Germany 1918

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1932 - Government of the Third Reich & creation of

Creation of the Nazi state:

  • 1932 = Hitler stood against Hindenburg in the presidental elections
    • Hindenburg = 17 million votes and Hitler = 11 milion votes. Hitler lost.
  • July 1932 = General election. Nazis became the largest party in the Reichstag.
    • But Hindenburg refused to appoint Hitler as Chancellor. Von Papen became Chancellor.
  • November 1932 = Nazis lost some support, but still remained the biggest party in the Reichstag.
    • Von Papen was replaced as chancellor, by Scheicher & was furious/determined to get rid of Scheicher.
  • Jan 1933 = von Papen suggests that Hindenburg should appoint Hitler as chancellor, with von Papen as vice-chancellor - in a coalition government. 
    • Hindenburg, against his better judgement, agrees. Hitler beccame Chancellor of Germany on January 31 1933. 
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1932/3 - Creation of the Nazi State (16)

  • But Hitler had no intention of being controlled by von Papen.
  • He immediately called for a general election on March 5 - determined to gain the overall majority needed, to legally make him the dictator. 

The Reichstag Fire:

  • Happened a week before the elections.
  • Was most certainly started by the Nazis, but was blamed on the communists.
  • 4000 communists were arrested.
  • The probable culprits were members of the SA, led by Ernst Roehm, who were acting under Goering's orders. 
  • The ** later shot the SA, to stop the truth being exposed. 
  • In March 1933, the Nazis won 17.3 million votes, 233 seats, and were the biggest party - but still didn't have a majority in the Reichstag. But with Hugenberg's support, the Nazi's were now controlling the Reichstag.
  • When the Reichstag met on March 17, the communists and socialists now stayed away. 
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1933 - The Enabling Act (17)

  • The Enabling Act was passed by the Reichstag on March 23 1933.
  • It gave Hitler the power to by-pass the Reichstag, and make laws, without its consent, for 4 years. 
  • The Enabling Act was passed by 441 votes (for), to 83 votes opposing. This was down to the help and support of the Nationalists & the SA.

The effects of the Enabling Act:

  • Local governments were taken over by the Nazis, and each province was given a Nazi governor. 
  • In April 1933, local parliments were completely abolished. 
  • Now only Nazis could become civil servants and judges (No opposition for Hitler).
  • In May 1933, Trade Unions were banned and abolished.
  • The law against the establishment of parties, banned all other political parties, in July 1933.
  • The leaders of existing opposing parties were arrested, or fled abroad themselves. 
  • The first concentration camp = set up for political opponents in 1933. 
  • 1934 = Hindenburg dies + Hitler becomes Chancellor, calling himself 'the leader' (Der Fuhrer).
  • The army then swore its oath of loyalty to Hitler, personally. 
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1934 - The Night Of The Long Knives (18)

Background information:

  • Only opponents to Hitler = Ernst Roehm, head of the SA.
  • Roehm wanted a socialist revolution in Germany & wanted the SA to merge with the army, with himself as the head.
  • Hitler didn't want the socialists to take control. He wanted a right wing dictatorship.
  • Hitler = needed support of the army.
  • Roehm ordered all the SA members to go on holiday for the month of July 1934.
  • He hen summoned the leasders to Munich for a conference.

The Night Of The Long Knives:

  • On the night of June 30th 1934 400 SA leaders, including Roehm, were assinated by the **, on Hitler's orders.
  • von Scheicher & wife also murdered. 
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1934 - Nazi work (19)

  • 'Burning of the books' - Nazi students burnt books by Jewish/anti Nazi authors, on bonfires.
  • Nazi organisations were introduced.
  • Photographers, musicians, writers had to join in order to work - otherwise their work would be banned. 

Progress and dealing with opposition:

  • Church - some Protestants formed a 'Reich Church', as part of the Nazi Party.
  • Mein Kampf = placed next to Bible on the alter & swatstika given equal prominence with the religious cross.
  • Many Protestants refused to join, and were arrested. Many other religious groups = persecuted as well.

Opposition to the Nazis:

  • Hitler faced opposition from army Generals, who disliked the influence that the Gestapo & ** (Nazi Groups) had on military matters. 
  • Many young people objected to join the Hitler Youth (especially when compulsory in 1939). 
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1934 - Dealing with opposition (20)

  • Students in Munich formed the White Rose Group, during the war.
  • They distributed leaflets, until they were also arrested and executed.
  • In Berlin, the Communist Party formed the Red Orchestra, which spied for the Soviet Union. 

How did the Nazi's deal with their opponents?

