Nazi Germany

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  • Created on: 06-06-13 16:44


Heinrich Bruning, the president from 1931, raised taxes to reduce the shortfall of goverment revenue but it caused problems for businesses being taxed.

He reduced unemployment benefit and the wages of public officials so demand fell and caused the Depression to worsen.

The 84 year old President Hindenburg forced Bruning to resign and ruled under Article 48; his emergency decree.

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Nazis & The Depression

German people became desperate thanks to Brunings actions, and so turned to extremist parties like the Nazi party.The Nazi party, led by Hitler, promised jobs for the unemployed, high profits for shop keepers and farmers and promised to make Germany great again.

Middle class people in particular liked the pageantry of the Nazi party, because it reminded them of Kaiser Germany. Propaganda also ensured the popularity of the Nazi party. Head of propaganda, Joseph Geobells, started a 'Hitler over Germany' where Hitler would fly from one mass rally to the next. It was reinforced by a poster campaign, portraying Hitler as a hero who would 'save' Germany.

Wealthy industrialists supported the Nazi party, like Henry Ford, who liked the Nazis because they were the opposite of communism.The SA, or Stormtroopers were a big part of the Nazi party. The took part in Zusammenstoze (clashes). Their motto was 'All opposition must be stamped into the ground'.

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Hitler becoming chancellor

The Nazi party election seats in 1930 was 107 seats. This went up to 230 in 1932.

Hindenburg didn't want Hitler to become chancellor of Germany because he didn't like the extremist attitudes of the Nazi party.

Instead, he used emergency powers to appoint Franz Von Papen as chancellor, but one of Hindenburgs advisors, von Schleicher, told him that the army were against von Papen and would take action if he resigned. So Hindenburg asked von Schleicher to become chancellor in December 1932, but he only lasted eight weeks because of lack of support.

Hindenburg and von Papen offered Hitler vice chancellor and a coalition with the Nazis, but he refused.On 30 January 1933, Hindenburg asked Hitler to become chancellor because he kept walking out of the Reichstag, him and von Papen thought they could control Hitler.

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Reichstag Fire

On 27 February 1933, the Reichstag building burned down. A dutch communist, Marius van der Lubbe, was found inside with matches in his pocket. He confessed and was executed.

It has been suggested that van der Lubbe was 'set up' because he was of limited intelligence.

These events meant that Hitler got Hindenburg to pass the Law for the Protection of the People and the State, because he insisted that communists were plotting.

This meant that the SA could break up communist meetings, close their newspapers down, and arrest communist leaders.

The law ended the freedoms of the Constitution and gave the police total control.

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The Enabling Law

The Nazi propaganda machine encouraged people to vote for the Nazis with parades, rallies and radio broadcasts.The Nazis got 288 seats in the 1933 election, and with help from the Nationalist party (52 seats) they got 647 deputies in the Reichstag

On 23 March 1933 Hitler introduced the Enabling Law - would allow him to make laws without the aproval of the president or the Reichstag. A 2/3 majority was needed because the law would change the constitution.

To do this, Hitler banned communists from voting by the Law for the Protection of the People and the State, the SA intimidated the Social Democrats into voting. Many failed to turn up to the Kroll Opera House to vote. The Enabling Law was passed with 444 votes to 94.The Enabling Law destroyed the constitution, the only time the Reichstag met was to hear a speech from Hitler. In November 1933 there were 'elections' where the only party allowed to stand were the Nazis.

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Removal of opposition

In June 1933 the Social Democrat party was banned. Others soon followed. In July the Law against the Formation of New Parties made Germany a one party state.

Trade unions were abolished, and the leaders of them became political prisoners or went to labour camps.

Nearly all of the important political positions were held by Nazis. Those who didn't support the nazis were removed from offfice.

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Night of the Long Knives

Ernst Roehm, the leader of the SA, was becoming an embarassment to Hitler because he was homosexual, he was more socialist than Hitler and wanted to control the army. Since this would give him mor power than Hitler, he had to stop it. Also, SA were still doing Zusammenstoze which made them an embarassment.

On 30 June 1934, Hitler got the **, his new gang, to round up the leaders of the SA and shoot them dead, including Roehm. He also took this opportunity to kill other opponents, including von Schleicher. This was the Night of the Long Knives.

To explain his actions to the Reichstag in July, Hitler claimed he was trying to 'save the nation' and his claim was accepted.

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Death of Hindenburg

The only person standing in the way of Hitler becoming a complete dictator was Hindenburg.

He died at the age of 87 on 2 August 1934. Hitler immediately declared himself as Fuhrer Reich Chancellor and on the same day got the army, the only force with the power to oppose Hitler, to promise allegiance to him.

He now had complete power.

