Hitler's Germany (1931-1945)

Hitler's Germany (1931-1945)


Hitler's attempt to seize power and failure.

  • Hitler joined NSDAP ( Later renamed as Nazis) in 1920.
  • Hitler was inspired by Mussolini and plotted to take over government, known as Bear Hall Putsch .
  • He Marched on Munich in 1923 but failed, and was sentenced to 5 years in Prison ( Served only 9 months) : Sentence was reduced due to the judge's     admiration of Hitler's views.
  • At this point the Nazi party was made illegal.( 1923)
  • Unlike Mussolini and the Fascists, Nazis weren't as popular and lacked support from powerful figures such as those of the high-classes, industrialists and the church.
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Hitler's views and Germany's situations.

  • During Hitler's time in Prison he wrote Mein Kampf, which outlined the new Nazi policy. He also changed his methods from illegal to legal methods.
  • He felt that Germans needed more Lebensraum and they would get it by conquering Europe and Russia and as far as Iran.
  • One of Hitler's domestic policies was to create a master race (Aryan)
  • Most Germans ignored his messages until the economic downturn.
  • By 1932 about 6,000,000 people were unemployed.
  • German's didn't feel confident in the leadership of the Weimar Republic.
  • By 1932, the Nazis were the largest political party. But towards the end of the year they began to lose popularity.
  • President Von Hindenburg, faced with very little choice under the advice of Von Papen, picked Hitler to bring stability to the country believing they would still be able to control Hitler.
  • Once Hitler had parliamentary control he passed a bill that banned political opponents and had them arrested.
  • In 1934, Hitler created an elite unit called the Schutzstaffel (**). They arrested any opposition.
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Hitler's Domestic and Foreign Policies

Domestic Policies

  • Hitler wanted Germany to run under self-sufficiency (Autarky)
  • He created schemes e.g. strength through joy, that benefitted the german workforce
  • He created groups for children - hitler youth for boys, and league of german maidens for girls. these groups prepared the boys to fight for germany in the war and taught the girls how to be good housewives
  • Foreign Policies:
  • to destroy the treaty of versailles which he considered wrong and an embarassment
  • to expand germany east (into poland) so their would be more german living space (Lebensraum)
  • and to unite all german speakers and create a master race, and in the process eliminate any opposition
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Hitler's Enabling act of 1933

  • March 23, 1933.
  • Limited for 4 years.
  • Enabled Government not only to create decrees, but even laws and treaties with other countries, these laws could deviate from the constitution.
  • There were thematic limits.
  • Neither any house committee or the Reichstag had the right to control, or to abolish these laws.
  • Enabling act of 1933 was renewed by a purely Nazi Reichstag in 1937 and 1939.
  • In 1941 and 1943 it was renewed by decree, in 1943 without temopral limit.
  • Despite the fact that it was only valid for the duration of the current Hitler government of 1933, it remained even after severe exchanges of ministers.
  • Opposition to Enabling act of 1933:
  • Social Democrats were only opposition.
  • Communists were imprisoned.
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Opposition to the Nazi party

  • White Rose:
  • Led by the Scholl Siblings (Sophieand and Hans) at the Ludwig Maximillian Universitat in Munich.
  • Printed Flyers against the regime and distributed them in the main building while students were in lectures.
  • They were eventually caught and 5 main students were executed ( Scholl siblings, Alex Schmorell, Willi Graf and Christoph Probst.
  • Red Orchestra:
  • Resistance group that fought against the 3rd Reich within Germany from 1933 to 1942.
  • 40% of members were women.
  • Leader was Harro Schulze-Boysen
  • Leaders of R.O met with Soviet diplomats on several occasions to inform them on Germany's preparations for the invasion of USSR by German Troops.
  • The Group planned to pass on important military information to Moscow by radio after the German invasion of the soviet union.
  • Military Oppostion
  • Claus Schenk Graf Von Stauffenberg Bomb plot. July 20th, smuggled Bomb in Hitler's ' Wolf Lair' in Rastenburg.
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Decline of Cabinet Government.

  • From 1919 to 1933 Germany was a democracy.
  • Hitler ran Germany with the Cabinet during his 1st year in office.
  • The Government called "for show' so the country still believed in some political freedom.
  • Cabinet met for the last time in  Februrary 1938.
  • The Reich chancellory took over the role of the cabinet. Lammers, head of Reich Chanchellory was extremely important as he controlled the flow of information to Hitler.
  • Politcally, the Nazi's had total control from February 1938.
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The Party vs State Civil Service

  • Hitler did share some power but only with those he trusted
  • In 1934, the Fuhrer's deputy, Rudolf Hess, was given power to supervise new laws.
  • By 1937, all state officials were directly repsonsible to Hitler and civil servants had to be party members.
  • People joined the Nazi Party in order to keep their jobs not because they necessarily  believed or like ideologies of the nazis.
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Nazi Police State

  • Key aim of Nazi was to arrest people before they commited crimes.
  • All local police forces  had to draw up lists of potential 'enemies of the state' and give them to the Gestapo.
  • It has been proven that the Gestapo were less effective than thought. The German people policed themselves.
  • The Gestapo were allowed to do what they believed was corrective which gave them unlimited freedom to do what they wished.
  • Anybody who defied the Nazis order would be removed from society and place in concentration camps, labour camps, prison or executed.
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Undoing Versailles

