Germany 1918-1945

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  • Created by: remybray
  • Created on: 07-04-16 12:50

Problems with the Weimar Republic

Weaknesses of the Weimar Constitution

  • In 1919 the Republic had many enemies. It was not sensible to give equal rights to those who wished to destroy it.
  • Proportional representation encouraged lots of small parties which each got a small number of MPs. No one party could get a majority, so governments had to be coalitions. There could never be a strong government.
  • It was hard to make decisions as there was so many parties in the Reichstag.
  • The president had too much power. It was possible he could turn himself into a dictator, with Article 48. Article 48 stated that in an emergency the president could make laws without going first to the Reichstag.
  • The new government had to accept the Versailles Treaty so were hated by many Germans due to loss of territory, the 'war guilt' clause, reparations, etc
  • The states could be hostile to the national government, and even try to overthrow it.
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Problems with the Weimar Republic

The Treaty of Versailles

  • On 28 June 1919 the Germans signed the Treaty of Versailles.
  • War guilt: The Treaty said that Germany was to blame for causing the war. This was the term that the Germans most resented. To them the war had been one of self-defence.
  • Reparations: The allies could claim reparations for damage caused by the war. The sum of £6600 million was to be paid by Germany.
  • Military restrictions: The French desire for security meant that the German armed forces had to be drastically reduced.
  • Territorial losses: Germany lost 13% of its land, which contained 6 million of its people. Germany lost 10% of its industry and 15% of its agricultural land.
  • The Treaty of Versailles greatly weakened the new government of Germany. It suited many Germans to believe that Germany had never really lost the war.
  • A powerful myth developed which said that the army had been 'stabbed in the back' by weak politicians.
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Problems with the Weimar Republic

Discontent after WWI

  • Thousands of people were poor and starving. An influenza epidemic had killed thousands.
  • Many Germans denied they had lost the war and blamed the 'November Criminals' who had agreed to the Armistice and the Treaty of Versailles.
  • Others blamed for losing the war included the communists, the government and the Jews.
  • The government was seen as weak and ineffective - the Treaty of Versailles had made living conditions worse in Germany
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Problems with the Weimar Republic

The occupation of the Ruhr

  • Germany did not keep up with its reparations payments, and the French were determined to make the Germans pay.
  • In January 1923, French and Belgian troops marched into the Ruhr, the richest industrial part of Germany, and occupied it.
  • Germany was now losing all that the Ruhr would normally have produced and passive resistance by German workers made Germany even poorer.
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Problems with the Weimar Republic

Hyperinflation

  • The German government did not have enough money to pay for the costs of the passive resistance in the Ruhr, so it simply printed more. 
  • When a government prints money which it does not have, the value of money goes down and prices go up.
  • In 1923 the Germany economy was plunged into hyperinflation.
  • Wages were paid twice a day before prices went up again.
  • The middle classes lost out as bak savings became worthless.
  • The German Mark became worthless.
  • People blamed the Weimar government, which had agreed to pay reparations under the Versailles Treaty.
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Problems with the Weimar Republic

The Munich (Beer Hall) Putsch

  • On 8-9 November 1923, Adolf Hitler's National Socialist (Nazi) Party launched an attempted revolution in Munich, the capital city of Bavaria.
  • Hitler's soliders occupied a beer hall in Munich and announced that the revolution had begun.
  • The next day Hitler marched into Munich supported by stormtroopers. 
  • The revolt quickly collapsed when it was crushed by the army and the police.
  • This was another example of violent political extremism that lay just beneath the surface of the Weimar Republic.
  • Hitler was imprisoned for his role in the Munich Putsch.
  • He wrote a book in prison describing his beliefs and ambitions. The title 'Mein Kampf' means 'My Struggle'.
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Hitler's Rise to Power

What did the Nazi Party stand for in the 1920s?

  • Rearm Germany
  • Abolish the Treaty of Versailles
  • Conquer Lebensraum
  • Nationalise important industries
  • Strong central government
  • Destroy the Weimar Republic
  • Destroy Marxism
  • Challenge terror or violence with your own terror or violence
  • Remove Jews from all positions of leadership in Germany
  • No non-Germans to be newspaper editors
  • Educate gifted children at the state's expense
  • Increase old-age pensions
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Hitler's Rise to Power

How did the Nazis change their tactics between 1924 an 1929 (after the Munich Putsch)?

