History Germany


Imperial Germany and the German Revolution 1918-19

  • Led by a Kaiser
  • Prussiafication
  • German workers turned to socialism due to the poor wages
  • Failed uprising of the Left - the Spartacists aimed to overthrow the government, but they were crushed by the Freikorp
  • The two weaknesses of the Weimar constitution include: Article 48 (where the president can rule by decree) and  Proportional Representation (which encouraged multi-party politics and led to extremist parties being able to get into the government easily)
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Democracy in Crisis 1919-1923

  • The extreme right hated the Treaty of Versailles, however it had to be signed by Germany, otherwise the War would not stop
  • The Treaty of Versailles included Germany to limit the size of their army and to pay a very high rate of reparation payments
  • This then led to the Kapp Putsch which was where the Right-winged believers (mainly the Freikorp) tried to over-throw the government due to the army size being limited, however this only had limited success as there was not much support for the Putsch
  • The high reparations led to hyperinflation in Germany
  • Also, the occupation of the Ruhr by French troops (which was allowed by the Treaty of Versailles) meant that the people of the Ruhr went on strike - causing the government to have to pay for reparations on pay for the people on strike
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Gustav Stresseman 1924-1929

  • Stopped the passive resistence in the Ruhr
  • Fended off threats from the left and right
  • Introduced the Rentenmark 1923 to replace the Reicschmark
  • Introduced the: Dawes Plan, Lorcarno Treaties, League of Nations, Kellogg-Briand Pact and the Young Plan
  • All of these plans led to lower reparation payments in the late 1920's which was arguably an economic miracle for Germany during this time
  • Germany then became very attractive to foreign investors
  • However, it was not all down to Stresseman as there was also the importance of: Rathenau, other people helped introduce the Rentenmark, his coalition partners allowing him to manouvere and also without the co-operation of the Allies, this would not have happened
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The Nazi Party: Origins, Ideas and Early developme

  • Before it became the Nazi Party, it was originally a debating society called the NSDAP
  • Until Hitler joined, then it started to become more political
  • Belived in: Ultra-nationalism, authonitariansm, anti-semitism and racism, anti-communism and anti-capitalism
  • Had some similarities with the Conservative Elites, however Hitler wanted his party to rule Germany, and they wanted a restoration of the monarchy
  • The Munich Beer Putsch was were Hitler held von Kahr at gunpoint, however, he was then sentenced to a prison sentence. In prison, Hitler decided to write Mein Kampf, during his prison sentence, there was a large amount of publicity attracted to the Nazi Party and Hitler
  • When Hitler got out of prison, he then was able to reorganise the Nazi Party by creating a clear hierarchichal structure where the person below him was accountable to Hitler, but was a leader of the person below him
  • He decided to adopt a policy of legality which meant that the Nazi Party would abandon the Putsch and would actually aim to gain a base through electoral voting
  • Also the Nazi Party was divided into different electoral towns (Gaues and each party member was a Gauleiter)
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The Nazi Electoral Breakthrough 1928-1932

  • During the Weimar era, politics was often 'sectional' and relied on multi-party rule
  • The Nazi Party had a 33% increase in votes from 1924-1933
  • Middle Class people tended to vote for the Nazi Party due to their fears of communism, or Hitler's charasmatic presence and drive
  • Working class people tended to vote for the Nazi Party due to some of them having similar views, however, most either voted due to their fears of communism or their vow to provide 'work and bread'
  • Nazi propaganda also influenced many people to vote: Hitler's charasmatic and driven personality and through targetting different groups and essentially promising everything to everybody
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Hitler's Legal Path to Power 1930-1933

  • The parliamentary government was made up of many different coalition parties that were often favouring one certain social group (sectional politics), however as these started to break-down, Hitler's path to power became more evident
  • Due to Article 48, the president could rule by decree, when the parliamentary government broke down, this led to a presidential government who was ruled by Hindenburg
  • Bruning was appointed Chancellor under Hindenburg and he believed that the economy would recover on his own terms, he believed that reparations weighed down the economy, so he rid this burden, yet it didn't make a large difference
  • He then ran against Hitler in an election and lost by 6 Million votes, as Hitler won the right-wing vote
  • Bruning was then replaced by Von Papen, he had extreme-right winged views
  • The Nazi Party were the largest party in the Reichstag
  • Hitler wanted to join the government and become Chancellor, however Hindenburg did not want him to be Chancellor, therefore Hitler did not join the government
  • However, von Papen then started to meet with Hitler and then came to an agreement that Hitler could become Chancellor, and he vice-chancellor
  • They then came to an agreement and Hitler became Chancellor January 1933
  • Then the Reichstag Fire allowed Hitler to play on middle class fears of communism, leading to the communism party being outlawed, Hitler also banned oppositional newspapers
  • The Enabling Act, March 1933 allowed the government to introuce new laws without president consent
  • Conservative Elites were willing to do business with the Nazis, the Social Democrats and Communists were so hostile to each other that they were almost 'blind' to the Nazi campaign
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Hitler's National Community