  • Economy of 1920's and 30's showed that Germany did not have enough raw materials for its needs. One solution was to take over the rich farmlands and mines of countries to Germany's east.
  • 1935, Hitler announced  a forced military service in order to build up the army to 550,000 men
  • Britain, France and Italy condemned Hitler's announcement but took no military action but took no military action.
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Hitler's Alliance

  • Hitler sent his best airforce unit (Condor legion), to fight on the side of General Franco. This gave Germany an allie if France had won and let the condor legion practice bombing methods.
  • In 1936, Hitler/Mussolini signed the Rome-Berlin Axis pact.
  • Hitler also signed an agreement with Japan. The Anti-Comintern pact mean't that Hitler now had a ally outside of Europe.
  • Anschluss= Hitler's attempt to unify Austria and Germany
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Austria's and Czech's relation with Germany.

  • Schusnigg= Prime minister of Austria
  • Schusnigg asked Italy, France and Britain for help, but they refused, forcing Schusnigg to resign and go into exile.
  • Schusnigg was replaced by an Austrian Nazi( Arthur Seyss-Inquart) who asked Hitler to send in the German/Nazi army  to reinstate order.
  • Invasion of the Sundentenland:
  • 3,000,000 German speaking people in the Sundentenland some of which wanted to join Germany.
  • In 1938, Hitler told Konrad Henlein ( Leader of German Sundenten separatist) to stir up trouble in Sundentenland.
  • The Czechs found out about the plan to invade and began to prepare for battle.
  • German soldiers were killed in Sundentenland and Hitler threatened war.
  • March 1939, Hitler's Army marched into the sundentenland and took over the western half.
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Hitler's ambitions for lebensraum continues.

  • Chamberlain persuaded France that the areas to her east ( Alsace, Alsace-Lorrain and Rhineland) should belong to Germany. He feard the Germany would start war on an enormous scale if she didn't get what she wanted.
  • 29th september, Hitler, Chamberlain, Mussolini and Edouard Daladier (French president) met to sign the Munich agreement ( Agreement permitting the Nazi Germany annexation of Czechslovakia's Sudentenland).
  • France and Britain fought to protect Poland, believing it would stop Hitler, but it didn't.
  • In 1939, Hitler signed the Nazi-Soviet pact with the USSR. The pact stated that Germany and Russia would not fight and slightly agreed to attack Poland and split it between them.
  • September 1939, Hitler invaded Poland, Britain declared war on Germany.
  • Hitler achieved lebensraum and overturned Versailles.
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Hitler's totalitaian society

  • Convinced Hindenburg to sign an emergency act banning free speech and freeedom of assembly.
  • Communist party members were arrested, Catholic center party withdrew all opposition and social democratic party dissolved.
  • Germany become one party state.
  • Strikes made illegal and unions abolished.
  • Professional organizations ( Doctors, lawyers, professors/engineers) swallowed into nazi-based organizations.
  • Books burnt, modern art prohibited/anti-intellectualism became rule.
  • 1936, almost all government spending was directed at military.
  • Privilege and wealth was tolerated, but only when it seemed helpful to the party.
  • Germany rejected all liberal ideas.
  • Basic human rights were subjected to brutality and terror.
  • Those with high-paying jobs mostly lost their jobs and were forced to take-on low paying jobs, of which if refused they were imprisoned for refusal to work.
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Weimar Republic

  • Weimar Republic formed due to King's forced abdication by President Wilson.
  • Opposition from extreme left and right ( Spartist Revolt and Kapp Putsch), Hitler's revolution in Munich. Right opposed Weimar as an affront to Nationalism. Left regarded it as a cover for social conservatism.
  • Social democratic party, Catholic center and Liberal democrats supported Weimer republic.
  • Weakness of Weimar constitution:
  • Dangers in the system of proportional representation, which could lead to a multitude of small parties and instability. Potential danger in the popular election of the president, which created the possibility of his appealing to the German people over the head of the Reichstag; and in the presidential right to rule by emergency rule: one that could be used in undermining the democratic system.
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Problems for Weimar to resolve.

  • German population not used to rule by democratic party.
  • Treaty of versailles:
  • Pay huge reparations 6.6 billion pounds.
  • Clause 231 ' war guilt' ( accept full responsibility for war damages)
  • 100,000 men limited army
  • Stabilize currency (Mark)
  • Feed Germany's currently mostly poor and starving population.
  • Germany lost land and 30% of industry. Weimar must now recover industry. Occupation of Ruhr (1923-1925), where French and Belgian troops invaded Germany's industrial region as a result of the Weimar republic's failure to repay reparations entailed by WW1.
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Gustav Stressemen

  • Policy of Fulfilment designed to make concessions which would return Germany to full sovereignty and indenpendence as soon as possible.
  • He was attacked by the Right-wing as far too conciliatory and as a betrayer of German national interest.
  • President Hindenburg, was never a fervent supporter of Weimar and in his immediate circle there were many who were violently anti-republican.
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Weimar's move to the right and economic collapse

  • In 1929, German nationalists were at the forefront of the campaign against the young plan, new Allied scheme for reparations payment and onslaught against the republic.
  • Nationalists/National Socialists came together to rebel against the republic.
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