Hitler' Germany

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  • Created by: VKPitt
  • Created on: 18-05-16 13:53

How did Hitler become Chancellor? Depression

  • 1924 Dawes Plan saved Germany- spread out the amount of reparations that Germany had to pay back to Britain and France and USA gave a loan to Germany
  • After Wall Street Crash October 1929- American bankers and business men demanded repayment of the loans, result was a disaster for Germany and it slipped into a depression.
  • Unemployment rose to 6 million by 1932.  Millions became homeless and dependant on chairty's and food kitchens.  After losing their jobs, German workers were paid unemployment beneift by the government for 26 weeks.  After that they had to live on 'crisis payments' from the government. 
  • Bruning (Chancellor) raised taxes to increase the money the government had- caused problems for busineeses and companies.  Reduced unemployment benefit and wages of people who worked for the government, this meant people had less money to spend so demand for goods fell and the depression got worse. 
  • Caused collapse of the government, as parties withdrew from the coalition
  • Hindenburg started ruling under Artcle 48- emergency decree.


  • Weimar government lost support- looked weak and ineffective
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How did Hitler become Chancellor? Weimar Governmen

Proportional Representation: As you only needed a small percentage of votes to gain a seat in the Reichstag it became easier for extremist parties to have a say in government. There were so many parties in the Reichstag that no single party could ever form a government.  When the depression began there were five parties in the coalition government, these parties disagreed all the time.  

Fundamental rights: Freedom of speech, personal freedom (could not be arrested unless crime had been committed) freedom to hold meetings and join unions, meant that even extremist parties could meet and say whatever they wanted

Article 48 – Emergency Powers- Gives President power to pass laws without asking the Reichstag to vote on them first.  Only to be used in times of crisis. Could be dangerous depending on the President.

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How did Hitler become Chancellor? Nazi support

  • Promised to make Germany great again and over throw the Treaty of Versailles
  • Nazis promised jobs for the unemployed- state financed public works programmes, help for employers to increase their proifts and help for farmers and shop keepers.
  • Well organised and disciplined- SA, helped keep order in the streets and reassure people.  1933 half a million Nazi 'Stormtroopers' they would beat up opposition such as Communists.
  • Propaganda- run by Goebbels, poster campsing which portrayed Hitler as a strong leader who would save Germany.  
  • Nazis were supported financially by wealthy industrialists- such as Krupp the owner of steel and armaments business and Henry Ford, who saw the Nazis as a way to stop the growth of Communism. 


  • Promises helped the Nazis gain support and the Weimar government to lose support
  • Propaganda and SA were effective in spreading the Nazi message. 
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How did Hitler become Chancellor? Election 1930-32

  • 1930 Nazis won 107 seats in the Reichstag
  • July 1932 won 230 seats in the Reichstag
  • November 1932 fell to 196 seats in the Reichstag- were still the largest single party in the Reichstag
  • April 1932 President elections- Hitler stood against Hindenburg, Hindenburg won with 19 million votes against Hitler's 13 million. 


  • Shows that Hitler is using democratic power and is popular with the German poulation, these are both helping him win power.
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How did Hitler become Chancellor? January 1933

  • June 1932 Hindenburg forces Bruning to resign as Chancellor- but he refuses to give Hitler the job of Chancellor.  Instead he uses his 'emergency powers' to give Franz von Papen the job.
  • But von Papen's governement collapsed when von Schliecher (one of Hindenburg's advisers) told him that the army was against him. 
  • December 1932 Hindenburg asked von Schleicher to become Chancellor. But this was not possible because von Schleicher could not get enough support from the Reichstag so resigned.
  • von Schleicher and Hitler knew that they needed the support of a larger party- so they offer the job of vice- Chancellor to Hitler.  Hitler refuses it.
  • 30th January 1933, Hindenburg asks Hitler to become Chancellor, and put some von Papen's supporters into the government.
  • They thought that they would be able to control Hitler. 


