History - Hitler's Germany

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  • Created on: 07-08-14 11:37

Hitler Gets to Power

Seats In The Reichstag

-Number of seats for the nazis increased from 1928-1930 because:

-There seemed no prospect of the of the depression coming to an end

-Nazis were good at running effective campaigns and making speeches to make people angry. SA beat up and killed opponents

-Wealthy industrialists gave Nazis a lot of money because they hoped Hitler would crush Communists so Nazis could then print posters

More Success for the Nazis

-April 1932 Hitler ran against Hindenburg for Presidency Hitler lost but did well (shows popularity had increased)

-July 1932 Nazis became the biggest single party in the Reichstag in the general election

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The Reichstag Fire and March 1933 Elections

-After becoming chancellor, Hitler decided that fresh elections should be held to impress or scare people into voting for the Nazis

-Hitler joined the Nationalist party and set out to beat the communists at the Reichstag fire trial

-27th February at night, the Reichstag building was burnt down in flames.

-The police captured Marinus Van Der Lubbe

-The Nazis used this against the communists making them look bad, it provided an excuse to put the communists leaders on trial so they couldn't campaign properly in the general election

-Some believed that the Nazis had started the fire themselves to frame the communists

-When new elections were held nazis gained 43.9% of votes but with the Nationalists they had a small majority

-When the communists were forbidden to take their seats ,they had an absolute majority

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Hitler Establishes His Control

Enabling Law

-Hitler passed after general elections of March 1933

-Law took the power to make laws from the Reichstag and gave it to Hitler and his cabinet

-Hitler could then move against other groups he saw as a threat

-He got the votes required for this through intimidation

Trade Unions

-May 1933 after granting them a May Day holiday, Union funds were seized, many Union leaders were arrested and a Nazi controlled labour front was set up to replace Unions

Other Political Parties

-Hitler banned socialist and communist political groups soon after the destruction of the trade unions

-By July 1933 the other political parties had just collapsed, and Hitler passed a law saying that the nazis were to be the only political party allowed in Germany

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The Night of the Long Knives 1924

-The SA were now an embarrassment to Hitler and some of them were given to lawlessness and Hitler was jealous of the popularity of the SA leader Ernst Rohm

-Many SA men wanted to see the Nazis take over industry and were annoying the army by demanding that they be incorporated into it

-Early in the 30th June 1934 the SS swooped on his opponents

-The victims were shot after one minute trials. Rohm and many SA leaders were among those executed

-Over 400 people may have died in the Night of the Long Knives

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The Death of Hindenburg

-August 1934 president Hindenburg dies of natural causes

-Hitler took the role of president as well and had the German armed forces take a personal oath of loyalty to him, something that Hindenburg would never have allowed

-This completed the creation of the Nazi dictatorship

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Hitler Reduces Unemployment

-Hitler made "Work for all" promise in 1932 elections. By 1939 Germany was short of labour!

-The work Hitler provided was centred on the rebuilding of Germany's armed forces
-Compulsory military service and manufacturing of items for the military reduced the number of unemployed after 1935

-School-leavers spent 6 months in labour camps doing agriculture and forestry work while other men were employed on the construction of buildings and autobhans (motorways)

-Family allowances were paid to encourage women to give up paid jobs (which were quickly filled by men)
-People in concentration camps were not listed as unemployed.

-There was also no shortage of recruits for the SS and the Nazi party generally provided a lot of jobs

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Germany's Arms Build Up

-From 1932-1939 Germany's arms increased dramatically. This had drawbacks:
-having large arms was risky because it cost a lot

-the main reason was that other countries became weary and scared of you and this would eventually lead to war.

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More Problems for the Nazi Economy

-The problem of how to pay for their economic programmes and at the same time maintain living standards was a big one for the Nazis.

-Hitler was not prepared to consider rationing as it was low living standards that had caused the revolution of November 1918

-Goering, economic minister, started the "Four Year Plan" in a drive to improve production, though this was only partly successful

Germany put lots of effort into synthetics ("Erzatz") products like: rubber, coffee and butter.

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The Nazis and the Workers

-Hitler became popular with the industrial workers when he lowered the amount of unemployed

-These workers were important to Hitler because he needed good workers to create the industries that would help to make Germany great and establish a new German empire in Eastern Europe

-Propaganda was used to help this by praising the workers and trying to associate the workers with Hitler

-The "Strength through joy" gave workers cheap theatre tickets and cinema tickets and organised courses and trips and sports events. Workers were offered cut-price cruises on the latest luxury liners

-The Volkswagen Beetle helped thousands of workers to save money in a state scheme to buy the car. No workers ever received the car because all car production stopped by the war in 1939

The "Beauty of labour" scheme improved working conditions in factories. It introduced features not seen in many workplaces before, like washing facilities and low cost canteens.

