GCSE History: Nazi Germany

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  • Created by: JacobRees
  • Created on: 30-01-16 14:22

New Words & The Weimar Republic

New Words:

  • Republic: a country without a king or queen.
  • Reichstag: the German parliament.
  • Democracy: where the government is elected.
  • Constitution: the way a government is set up

The Weimar Republic:

At the end of October 1918, the German navy mutinied. Rebellion spread throughout the country. In November Germany was forced to drop out of the First World War.   Kaiser Wilhelm II abdicated and fled the country.   A new Republic was declared.   In January 1919, elections were held for a new Reichstag and in February 1919, in the town of Weimar, a new government was agreed.Freidrich Ebert was elected President of the new Republic.Germany did not just get a new government.   The Allies made sure that Germany got a different kind of government. Before 1914, the government of Germany was almost a military autocracy; after 1919, it was a parliamentary democracy.

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Weimar Problems 1919-23

Weimar Problems 1919-23:

  • The Weimar Constitution did not create a strong government:
    • Article 48 of the constitution gave the President sole power in ‘times of emergency’ – something he took often.
    • The system of proportional voting led to 28 parties. This made it virtually impossible to establish a majority in the Reichstag, and led to frequent changes in the government. 
    • The German states had too much power and often ignored the government.
    • The Army, led by the right-wing (hated new government for signing Treaty of Versailles) general was not fully under the government’s control. 
    • Many government officials – especially judges – were right-wing and wanted to destroy the government.  After the Munich Putsch, Hitler went to prison for only 9 months
  • The cause of the trouble was Reparations – the government paid them by printing more money, causing inflation.   In January 1923, Germany failed to make a payment, and France invaded the Ruhr.   This humiliated the government, which ordered a general strike, and paid the strikers by printing more money, causing hyperinflation:
  • On 8–9 November 1923, Hitler’s Nazis tried to take control of Bavaria (the Munich Putsch).
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The Munich Putsch

The Munich Putsch:

  • Membership of the Nazi Party grew from 6,000 to 55,000
  • The Nazi Stormtroopers (SA) grew quickly, and wanted a revolution - in October, an SA leader told Hitler that, if there was not a rebellion soon, the SA would ‘sneak away’.
  • In 1922, Mussolini had seized control of the government of Italy by marching on Rome. Hitler hoped to copy his example.
  • In September 1923, the German Chancellor, Stresemann, called off the general strike in the Ruhr (it was ruining Germany). This made EVERY German angry with the government.
  • 9th November 1923 - Hitler got arrested for trying to take over Germany however he was only imprisoned for 9 months and was forbidden to speak in public:
    • Hitler turned his trial into a publicity opportunity, giving long speeches. Before he was no one and after his trial he was a national right-wing hero.  
    • While he was in prison, Hitler wrote Mein Kampf, in which he set out his life-story and beliefs. The book sold in millions, and made Hitler the leader of the right-wing opponents of Weimar. 
    • Hitler realised that he would not gain power by rebellion.  He began a new strategy – to gain power by being elected.
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Gustav Stresemann

Gustav Stresemann:

In the period after 1924, a politician named Gustav Stresemann led the government (he became Chancellor in August 1923). At first he opposed the Weimar Republic, but realised the alternative was anarchy. He achieved:

  • Dawes Plan, 1924Stresemann called off the 1923 Ruhr strike and started to pay reparations again – Dawes Plan longer time + Young Plan less reparations to pay 
  • Inflation controlled, Nov 1923Stresemann replaced old money with a new Rentenmark 
  • French leave the Ruhr, April 1924Stresemann persuaded the French to leave Foreign Affairs In 1925 - Stresemann signed the Locarno Treaty, agreeing to the loss of Alsace-Lorraine.   In 1926, Germany was allowed to join the League of Nations.   Germany had become a world power again.
  • Economic GrowthGermany borrowed 25,000 million gold marks, mainly from America.   This was used to build roads, railways and factories = economy boomed
  • ReformsStresemann introduced reforms to make life better for the working classes - Labour Exchanges (1927) and unemployment pay. Also, 3 million new houses were built
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Reorganizing the Nazi Party

Reorganizing the Nazi Party:

In this period, however, Hitler set about reorganising the Party.   He put in place many of the things which helped it take power after 1928.