  • Hitler is finally Chancellor of Germany- Hindenburg and von Schleicher wrongly think they can control Hitler. 
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Democracy to Dictatorship- Reichstag Fire

  • 27th February 1933 the Reichstag was set on fire.  Dutch Communist van der Lubbe was found with matches, later confessed and was executed.  It is believed that the SA were actually responsible for the fire and it was a set up
  • Hitler claimed it was a Communist plot and persuaded Hindenburg to sign an emergency decree- the Law for the Protection of People and the State.
  • Police and the SA arrested communist leaders.  communist meetings were broken up, and communist newspapers were closed down.


  • The Law for the Protection of People and the State-  ended all freedoms guaranteed in the constitution and created a police state
  • Damaged the political opponents of the Nazis- Communists
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Democracy to Dictatorship- 1933 Election

  • Propaganda was still persuading people to vote for Hitler
  • March 1933- 44% of voters voted from the Nazis
  • Won 288 seats (more than ever) 
  • Nazis had support of the Nationalist Party- this gave them a small majority


  • Shows popularity of the Nazi party by the German population
  • Gained a small majority so would have power over decisions that were made in the Reichstag.
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Democracy to Dictatorship- The Enabling Law

  • 23rd March 1933 Hitler created the Enabling Law- allowed him to make laws without consulting the Reichstag and without the approval of the President, but this change in the constitution had to be approved by two thirds of the Reichstag.
  • SO... Hitler banned all Communist members from taking their seat in the Reichstag (using the Law for the Protection fo the People and State).  Hitler used the SA to threaten and intimidate the Social Democrats.  Others gave into Nazi pressure and failed to turn up.
  • Enabling Law was passed 444 votes to 94


  • Destroyed the Weimar Constitution
  • Gave Hitler power to remove Nazi opponents- Social Democrat Party was banned
  • Reichstag did not meet very often after this- only to hear speeches from Hitler
  • November 1933 new elections for the Reichstag were held- only Nazis were allowed to stand
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Democracy to Dictatorship- Removal of Opposition

  • With Enabling Law- Communists had already been destroyed
  • June 1933- Social Democrat Party was banned
  • July 1933- Law against the the Formation of New Parties, only the Nazi Party was allowed in Germany.
  • Trade Unions were abolished and offices detroyed, leaders were arrested and imprisoned
  • Nazis put in important positions in government and law courts. 


  • Made Germany one- party state, only the Nazi party were allowed
  • Completely removed opposition so people were left with no alternative to the Nazis
  • Hitler had control over the political and legal systems in Germany- this meant he could put in place his rules and ideas
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Democracy to Dictatorship- Night of the Long Knive


  • SA undisciplined body, image of being thugs
  • Roehm and many other were homosexuals, Roehm was more socialist than Hitler (this couls lose Hitler support from industrialists who supported him) Roehm wanted the SA to control the army- this worried Hitler as this would make Roehm more powerful than him


  • 30th June 1934- 'Night of the Long Knives' Hitler claimed the SA were plotting to sieze power and ordered the ** to arrest its leaders.  
  • Roehm and 400 SA members were shot and he removed other opponents such as von Schleicher (former Chancellor)


  • Gave the ** control and power
  • Showed brutality of Hitler
  • Removed opposition
  • The army could not be controlled by the SA
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Democracy to Dictatorship- Death Hindenburg

  • 2nd August 1934 Hindenburg dies
  • Hitler declares himself President as well as Chancellor- new title 'Fuhrer and Reich Chancellor'
  • Army swore an oath of loyalty to Hitler


  • Complete power- position of President and Chancellor
  • Army- only force who would be able to remove Hitler is now loyal to him
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Democracy to Dictatorship- ** and Gestapo

** (Schutz-Schaffe)

  • Started as a small bodyguard for Hitler
  • 1934 it was 50,000, led by Heinrich Himmler
  • Search houses, confiscate property and send people to concentration camps
  • Death Head Units ran the concentration camps

Gestapo (secret state police)

