements of organised resistance began to emerge as army officials and foreign office officials were outraged by the massacres and destruction on the Eastern front they were brought together by the setbacks of winter 1942-43.
  • Key members; Goerdeler (1884-1945) conservative member of DNVP new chancellor is the July plot succeeded and Bonhoeffer (1906-45). Academic pastor.
  • Wide ranging group of officers, aristrocrats, academics and churchmen who met at Kreisau, aimed to create a new germany after Hitler, their principles influenced by Christian values.
  • July Bomb Plot- Stauffenberg plot 20th July 1944- remaining members of the circle became supporters of the most daring resistance- scheme to assassinate Hitler and create a provisional government. leading this was Stauffenberg who believed the only way to stop Hitler was to kill him, he placed the bomb in Hitlers briefing room but the breifcase was moved to far away fro him he only sufferd minour injuries. about 5000 supporters killed from this.
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War and racial policies

Final Solution & Wannsse Conference

  • Goering ordered Heydrich to prepare a plan to find the Final Solution to the "problem". The result on 20 January 1942, at a Conference in Wannsse, Berlin, Himmler was given the task of extending the concentration camps and developing more effective ways of dealing with the problem. Therefore, gas chambers were constructed in camps such as Sobibor, Treblinka, Maidank and Auschwitz-Birkenau in Poland to eradicate Europe’s Jews, gypsies etc.
  • In Auschwitz it was possible to put 700-800 Jews in one gas chamber, and Auschwitz-Birkenau's chambers were even bigger. It would take between three and 15 minutes for them to be killed. The gas used in the chambers was called Zyklon B. The Nazis killed 6 million Jews
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Impact of War

Living Standards;

  • Rationing  – the Nazis priorited this they ensured that everyone ate a balanced diet, many ate even better during the war. the diet was however boring and restricted to staple foods like bread and potatoes.
  • In the final 12 months of the war food rationing led to real shortages; trade in consumer goods struggled from the very start. In the first 2 years furniture and clothing sales fell by 40% and 25%. Coal was reserved for industrial production, so there was less available for domestic heating. 
  • Final months; clothes were in short supply, shoes were hard to find because shortage of leather, small luxuaries like magazines ans sweets were also stopped. the high demand for goods meant the black market flourished.


  • workers in high demand war industores were exempt from conscription but non essential workers had to enlist for military service. to maintain productivity, bonus' and over time payments were reintroduced but no impact becuase gov increase in income tax.
  • from 1942 demand for labour extended; working hours from 52 in 1940 to 60 in 1944, skilled labour short supply and non essential workers aged 16-65 had to register for vital work.
  • By 1944 became more desperate, total ban on holidays and bonuses were stopped.
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Total War and Effects of Bombing

  • 1942-1943: The 'turn of the tide', The Pearl Harbour contributed to the turn of the tide the Japanese attack on the US Naval base this 'globalised' the conflict as Germany aligned with Japan and declared war on the US.
  • The British victory at El Alamein eventually led to the ejection of german forces from North Africa and the surrender of 300,000 troops at Stalingrad these two defeats showed German armies were no longer invincible led to the winter of 1942-43 being seen as the turn of the tide. 
  • Final Solution and Allied bombing raids: In spite of military difficulties there was no postponement of the Final Solution.
  • The war began to have an impact on Germany, the massive bombing raids caused destruction and disolcation. It was becoming clear Germany would end up devastated unless the Allied demand for surrender was accpeted, this triggered the attemp to assassinate Hitler in July 1944, it was not until 30th April 1945 while the Soviets advanced within a mile of the Chancellery in Berlin Hitler killed himself and Germany surrendered on 7th-8th May. The aim of the Allies' intensive bombing programme in May 1943 was to kill people's spirits and force the war to end. Germany's large cities were bombed Hamburg 45,000 killed, Dresden, Berlin overall around 800,000 civillians killed by Allied Bombing.
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Impact of War pt 3


  • Main impact decline in education and academic standards, although this had already started in the late 1930s. With conscription of teachers to military service there was a marked decline in the number and quality of teaching staff. 
  • Compulsory membership of the HJ in 1939 there was a stronger focus on militarism imposed on the youth. The age of military service was reduced to 17 in 1943 and lowered again to 16 in 1945. Increasing the no. of teens used for defence work like manning anti-aircraft batteries.