  • The Nazi Party was banned after the Munich Putsch. After Hitler was released from prison, he re-established the party with himself as surpreme leader.
  • The party increased their anit-Jewish propaganda to gain support of the working classes.
  • The Nazis increased their membership, despite them losing seats in the Reichstag.
  • They began to focus on parts of their message which would appeal to the middle class, as this is where most of their new members were coming from.
  • The Nazis ran evening classes for their members to train them in public-speaking skills.
  • Nazi acitivists in villages and towns throughout Germany would put on meetings with visiting speakers.
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Hitler's Rise to Power

The Great Depression of 1929

  • In October 1929, the Wall Street Crash was the beginning of a worldwide slide into the Great Depression.
  • The effects were felt everywhere but Germany ws hit particularly badly because American banks recalled the loans which were the lifeblood of German industry.
  • Businesses had to close. As world trade declined, German exports slumped. Millions of people lost their jobs.
  • The Depression caused massive unemployment in Germany - over 6 million were unemployed by 1933.
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Hitler's Rise to Power

How did the Depression weaken the Weimar government and increase popularity for the Nazis?

  • The Chancellor raised taxes, cut wages and reduced unemployment benefit. These were all very unpopular.
  • These policies also caused the collapse of the government because the Social Democrats withdrew from the coalition. 
  • In order for his government to survive the Chancellor fell back on Article 48 of the Weimar Constitution which gave the President special powers in an emergency. Germany was now ruled by presidential decree.
  • To many Germans it seemed that the Weimar government was making a hopeless mess of handling the situation. People hoped a new government could sort out the problem.
  • Extremist groups like the Nazis became more popular - they promised strong leadership.
  • The Nazis promised prosperity and to make Germany great again. This appealed to many of the unemployed, as well as to businessmen and young people.
  • By 1930, Nazi membership grew to over 300,000.
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Why was Hitler appointed Chancellor in 1933?

Fear of Communism

Leadership

Opposition weaknesses

Propaganda

Political deal

Economic problems

Depression

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Why was Hitler appointed Chancellor in 1933?

Fear of Communism

  • Hitler played on the middle classes' fear of Communism. He told them what they wanted to hear and they voted for him. This made up a large proportion of the population.
  • The Nazis knew that their anti-Communist stance was very popular and their propaganda further whipped up fear and hatred of the Communists.
  • The Nazis stirred up violence at election meetings so that the SA could crush it and be seen 'dealing with the Communist threat'.
  • Hitler pointed to the Nazis' ten-year track record in leading the fight against Communism.

Leadership

  • The focus was on Hitler, the strong leader whom Germany needed and wanted.
  • Posters and rallies built him into a superman.
  • Hitler was a very good, emotive public speaker. He made good policies that suited the masses, and he was a very popular and famous figure.
  • He organised rallies, which meant that people felt involved in the election process and it gave them something to enjoy and be proud of.
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Why was Hitler appointed Chancellor in 1933?

Opposition weaknesses

  • Other parties were very weak and they consistently underestimated the Nazis.
  • The Social Democrats quarelled among themselves, rahter than uniting to face the Nazis' challenge. The Social Democrats withdrew from the coalition.
  • The Weimar governement did not know how to handle the rising unemployment and poverty during the Great Depression.

Propaganda

  • The Nazis were masters of propaganda, and they carefully trained their local groups in propaganda skills.
  • The Nazis used emotive slogans and propaganda that spoke to everyone, so that everyone could be reminded of their message constantly. 
  • Radio broadcasts, millions of election posters, rallies, parades and marches carried the Nazi message into every town and home in Germany.
  • Goebbels was the propaganda minister and was very good at his job.
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Why was Hitler appointed Chancellor in 1933?

