Life in Nazi Germany

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3 ways people were controlled: 1


  • SS - controlled by Heinrich Himmler, wore black uniforms and became Germany's most powerful organisation.
  • Gestapo - part of the SS, they were secret police. Ordered to seek out oponents of the Nazis.
  • Enabling Act - laws could be made at any time.
  • Concentration Camps - were prisons for oponents of the Nazis and there were many offences that you could get put into a concentration camp for.
  • People's courts - Judges and Lawyers controlled by the Nazis so there were no fair trials.


  • Radios, Newspapers, Rallies, Speeches, Film, Posters
  • Censorship: All information sent to newspapers was strictly controlled.
  • Anyone working in film, art, literature or journalism had to belong to the Reich Chamber of Culture and follow guidelines for what they could and couldn't write.
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How people were controlled: 2


  • Strength through joy - Provided leisure activities for workers like sports clubs and holidays
  • Beauty of Labour - improved working conditions in industry such as accomodation and canteens
  • Jobs - Huge government spending on roads and housing created jobs and caused unemployment to fall
  • Foreign Policy - People had more pride in Germany after Hitler destroyed the Treaty
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Opposition to the Nazis

  • Political Parties and Trade Unions were banned but some parties (Socailists and Communists) held meetings and distributed leaflets.
  • Young people such as the Eidelweiss pirates and the White Rose movement did not want to conform and played Jazz music and beat up the Hitler Youth.
  • Protestant Churches hardly opposed the Nazis until later on
  • The Catholic Church made an agreement (concordat) with the Nazis to leave eachother alone
  • The Army - some opposed Hitler';s plans and were sacked in 1938, the July bomb Plot (1944) almost killed Hitler.
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How Young People were controlled

1) Schools and education -

  • Nazis changed the curriculum to include race studies.
  • Boys and girls were given different subjects to study to set them up for later life, boys were taught PE and army skills to prepare them for war and girls were taught to cook to prepare them to be Mothers and continue the Aryan race. 
  • There was a picture of Hitler in every classroom
  • All teachers had to be Nazis

2) The Hitler Youth -

  • Nazi idealogy was taught - indoctrinating
  • Boys were prepared for the army, girls to be Mothers, it was an extension of school.

3) Propaganda -

  • Deliberately targeted the young
  • Made them feel as if they had a big part to play in this new strong Germany
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Women and the Family

Women were important to the Nazis because their job was to stay at home and continue the Master Race and produce future soldiers for Germany.

Rewards for women:

  • Cheap loans and grants for women who had children.
  • Given medals for having children - The Mother's Cross
  • Propaganda showed how important women were in society.

How life got worse:

  • Women lost their jobs
  • Not allowed to wear make up or smoke in public.
  • After 1938 Germany needed workers so women were expected to work again.
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Successes/failures of Nazi policies towards women


  • Use of loans and grants to increase the birth rate worked, it had increased by 45% by 1939.
  • Unemployment of males reduced because women weren't allowed to work
  • Many women supported the Nazi policies because they glorified Mothers
  • Women were encouraged to keep healthy and the birth rate increased.


  • 1.2 million more women working after 6 years of Nazi rule because of the push for war.
  • Many women objected to being seen as second class citizens. 
  • Some women had talents for particular jobs for example teaching.
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Were people better off under the Nazis?


  • Unemployment fell due to conscription into the army and government projects buildings roads etc.
  • Leisure activities
  • People had gained back pride in their country
  • Farmers had guarenteed markets


  • German Labour Front replaced trade unions, people could no longer campaign for their rights in work.
  • There was no freedom of press or speech
  • Fear and terror was manipluated as a way of control
  • The working week rose from 43 to 47 hours
  • Wages didn't return to 1928 levels until 1938
  • Workers worked longer for less money
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Hitler's anti-semetic beliefs

The Nazis believed that German Aryans were the Master Race and that people polluted the country and were undesirable such as tramps, beggars, disabled and political opponents. 

Actions against Jews 1933-39:

  • 1933- Boycott of Jewish shops, Jews cannot work in civil service, media or education.
  • 1935 - The NUREMBURG LAWS meant that Jews and Germans could not marry or have a relationship because it was illegal. They had no civil rights and banned from swimming pools, parks and cinemas.
  • 1938 - Kristallnacht. This was revenge for a Jewish Student murdering two Nazis in Paris and organised violence against Jews was arranged. 100 Jews were killed, shops and synagogues smashed, 30,000 arrested and put into concentration camps some of them.
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The Holocaust

  • Einsatzgruppen (murder squads) were sent to kill Jews and other "undesirables" in Germany, Poland and USSR.
  • Ghettos were formed where Jews were forced to live, for instance Warsaw.
  • Extermination Camps were specifically built to kill people that Hitler disliked.
  • The "Final Solution" was the plan to murder all Jews and people who "polluted" Germany. More than 6 million were killed.
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