  • spy on people, read thier mail and tap their telephones
  • agesnt would pretend to be rebels and would visit people who they suspected were plotting to destroy the Nazi regime


  • Created a climate of fear and people were encouraged to hand over evidence against their friends and families. 
  • People were controlled by the Nazis
  • Police were controlled by the ** and all judges were reappointed and had to take an oath of loyalty to Hitler. 
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Democracy to Dictatorship- Concentration Camps

  • After 1933 Nazis established concentration camps- at first these were to hold political prisoners
  • Six large camps were built including, Dachau and Ravensbruck
  • At first the camps were strict but by 1939 they had become places where prisoners were tortured and murdered. 
  • After 1939, due to the pressures of war the people in these camps were used as slave labour
  • Later these camps became extermination camps. 


  • Showed brutality of Nazi Germany
  • Way of controlling the population by fear
  • Political opponents would be removed to them
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Democracy to Dictatorship- Propaganda

Goebbels- Minister for Propaganda and National Enlightenment

Newspapers- only printed stories that were favourbale to the Nazis, newspaper editors were told what the headlines should be, newspapers that did not support the Nazis were closed down- over 1,500 were closed by 1934)

Radio- Goebbels took control of local radio staions, cheap radio sets called 'people's receivers' were produced so that every household could have one, loudspeaker pillars were set up in public places so that people could hear the radio wherever they were. 1942 16 million radios in Germany. 

Cinema- German film industry made over 100 films every year, films carried Nazi messages

Rallies- after 1933 Nazi rallies became even more spectacular, Nuremberg rally was held every year in August, army parades, gymnastics, band, choirs, fly-pasts and speeches from Hitler.

1936 Berlin Olympics- demonstrate the superiority of the Aryan race, when Black American athlete Jesse Owens won four gold medals, dampened Nazi celebrations. 


  • Encouraged the support for the Nazis and gave positive messages about Nazi rule
  • Way of ensuring there was no opposition to Nazi beliefs 
  • Nazis controlled every aspect of people's lives.
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Democracy to Dictatorship- The Church

Catholic Church- 

  • 1933 Concordat was signed with the Catholics where the Church promised to keep out of politics and, in turn the Nazis would not interfere, Pope demanded that bishops took an oath of loyalty to Hitler.  

Protestant Church-

  • Brought together in one Church called the 'Reich Church' which was a Nazi dominated church
  • Those who opposed this such as Paul Schneider, were arrested and put in concentration camps.  Keenest members of the Reich Church called themselves 'German Christians' they wore Nazi uniforms.  800 pastors from the Reich Church were arrested when they tried to break away. 


  • Linking religion with Hitler, allowing Hitler to control aspects of people's lives.
  • Treatment of Protestand Church worse than treatment of the Catholic Church
  • Helped with propaganda as Hitler was protrayed as 'god-like'
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Democracy to Dictatorship- Education

Young people were important to Hitler as he wanted a 'Thousand year Reich'.  Hitler wanted German men to be violent and fearless and German women to be 


  • Teachers had to belong to the German Teachers' League, which is a Nazi organisation and they were forced to teach Nazi principles
  • Subjects- history they were taught the Weimar government had betrayed Germany, biology was used to explain Nazi beliefs on race and eugenics. Maths, students were asked to calculate the amount of fuel needed to bomb a Jewish ghetto, PE was important and given more time and seen more important than academic subjects as the Nazis wanted fit and healthy young people
  • Able boys from 12-18 were sent to Reichsfuhrer schools- the best were then sent to Ordensburgenm where they would be taught how to become ** or army leaders.
  • Girls were taught how to cook and sew and eugenics so that they could find the perfect genetic husband. 
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Democracy to Dictatorship- Hitler Youth

Hitler Youth (Hitler Jugend)

  • Organised and run by members of the **- aim was to indoctrinate young people into accepting Nazi ideas, and ensuer they would grow up loyal to Hitler
  • 1933 other youth organisations were forced to close down and 1935 everyone had to join the HJ
  • Wore uniforms, paraded, camping, hikes, trained to use rifles
  • Had performance book- marks would be recorded for each activity and those with the best would be sent to Adolf Hitler schools where they would be trained to become future leaders of Germany. 

