Nazi gov efficiency/ Chaotic nature of Gov.
"The final solution evolved because of the chaotic nature of the Nazi regime in the years 1939-1942" How far do you agree?
In favour (chaotic nature of Gov:
- Working towards the Fuhrer - Fuhrerprinzip: Hitler wanted 'anailation' (vernichtung) of the jews, but only spoke in visions/very vague; People tried to fulfil Hitlers world view.
- Led to cumulative radicalisation: as a result of people competing for Hitlers blessing; Social Darwinism led to competition in order to get close to him.
e.g. Goebbels - following his affair with Czech actress, came up with Kristalnacht partly to try get in with Hitler again. e.g. Einzatzgruppen (polish killing squads) - psychological results of shooting and too many jews to shoot; Himmler gave the idea of gassing vans which were implemented (1941); 'working towards' vernichtung (Hitlers vision)
Against (Final solution developed within the war):
- Invasion of Poland exacerbated the problems they already faced (3m more Polish Jews); the decision to 'rationalise' the extermination wasn't chaotic, it was extremely efficient/systematic. Alot more efficient than previous methods of shooting squads (time consuming and messy and risked psychological problems of the troops); the adoption of rail system was efficient and more orderly (took by train to camps, gassed, burned). The Wansee conference (1942) nmid war was the formalisation of plans.
- Invasion of Soviet Union put strains on the German war economy- the cost of feeding people in the ghettos was considered too great; again more rational and practical to exterminate.
Nazi war economy
"The chaotic nature of the Nazi Gov. best explains the failiure of Hitlers war economy" How far do you agree?
Intro: Two ways that the economy failed (Unable to maximise the productivity of German labour force and the fact it could never at any time out produce Britain, Russia or USA)
- Chaotic Government (inefficient) - due to the overlapping of institutions and government ministries; fighting amongst themselves for Hitlers approval and promotion opportunities.
- Wars of plunder (the idea they'd claim natural resources from the countries they invaded, but the nature of invasions and reaction to invasion - e.g. Russia scorched earth policy - was destructive; resources destroyed)
eval: Speer did use power to exculde Senior military officials from economic decision making(e.g.Goering); as a result ammunition production rose by 97% and tank production by 25% in 1942-43.
- Labour shortages- conscription of Jews and prisoners of war (who's production levels were 60% below the average German) and the failiure to moblise woment into the workforce (both ideological reasons against Hitlers vision). High death rate at home/at war which significantly impacted productivity (305k killed, 780k injured adding figures from allied bombing of Hamburg 1942, and Dresden 1945, also 400k troops killed at Battle of Stalingrad)
- Limitations of ideology (kind of same as labour shortages, women limited to the home etc, Jews used and not productive)
Social and Political tensions
'To what extent did social and political tensions that existed within the Second Reich, increase during WW1?'
Intro- Context of pre-war (economic ecxpansion and booming industry led to poor working conditions as a result of mass urbanisation. SPD gained voted because of the increasing unionisation of the workforce; they became the largets party with 112 seats in 1912)
- Burgefriede (run to the castle) - Initially saw some demonstrations, but propaganda by the Governement aimed to unify people behind the war. Kaiser ' I know no parties, only Germans'. This saw increase in volounteer troops, on top of enthusiams amongst young men.
Politically Burgfriede unified politics, saw the Reichstag give up it's power (for the good of the country) so legislation could be made without debate/save time.
[ Unification of people, unification of politics - dip in tensions]
- Trench warfare/war of attrition (failure of Schlieffen plan)- plan resulted in bloackade as Belgium resisted; the type of warfare increased casualties, which led to a drop in morale and discontent on the home front. Plans failure also caused food shortage and shorage of supplies; widespread malnutrition as the country could not sustain herself. Caused the Turnip Winter of 1916 (people ate turnips and nothing else; social unrest [rise in tension again]
- Political divides- Mass casualties, mass famine and poor living standards needed reforf; the gov. split in to two main arguments on how to combat these; either 'peace without victory' (cut losses) or 'victorious peace' (one last push)
Social and political tensions continued..
- Hindenburg Programme (1916)- Looked to gear the economy for total war and double german economic output; failed miserably as although production did increase, there was no gains made on the Western front as a result; resources were depleated for no reason.
- Russian revolution as inspiration- led by example, workers set up Soviets and workers councils. [ a place to voice and actively demonstrate social and political unrest - tensions]
-Spring Offensive/100 Day offensive - Low morale/ shortage of resources led to German spring offensive loosing momentum and failing to deliver 'one last push'. The 100 day offensive was the Allied counter attack which saw the end to the war; and German failure put on the shoulders of the Kaiser (pressured to abdicate in 1918).