Political deal

  • In the July 1932 elections the Nazis won 37.3% of the vote (230 seats). They were now the biggest party, but didn't have a majority in the Reichstag.
  • Hitler demanded to be appointed Chancellor. 
  • Hindenburg refused because he didn't trust Hitler and kept Franz von Papen.
  • In the November 1932 elections the Nazis' vote fell to 33.1%. They lost 34 seats.
  • General von Schliecher stopped supporting von Papen and decided he himself should become Chancellor.
  • In December 1932, Hindenburg reluctantly appointed von Schleicher as Chancellor.
  • Von Papen wanted to win back power and agreed to work with Hitler, to make Hitler Chancellor. In exchange, von Papen would be in the cabinet.
  • Von Papen asked Hindenburg to make Hitler Chancellor, but he refused.
  • Von Schleicher finally had to admit defeat in raising support in the Reichstag. He had to resign.
  • On 30 January 1933, Hindenburg appoints Hitler as Chancellor and von Papen as Vice-Chancellor.
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Why was Hitler appointed Chancellor in 1933?

Economic problems

  • The German economy depended on American loans which could be withdrawn at any time.
  • Unemployment was a serious problem.
  • Employers complained about the money the government spent on welfare benefits for the poor and unemployed. They said taxes were too high.
  • Some sectors of the economy were in trouble throughout the 1920s, farming in particular. Income from agriculture went down from 1925 to 1929. Farmworkers' earnings were, by 1929, little more than half the national average.
  • There were extremes of wealth and poverty in Germany.

Depression

  • The Depression weakened the Weimar government due to the unpopular economic policies.
  • When things are bad people tend to choose extreme ideologies, so the Nazis gained popularity. By 1930, Nazi membership grew to over 300,000.
  • It caused massive unemployment.
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How did Hitler consolidate his power in 1933-1934?

Parties banned

Army oath

Night of the Long Knives

Trade unions banned

Hindenburg's death

Enabling Act

Reichstag fire

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How did Hitler consolidate his power in 1933-1934?

Parties banned

  • In the election on the 5 March 1933, the Nazis won 288 seats, which failed to give them an overall majority.
  • Hitler declared the Communist party illegal and banned Communists from the Reichstag.
  • In July 1933 Hitler passed a law against the formation of parties. This law made it illegal for other parties to exist and made it a crime to support another party.
  • This law allowed Hitler to increase his powers because it made it impossible to lose his power in an election, and also closed down the organisations of the politicians who opposed him.
  • Many prominent Socialists and Communists were arrested.
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How did Hitler consolidate his power in 1933-1934?

Army oath

  • After Hindenburg's death, the army accepted Hitler as president.
  • Each soldier swore an oath of loyalty to Hitler.
  • Hitler's new title was Fuhrer - leader.

Night of the Long Knives

  • Hitler still had opposition and was worried about rivals within the Nazi party. 
  • The biggest threat was Ernst Rohm, who controlled the SA (over 400,000 men).
  • On the 29th-30th June 1934, Hitler sent his own men (the SS) to arrest and shoot the leaders of the SA. 
  • This became known as the Night of the Long Knives.
  • Several hundred people were killed, including Rohm, Strasser and von Schliecher.
  • Any potential opposition had been stamped out.
  • The SA were much reduced in power so the army was more ready to accept Hitler as president.
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How did Hitler consolidate his power in 1933-1934?

Trade unions banned

  • In May 1933 trade unions were closed down and replaced by the Nazis' own trade union, the German Labour Front.
  • Independent organisations to defend workers' rights were made illegal and replaced by a new Nazi organisation.
  • This helped Hitler gain more power over Germany because it eliminated the chances of workers opposing Nazi rule by organising strikes.

Hindenburg's death

  • On 2 August 1934, just 2 weeks after the Night of the Long Knives, President Hindenburg died. 
  • Hitler declared himself President and was now not only Chancellor, but Head of State.
  • Hindenburg was the only person who could have removed Hitler from any power.
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How did Hitler consolidate his power in 1933-1934?

Enabling Act

  • The Enabling Act was passed in March 1933.
  • This law, passed by the Reichstag under heavy pressure from the Nazis' SA and SS men, meant that Hitler could pass laws without consulting the Reichstag or the President.
  • It let him govern for 4 years without parliament and made all other parties illegal.
  • The Weimar Republic was over.
  • The Enabling Act strengthened Hitler's control of power over Germany because it meant that he no longer had to worry about support in the Reichstag, and could use the power to make laws to crush his enemies.
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How did Hitler consolidate his power in 1933-1934?