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The Nazis and the Farmers

-Farmers had supported the Nazis and Hitler was keen to help them:

-The Reich Food Estate bought food and distributed it across Germany giving farmers a guaranteed market for their goods at fixed prices. However, it meant that efficient were held back by having to work through the same processes as less efficient farmers.

-The Reich Entailed Farm Law gave the peasants secure tenure of their land even if they couldn't pay loans or mortgages, the banks could not take their land. However, banks were unwilling to lend money to farmers. It also meant that the eldest son inherited the farm.

-As a result, many children of farmers left the land to work for better pay in Germany's industries

-Rural depopulation ran at about 3% per year in the 1930's - the opposite of what the nazis wanted

-"Blood and Soil" - The peasant was seen as the basis for Germany's master race so it was crucial that their was of life was protected

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Business and the Middle Classes

-The middle class was grateful to the Nazis for eliminating the communist threat to their businesses and properties.

-They liked the way the Nazis seemed to be bringing order to Germany

Small Business:

-You did well if you owned a small engineering firm as you were likely to do well from government orders as rearmament spending grew in the 1930's

-But if you produced consumer goods or ran a small shop you might struggle because Hitler's large department, which were taking business away from local shops, were not closed

Big Business Benefits:

-You didn't have to worry about trade unions and strikes

-Chemical giants gained huge government contracts to make explosives, fertilisers and artificial oil from coal

-Other household names prospered from Nazi policies

Overwhelmingly, the Nazi economy in industry and farming as seen positively by most people and regarded as a success.

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Education and Youth

-Young people were important to Hitler because if his dream of a Nazi empire lasting a thousand years was to come true, then the youth had to be converted into fanatical believers of Nazism so when older people died off you had a society of Nazis.

Youth Organisations:


-Served in organisations in which they practised camping and sports and were indoctrinated with Nazi ideas

-Last four years spent in Hitler youth which involved prep for military service


-Served in the league of German maidens, working on farms and in factories

-Hitler didn't think girls were as important to the Nazi state as boys

-Girls were encouraged to marry and have large families (the future Nazi armies)

Professors, Lecturers and Teachers:

-They all had to be believers in Nazism or they were dismissed

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Nazi Policies Towards Women

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-Adults picked up information from news-papers, radio and the cinema. Hitler realised that it was vitally important to control these media.

-Hitler therefore appointed a minister of popular Enlightenment and Propaganda - Dr Joseph Goebbels

-Soon newspapers, radio broadcasts and films were all telling the people how splendid the Nazis were.

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The SS and Gestapo

-Heinrich Himmler was one of the most feared men in Germany

-In 1936, Himmler was put in charge of them all with the title Reichsfurher SS and Chief of the German Police

-The two most famous police organisations were the Gestapo and the SS:
-The Gestapo were feared as they hunted down anyone who opposed the Nazis
-The SS had a number of duties including running the concentration camps

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The Terror State

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Hitler's Assessment of Races

-Class 1:
-Germans (Aryans)
-Nordics - people like Swedes were ranked highly but just below Germans

-Class 2:
-Most other Europeans considered of "kindred blood" and acceptable

-Class 3:
-Slavs (people like Poles and Russians)
-Seen as racial inferiors and fit only to serve the master race

-Class 4:
-The "Sub-Humans" ("Untermenshen")

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The Nazis and The Jews

-Boycott of Jewish shops

-SA would stand outside and put pressure on Germans not to go in

-The national boycott was unpopular and lasted for one day but local boycotts continued

-Anti-Semitic Propaganda 1933-39

-Jewish pupils were humiliated in schools and then forced out completely

-Jews were forbidden to practise many professions e.g medicine or teaching

-Their jewels and radios were confiscated

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The Aryan Race and the Germans

-The aryans were the superior race from the past as they were pure and had not been inter-bred with other races.