  • 1923 = The Gestapo (secret police) was set up + run by Himmler after 1936.
  • People were also now arrested and imprisoned without trial.
  • People were also encouraged to inform on neighbour, colleagues & family members.
  • Every block/street had an informer, who reported on any anti-Nazi views/behaviour, such as not saluting hitler. 
  • Nazi 'People's courts' also tried people, often in secret. The judges were all Nazis.
  • By 1939 - more than 160,000 politicial primisioners in Germany.
  • Gypsies and anybody similar were also simply locked away.  
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Social impact of the Nazi State & Nazi Youth (21)

  • All schools under Nazi control. All school books rewritten and include Nazi ideas about hatred of Jews and war.
  • Boys and girls went to separate schools. All teachers had to join the Nazi Teachers League.
  • The curriculum was changed. Subjects = concentrated on German history & nationalism. 
  • In History, pupils were taught about the great events of German history - from a pro-German point of war. Also, the Nazi view of WW1 ('the stab in the back') was included as 'the truth'. 
  • In Biology, pupils learnt about the 'race science' which was designed to show the superiority of the German race.
  • PE became more dominant. Boxing was compulsory for boys & girls were taught to cook/care for the home. 
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The Nazi Youth Movements (22)

  • Children joined at 5 and stayed until 18. Membership = virtually compulsory.
  • Boys joined the Pimpfen --- then the German Youth --- then the Hitler Youh.
  • Girls joined the League of German Maidens.
  • Children took part in 'fun' activities, camping, sports, outings. This made the Youth movements popular at first.
  • Lectures were held about Nazi ideas, such as racism.
  • Girls were taught about bring up children. Boys did activities which prepared them for the army, such as cleaning rifles, reading maps, throwing hand grenades, doing mock parachute jumps, and going on long marches.
  • Meetings held in evening and at weekends. Girls = no time for homework - this was to prevent them of having a career.
  • The children = told to spy on their parents & report on what they said and did. 
  • 1933 = 30% of young people in Germany were in the Nazi Youth Movements.
  • 1938 = 82%.
  • Became compulsory (1939?). Some children became resentful of the Youth groups, and the boring lectures, which seemed to be repetitive.
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Effects of Nazi rule on lives of men & women (23)

  • Nazi Party = mans party. Hitler and Nazis didn't believe in equality for the sexes.
  • There were no women in senior posisitions.
  • Women = had to stay at home, produce more children & look after family
    • This was to produce more racially-pure Germans, and also to solve unemployment issues, by removing women from the labour market.
  • Propaganda: About the ideal German family. Photographs & posters showed woman looking after children & man going out to work & protecting his wife.
    • Also, discouraged women wearing make-up, high heels, perfume or smoking in public.
  • Women = forced to give up work when married. They couldn't be civil servants, lawyers, judges or doctors.
  • Men = preferred to women in job applications.
  • Couples recieved a loan (1000 marks) on marriage. Less and less of this loan had to be paid back, the more children you had (initiative). 
  • Unmarried women could volunteer to have a child by a 'pure Aryan ** member'.
  • Women's roles = 3K's. Kinder, Kirche, Kuche > Children, Church, Cooking.
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Strength Through Joy (24)

  • Workers = few rights. Trade Unions abolished, so workers had to join the Labour Front.
  • Wages = low, and rose much slower than business profit levels. Conditions of work in the Labour Front were tough, but at least it was a job.

Strength Through Joy

  • A campaign which gave workers cheap holidays, concerts, sport. Also the cheap car incentive, the Volswagen - but this failed until after the war.  

After the events since 1919, and during the Depression - many people were willing to accept Nazism. They preferred to simply close their eyes on the arrests of opponents and also on the bad treatment of Jews.

Economic Changes - The Labour Service

  • The National Labour Service had been started, prior to Hitler. It used gov. money to provide jobs for the unemployed, such as building roads, bridges and forests. 
  • The Nazis expanded these schemes. Hitler = very keen on building the first motorways (Autobahns) 
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The Labour Service (cont) (25)

  • All men had to spend 6 months in the Labour Service, from the age of 18 (after leaving HY).
  • Wages = 50p a week, but all was provided for them. Wore uniforms & marched like soldiers to work each day. Most work = done by hand not machinery. Meaning there were more jobs.