Reichstag fire

  • On 27 February 2933, the Reichstag building was set on fire. 
  • The police found a Dutch Communist, van der Lube, inside the burning building and he was arrested and charged with starting the fire. 
  • Hitler used this as evidence that the Communists were plotting against his government and that ngiht Goering's Prussian police arrested and imprisioned 4000 Communist leaders.
  • The Reichstag fire helped Hitler to become a dictator because it gave him a chance to act as a decisive leader and seemed to prove right the claims that he thought the Communists were dangerous.
  • The next day Hitler persuaded President Hindenburg to pass an emergency decree.
  • The emergency decree gave Hitler a range of powers, including the power to round up communists, prevent his political opponents meeting and censor items from newspapers.
  • This reinforced Hitler's grip on Germany because it gave him an excuse to crush the communists and make it harder for them to meet or get their message across.
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How would the Nazis run Germany?

1. A dictatorship - The Nazis thought that Germany needed a dicator who knew what was best for Germany, who made decisions which everyone obeyed because they were in the people's interest.

2. A one-party state - The Nazi party would be the only political party. 

3. Economic success - They would make sure that the German people had jobs and food. They would help them save for their own cars. They would provide holidays and entertainments for loyal Germans.

4. A police state - If there was opposition, the SS and the police would have absolute power to arrest, punish and even execute the enemies of the state who did not follow tthe dictator or submit to his demands for total loyalty.

5. A propaganda state - Nazis believed that if they controlled what people in Germany heard, saw and read the they would be able to win their hearts and minds. Goebbels had already shown in the Nazi election campaigns of the early 1930s how successfully he could use propaganda. The Nazis believed this would be equally important now they were in power.

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How effectively did the Nazis control Germany?

The SS

  • The SS began as a bodyguard for Hitler. It expanded massively under the leadership of Heinrich Himmler during the 1930s.
  • The SS were ruthless and feared for their cruelty.
  • Its members were totally loyal to Hitler.
  • They became the main means of terrorising or intimidating the Germans into obedience. The SS had almost unlimited power to arrest people without trial, search houses, or confiscate property. They also ran the concentration camps.

Concentration camps

  • The first concentration camps were temporary prisons set up by the SA and the SS in disused factories or warehouses.
  • Opponents of the regime were taken there for questioning, torture, hard labour and 're-education'.
  • By 1939 they had built up a massive business using their prisoners as slave labour.
  • Later the concentration camps became the scenes of mass genocide.
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How effectively did the Nazis control Germany?

The Gestapo

  • This was originally the Prussian secret police run by Goering.
  • Afte June 1936 it became the state secret police under the command of Himmler. 
  • The Gestapo tapped telephones, intercepted mail, and spied on people.
  • They had a network of informers throughout Germany.
  • It was probably the Gestapo that the opponents of Nazism most feared.

The police, the courts and the prisons

  • The police were under the command of the SS.
  • The judges took an oath of loyalty to Hitler.
  • The conventional courts could be used by the Nazis against their opponents.
  • The number of crimes punishable by death rose from 3 in 1933 to 46 in 1943.
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How effectively did the Nazis control Germany?

Informers

  • Every town had a local Nazi warden, who were employed to make sure Germans were loyal to the Nazis. 
  • People were encouraged to report disloyalty. Many were arrested by the Gestapo as a result.

Dealing with political opponents (1933)

  • The Reichstag fire marked the beginning of a two-month purge of the Nazis' most feared opponents.
  • Over 25,000 people were taken to local prisons and concentration camps. The SA set up prisons and torture chambers in homes, or in cellars or bunkers.
  • This was supposed to be 'preventive detention' but the Nazis wanted to either convert people to Nazism or make them so terrified of the Nazis that they would never oppose them.
  • The Nazis arrested everyone from the Social Democrats to members of the other nationalist parties. Jewish writers, lawyers and industrialists were included.
  • By summer 1933 the Nazis had wiped out any organisations where their opponetns were strong. Trade unions and all other parties were banned.
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How effectively did the Nazis control Germany?