Legue of German Maidens (Bund Deutscher Madel or BDM)

  • Prepared them to be good mother and child- bearers


  • Allows Hitler to make a loyal and obedient next generation of Nazis
  • Controls aspects of people's lives
  • Encourages Nazi views and ideas 
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Democracy to Dictatorship- Opposition

Edelweiss Pirates

  • Working class young people, who opposed how the Hitler Youth movement had taken over the lives of youths in Hitler’s Germany
  • Used passive resistance- refused to join the Hitler Youth, went on camping trips, wore an unofficial uniform and wore a white flower ‘the Edelweiss’. Cologne Pirates killed the Gestapo chief.
  • Investigated by the Gestapo- many were beaten up and had their head shaves 12 involved in the killing of the Gestapo chief were publicly hanged.

White Rose Movement-

  • Made up of students who attended Munich University. Its most famous members were Hans and Sophie Scholl. Disagreed with Nazis aims and persecution of the Jews. 
  • Members of the White Rose movement secretly  distributed anti-Nazi and anti-war leaflets and created graffiti.  It produced anti-war leaflets that were also deemed to be anti-Nazi. 
  • The Nazis branded them as outsiders and enemies of the state.  The caretaker of the University saw Hans and Sophie handing out leaflets at Uni and informed the Gestapo.  They were arrested and tortured and sentenced to eath in 1943. 
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Democracy to Dictatorship- Opposition 2

The Kreisau Circle and the July Plot 

  • Leaders- von Moltke and von Wartenburg- both were from aristocratic background.  20 members of the Kreisau Circle – from varied background, aristocrats, army officers, academics
  • They wanted to remove Hitler and create a more Christian nation, they released a set of principles explaining what Germany would be like without Hitler.  July Bomb plot
  • Stauffenberg was high up in the army so frequently had meetings with Hitler, he took a briefcase into a meeting with Hitler and left it under the table.  He then left the room and pretended he needed to make a phone call.  The bomb exploded Hitler was not killed- because someone in the room had moved the briefcase) to the other side of the room.
  • The Gestapo tortured suspects and gained the names of those in the Circle, von Wartenburg was arrested as part of the July Bomb Plot, tried, found guilty and executed in August 1944. von Moltke had already been arrested (January 1944) and tried before the People’s Court. Found guilty of treason, he was executed in January 1945.
  • Stauffenberg was shot by firing squad with 5,000 others
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Who benefited under Nazi rule? Economy

Schacht was made minister for the economy 1934-37.  He created the 'New Plan' for Germany and aimed to reduce unemployment, build up armaments and make Germany self-sufficient (Autarky).   


  • National Labour Service set up for 18-25 year old men.  Dud jobs such as digging ditches, planting forests and created new Autobahns (motorways), hospitals, schools, sports stadiums. Were given pocket money rather than wages. Created thousands of jobs
  • Rearmament- Hitler ignored the Treaty of Versailles and introduced compulosry military service, the army increased by over one million between 1935 and 1938. This created more jobs.
  • Armaments industry grew up to make weapons and equipment needed to support this rearmament, this also employed thousands of men.  
  • Women were forced out of work to look afrer their homes and families- this created jobs
  • Jews were dismissed from their jobs and there was an increasing number of people sent to concentration camps.  This created more jobs and help reduce unemployment
  • Unemployment fell and by 1939 the Nazis were claiming there was no unemployment
  • 1936- Four year plan was drawn up to make Germany self-sufficient.  Germany begun to produce more raw materias such as coal, iron and other materials like rubber and fuel. 
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Who benefited under Nazi rule? Economy II