[Conc- political and social tensions although did dip, escalted further than before during the war years; got significantly worse demonstrated by the active resistance of the people and the collapse of the Second Reich]
Rise of the Nazis/Hitlers personal Popularity
'To what extent was genuine popularity the main factor for Hitler's success in becoming chancellor?'
Intro- Context (in 1933, Germany was in a state of social/political/economic unstability. The social unrest caused by democracies attempt and failiure and industrial hardships as the backlashes of the Wall St. Crash created the perfect conditions which prevented Nazi propaganda from falling upon deaf ears)
- Nazi popularity (leading point mentioned in question); Increase in votes evidenced party success, increased by x10 in 3-4 years. Why? because Nazis looked back, not forward, to times of 'utopian past'- Destruction of Versailles, the rid of communist threat (Hitler determined to stamp it out) and back to times before economic crisis/democracy. What people wished for, Hitler offered in visions; didn't make promises he couldn't keep.
-Propaganda: Joseph Goebbels (created a false image of security and hope under Hitler); arguably this technique was responsible for surge of votes, not genuine party admiration. Powerfully used to indoctrinate/enforce conformity heavily from 1933 (e.g. speakers placed outside factories, schools etc) Hitler portrayed as charismatic, strong and devoted, and democratic failiure/communist threat left people vulnerable to media influences (yet no actual policy mentioned). Also, Hitlers broad appeal of elites (stamp out communism) and working class (promised economic improvement) secured him a broad fanbase- catered to all social problems.
Rise of Nazis/Hitlers personal popularity continue
- Impact of Wall St. Crash (1929)- A large trigger which helped Nazis undermine democracy and Germanys current governing body. Hit at vulnerable time (6 years after last economic crisis). Allowed Nazi propaganda, but also Nazi radicals to ecxploit social unrest; street violence was common, especially in Munich.
- Changing political circumstances- (Hindenburg liked von Papens solution which was crafted as a result of rivalry with von Shlieker); Hitler as chancellor, 2 Nazis in the cabient (the idea of 'containing' Hitler, resstoring political and social stability, and ending Nazi street violence appealed to Hindenburg).
- Conclusion: The Wall Street crash was the event that sparked Hitlers journery to power; this created the perfect conditions for propaganda to thrive in, meaning the support of the people that followed (including the violent demonstrations) made the Governemnt e.g. Hindenburg more than aware of Hitler and his personal leadership skills/power base amonst many classes. As a result, this enabled the changing political circumstances to stemn from this. The extent of popularirty is small (against question) as the party only gained support as a result of their promise to fix the problems society faced.
Threats in the early years of Weimar
'How far do you agree with the view that the new Weimar Republic was seriously threatned by political extremists?'
Intro- Two ways to approach (either the degree of threat the extremists proposed, or in relation to other issues e.g. internal threats and external threats)
- Threatning- Putsches (Raterrepublik, Kapp, Spartacists, Munich). e.g. Ratterrepublik- when communists took over the state of Bavaria for a few months and effectively controlled the area, this showed active plans to change the style/system of government, [acted as a threat] Also Political assasinations showed the radical lengths that opposition would go to - 350 politicians killed between 1919-1922. [therefore can't be underestimated - active and did have some successions]
- Not threatning(*)- Lack of public support as although many people opposed the government, not many people were willing to take part in illegal activity. e.g. lack of public participation with the Kapp Putsches (civil services were not willing to cooperate and work with the Kapp gov., therefore paralysed it, and resulting in the diminishment of threat)
Erbert-Groner agreement (between gov. and army- they agreed as long as they protected the weimar gov/kept them looking legit, the army could maintain their position/prestige in the country). Evidence of agreement:Raterrepublik (the army gained permission to fight communists and successfully took Bavaria back under Gov. control again; this showed the agreement working effectivley and helping to shut out any opposition of significant threat).
Threats in early years of Weimar continued..
- eval: Economic sanctions (made threatning as a result of): The Treaty of Versailles put harsh economic sanctions on Germany; they couldn't afford them (high reparation amount) and Germany was bankrupt by 1923. Adding to this was the French invasion of the Ruhr, which led to strikes (as demanded by the gov.); as a result coal production fell to zero meaning no money was earned off production, they also had to pay the workers strike money. In order to do so they printed more money to pay workers/war bonds/benefits for war veterans leading to rapid inflation.
The inflation made wages worthless and the paralysis of Public services due to no wages or resources led to vulnerability of opposition; before the economic sanctions they were coping with keeping opposition at bay.
Conclusion; Treaty of Versailles caused economic sanctions all the way from 1919, it was just the fact that in 1923 they couldn't afford to keep up with payments. Before inflation, threats to Weimar had been managable due to the cooperation of the militaty/police; this changed after th Rurh crisis.