Propaganda

  • Newspapers - The Propaganda Ministry issued daily orders to newspapers. Anti-Nazi newspapers were closed.
  • Films - Goebbels realised the power of cinema. Before watching films, you also had to watch newsreels and short documentary films which carried the Nazi message.
  • Radio - Goebbels formed the Reich Radio Company which controlled all local radio stations. Millions of very cheap radios called 'The People's Receiver' were made.
  • Rallies - The Nuremberg rallies were the highlight of the year, with thousands of people watching parades and displays and listening to speeches.
  • Music - Music should be German. Jazz was not permitted as it was 'black' music and therefore racially inferior.
  • Theatre - The theatre should concentrate on German history and political drama. If you joined the Nazi 'Culutral Association' you could see 10 plays at half price.
  • Literature - Goebbels drew up a list of banned books which were removed by the Gestapo from book shops and libraries. In May 1933 the Nazis encouraged students to burn the books which they believed were un-German and Jewish.
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How effectively did the Nazis control Germany?

The churches

  • In June 1933 the Catholic Church signed a Concordat with Hitler. Hitler promised that the Catholics could carry on their religious work, and that Catholic schools and youth groups would be left alone.
  • Hitler united all the Protestant churches together into one Reich church under a pro-Nazi Reich Bishop, Muller.
  • They adopted Nazi-style uniforms, salutes and marches.
  • After 1933, the Nazis became bolder in their attempts to control the churches.
  • The Gestapo arrested 700 Protestant ministers who were opposed to the Nazis.
  • The Nazis ran campaigns pressuring children not to attend Church schools or youth movements.
  • Christmas carols and nativity plays were banned from schools.
  • Priests were stopped from teaching religious classes in schools.
  • All remaining Church schools were abolished.
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Opposition to the Nazis

The White Rose group

  • The White Rose group was an opposition movement led by students from Munich University between 1942 and 1943.
  • The group protested against the Nazi discrimination of minorities.
  • They used non-violent methods and distributed anti-Nazi leaflets to encourage opposition.
  • In 1943 most of the leaders were caught and arrested by the Gestapo, and several members were executed.

The Edelweiss Pirates

  • The Edelweiss Pirates was the name given to groups of rebellious young people which had sprung up across Germany during the 1930s.
  • They rejected Nazi values and didn't like being told what to do. They avoided joining the Hitler Youth. 
  • During the 1940s they started distributing anti-Nazi leaflets. They also helped army deserters, forced labourers and escape concentration camp prisoners. 
  • Many were arrested. In 1944, several members in Cologne were publicly hanged.
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Opposition to the Nazis

The Kreissau Circle

  • The Kreissau Circle was an anti-Nazi movement led by Helmuth von Molkte and Yorck von Wartenburg. It was made up of churchmen, scholars and politicians.
  • The group was aainst violence, so they didn't actively resist the Nazis. Instead they discussed how to make Germany a better country after the Nazis had fallen.
  • Some members of the Circle tried to inform Allied governments about the dangers and weaknesses of Nazi control.
  • In 1944, members of the Kreissau Circle, including Molkte, were arrested and executed.

The Stauffenberg bomb plot

  • By 1944, some German military officers were unhappy with Hitler's leadership - they believed he was going to lead Germany to defeat. Claus von Stauffenberg, along with other German officers, planned to kill Hitler.
  • They wanted to install a moderate government, including members of the Kreissau Circle.
  • On 20 July 1944, Stauffenberg put a bomb in a briefcase an left it in a meeting room by Hitler's chair. However, someone moved the briefcase. The plotters were captured and executed.
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To what extent did Germans benefit from Nazi rule?

Economic policy

  • Small businesses - Many small shops were finding it very difficult to survive because of competition from large department stores. The Nazis passed laws to ban new department stores, stop existing ones growing and enable craftsmen to control their trade. Between 1933 and 1937, the value of self-employed skilled craftsmen's trade nearly doubled.
  • Farmers - Some farm debts were written off and all farmers benefitted from an increase in food prices. But farmers resented the government's meddling. Farmers also suffered from a shortage of labour as workers left to get better-paid jobs in the towns.
  • Big business - Large firms benefitted from the massive rearmaments programme and the destruction of the trade unions. The value of German industry rose and big profits were made. The average salary of managers rose by nearly 70% between 1934 and 1938. But industrialists had to pay for these benefits: the government took control of prices, wages, profits and imports, and decided who should receive scarce raw materials.
  • Unskilled workers - They formed the bulk of the 6 million unemployed. They were immediately put to work on government programmes. If they did not accept the work they would receive no unemployment benefit, which was sometimes more than the wages on the work schemes. For some people, it allowed them to feed and clothe their families.
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To what extent did Germans benefit from Nazi rule?