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The one party state

The ** (Schutz Staffel) were Hitlers new gang who controlled Germany.By 1934 it was a 50,000 strong terror organisation. It was split into branches, including the Death Head Units who were in control of the concentration camps.

The Gestapo were the secret police branch that spied on people, and arrested anyone who opposed Hitler, they would make a point of arresting by coming at night and making a noise so everyone knew what would happen if they dared to oppose Hitler.

Some historians have suggested Hitler was a 'weak dictator' and he only looked all-powerful. In fact, the government was chaotic.

Some Nazi opposition groups sprang up, including the Edelweiss Pirates and the White Rose movement, which were student organisations. But any opposition was quickly removed, most of the Pirates were hanged.

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Concentration camps

Concentration camps were established after 1933. There were six large ones built; Dachau, Sachsenhausen, Buchenwald, Flossenburg, Mauthausen and Ravensbruck.

To begin with, they werent that brutal, but de to pressure of war, after 1939 prisoners in camps were forced to do slave labour to help the war effort. One prisoner wrote, 'death took place daily', and they soon became extermination camps.

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Joseph Geobells was the Minister for Propaganda, and used a number of ways to entice the German people.

Newspapers were controlled by the Nazis, they decided what was wrote, and if opposed they were shut down. Radio was also used, cheap radios called 'People's Receivers' were produced so all people could hear the Nazi message. Loudspeakers were put in public places so people could hear the radio wherever they were. Cinema was also used, Nazis decided what was put on, all films reflected Nazi principles. Special films were made for the young to brainwash them with the Nazi message.

1936 Olympic Games in Berlin used to show of Aryan race, but Jesse Owens, USA, won 4 gold medals and Nazi spirits were dampened. Rallies were also a big part of propaganda, like the Nuremburg rally which took place yearly and included speeches from Hitler.

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Suspicion and distrust

Hitler was loved by many and was mobbed by screaming girls like a modern pop star, but not everyone loved the Nazis.

Many complained about the Nazi party and their extreme nature. To make sure they didn't get away with it, a staircase ruler was in every block of flats to report 'grumblers' to the police, children were encouraged to inform on their parents.

People learned to 'speak through a flower'- always say positive things despite what they were really feeling.

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The Church

Hitler tried to get the church to encourage their congregations to support the Nazis. He tried to reach an agreement at first, with the Concordat, signed in 1933, which meant that Catholics had to keep out of politics if Germans didn't interfere with the Church.

However, in Protestant churches it was different. They were brought together in one Reich church - Nazi dominated. Martin Neimoller and Paul Schneider were ministers who opposed this, and were sent to concentration camps.

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Hitler wanted to indoctrinate children. Any teachers who refused to teach Nazi principles were dismissed.

History - taught how Weimar Republic betrayed Germany. Biology - ideas on race, the master aryan race, and the Jews called to front to have features mocked. Maths - questions like 'fuel needed to drop bombs on Jews of Warsaw'. P.E - given extra time, more important to be fit and healthy than learn 'dead facts' in a classroom.

Boys aged 12 to 18 sent to one of the ten Reichsfuhrer schools, and learn to be soldiers, best sent to 3 further years at Ordensburgen - elite military training academies. Instead, girls taught how to cook, clean and sew. They would learn how to be a good mother and eugenics (finding the right breeding husband)

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Hitler youth

Hitler Youth (Hitler Jugend, HJ) indoctrinated young people into becoming good soldiers, and ensure their loyalty to Hitler. Other youth organisations were shut down after 1933, and HJ became compulsory by 1935, By 1939, eight million young Germans belonged to it.

The League of German Maidens (BDM) set up to prepare them to be good mothers and child bearers.

In the HJ, they would parade an wear uniforms and enjoyed it. They went to weekend camps and did gymnastics and sport. The older members were trained to use rifles.

Every member had a performance book, and those with the best marks were sent to the Adolf Hitler Schools to train to become future leaders of Germany.

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Economic policy

Hjalmar Schacht was minister of economy 1934-37, had a 'New Plan' for Germany to fight depression.

National Labour Service - boys aged 18 to 25 given jobs and sent to camps to do them. Given pocket money instead of wages. Then extended to ambitious public works schemes - building Autobans (motorways), hospitals and schools.

Re-armament brought greatest fall in unemployment. In 1935 Hitler ignored TOV and brought about conscription. Armaments industry that made the weapons for war employed thousands of men.

Women forced out of work to be housewifes and look after children. Jews dismissed from jobs. This made more jobs available.

By 1939 there was no unemployment. However, economy over-heated because of public spending.

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Hitler wanted Germany to be self-sufficient, this policy became known as Autarky. A Four Year plan drawn up in 1936 to make Germany more self-sufficient. More raw and synthetic materials were developed.