Morale and Propaganda;

  • Nazis remained aware of public opinion and importance of the nations morale. Early on victories were easy to exploit as propaganda for war, but it was difficult to disguise te reality of the situation from the winter of 1942-43.
  • The German defeat at El Alamein was a significant loss, but the German surrender at Stalingard was a strategic diaster and damaging blow to the confidence of the German people.
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 Albert Speer 

He as the minister of armaments in February 1942 marked a real turning point Speer had previously been the Furhrer's architect and he enjoyed excellent relations with Hitler.

In his place a Central Planning Board was established in April 1942, which was in turn supported by a number of committes, each representiing one vital sector of the economy. 

Speer was able to exert influence because of his friendship with Hitler and he used his personal skills to charm and blackmail other authorites;

  • employing more women in arms factories.
  • making more effective use of forced labour.
  • preventing skilled workers from being lost to military conscription.
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Total War

  • 1st September 1939: Britain and France obliged to declare war- extended to continental war.
  • 1939-1940 May: Phoney War; went on for 8 months Hitler aimed to remove the Western threat before turning East agai. Germany needed to destroy France and hoped to force Britain, under the pressure of military serivces to make a deal with Germany.
  • 1940 June: The Low Countries and France, defeat within six weeks triumph for Germany, Hitler ruled from Paris to Warsaw, while the Third Reich was bordered by the 3 'friendly' powers of Spain, Italy and the 'USSR'. It was assumed by many that the war was over.
  • 1940 July-October: The Battle of Britain, Britain could have settled but Churchill refused to consider negotiations. The implicatons of this Germany needed to secure air superiority to invade Britain and disable its military and strategic potential. Germany's failure to win was significant as was Hitlers decision to switch military focus and prepare for invasion of the USSR.
  • 1941 June: Operation Barbarossa, Hitler believed that Blitzkrieg tactics could succeed in bringing a quick victory against the USSR like Poland and France. At first it succeeded thousands of prisoners taken, but this failed and Germany was faced with the prospect of war on two fronts.
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Opposition and Resistance pt 2

White Rose-

  • Most Famous youth group resistors, led by Hans and Sophie Scholl. The 'White Rose' symbol of peace initially just given to students of Munich University but later taken to towns in central Germany. Content of leaflets were political and openly condemned the moral and spiritual values of the Nazi regime.
  • Represented a brave gesture of defiance and self- sacrifice but they did not have good security from the start and in feb 1943- 6 leaders were arrested, tortured and executed. 

Edelweiss Pirates-

  • The Edelweiss Pirates were primarily opposed to the way the Hitler Youth movement had taken over the lives of youths in Hitler’s Germany 
  • They also offered a way of life outside of the strangulating Nazi regime. Members of the Edelweiss Pirates defied restrictions on movement by going on hiking and camping trips. While on these trips they would have enough freedom to sing songs banned by the Nazis – mainly ‘degenerate’ blues or jazz songs that had filtered over from France. They could have open discussions on topics the likes of which would have been forbidden in the cities and which informants would almost certainly have overheard.
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Consequences of WW2

The 4 D's;

  • Denazification; destruction of the Nazi Party and afflicted organisations, 21 leading Nazis on trial at Nuremberg for war crimes, collective responsibility.
  • Demilitarisation; Germany to pay reparations- materials and equipment- majority to USSR in return for food and coal, complete disarmament of germany.
  • Democratisation; Germany prepared for a democratic political system have free elections.
  • Decentralisation; Break control Nazis have over all areas- Prepare Germany for peaceful co-operation with the international communitiy, Germany to take collective responsibility for their defeat.

