Hitler's Germany, 1929 - 1939

HideShow resource information
  • Created by: emma998
  • Created on: 21-04-14 11:56

The depression and the rise of the Nazis

  • The wall street crash in 1929 sent the world into an economic depression and Germany suffered paticularly badly because they were so heavily dependent on US loans
  • The Weimar government with its careful balance of power meant that decisive action by the government paticularly slow and the government seemed incapable of helping Germany get out of the depression
  • Some historians even believe that the chancellor, Heinrich Brunig, was deliberately making situation worse to get international community to cancel reparation payments
  • Nazi ideas now had special relevance and much more appealing to German public 
  • If Weimar government was indecisive then Germany needs a strong leader
  • Reparations adding to Germany's problems then abolish the ToV
  • Unemployment a problem then let the unemployed join the army
  • 25 point programme showing Nazi aims
  • Offered culprits to blame for Germany's problems
  • Nazi campaigning - Joeseph Goebbels, posters, radio broadcasts, polcies generalised
  • Hitler - excellent speaker and communicator 
  • Negative cohesion - people supported the Nazis because they disliked what HItler disliked
  • Communist threat - SA regularly met communist violence with own violence, order
1 of 19

Hitler becoming Chancellor, 1933

  • Reichstag elections July1932, Nazis single largest party, not a majority with 230 seats
  • Hitler also ran for president in 1932 and got 13million votes to Hindenburg's 19million
  • Hitler demanded position of Chancellor from Hindenburg - the president - but he refused
  • Instead Hindenburg appointed Franz von Papen as Chancellor
  • He used emergency powers in hope to solve economic crisis
  • However Von Papen soon ran into trouble since, had virtually no support in the Reichstag
  • So Hindenburg was forced to call another election in November 1932
  • Again the Nazis came out as largest single party but still not a majority + Nazi share of votes fallen - lost almost 2million votes + 38 seats in Reichstag, Hitler threatened suicide
  • Hindenburg refused Hitler, appointed Kurt Von Schleicher (Schleicher forced to resign)
  • Became clear Weimar system government not working - running Germany with emergency powers, Hindenburg needed Chancellor who had support in Reichstag
  • 30th January Hindenburg offered Hitler the place of Chancellor and Von Papen as Vice 
  • Both thought they could limit HItler's influence and control him - Hitler would just get support in Reichstag and control the threat of communists
2 of 19

Reichstag fire and March 1933 election

  • Once Chancellor, Hitler took several steps to complete Nazi takeover of Germany
  • He called another election for March 1933 to get a Nazi overall majority
  • Germany's cities, again, witnessed speeches, rallies, processions and street fighting 
  • He was using the same tactics as in previous elections but he now had the resources of state media and control of the streets
  • On 27 February the Reichstag building burned down
  • Hitler blamed the communists and persuaded HIndenburg to use emergency powers to deal with the situation claiming it was the beginning of a comunist uprising
  • Used emergency powers to arrest communists, break up meetings and frighten voters
  • The outcome of the March elections were a huge success for the Nazis
  • They got their largest share of votes and won 288 seats in the Reichstag
  • With the support of the small Nationalist party, Hitler had an overall majority
  • Using the SA and the ** he then intimidated Reichstag into passing Enabling Act - make laws without consulting Reichstag making him a virtual dictator
  • He then banned the communist party and the catholics decided to coorperate with him
  • For the next four years if he wanted a new law he could just pass it and there was nothing Hindenburg could do about it
  • However Hitler was still not secure and not strong enough to remove opposition
3 of 19

The Night of the Long Knives, June 1934

  • Within a year many opponents of the Nazis had either left Germany or been taken to camps
  • Hitler was still not entirely secure - leading officers in army suspicious of SA and Hitler
  • SA badly disciplined force + leader, Ernst Rohm, wanted to make it second German army
  • Hitler had to choose between SA and German army
  • He too was suspicious of Rohm and believed he was a potential threat as the leader of over 4 million men
  • On the weekend of 29-30 June 1934 squads of ** men broke into the houses of Rohm and other leading SA men
  • Over the weekend as many as 400 people were executed - some not even involved in SA
  • Became known as Night of Long Knives
  • Hitler accused Rohm of plotting to overthrow and murder him
  • Hindenburg thanked Hitler for his determined action against treason
  • SA not disbanded but very much subordinate to ** and never regained influence of 1933
4 of 19