  • Nazi spending created inflation and 'over-heated' the economy- some historians suggest that Hitler had to go to war  (WWII) in 1939 to stop the economy going into crisis. 
  • 1939 more than a third of Germany's raw materials were still being imported from other countries- Autarky had failed
  • Hitler began to invade other countries for Lebensraum (living space) even when the Nazis invaded other countries they were not very good at controlling their industries and raw materials. 
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Who benefited under Nazi rule? Social policy

Nazi government treated its population as children and demanded that they behaved properly this is called paternalism (the government is acting as a strong father figure)

Workers: German Labour Front- Run by Dr Ley- stronger control of workers. Trade Unions were abolished and strikes were illegal, workers were not allowed to leave a job without permission and they were not allowed to bargain for higher wages.  There was no limit on working hours.'The Beauty of Work' (Schonheit der Aerbiet or SdA) movement was set up to encourage people to be proud of their work. 

Leisure: Strength through Joy (Kraft durch Freude or KdF) organised people's leisure time- cheap holidays were arranged these were rewards for working hard, a holiday complex was built by the Baltic Sea where good workers could relax.  KdF also helped manufcature a cheap car (Volkswagon- 'people's car) workers could pay for it on a hire purchas (credit) scheme which they could pay into weekly.  

Health: Nazis were concerned about people's health- the Nazi government was the first in the world to realise that smoking caused cancer and introduced regular screening of some cancer.  They also planted more trees under Reich Nature Protection Act (1935) to protect the environment and encourage tree planting, it also tried to prevent cruelty to animals as Hitler was a fan of pets. 

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Who benefited under Nazi rule? Culture

All culture was controlled by the Nazis- actors, writers and artists had to be members of the Reich Chamber which was controlled by Goebbels.

Music- had to be German, composers such as Wagner, Beethoven and Mozart were popular, German folks songs and marching music was also encouraged.  Jazz was banned- as it was associated with black American music. Work of Jewish composers was banned. 

Architecture- Neoclassical (based on the Roman Empire) to show power and control

Art- had to be heroic and realistic and celebrate Aryan family and other Nazi beliefs.  Men needed to be portrayed as strong and women as good mothers.  Modern art was not allowed.

Books- books that were written by Jews were banned.  1933 students were encouraged to burn huge piles of banned books taken from libraries.  


  • Nazi control of evey aspect of people's lives
  • The Arts were used as forms of Nazi propaganda
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Who benefited under Nazi rule? Women

Women were linked to the three C's- 'Church, Cooker, Children'

  • Nazis were worried about declining birth rate in Germany, so they encouraged marriage through the Law for the Encouragement of Marriage (1933)- newly married couples could get a loan of 1000 marks.  
  • Married couples were allowed to keep 250 marks for each child they had
  • Mothercraft classes were introduced to teach mothers how to be good Nazi morthers
  • Homes for unmarried women were set up to allow munmarried women to become pregnant, pften by 'racially pure' ** members
  • These polices increased birthrate
  • Women were also encouraged to stay at home and look afetr her husband and children- many were sacked from their jobs 
  • Women were given advice on what to cook and how to look- no makeup or high heels, hair had to be in plaits or buns
  • Slimming was discouraged as women needed to be well for childbearing. 
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Who benefited under Nazi rule? The Jews

Nazis believed that Jews were inferior race, and were worried that marriage between Jews and Germans had weakened the German people.  Jews were 1% of the German population but many held powerful jobs such as lawyers, bankers and doctors.  

1933- boycott (people stopped shopping at) of all Jewish shops ordered 

1934- Jewish shops had to be marked with a yellow star 

Jews were dismissed from important jobs in the civil service, education and media.  In parks and public places they had to sit away from other Germans.

1935- Nuremburg Laws- this stated that Jews were no longer German citizens; they were no longer protected by the law

1935- Protection of German Blood and Honour- banned marriages and sexual realtions between Jews and non-Jews. 

