Germany: Glossary of keywords and definitions

The words you will need to understand, along with the definitions.

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Anarchy

Political and social disorder

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Anschluss

Union of Germany and Austria

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Anti-Semitic

Anti-Jewish

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Appeasement

A policy of making concessions in order to satisfy an aggressor.

Example - Britain tried to avoid war by making concessions to Hitler.

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Armistice

An agreement to stop fighting so that peace terms can be discussed

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Aryan

According to the Nazis, the 'master race': the pure, white, Caucasian race

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Black Thursday

The day the Wall St. Crash started in the USA, Thursday 24th October, 1929

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Blitzkrieg

German for 'lighting war', meaning a surprise attack

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Coalition

A government formed by more than one political party

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Communism

The system of government in which property is publicly owned, based on the theories of Karl Marx and intended to bring about a fairer society

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Concordat

The agreement between the Nazis and the Catholic Church

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Conscription

Compulsory military service

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Demilitarisation

The removal of military forces from an area

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Democracy

The system of government where leaders are elected by the civilians

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Dictatorship

A government by a ruler with complete power

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Disarmament

Reduction of the armed forces

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Enabling Act

The law which gave Hitler the power to make laws without the Reichstag (parliament)

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Final Solution

The Nazi term for the policy of putting Jews to death

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Freikorps

Semi-official right-wing bands of soldiers in Germany after WWI

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Führer

The German word for 'leader', and the title Hitler appointed himself

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Gestapo

Secret state police in Nazi Germany

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Great Depression

The economic slump following the Wall St. Crash

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Holocaust

The mass murder of Jews between 1941 and 1945

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Hyperinflation

A period of rapid price rises

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Kristallnacht

'The Night of the Broken Glass' - when Nazis attacked Jews and their properties on 9th November 1938

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Lebensraum

German for 'living space' - as when Hitler tried to gain more territory in Eastern Europe

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Luftwaffe

The German Airforce

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Militarism

Army discipline which is extended to political parties and everyday life

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Munitions

Military weapons

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Nationalism

Strong patriotic feeling, which leads to a sense of superiority over other countries

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Plebiscite

A referendum, when all voters can place a vote on an important public issue

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Propaganda

Information that is presented in such a way that it influences the way people think

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Putsch

An attempt to gain political power by force and revolution

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Reparations

A series of payments made by Germany to compensate other countries for the damage of WWI

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Republic

A state with no monarchy

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Slump

Economic depression which results in a huge rise in the level of unemployment

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Spartacists

A communist group which formed in Germany after WWI

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Totalitarian regime

A form of government that allows no opposition, and rules every part of life for its people

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Untermenschen

A derogatory term meaning 'inferior people'. The Nazis gave this label to Jews, Eastern Europeans and black people

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Wall St. Crash

The sudden collapse of the US stock market in October 1929, which had a knock on effect on the rest of the world and triggered the Great Depression

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