  • Gleichshaltung - Co-ordination
  • Many socialists and communists were beaten up by SA units
  • Catholic church - Hitler met with the Pope and made an agreement to keep out of each others ways, Protestant church - Hitler wanted to make it into a Reich Church, Christian Church - oppositional, did not agree
  • The 'Night of Long Knives' 1934, this was were the SA wanted to join the German army, however Hitler thought that this would undermine the effectiveness of them, so Hitler ordered the death of over 50 of the top SA leaders, by the **
  • Volksgemeinschaft - People's community
  • Aimed to do this through propaganda: rallies, marches, protests, posters, radio, tv, Winter Aid, speeches, personality cult and they offered everything to everybody
  • Kdf - Volkswagen scheme
  • Persecution: Un-coordinated, SA units would beat up Jews in the streets and also destroy their property. The first anti-Jewish decree was introduced on the 7th April, in 1934, there was a pause in persecution, however it continued in 1935 when the Reich Citizenship Law was introduced and the Protection of German Blood and Honour Law was also introduced.
  • Genocide 1939-1941: Germany were at War during this time, and killed many of Poland's Jews. Also, Jews would be 'herded' into Ghettoes, with horrible conditions. Finally, mass killings in concentration/extermination camps came about in mid 1941
  • Other groups that also got persecuted include: homosexuals, roma and sinti (gypsies) and disabled people
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Building the future: Women, Education and Young Pe

  • Women: the Nazis wanted Women to be child-bearers and child-rearers as their first and main priority, women were also wanted to be wives
  • To do this, the Nazis introduced pronatalism propoganda which encouraged child birth
  • Other ways to encourage childbirch included: offering financial objectives, also, women were urged to join Deutsches Frauenwork which was run by Getrud Schlotz-Klink, this was to encourage and teach women child-rearing skills
  • Education: the main aim of education was to produce the new era of Nazis, another aim was to train boys for the military service and a lesser aim was to produce girls who would then become mothers and wives
  • The main subjects taught at schools were history and biology (for indoctrination) and P.E. for training boys for military service
  • There were also elite schools and Hitler schools introduced to bring up the future Nazi Party leaders
  • Youth Movement: There was only one legal youth movement within the one-party state of Nazi Germany, this was Hitler Youth
  • This consisted of taking out activities, this eventually became compulsary in 1936, however, some didn't want this and they decided to rebel
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The Nazi Economy 1933-1939

  • The Nazi's short term aim was to reduce the incredibly high unemployment rates, and the long term aim was to create a self-sufficient wartime economy
  • Schacht brought in the Autobahn which created lots of jobs, and he also covered up the government rearming
  • However, the economy already started to recover naturally, however some employment figures were doctored
  • Also he introduced a 'New Plan' 1934 which was to disallow anybody to import goods from other countries
  • Goering introduced the Four-Year Plan which aimed to make Germany self-sufficient
  • This Four-Year Plan included: aiming to make German farmers grow more by giving them grants, aiming to make industry use materials available in Germany, and to use artificial raw materials and finally to retrain the labour force to make it more effective
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Germany At War

  • The Nazi party started to radicalise, Hitler was seen less and less in public and there was increased resistance (e.g. the white rose group and the beck-goerdeler group which led to the July Plot)
  • During the war, Germany gained access to large amounts of slave labour and foreign resources (such as military equipment and food, etc.)
  • Albert Speer, the armaments minister sped up the armaments process and also made intensive use of slave labour within Germany
  • However, there were many effects on the war such as: bombing, military deaths, the double burden of women (and rapes), refugees and wartime propaganda 

Why did Germany lose the War?

  • Near the end of the War, they had a lack of materials and they were outnumbered by the USSR and USA who seemed to have endless supplies
  • Also, even though the German armed forces were powerful, they were not as powerful as the Allied forces
  • Also, Hitler made many miscalculations such as unpredicting Russia's ability to wage war, also underestimating the amount of time that the USA would intervene
  • Finally, the air bombing from the Anglo-American forces, put Germany at a disadvantage as they led to devestating results
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