Der Fuhrer, August 1934

  • Soon after the Night of the Long Knives Hindenburg died
  • Hitler took his place and merged the role of president and Chancellor together and became the supreme leader of Germany also known as Der Fuhrer
  • On August 2nd 1934 the entire army swore an oath of personal loyalty to Hitler as Fuhrer
  • They agreed to stay out of politics and to serve Hitler
  • In return, Hitler spent vast sums of money on rearmament, brought back conscription and made plans to make Germany a great military power again
5 of 19

Repression and control in Nazi Germany

  • ** - formed in 1925 from fanatics loyal to Hitler 
  • After almost destroying SA in 1934, he ** became a huge organisation, many responsibilities
  • Led by Heinrich Himmler
  • Responsibility of destroying opposition to Nazism and carrying out racial policies
  • Death's head units - in control of concentration camps
  • Waffen-** - special armed regiments alongside army
  • Gestapo - Secret State Police
  • Most feared by citizens - arrest citizens on suspicion+send to CC without trial or explanation
  • Leader Reinhard Heydrich
  • Police and courts - top jobs in these professions given to high ranking Nazis
  • Police political snooping" to normal law+order, political opponents rarely received a fair trial
  • Concentration camps - ultimate sanction against their own people
  • Set up almost as soon as Hitler took power 
  • Started off as makeshift prisons in disused factories and warehouses, soon purpose built
  • Young and fit made to do hard labour, others left to die
6 of 19

Propaganda and mass media

  • Nuremberg rallies - summer every year - bands, marches, flying displays, Hitler's speeches
  • Bright colour and excitement into lives of ordinary citizens, sense of belonging
  • Organised by Goebbels
  • Emphasised how Nazis and Hitler brought order to Germany out of complete chaos
  • The media - strict censorship of media through Goebbels
  • No books could be published without permission of Goebbels - bestseller Mein kampf
  • High profile book burning of books unacceptable to Nazis
  • Only Nazi approved painters could show their works - aryian families, military figures
  • Newspapers not allowed to print anti-Nazi articles
  • Jewish journalists out of work and anti-Nazi newspapers closed down
  • German newspapers became very very dull and therefore circulation fell by about 10%
  • Cinema, films, newsreels was also closely controlled by Goebbels and all had pro-Nazi slant
  • Posters, music, radio broadcasts - jazz music banned
  • Goebbels worked closely with **
7 of 19

Nazis and young people

  • Hitler aimed control every aspect of life in Germany including daily life of ordinary people
  • The Nazis controlled the school curiculum
  • Students would learn all about how the Germans had been "stabbed in the back" by weak politicians who signed peace at the end of WW1 and how Germany's problems were caused by the Jews. In biology students would learn about the superiority of the aryan race and in maths you would be set questions involving Nazism and Jews
  • Every day students would learn about race studies and ideology and would have several hours of school sport per day
  • There was also the Hitler youth which was a Nazi organisation for children and young people and they would often take part in marches and parades with bands and do lots of physical exercise and learn how to use a rifle and read a map
  • Young children would sometimes feel slightly alienated from thier parents because they would not be as keen about the Nazis as themselves.
8 of 19

Anti-Nazi youth movements

  • The "Swing" movement - mainly made up of middle class teenagers,
  • They listened to jazz, English and American music which had been banned by the Nazis 
  • They accepted Jews at their clubs and talked about and enjoyed sex.
  • Some had long unkempt hair and others wore exaggeratedly English clothes
  • The Eidelweiss pirates - working class teenagers - 14-17 year olds
  • Not organised movement and different cities took up different names - Roving dudes (Essen)
  • Nazis classified them all as Eidelweiss pirates
  • Went camping at weekends and sang songs like Hitler youth but changed the words of the songs to mock Germany
  • When they spotted bands of Hitler youth they would taunt them and sometimes even attack them
9 of 19