Economic policy

  • DAF (Deutsche Arbeitsfront) - Workers had to join the DAF. It put them to work building new autobahns, hospitals, schools and other public buildings. This replaced hte trade unions and had complete control over the discipline of workers, regulated hours of work and rates of pay. Under the new system, working hous increased and wages were frozen.
  • 'Beauty of Labour' - This persuaded employers to improve working conditions in factories. It organised campaigns such as 'Good ventilation in the workplace' and 'Hot meals in the factory'.
  • 'Strength through joy' - To organise the leisure time of workers. It sponsored a wide range of leisure and cultural tripes, such as concerts, theatre visits, museum tours, sporting events, weekend trips, holidays and cruises. All were provided at low cost, giving ordinary workers access to activities normally reserved for the better off.
  • RAD (Reich Labour Service) - All 18-25 year old mean had to do 6 months work service. It was unpopular because it was hard, manual labour and poorly paid.
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To what extent did Germans benefit from Nazi rule?

Economic policy

Dr Hjalmar Schacht - the New Plan

  • Imports were limited.
  • Trade agreements were made with individual countries to supply the raw materials Germany wanted in return for German goods.
  • Government spending was channelled into a wide range of industries, but the government did not try to control those industries.
  • Unemployment was reduced by : work creation projects such as rebuilding German cities and building new autobahns, the complusory Labour Service, conscription to the army (introduced in 1935), dismissing Jews and political opponents from certain jobs and replacing them with unemployed people.
  • Between 1934 and 1936 this plan solved the economic crisis in Germany and enabled Hitler to rearm his forces. 
  • Although the New Plan was successful, by 1935 Hitler wanted to prepare Germany for war and wanted to rearm much faster.
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To what extent did Germans benefit from Nazi rule?

Economic policy

Hermann Goering - the Four-Year Plan

  • The aim of the Four-Year Plan was to prepare for war within 4 years.
  • The Four-Year Plan aimed to make Germany self-sufficient in materials essential for war such as oil, rubber and steel, and set targets for the production of these materials.
  • Increase production of the raw materials needed for rearmament (coal, iron ore, oil, metal and explosives).
  • Persuade big business to produce key synthetic raw materials such as rubber, fuel and textiles.
  • Reduce imports even further. Tighten controls on prices and wages. Used forced labour if needed. Build new industrial plants.
  • By 1939 Germany still depended on foreign imports for 1/3 of its raw materials.
  • Arms had taken precedence over developing agriculture.
  • The only way for Germany to become fully self-sufficient was to conquer countries which would provide the raw materials and food it needed.
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To what extent did Germans benefit from Nazi rule?

Economic policy - how successful were the Nazis in reducing unemployment and achieving an economic miracle?

  • Unemployment decreased from 5.5 millio in 1932 to 500,000 in 1938.
  • The Nazis achieved one of their aims, which was to prepare Germany for war and rearm Germany. 
  • Many more raw materials were being produced and industrial output increased by nearly 10 times by 1938.
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To what extent did Germans benefit from Nazi rule?

Hitler Youth Movement

  • Hitler knew that loyalty from young people was essential if the Nazis were to remain strong.
  • After 1933 young people were encouraged to join the Hitler Youth and most other political youth groups were closed down.
  • By 1936 it was almost impossible not to join the Hitler Youth.
  • There were separate organisations within the Hitler Youth for boys and girls. Girls from 14 were encouraged to join the League of German Maidens.
  • Boys wore military-style uniforms and took part in lots of physical exercise. 
  • Girls were mainly trained in domestic skills like sewing.
  • The boys were being prepared to be soldiers, and the girls to be wives and mothers.
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To what extent did Germans benefit from Nazi rule?

How did education change?