-Racial Purity and its Dangers

-In order to improve human progress the Germans must keep themselves pure so that they become the master race

-The biggest danger was inter-breeding with the Jews


-Germans were too crowded in their own country and they needed extra living space (Lebensraum)

-This could be had by occupying countries like Russia and making people serve the master race

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The Destruction of the Jews


-1940 onwards Jews in Poland were made to live in Ghettos
-These were walled off areas of towns and cities which they wren't allowed to leave
-Many Jews starved to death

-Special Action Groups (Einstzgruppen):

-After invading Russia in 1941, special action groups of the SS were established
-Orders were to kill every Jew in every captured town or village
-Rounded up Jews made them strip naked and shot them into mass graves, some were locked in lorries and Carbon Monoxide gas was pumped in

-The Final Solution:

-1942 most of Europe was under Nazi rule and so they met at Wannsee to discuss the solution to the Jews
-They decided to kill every Jew in Europe either by working them to death of execution

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The Holocaust

-It became more and more difficult to survive in the camps due to unhygienic conditions, lack of food, which caused malnourishment and giving up also quickened the time to your death

-Nazis were anxious to conceal what was happening at the camps because it was very inhumane and this might turn world opinion against them

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Gas Chambers and Crematoria

-Men separated from the women

-They were told they were going for a shower they went into the gas chamber which had water pipes to make them look like a shower room

-The door was quickly shut and gas was released through the vents, killing around 2000 people in about 15 minutes

-After gassing them, work started on removing the gold from the teeth and cutting the hair from the women

-Bodies were taken and put in ovens but sometimes the ovens broke down due to the amount of corpses and so they were burnt in piles

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Nazi Euthanasia

-Aktion T4 first focused on newborns and very young children

-Doctors registered children up to three who showed signs of mental retardation and physical deformity or other symptoms on the Reich Health Ministry's Questionnaire

-The decision to allow the cild to live was made by three medical experts solely on the basis of the questionnaire, without medical records. if they agreed to kill the child they were taken to a Children's Speciality Department where they were killed by injection or gradual starvation

-The program quickly expanded to include older disabled children and adults

-In families where there were hereditary illnesses, sterilisation was enforced

-Prisons were converted to killing centres where patients were drugged before being sent into the gas chambers

-Lies told to families about cause of death didn't work because of the increase in death for the disabled and smoke over the killing centres

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Attack on Nazi Euthanasia

-Catholic Bishop va Galen said the program was "Plain Murder!" condemning the program and telling Germans to stay away from the Nazis as to not be influenced by them

-As a result, in August, Hitler suspended Aktion T4,

-The Nazis retaliated against the bishop by beheading three parish priests who had distributed his sermon, but left the bishop unharmed to avoid making him a martyr

-The program quietly continued without widespread gassings. Drugs and starvation were used instead and doctors were encouraged to decide in favour of death.

-Gas chambers served as training centres for the SS

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Opposition to the Nazis - Churches

-Hitler didn't declare all out war on Christianity as so many Germans were Christians

-Hitler disliked Christianity as Old Testament was the story of Jewish people, while New Testament's message of Christ was one of love for all members of Humanity

-The agreement (CONCORDAT) that Hitler signed in July 1933 with the pope said the catholic church would operate freely provided its members didn't become involved in politics

-Hitler broke agreement by closing down catholic schools and youth clubs and arresting thousands of priests

Hitler tried to take over the Protestant church in Germany directly when he got his own candidate, a member of the German christian movement of fanatical Nazi supporters, elected as Bishop of the Reich

-Some Protestants inspired by Martin Niemoller formed their own confessional church

-Niemoller was sent to concentration camp and freed by the allies in 1945

-Hitler had made sure that the churches could not lead any effective resistance to Nazi rule

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Opposition to the Nazis - Youth Rebellion

-The Swing Movement:

-Made up of mainly middle-class teenagers
-Went to parties, listened to English and American songs and danced American dances
-Accepted Jews at their clubs
-Deliberately slovenly

-Nazis issued a handbook helping authorities to identify them, some shown with unkempt, long hair and others with exaggeratedly English clothes

-The Edelweiss Pirates:

-Made up of working-class teenagers
-Movement took different names in different places
-Sang songs but changed the lyrics to mock Germany
-Attacked and mocked Hitler youth groups
-In Cologne, Pirates helped to shelter army deserters and escaped prisoners
-Took part in the attack on the Gestapo
-Nazis hanged some of the ring leaders in November 1944

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Opposition to the Nazis - Adult Opposition

-Left-wing Opposition:

-Many small resistance groups gave help to the Soviet Union
-Anton Saefkow ran the biggest group which carried out sabotage, organised strikes and encouraged soldiers to desert from the army

-White Rose Movement:

-A group of Munich University students
-Led by Hans and Sophie Sholl and Christoph Probst, this group distributed leaflets, put up posters and writing graffiti on walls against the Nazis

-The Stauffenburg Bomb Plot 1944:

-Almost killed Hitler in July 1944 when a group of army officers planned to take over the government
-A bomb exploded under a table at which Hitler was standing, injured but didn't kill him
-In the confusion that followed, the officers didn't carry out their plans quick enough, allowing the gestapo to arrest the leaders.
-Many leaders were executed, including Stauffenburg, the key figure.