(KdF)... 'Kraft durch Freude'' - Strength Through Joy

  • Nazi control of German workers now spread into their leisure time.
  • There was a long list of activities for workers to select from. Activities included theatre shows, concerts, hikes, sports events, holidays, cruises, museum tours, lectures, courses, exhibitions. 
  • These cheap holidays made it possible to win the support of many normal German people. 
  • In 1938, the Kdf launched the Volkswagen (The People's Car), which was priced at below 1000 marks, payable over 4 years (cheap).
  • In Novemeber 1940, there were 300,000 potential purchasers, but no cars were produced, except a few show models. No one reicieved a car.
  • The millions of marks that the workers had invested, were redirected into the expanding weapons industries. This accleerated as WW2 approached. 
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Beauty of Labour (Schonheit Der Arbeit) (26)

  • A section of the German Labour Front, which existed alongside the Strength Through Joy.
  • Aimed to improve the working conditions in factories.
  • It introduced new workplace facilities, such as washing facilities & low cost canteens.
  • Also organised factory celebrations, folk dancing & political education.


  • Gave a huge boost to industry, which soon had millions of new jobs.
  • From 1935, first secretly, and then openly, Hitler ordered the building of submarines, aircraft and tanks. This was quite contrary to the terms of the Treaty.
  • Army increased from 100,000 to 1,400,000 in 1939. 
  • Every man did 2 years of military training after the Labour Service.
  • By 1936, unemployment was down from 6,000,000 to 1,000,000.
  • By 1938 industry was short of workers & during WW2 workers were forced into German factories from all the countries that Germany/Nazis had overrun.
  • As industrial output increased, the Nazis had to allow women to work, to meet demands.
  • Hitler wanted the German economy to be self-sufficient and so restricted foreign imports, and Hitler researched finding subsititues for rubber, petrol, coffee and cotton. (Policy = Autarky). 
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Nazi Treatment of minorities (27)

  • Hitler blamed Jews for defeat of Germany in WW1.
  • Hitler wanted to purify German blood, by eliminating all Jews & minority groups.
  • From 1933, Jews were subjected ton increased persecution in Nazi Germany.
  • In April 1933, Nazis called for Jewish shops to be boycotted.
  • Strom-troppers stood outside shops & stopped Germans from entering.
  • Slogans were painted on shop windows.
  • In 1933, Jews = banned from some professions, such as doctors, dentists & the civil service. 

The Nuremberg Laws

  • Announced in 1935. They made Jews second class citizens and stopped them from marrying non-Jewish people.
  • All kinds of civil rights = removed. Such as voting, going to Uni, travelling, attending a theatre, cinema or sporting event. 
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Kristallnacht (The Night Of The Broken Glass) (28)

  • In 1938, a young Jew assassinated a German diplomat in France.
  • This led to an organised attack on Jewish shops, houses in Germany.
  • 91 Jews were killed and 20,000 were arrested
  • The Jewish community in Germany - had to pay a 'fine' of 1 billion marks.
  • This was known as Kristallnacht (The night of the broken glass).
  • From early 1939, Jews banned from owning businesses.
  • All men had the name 'Israel' added to their name, and women had 'Sara' added to theirs.
  • The Nazi's aim was to force Jews to leave Germany, and many did, going to England, France, and the USA in particular. 
  • But as war broke out, this became more difficult, so Jews were forced into concentration camps. 
  • The Nazis also persecuted homosexuals, black people, gypsies, tramps, and the mentally and physically disabled. Many were put into concentration camps and then murdered. 
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The impact of war on life in Nazi Germany (29)

  • Between 1939-41 the German armed forces = victorious, so life in Germany hardly affected.
  • From June 1941, the invasion of the Soviet Union, meant things changed. Due to the severe winter, the German army was caught unprepared, and 200,000 German soldiers died.
  • From 1942, Germans began to suffer from real shortages.
  • The Nazis tried to produce subsititues, to replace coffee, leather, which had become virtually unobtainable.

Significant change = In the treatment of Jews 

  • Nazis now forced Jews into Ghettos (restricted ares in cities). They could be small houses, or large walled areas, as in Warsaw.
  • There were curfews imposed, that Jews had to obey. 
  • After the invasion of the Soviet Union, the Nazis found millions more Jews in Eastern Europe.
  • At first, Nazis set up murder squads, which shot the jews on sight. But this policy quickly became ineffective and very costly. 
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The Final Solution (30)

  • In Jan 1942, Nazis held a conference in Berlin.
  • On Jan 20th they decided on the Final solution - all Jews would be exterminated.
  • This led to the setting up of extermination camps, such as Auschwitz, where Jews were taken to be killed.
  • All of these camps were set up outside of Germany & were run by special ** units, called the Death's Head **.
  • The Nazi's wanted to hide the true facts from the German people.
  • Jews were told they were going to be resettled, and they were allowed one suitcase each.
  • The able-bodied Jews = sent to work camps.
  • Women, children, old, and sick all exterminated in gas chambers, disguised as shower blocks.
  • Dead bodies were then ransacked for anything of value. 
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