  • 97% of teachers joined the Nazi Teachers' Association and were trained in Nazi methods. Children had to report teachers who did not use them.
  • Schools started teaching Nazi propaganda.
  • Jews were banned from teaching in schools and universities. 
  • Every subject focused on putting across Nazi ideas. 
  • Physical education was given 15% of school time and was very important for boys.
  • Girls studied domestic science and eugenics (how to produce perfect offspring by selecting ideal qualities in the parents).
  • Children were taught to be anti-Semitic and that WWI was lost because of the Jews and Communists.
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To what extent did Germans benefit from Nazi rule?

The role of women

  • The Nazis believed that a woman's place was in the home, having children and caring for her family.
  • A massive propaganda campaign was launched to promote motherhood and large families.
  • 'Law for the Encouragement of Marriage'. The law said that the government would offer special loans (1000 marks) to new brides who agreed not to take a job. They could keep a quarter of the money for each child born.
  • To improve women's fertility they were encouraged to stop smoking, stop slimming and do sport.
  • Young women could attend mothercraft and homecraft classes.
  • 'The Honour Cross of the German Mother' was awarded to women for having 4, 6 or 8 children.
  • Contraception and abortion were made illegal.
  • The SA could come round and check whether women were acting properly.
  • 15% of women teachers, doctors and civil servants were sacked.
  • On Hitler's birthday medals were awarded to women with large families.
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To what extent did Germans benefit from Nazi rule?

The role of women

  • In 1937 the Nazis needed more women to work as men were joining the army.
  • The Nazis abolished the marriage loans and introduced a compulsory 'duty year' for all women entering the labour market. This usually meant helping on a farm or in a family home in return for a bed and board but no pay.
  • In 1938 they changed the divorce law - a divorce was possible of a husband or wife could not have children.
  • The Nazis also set up the Lebensborn programme whereby specially chosen unmarried women could 'donate a baby to the Fuhrer' by becoming pregnant by 'racially pure' SS men.
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To what extent did Germans benefit from Nazi rule?

Racial persecution

  • The Nazis believed Aryans (whites) were the 'master race' and people of other ethnicities, like Jewish or Slavic people, were inferior.
  • Hitler believed that Germany's future was dependent on the creation of a pure Aryan racial state. This would be achieved by: 1. Selective breeding. 2. Destroying the Jews. Selective breeding meant preventing anyone who did not conform to the Aryan type from having children. 
  • Hitler blamed Jewish people for problems in German society and used them as scapegoats for all of Germany's problems, such as Germany's defeat in WWI, hyperinflation in 1923 and the depression of 1929.
  • Hitler wanted to create a German population of only 'pure' Aryan people who fitted their ideal.
  • The Nazis wanted to eliminate people who were disabled, homosexual, held different beliefs or weren't 'Aryan'.
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To what extent did Germans benefit from Nazi rule?

Racial persecution - How did the Nazis deal with 'burdens on the community'?

  • A propaganda campaign was started which tried to stir up resentment against people who were burdens on the community.
  • In July 1933 the Nazis passed a Sterilisation Law. It allowed the Nazis to sterilise people with certain illnesses. Between 1934 and 1945 between 320,000 and 350,000 men and women were compulsorily sterilised.
  • By 1936 the 'work-shy', tramps and beggars, alcoholics, prostitutes, homosexuals and juvenile deliquents were being sent to concentration camps. 
  • In 1939 the Nazis secretly began to exterminate the mentally ill in a euthanasia programme. 6,000 handicapped babies, children and teenagers were murdered by starvation or lethal injections. The Nazis also devised a new method of killing using carbon monoxide gas. Gas chambers were built in 6 mental asylums.
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To what extent did Germans benefit from Nazi rule?

Racial persecution - How were the Jews persecuted?

  • In April 1933 there was an official one-day boycott of Jewish shops, lawyers and doctors all over Germany.
  • In 1934 anti-Jewish propaganda increased.
  • In May 1935 Jews were forbidden to join the army.
  • In September 1935 Hitler passed the Nuremberg Laws. These laws made Jews 'subjects' rather than citizens, banned marriages between Jews and Aryans and banned sexual relations between Jews and Aryans.
  • In 1937 more Jewish businesses were confiscated.
  • In April 1938 Jews had to register their property, making it easier to confiscate.
  • In June-July 1938 Jewish doctors, dentists and lawyers were forbidden to treat Aryans.
  • In October 1938 Jews had to have a red letter 'J' stamped on their passports.
  • On 9-10 November 1938, Kristallnacht happened. 
  • On 8th November 1938 a young Polish Jew shot a German diplomat in Paris.
  • Goebbels used this as an opportunity to organise anti-Jewish demonstrations, which involved attacks on Jewish property, shops, homes and synagogues across Germany. About 100 Jews were killed and 20,000 sent to concentration camps.
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To what extent did Germans benefit from Nazi rule?