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The Impact of the War on German Civilians

Shortages and Rationing:

-Things were in short supply as Germany had cut imports from other countries in order to be self-sufficient

-Germany was able to take goods from countries that it conquered, but man shortages continued and grew worse

-The Four Year Plan was the plan for developing the economy, it was partly strict recycling. Hitler youth would go from house to house to collect waste from the "Raw Materials Shaving Boxes"

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The Impact of the War on German Civilians


-From 1939 Britain made bombing raids on Germany, first only attacking military targets but then later tried to bomb industrial targets such as factories and oil refineries

-From 1942 onwards, the RAF command bombed whole towns and cities


-Bombing made millions homeless, many became refugees

-Biggest movement of refugees was in 1945 as the Soviet army advanced west.

-After the War, millions were expelled from countries, like Poland and Hungary and were transported in appalling conditions back to Germany

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Impact of Propaganda in WWII

-Used same methods:


-1939-42 propaganda was easy as Germany had conquered many countries so everyone like Hitler

-Heroic German soldiers were celebrated

-1943 - defeat at Stalingrad Russia. After German soldiers portrayed as heroic defender of Western European culture against Bolshevism

-Goebbels was crucial. Germans hardly heard from of saw Hitler during the war

-Public was sceptical as propaganda increasingly doesn't fit with reality

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The Impact of WWII on the German Economy

-Nazi Errors:

-No changes at start of war as Germany had been preparing for 6 years

-Unlike Britain, Germany didn't put her economy on a war footing until later in the war. Therefore, they were producing things like wallpaper, until the midpoint of the war

-Nazis opposed to women participating in he work force but had to compromise later

-Nazis didn't increase direct and personal taxes significantly to fund the war

-Occupied Territories:

-As Germany acquired new territories, these areas were forced to sell raw materials and agricultural products to German buyers at very low prices.

-Large quantities of goods flowed into Germany from the West

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The Impact of WWII on the German Economy

-Slave Labour:

-Many people from occupied territories were used as slave labourers by German companies

-By 1944, slave labour made up a quarter of Germany's work force

-In rural areas, shortage of agricultural labour was filled by slavs and many young women from occupied territory

-Pressures in the Final Period of the War:

-Military spending grew rapidly after 1942, so Nazi government was forced to dedicate more and more of the country's economic resources to fighting a losing war

-From 1943 on, Germany switched to a full war economy overseen by Albert Speer

-Restaurants and other services were closed to focus the economy on military needs

-1944 on, allied bombings were destroying German factories and cities rapidly, leading to the final collapse of the German was economy in 1945

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The Nazis and The Jews

-Two Nuremburg Laws 1935

1)Reich Citizen act: "No Jew can be a reich citizen. The right to vote is not extended to him and he may not be appointed to any office of state."

2)Law for the Protection of German Blood and German Honour: "Marriages or sexual relations between Jews and citizens of German or Kindred blood are hereby forbidden."

-Kristallnacht 1938

-Following the assassination of German diplomat in Paris by a Jew, the windows of Jewish shops, homes and synagogues were smashed. There was much looting and destruction.

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Hitler Gets to Power

Hitler Becomes Chancellor

-November 1932 Nazis lost seats in general election because depression had bottomed out and economic conditions were improving.

-Some Nazi voters believed that Hitler would never be allowed to become chancellor so became disheartened

-January 1933 Von Papen who was jealous of current Chancellor Schleicher did a deal with Hitler, and persuaded Hindenburg to make Hitler chancellor on the basis that Papen would control him

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The Nazis and Workers - Problems

There were problems with these:

-Workers lost the main political party SPD

-Workers lost their trade unions

-All workers had to join the DAF ( General Labour Front) run Dr Robert Ley

-Low wages

-poor standard of living

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Education and Youth


-Rewritten to fit Nazi ideas

-Religion was strictly forbidden

Bonfires of Books:

-There were bonfires of anti-Nazi books in Berlin and other cities

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Education and Youth


-Rewritten to fit Nazi ideas

-Religion was strictly forbidden

Bonfires of Books:

-There were bonfires of anti-Nazi books in Berlin and other cities

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