Nazi rule in Germany , 1934-1939

AQA Modern World History GCSE revision notes based on the syllabus.

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What is a totalitarian state?

A totalitarian state is where:

  • only one party is allowed to exist.
  • the government controls all the resources of the state (media, armed forces, economy, key industries).
  • freedom of speechm religion and trade unions are banned.
  • perceptions of reality are controlled as closely as possible.
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The Nazi police state 1

The SS

Methods: concentration camps where they could slaughter the Jews.

Controlled by: Heinrich Himmler

Duties: to destroy any opposition to Nazism.

How it helped Hitler to secure his position:they striked fear into their enemies.

The Gestapo

Methods: they sent people to concentration camps/prison without trial.

Duties: to arrest citizens who were suspicious.

How it helped Hitler to secure his position:they striked fear into opposition and crushed rebellious citizens.

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The Nazi police state 2

The police and the courts

Methods: to ignore Nazi crimes.

Controlled by: Heinrich Himmler

Duties: to uphold the law and ignore Nazi crimes.

How it helped Hitler to secure his position: police and courts could not get rid of Hitler as he had the same control as them.

Concentration camps

Methods: hard labour and mass executions.

Duties: to hurt and execute sub-human people.

How it helped Hitler to secure his position:no-one dared to critisise the Nazis as they feared the camps.

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The Jews in Nazi Germany

  • Hitler believed the Germans were a super race - he thought other races were inferior. Goebbles made sure that people agreed with this, and blamed other races for weakening the German people.
  • In 1935, Hitler passed the Nuremburg Laws: he stopped Jews from becoming German citizens, banned marriage and sexual relationships between Jews and non-Jews, and forced all Jews to wear a yellow Star of David on their clothes.
  • In November 1938, a Jew murdered a German diplomat in Paris. There was rioting throughout Germany - thousands of Jewish shops were smashed, and thousands of Jews were arrested (Kristallnacht - The night of the Broken Glass).
  • Nazi propaganda made people believe that the Jews were bad for Germany, so they should be sent to special concentration camps, or humiliated and maltreated in public.
  • People believed that the camps were work-camps, where they would work for Germany. Later, Nazi policy became more terrible as they tried to exterminate the Jewish race.
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Censorship and propaganda

  • Goebbles was in charge of propaganda and controlled all public information - the Nazis controlled the radio, films and newspapers, and education.
  • All teachers had to belong to the National Socialist Teachers' League, and all schools taught that Germans were a superior race to others.
  • Textbooks were re-written to include subjects like Race Studies, and the Nazi version of history.
  • Goebbles had the support of the SS, formed in 1925 as a personal force for Hitler and leading Nazis. After 1934, it grew in power.
  • The Gestapo were secret police and could arrest anybody without cause.
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The Nazis' aims for young people

  • To foster unquestioning obedience and loyalty to the state and Fuhrer.
  • To create a strong sense of national identity.
  • To create physically strong and healthy adults to populate and expand Germany.
  • To leave young people in no doubt about who the enemies of Germany are.

Did all young people support the Nazis?

  • Negative cohesion - there was no other option as membership to the Nazi youth became compulsory.
  • There was the Swing Movement when middle-class teenagers went to parties where they listened to English and American music and talked openly about sex.
  • The Edelweiss Pirates were working-class teenagers who went camping and sang songs to mock Germany.
  • Neither of these groups had strong political views on the Nazis - they simply resented having the path of their own lives dictated to them.
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