  • He reduced the number of Stormtroopers (SA) and set up the SS, a personal bodyguard fanatically loyal to himself.
  • He set up a network of local parties.   He merged with other right-wing parties, then took them over.
  • He set up the Hitler Youth, which attracted young people to the party.
  • He put Josef Goebbels in charge of propaganda.   Goebbels and Hitler believed that the best way to get the support of the masses was by appealing to their feelings rather than by argument.   They waged a propaganda campaign using posters, leaflets, radio and film, and organised 
  • He cultivated the support of wealthy businessmen promising them that, if he came to power, he would destroy Communism and the Trade Unions.   This gave him the finance to run his campaigns.
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Why did Hitler come to power (Before 1929):

Why did Hitler come to power (1929):

  • Long-term bitternessDeep anger about the First World War and the Treaty of Versailles created an underlying bitterness to which Hitler’s viciousness and expansionsim appealed, so they gave him support.
  • Ineffective ConstitutionWeaknesses in the Constitution crippled the government.   In fact, there were many people in Germany who wanted a return to dictatorship.   When the crisis came in 1929–1933 – there was no one who was prepared or able to fight to stop Hitler. 
  • Money & Propaganda - Look at previous card
  • ProgrammeHitler promised everybody something, so they supported him.
  • Attacks on other partiesThe Stormtroopers attacked people who opposed Hitler. Many opponents kept quiet simply because they were scared of being murdered – and, if they were, the judges simply let the Stormtroopers go free
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Why did Hitler come to power (After 1929):

Why did Hitler come to power (After 1929):

  • Economic Depression - After the Wall Street Crash of 1929, the US called in its loans to Germany, and the German economy collapsed. People wanted someone to blame, and looked to extreme solutions – Hitler offered them both, and Nazi success in the elections grew. Germans turned to Nazism because they were desperate. The number of Nazi seats in the Reichstag rose from 12 in 1928 to 230 in July 1932.
  • Recruited by Hindenburg - In November 1932 elections the Nazis again failed to get a majority of seats in the Reichstag. Their share of the vote fell – from 230 seats to only 196. Hitler contemplated suicide. But then he was rescued by Hindenburg. Franz von Papen (a friend of Hindenburg) was Chancellor, but he could not get enough support in the Reichstag. Hindenburg and von Papen were having to govern by emergency decree under Article 48 of the Constitution. They offered Hitler the post of vice-Chancellor of he promised to support them. Hitler refused – he demanded to be made Chancellor. So Von Papen and Hindenburg took a risk. On 30 January 1933 Hindenburg made Hitler Chancellor. He thought he could control Hitler – how wrong he was. In the end, Hitler did not TAKE power at all – he was given it.
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Chancellor -> Dictator

Chancellor -> Dictator:

  • Reichstag Fire - 27 Feb 1933The Reichstag burned down.  A Dutch Communist named van der Lubbe was caught red-handed with matches and fire-lighting 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.
  • General Election - 5 March 1933Hitler held a general election, but  only 44% of the people voted Nazi, which did not give him a majority in the Reichstag, so Hitler arrested the 81 Communist deputies (which did give him a majority).
  • Enabling Act - 23 March 1933The Reichstag voted to give Hitler the power to make his own laws.   Nazi stormtroopers 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.
  • Gestapo - 26 April 1933 - The Nazis took over local government and the police and started to replace anti-Nazi teachers and University professors. The Gestapo (the secret police) was set up encouring Germans to report opponents and 'grumblers'. Tens of thousands of minorities arrested and sent to concentration camps.
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Chancellor -> Dictator

Chancellor -> Dictator:

  • Trade Unions banned  - 2 May 1933The 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.
  • Opposition banned - 14 July 1933The 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. 
  • Night of the Long Knives - 30 June 1934The 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. 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. Hitler ordered the SS to kill more than 400 SA men.
  • Fuhrer - 19 August 1934When 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).
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Controlling Germany

Controlling Germany:

  • The Enabling Act (23 March 1933) Hitler was the all-powerful Fuhrer of Germany. Therefore Hitler banned over political parties.
  • The Gestapo forced people to speak through a flower
  • Propaganda was shooved down peoples throats
  • Boys and Girls were brainwashes in school and in Hitler Youth/League of German Maidans
  • Nation Labour Force and Strength Through Joy set up
  • Hitler signed a concordat with the Pope to leave Roman Catholic Church alone if it stayed out of politics
  • Racial Purity Laws (1935) took away citizenship from Jews and forbade them from having sex with 'Germans'.
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How did Nazi rule affect Germans

How did Nazi rule affect Germans:

  • Nazi Party Members got the best of everything
  • For ordinary people they got full employment (work programes/strength through joy) whihc gave them financial security, crime rates were low, autobahns imporved transport, propaganda gave people hope and TRUST IN HITLER. However wages fell, there was a loss of freedom and all culture had to be German
  • Nazi's were anti-feminist so the Laws for Encouragement of Marrige gave newly-wed couples a loan of 1000 marks + got medals and 250 marks every child. However Job-Discrimination was encouraged which ****** women of
  • Nazi culture was very youth oriented, many parents thought their children would turn into the Gestapo however Aryan girls and boys were bred and children were unhappy with the 3 C's, this led to youth gangs such as the Eidelweiss Pirates.
  • Opponents, if found were killed or tortured instantly (Gestapo)
  • Minorities were tortured and killed because they were regarded as 'anti-social'
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