Changes in Nazi Germany 1933-39

Descriptions of the changes made to Germany when Hitler came to power. Focusing on the changes in schools, work and for women/families. I have lots of other Germany resources on my page if you would like to use them :)

  • Created by: CoolKid
  • Created on: 31-05-13 09:18


Nazis believed:

  • Young people should be trained to be good Germans and good Nazis.
  • Education should prepare young people to serve the state.
  • Boys should be educated to go out to work and to serve the army.
  • Girls should be educated to become good wives and mothers.

School was voluntary after 14, boys and girls went to separate schools. They were constantly bombarded with Nazi propaganda e.g. Mein Kampf was a compulsory school text. They were taught; race studies (saying Aryans are best), PE was 1/6 of school time to promote good health, girls learnt domestic science to prepare for being good mothers.

Teachers had to swear loyaly to Hitler and joint the Nazi Teachers' League. Classrooms were decorated wiht Nazi propaganda and lessons started with a salute and "Heil Hitler".

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Youth movements

All youth groups were closed down and Nazi ones started. These reflected Nazi ideas were used like schools to teach boys to serve the army and girls to be good wives.

The activities encouraged good health, citizenship and support for the Nazis. They both did camping, hiking and group activities.

Boys had: 'Pimpf' (Little Fellows), 'Jungvolk' (Young Germans) age 10 and 'Hitler Jugend' (Hitler Youth) from 10 to 14. They did marching drills, map reading, sgnalling and rifle shooting - useful for military service.

Girls had: 'Yung Madel' (Young Maidens) age 10 to 14, and 'Bund Deutscher Madel' (League of German Maidens) age 14-18. They did activities preparing for motherhood - cooking, setting up camps.

Some parents disliked their children being taught loyalty to Nazis above all else. Some of the young disliked how regimented it was and started opposition youth groups e.g. Edelweiss Pirates.

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Under the Weimar republic women were made much more equal to men (given vote, able to work, more freedom). The Nazis didn't like this, they believed women best fitted into society by being good mothers and wives.

Women were encouraged to focus on the 3Ks - kinder, kuche, kirche - children, kitchen and church. Some women were forced to leave their jobs, freeing up jobs for men.

The Nazis had several policies to increase marriage and childbirth:

  • 1933, Law for the Encouragement of Marriage - loans of 1000s marks (9 months wages) provided to marry, if the woman left work. They could keep 1/4 for each of their first 4 children.
  • There were other payments too to encourage large families.
  • The Mother's Cross - an award encouraging large families, bronze for 4, silver for 6, gold for 8 or more children. Distributed on Hitler's mother's birthday.
  • 1935, Lebensborn - policy encouraging childbirth. First provided nurseries and financial aid for women with ** men's children. Later made 'single women available for fertilisation by ** men' - to create genetically pure children.
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Work and Employment

Trade unions banned 1933. German Labour Front (DAF) set up.

  • This ensured workers served the best interests of the Nazi regime.
  • It also controlled the power of the employers, setting out new employment rights of all workers in factories, mines, munitions plants and shipyards.
  • It regulated work hours and rates of pay.
  • It could also punish workers.

1933 set up RAD (National Labour Service) to reduce unemployment. Provided manual work for the unemployed, from 1935 compulsory to serve 6 months. It was low pay and low food and often regimented like the army. They were used to build autobahns (motorways), buildings, and work in fields. This was good for Germany, by 1939 it had 7000 miles of autobahns.

Hitler issued 'Four Year Plan' - to be ready for war within 4 years. Hugely increased spending on rearmament and iron, steel and plastic production. Also increased army size to 900,000 by 1939. Larger army also needed more uniforms and equipment - workers needed, reduced unemployment. Overall rearmament was huge boost for economy as it reduced unemployment and increased production and profits.

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