Nazis and the Churches

  • Early stages - some co-orperation between Nazis and churches - Hitler signed concordat with the Catholic church in 1933 - agreement to leave Catholic church alone and allow it to keep control of its schools in return for them to stay out of politics
  • Hitler tried to get all the protestant churches to come together in one official Reich Church but many people felt loyalties lay with their original churches not a state approved church
  • Hitler even encouraged an alternative religion churches called the Pagan German faith movement.
  • Most Churchgoers either supported the Nazis or did little to oppose them however there are some exceptions
  • Catholic Bishop Galen critiscised the Nazis throughout the 1930s and in 1941 led a popular protest against the Nazi policies of killing mentally ill and physically disabled people. This forced the Nazis to temporarily stop because they considered it to risky to silence him during war
  • Dietrich Boenhoffer and Pastor Martin Niemoller formed an alternative protestant church to offical Reich Church. Neimoller spent 1938-1945 in concentration camp.
  • Boenhoffer preached against Nazis and helped Jews escape from Germany. In 1942 contacted the Allied countries and asked what peace terms they would offer Germany if Hitler was overthrown. Arrested in October 1942 and later hanged shorty before end of war
10 of 19

Economic recovery and rearmament

  • By 1933 5million unemployed in Germany
  • Economist Dr Hjalmar Schact organised Germany's finances to fund a huge programme of work creation
  • National Labour service sent men on public works projects and conservation programmes building motorways and autobahns
  • Railways built
  • House-building projects - Reich Chancellory in Berlin
  • Rearmament
  • 1935 Hitler reintroduced conscription
  • 1936 he announced 4-year plan under control of Goerring to get German economy ready for war
  • Engineers and designers gained new oppertunities - Luftwaffe - world class airforce
  • These projects boosted national pride and support for Hitler 
11 of 19

The Nazis and the workers

  • Hitler promised and succeeded in reducing unemployment in industrial workers. These workers were important to Hitler in rearmament and preparing for war
  • He won their loyalty through a variety of initatives
  • Strength through joy (KDF) was a scheme (of several) which gave workers cheap theatre and cinema tickets and organised courses, trips and sporting events. They were also offered greatly reduced tickets on the latest luxery liners
  • Beauty of Labour was another scheme which was put in place to improve working conditions in factories. Some features included washing facilities and low-cost canteens.
  • Another scheme was put in place for workers to save 5marks a week in the state scheme to buy the Volkswagen Beetle which was designed by Ferdinand Porsche and became symbol of prosperous new Germany
  • However the price to pay for these benefits Hitler had put in place, there was strict control over the workers' freedom
  • Workers lost their main political party (the SPD)
  • They lost all thier trade unions and all workers were forced to join the DAF (General labour front) instead run by Dr Robert Ley - This organisation kept strict control of workers. They could not strike for better pay or conditions
  • Wages remained comparatively low
12 of 19

The Nazis and the farming communities

  • The farmers had been a key role in Nazi success and it was the farming community which the Nazis had been trying to appeal to
  • Hitler considered the farming community as very important in a traditional Germany and did not forget their support so introduced a number of measures to help the peasant farmers
  • "Blood and Soil" - Part of the Nazi philosophy, this was the belief that peasant farmers were the basis of Germany's master race and they had to be protected
  • Reich Food Estate - set up in September 1933 under Richard Darre.
  • This set up central boards to buy agricultural produce from farmers and distribute it to markets across Germany. This gave farmers a guaranteed market for their goods at guaranteed prices.
  • However this meant that efficient farmers were held back having to go through the same process as the less efficient farmers
  • The Reich Entailed Farm Law - This gave peasants state protection for their farm so banks could not seize their land if peasants could not pay loans or mortgaes
  • However meant banks less willing to loan money to farmers and only eldest child inherited farm - many children of farmers left to work for better pay in industry
  • Rural depopulation of 3% per year
13 of 19

Big businesses and the middle class

  • The Nazi record with the middle classes were also mixed
  • They were glad about removal of communist threat to their businesses and properties
  • They liked the way the Nazis brought order to Germany
  • Small businesses were mixed
  • Local engineering firms and similar design bussinesses did relatively well
  • Other small businesses such as shops suffered due to competition with large department stores which Hitler had promised, but failed, to close down
  • Big businesses benefited the most from Nazi rule
  • They no longer had to worry about trade union stikes for pay rises
  • Paticularly companies focused on industry and rearmaments and also car manufacturers gained huge government contracts
14 of 19