Racial persecution - How did the persecution of Jews continue in 1939?

  • On 15 November 1938 Jewish pupils were only allowed to attend Jewish schools.
  • In December 1938 all remaining Jewish businesses were confiscated.
  • From 1940, Jewish people were forced to move into ghettos - separate districts of cities which were usually walled in and policed by armed guards. The largest was in Warsaw.
  • Conditions in the ghettos were terrible. Starvation and disease killed thousands.
  • After the invasion of Russia in June 1941 special groups of SS soldiers (Einsatzgruppen) were sent to murder all the Jews they could find. By the end of 1941 500,000 Jews had been shot.
  • The Nazis began the Final Solution in 1942, which was their plan to exterminate all Jewish people.
  • Death camps were built in Eastern Europe, e.g. Auschwitz. Gas chambers were built for mass murder.
  • By the end of the war, approximately 6 million Jewish people had been killed by the Nazis.
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The effect of the war on the civilian population

Bombing

  • The first air raid on Berlin had been in August 1940.
  • By 1942 the raids were more frequent and more intense.
  • As air raids worsened mainy Germans left the cities and were evacuated to villages or rural towns.
  • One attack on Hamburg in 1943 led to a firestorm which wiped out large areas of the city. 30,000 people died.
  • In early 1945 some of the most extreme air raids began. The bombing was often relentless - the US bombed by day and Britain bombed by night.
  • In 2 nights of bombing up to 150,000 people were killed in Dresden as Allied bombers destroyed 70% of the properties in the city.
  • 800,000 civilians were killed by bombing and 7,500,000 people were made homeless.
  • The German cities of Dresden, Berlin and Hamburg were all badly affected by bombing.
  • It increased morale because non-Nazis and Nazis united to blame the enemy.
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The effect of the war on the civilian population

Rationing

  • In September 1939 the Germans prepared for their first winter of the war. Rationing was introduced for foodstuffs and other items.
  • Extra rations were given to workers in heavy industries, expectant or nursing mothers, sick people, vegetarians and donors of blood or breast-milk.
  • 2/5 Germans are better than before the war!
  • Clothes rationing was introduced in November 1939.
  • Hot water was permitted on only 2 days per week. Soap was also rationed.
  • While Germany was winning the war, most goods could still be acquired easily on the black market.
  • By early 1945 ration cards were no longer honoured and people relied on the black market.
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The effect of the war on the civilian population

Propaganda

  • Between 1941 and 1943 various propaganda campaigns were launched to keep up morale and to encourage people to support the war effort.
  • Other campaigns urged people to save fuel, work harder and avoid tooth decay.
  • In June 1943 Goebbels commissioned the film Kolberg, which told of heroic German resistance to Napoleon in 1807.
  • Nazi news media only reported wartime successes. This made the Nazis appear strong, but the public were misinformed.
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The effect of the war on the civilian population

The economy

  • In 1936, Goering introduced a Four-Year Plan to prepare the German economy for war. The Nazis built up industries like weapons and chemicals at the expense of domestic goods.
  • By the outbreak of war, 1/4 of the work force was working in war industries, especially weapons. 2 years later this had become 3/4. Unemployment fell.
  • During the war, working hours increased to over 50 hours a week, and wages were lower than they had been under the Weimar Republic. 
  • Despite this, the German industry was not producing enough, and there were not enough workers.
  • Industry suffered as a result of the bombings. Industrial plants were bombed, particularly in the Ruhr, meaning factories had to be rebuilt.
  • In 1943 Albert Speer was appointed Minister for Armaments and Production. He reorganised industry and rapidly increased production, but the German industry still couldn't produce enough.
  • A lot of working age Germans were conscripted into the army, so the Nazis used foreign workers. By 1944, around 20% of the workforce were foreigners. 50% was women.
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