1945 February;

  • Division of Germany and Berlin into 4 zones to be governed by the Allied Control Council agreed at Yalta Conference- supposed to be temporary- details rushed.
  • May at the end of the war 20% of German population were refugees; famine highly likely and disease epidemic governing challenged for Allies significant.
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Potsdam Conference agreed

1945 July;

  • Complete diarmament and demilitarisation of Germany
  • Prepare Germany for peaceful co-operation with international community 
  • Germany to be prepared for a democratic political system 
  • Germany to pay reparations- materials & equipment- majority to USSR in return for food and coal.
  • Destruction of the Nazi Party and afflicted organisations 
  • 21 leading Nazis on trail at Nuremberg for war crime 
  • Germans to take collective responsibility for their defeat

1946 both UK and USA increasingly feel fundamental economic problems in Germany would be better managed in occupying powers cooperated more closely for 4 reasons;

  • Increasing scale of the humanitarian crisis
  • risking dismantaling the industry of the continent's strongest economy when europe deseratly needed to deconstruct
  • UK is indebted after war couldn't afford to keep maintaining Germany
  • fear the Soviets were building a socialist economy in East.
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Developments of Bizonia and the Marshall Plan

1946 March; 

  • Churchill gave his 'Iron curtain' speech in USA warning of Soviet expansion in Eastern Europe
  • May; US military Governor General Clay stopped deliveries of industrial goods from his zone to Soviets as they did not send promised agricultural goods.

1947 1st Jan;

  • UK and USA merge their zones into Bizone- was not supposed to be a political union but during 1947 increasingly permitted the passing of increased authority to the Germans and created the German Economic Council which had the power to pass laws on economic matters such as taxation.
  • 1948; Marshall Aid/plan, that the USSR prevented East Germany from accepting, further widened gap between East and West as growth and recovery accelerated in the West.
  • 1949; France, after initial release joined and created, Trizonia. A new constitution, the Basic Law was adopted in May 1949 which established a west German state. 
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Developments in Soviet Zone

Initally the communists did not have mass support and could not control all areas of life. In some areas of East Germany non-communists were appointed as mayors. Having gained popular support the Communist SED gradually eliminated other political groups and views;

  • The Soviet military command suppressed political party activity in Berlin. CDU and LDPD activities were ended. 
  • Free expression was severely limited and political dissent was restrained
  • The military government determined appointments and dismissals 
  • Democracy was formally abolished abandoned in 1948-9, and the SED announced a Marxist-Leninist 'Party of a New type'. It established 'mass organisations' under communist control of youth women and unions in the soviet zone.
  • The Soviet Union seized Polish Territory, introduced anti-democratic procedures in other eastern european states and caused unrest in both Greece and Turkey. As a result the West changed its view about Germany and began to see it more as an ally than a defeated enemy.
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Currency Reform and the Berlin Blockade

  • Stalin angered by currency reform in Western Zone, the Reichsmark had been subject to terrible inflation and 50% of the economy was based on a barter based black market so the German Economic Council, with strong American backing, decided to create a new Deutsche Mark introduced in Western Zones and West Berlin. 
  • The new currency hit small savers hard but the black market collapsed; the return to supply and demand controlled prices stimulated buisness and resurrected trade so it was a huge success.
  • Soviets saw it as an attempt to deliberatly undermine the Soviet Zone. Stalin blocked off all access via road, rail and canal to West Berlin as well as water, food supplies from the Soviet zone in winter 194; Berlin was 160km from the Western zones. 
  • In bids to pressurise the west into giving up currency plans and Western sectors of berlin.
  • General Clay, Supreme Commander of the American zone launched an airlift using the air corridoors agreed at Potsdam, the supply average was 7,000 tonns a day. The only way of stopping planes for the Soviets was to shoot them down, British and US planes flew 279,000 flights at peak one every minute.
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