Volksgemeinschaft - National community

  • Hitler wanted all Germans to think of themselves as part of a national community
  • Their first loyalty should have not have been to thier own social group but to Germany and der Fuhrer
  • They should have been proud to belong to such a great nation and feel superior to other nations, races and cultures
  • The Nazis never completely succeeded with this as people in the 1930s certainly did not lose self interest nor did they embrace the national community wholeheartedly
  • However many Germans did have a strong sense of national pride and loyalty towards Hitler
15 of 19

Women in Nazi Germany

  • All Nazi leaders were men
  • Hitler had a very traditional view of the role of the German women as a wife and Mother
  • Many people, paticularly in traditional rural areas, agreed with him and felt women should support her husband and look after children
  • There was much resentment to working women as they were seen to be keeping unemployed men out of work
  • There was also resentment towards women not wearing traditional German clothes
  • There was a real pressure on women to conform to traditional women roles
  • Hitler was alarmed at the falling birth rate and offered incentives for married couples to have at least 4 children and a golden cross for 8 children and priveliged seats at Nazi meetings
  • School - race studies and ideology as well as several hours of sport and sex education
  • Oppertunities for women were limited
  • Married professional women forced to give up jobs and stay home with family
  • Discrimination of women applicants for jobs was even encouraged
  • During the war Germany suddenly needed more women workers while men at war - Germany became torn between traditional stereotype role of women and need for workers
16 of 19

Persecution of minorities

  • Nazis believed that Aryan's were the superior race
  • During their 12 years in power they persecuted members of other races and many minority groups such as gypsies, homosexuals and mentally handicapped people
  • They also persecuted any people or groups who they thought challenged Nazis ideas
  • In families where there were hereditary illnesses, sterialisation enforced - over 300,000 men and women were compulsorily sterilised between 1934 and 1945.
  • A "euthanasia" programme began in 1939 killing at least 5,000 severly mentally handicapped babies + children between 1939 and 1945 either by injection or starvation
  • 72,000 mentally ill patients were gassed before a public outcry in Germany
  • 5 out of 6 gypsies were killed in Germany in 1939
  • There was also the "asocials" who were sent to concentration camps - homosexuals, alcoholics, homeless, prostitutes, habitual criminals and beggars
  • Comparitvely, the killing of gypsies and asocials was not met by public outcry
17 of 19

Hitler and the Jews

  • Hitler was extremley anit-semetic
  • During his years in poverty he became obssessed by the fact that Jews ran many of the most successful businesses, paticularly the large department stores which offended his ideas of the superiority of the Aryan race
  • He also blamed Jewish businessmen and bankers for Germany's defeat in WW1 thinking it was them that had forced the surrender of the Germany army
  • As soon as Hitler took power in 1933 he began to mobilise the full powers of the state against the Jews and quickly began dehumanising them
  • Immediatley he banned them from the civil service and variety of public services such as broadcasting and teaching
  • Boycotts of Jewish shops was encouraged and the German public was informed about how Jews cheat and lie to their customers
  • This was advertised widely with posters and cartoons
  • In 1936 pressure on Jews and other minorites relaxed a little however this was only so Germany could show themselves in a positive light for the olympics. Many took this time to move out of Germany
18 of 19

Treatment of Jews

  • Kristallnacht - Novemeber 1938 a young Jew killed a German diplomat in Paris. Goebbels took this oppertunity to turn it into an event for himself and urged a wide-scale and brutal response to the murder. ** troops issued with pickaxes and hammers and the addresses of Jewish businesses. They ran riot and smashed up Jewish shops and workplaces. 91 Jews were murdered and hundreds of synagogues burned and 20,000 taken to concentration camps
  • Neuremburg laws - prevent mixed marrages beteen Jews and Germans, places were Jews not welcome, loss of professions, Star of David, no longer considered German citizens
  • Ghettos to mass murder -Developed in intensity in 1939 after invasion of Poland. Polish and German Jews were rounded up and herded into sealed areas known as ghettos. Able-bodied used for labour, young, old, weak and sick left to die from starvation and disease. This was the beginning of a programme of mass murder that would end in the final solution - death and concentration camps such as Auschwitz and Treblinka
19 of 19


No comments have yet been made

Similar History resources:

See all History resources »See all Nazi Germany 1929 - 1939 resources »