Kristellnacht (Night of broken glass) November 1938- a Jew shot dead a Nazi official in Paris.  Hitler ordered the ** to begin a campaign of terror against the Jews, thousands of Jews were arrested, nearly 100 were killed.  Collective fine of 1 billion marks was given to the Jews, they were publically humiliated and forced to clean the streets or mend roads.  Followed by mass arrest of Jews March 1939 30,000 Jews were sent to concentration camps.

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Who benefited under Nazi rule? The Jews

Genocide- aim to destroy a whole race of people

  • 'Final solution' was announced by Hitler in 1942
  • At first ** units called 'Einsatzgruppen' tried shooting the Jews; but the process was slow and distressing for the troops.  so Hitler decided to build 'extermination camps' such as Auschwitz and Treblinka. 
  • Whole Nazi state was organised to exterminate the Jews effeciently- Ministry of the Interior provided birth records so Jews could be identified.  Finance Ministry confiscated their property.  Transport offices organised trains to take them to the camps.
  • At the camps their posessions were collected and sorted (so they could be used in the war).  Healthy prisoners were sent for forced labour until they were too unwell to work.  Nazi dcotors such as Dr Mengele- would use Jews for medical experiments. The old, sick, children and pregnant women were sent to gas chambers.
  • 6 million Jews died in the Holicaust

Other groups

  • Anyone who did not fit into the ideal of an Aryan 'Master race' was persecuted. 
  • Gypises and homeless- were not seen as being 'socially useful'
  • Black people- were seen as an 'inferior race'
  • Mentally ill and physically disabled- were seen as being weak many had experiments done to them and in 1934 Nazis passed sterilisation Laws, this allowed the sterilisation of poeple with illnesses. Nazis also had a euthanasia programme for babies born with disabilities. 
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Life during WWII- Nazi Economy I

February 1942 Albert Speer was appointed Minister for Weapons and Munitions- his job was to make German industry more efficient, he did this by- Reducing the number of tank models from 18 to 7- this improved productivity. Production lines were introduced.  Made factories use their floor space more efficiently so more planes could be built

Goebbels announced ‘Total War’ which meant that anything that did not help the war was eliminated, (the whole country needed to be focused on the war) and a 60 hour working week introduced. There was some success 

  • munitions output per worker rose by 60%. 
  • tank production went up 25% under Speer
  • used foreign workers and prisoners from concentration camps to increase the workforce


  • Even when Germany invaded countries- it was not very good at taking their natural resources.  Germany still had a shortage of coal, even though they took over the mines of Belgium and the Soviet Union when they invaded.
  • Shortage of Labour- Hitler refused to make it compulsory for women to work- this meant that Germany did not have a big enough workforce. 1000s died on projects such as the V2 rocket production because there was not enough food or shelter
  • Bombing of cities- allied bombing of industry/transport/cities helped cause the German economy to collapse 1944, strategic targets were attacked, railway lines and bridges. This disrupted production.
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Life during WWII- Civilian life

Rationing-many items were in short supply before the war began.  This was because Germany was cutting imports from other countries in order to be self-sufficient. Many of the shortages continued during the war and some grew worse. Rationing- introduced 1939,  No toilet paper, 1945 250g meat per person per week. IMPACT- black market developed

Propaganda- The purpose of propaganda was to keep people's spirits up, maintain their support for the war and create negative feeling towards the enemy (Communist USSR, Britain, America and Jews). Goebbels ‘Total War’ Speech in 1943 encouraged Germans to fight the war until the end, and the phrase.  Propaganda aimed to promote ‘‘Ausharren’ meaning perseverance. IMPACT- kept spirits and morale high, cinema was used, Germans had little idea how well their troops were doing. 

Bombing-  1939- British Royal Air Force made bombing raids on Germany at first they attacked only military targets. 1940 they also tried to bomb industrial targets like factories and oil refineries, but these were hard to find. 1942 onwards RAF bombed large towns and cities in an attempt to destroy morale. IMPACT- evalcuation was introduced, many people escaped to the countryside, ruined morale and many Germans were aware they were losing the war. 

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