Germany & the Occupied Territories during WW2


Nazi Policies towards the Jews

  • Ghettos
    • All the Jews in Poland were forced to move to Ghettos in the cities: walled off areas where Jews lived in poor housing.  Starvation was common & Diseases spread rapidly.
    • July 1942 - Over 250'000 were transported to camps where many were put to death!
  • Death Squads
    • June 1941 - Germans invaded the (west) Soviet Union.  Special Units (Einsatzgruppen) rounded up all Jewish people, took their belongings and marched them naked to the outskirts of towns where 1.2 million civilians were shot/gassed 
  • The Final Solution
    • In 1942 the Nazis decided to convert some of the concentration camps into 'extermination camps' where Jews and other outcasts would be killed.  
    • Over the next 4 years, nearly 6million Jews were put to death - HOLOCAUST. Another 5 million non-Jews (gypsies, homosexuals, priests etc) were killed in camps.

Propaganda was used to keep in secret how the people at camps were being treated to stop the Germans from reacting negatively!

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The Home Front

  • Rationing 
    • 1939:  Food stamps were issued. They were sufficient for basic nutrition but huge shortages in tobacco, toilet paper etc.  By the end of the war, many people were starving
  • Total War 
    • 1941- Invasion of the Soviet Union failed: temperatures significantly fell- 2 million died.
    • Germany under great strain: Goebbels told Germany that they were in 'total war'.  All of Germans resources and people had to be fully committed to war effort.  
  • Effects of Allied Bombing
    • 1940 - British RAF carried out bombing attacks on Germany industrial areas: effect was minimal. 1942 they carried out bombings on civilian areas to destroy German morale.  
    • From 1944 they targeted more strategic areas eg. railway lines and bridges
  • Changing Role of Women
    • Shortage of workers during war. 'Total war' scheme: 1/2 million women worked
    • 1945 - women made up a total of 60% of Germany's labour force
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Growth of Opposition to Hitler

  • Military Opposition - July Bomb plot (1944)
  • Ludwig Beck & others were shocked by the **'s actions in the U**R.
  • Stauffenberg took a bomb into Hitler's conference room in July 1944. It killed 4 people but only injured Hitler.  
  • Opposition from the Churches
  • Bishop von Galen - active resistance to Nazism in his sermons.  Punishing Galen would cause an uproar / lead to a revolution so the Nazis temporarily halted the killings 
  • The Swing Youth
  • Middle-class Germans who wanted to listen to 'swing' music like Jazz.  Swing youth groups started in major German towns & the Nazis arrested leading members.
  • The Edelweiss Pirates
  • Began in Rhineland 1937 - members who hated Hitler Youth 
  • Criticized Nazi methods & didn't follow Nazi rules.  Anti-Nazi & anti-war graffiti
  • During war: gave shelter to army deserters and escaped prisoners from conc. camps. 
  • White Rose Group
  • Hans & Sophie Scholl. They criticized Jews & Slavs treatment & campaigned against war.  1942-43- published leaflets criticizing the Nazis & painted messages on buildings 
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Hitler's Death and End of the 3rd Reich

  • 1945 - Germany was close to defeat.  Allied forces advancing on Germany.  Allies increased bombing on German cities. 
  • Huge numbers of refugees fled cities to avoid bombing or the advancing Soviet army.  Many died of hunger, disease & cold

On April 28th, Hitler married his long-term girlfriend, Eva Braun.  Two days later, he shot himself and Eva took her own life with cyanide.  

Hitler left the control of Germany to Admiral Doenitz - he surrendered to the Allies on 7th May 1945.  The 3rd Reich had come to an end!

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