However, Lebensraum got turned into an economic policy because more than 1/3 of Germanys raw materials were being imported. So the Nazis took over other countries to gain Lebensraum.

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Social policy

People lived in a police state where their whole lives were controlled by Nazis.

It seems most people were happy in Nazi Germany to accept the rules set.

The government was proper and middle class and treated the population like children. This is called paternalism, because the government behaved like a demanding father.

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German Labour Front (DAF) set up and workers forced to be members, led by Dr Robert Ley.Trade unions abolished, strikes made illegal. Not allowed to leave a job without permission, no limit on number of hours you could work. 'Beauty of Work' (SdA) movement was set up to make Germans feel proud of their work.

Branch of DAF called 'Strength through Joy' (KdF) organised peoples leisure time so they had no 'wasted' free time. They got cheap holidays if they worked hard. The KdF also planned to manufacture a cheap car so all Germans could have one - the Volkswagen (peoples car). Paid for with hire purchase, but scheme was a failure because few bought one.

Drunkards humiliated by having head shaved, alcoholics sent to concentration camps. Germans first to realise smoking caused cancer, and first to screen women for breast cancer. Reich Nature Protection Act (1935) set up - first law was to prevent cruelty to animals.

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German culture controlled by Nazis. Geobells formed Reich Chamber of Culture, entertainers had to be in the Chamber to perform

Music had to be German - Beethoven, Wagner and Mozart (an Austrian). German folk songs also encouraged. Nazi architecture neoclassical (Roman). German art encouraged to be religious and heroic + celebrate family 'decency'. Modern art dismissed as degenerate.

Homosexuals sent to concentration camps. Jew written books encouraged to be burnt by students in 1933. Jewish composers banned, so was jazz - because of black origin. American music and cinema also censored.

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Three C's - Children, Cooker, Church (Kinder, Kuche, Kirche)

Nazis introduced the Law for the Encouragement of Marriage (1933) to increase birth rate of Germany. This gave newly married couples 1000 marks. They kept 250 marks for every child they had.

Homes for unmarried mothers were introduced to allow them to become pregnant by a member of the **.

Women encouraged to stay at home and look after the husband and children, many dismissed from important jobs. Women advised to appear without make-up and hair in a bun or plaits. Slimming discouraged because it wasn't good for child bearing.

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The Jews

Jews were seen as inferior race, they were resented for influence on Germany. Only 1% of population was Jewish, but they were in prominent jobs like lawyers and doctors.1933 - Boycott of all Jewish shops. After 1934, had to wear the Star of David to identify them. Jews dismissed from important jobs, and were segregated from other Germans in public transport.

1935 - Nuremburg Laws meant Jews were no longer German citizens. The Law for the Protection of German Blood meant Jews couldn't have sexual relations with Germans. When Nazi official shot in Paris in November 1938, Kristallnacht happened (Night of Broken Glass). Jewish shops and synagoges destroyed. Thousands of Jews arrested, nearly a hundred killed.

After, they were made to clean up streets and collective fine on Jews of 1 billion marks. Kristallnacht triggered a mass arrest - 30,000 Jews sent to concentration camps by March 1939.

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Genocide is the attempt to destroy a whole race of people. WWII brought treatment of Jews to terrible conclusion. Hilter implemented 'Final Solution' at start of war.

At first, ** unit called Einstatzgruppen would shoot Jews, but process was slow and distressing for ** members. They built 'extermination camps' instead such as Auschwitz.

Nazi did this very effciently. The Ministry of the Interior gave birth records to identify Jews. The Finance Ministry confiscated property. When they arrived at the camp, possesions were taken to be used for the war effort. The healthy sent to do forced labour until they fell too ill to work. Dr. Josef Mengele performed scientific experiements on them. The sick, old, the children and pregnant women were told they were to be deloused and sent to gas chambers.

Six million Jews died in the Nazi Holocaust.

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Other groups

Not only Jews  persecuted. Anyone that didn't fit Aryan 'master race' were treated the same as Jews.

Gypsies didn't look like Aryans, they were seen as not 'socially useful' because they didn't have permanent homes or jobs. Black people were seen as an 'inferior race' too, even though there were few of them in Germany.

Others not 'socially useful' were tramps and beggars, alcoholics, homosexuals, mentally and physically disabled and political prisoners. Most sent to conentration camps.

In 1934 Sterilisation Law was passed - allowed sterilisation of people with certain illnesses. From 1939 the Nazis had a euthanasia programme called 'life unworthy of life' (e.g. babies born 'mentally retarded' or 'deformed'). Stopped in 1941 when Clemens von Galen, Catholic Bishop, denounced his practice and had it stopped.

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