Process of Gleichschaltung



  • Education - Nazis believed very strongly in indoctrinating the youth so that their ideals could be carried on through the future of Germany. The school curriculum consisted of 15% physical education and there was a focus on race studies in Biology and 'Nazi' questions in Maths. Schoosl were run on the Fuherprinzip where headteachers were appointed from outside of the school and order/disciple was highly regimented. University lecturers were obliged to join the Nazi Lecturers League and many encountered little resistance.
  • Hitler Youth - The Hitler Youth was set up for boys to follow in the way of the Nazi regime. Their motto was 'Life Faithfully, Fight Bravely, Die Laughing'. Their was an emphasis on competition, struggle, heroism and leadership as they took part in regimented exercises, went on hikes, sang patriotic songs and were they were encouraged to read Nazi pamphlet.By the late 1930s, however, as the organisation became more bureaucratic, there were signs that the enthusiasm was beginning to wane as boys resented their harsh punishment.
  • League of German Maidens - their motto was to 'Be Faithful, Be Pure, Be German'. Membership became compulsory in 1939. Girls were taught to be healthy as they needed to be fit for their role as future childbearers. They were taught sewing, cooking and handicrafts and partook in sports to keep fit. Many found their experience in the League liberating as it wasn't as strict or harsh as the Hitler Youth. 
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  • The Nazis aimed to create a 'people's community' in which class differences, religious loyalties, regional, age and gender differences would all be put aside.
  • German Labour Front (DAF) - The DAF had two main aims: to win the workers over to the Volksgemeinschaft and to encourage workers to increase production. The DAF replaced trade unions but it was not a trade union itself. By 1939, the DAF had 44,500 employees. Nevertheless, the Nazis realised that they could not take workers for granted and that there had to be some tangible compensation for the demands that were placed on them.
  • Strength Through Joy (KdF) - an organisation set up to set worker's leisure time. The Nazis realised that workers who were refreshed by holidays, sports and cultural activities would be more proactive when they returned to work. Therefore, they offered discounted cruises and getaways as well as reductions on theatre trips, hikes and various sporting activities.Cruises were designed to demonstrate to the world how socially and technologicall advanced the Germans had become under the Nazi regime and to remind Germans how superior they were.
  • Beauty of Labour - the KdF department became devoted to improving conditions at the workplace as its aims were to get workers to work harder. The Beauty of Labour scheme campaigned for better facilities for the workers such as toilets and washing areas. They wanted workers to be provided a hot, nourishing meal, however the workers suffered.
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  • Hitler realised that he could not trample all over people's religious convictions. He needed to tread carefully and cautiously to do so.
  • Many Protestants were anti-semitic and anti-Bolshevik meaning that there were points of convergence between the two. The Reich Church was the coming together of 28 separate state churches into a single, centralised Church under Nazi control. A member of the Nazi party was elected Bishop and non-Aryan ministers were removed. Not al were happy with this as seen through the creation of the Confessional Church led by Martin Niemoller and Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Around 800 minister were arrested because of this. 
  • The Catholic Church posed more of a problem as Catholics owe their allegiance to the Pope, which Hitler did not like. When he came into power in 1933, Hitler signed what is known as the Concordat meaning that the Catholic Church could run their way and the Nazis would not interfere. However, the Nazis broke this agreement by banning Catholic youth groups and seizing property. In 1937, Pope Pius XI issued an encylical entitled 'With Burning Grief' in which he condemned the Nazis. In response, the regime placed great pressure on the Church and their power had been seriously reduced.
  • The Nazis had failed to establish a single, unifying Protestant Church and the Concordat with the Catholics was broken. Organised religion still remained a power force in society.
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  • In Nazi ideology, the German peasants were regarded as special because they were seen as racically pure Aryans. They were to become the nucleus to the idea of Volksgemeinschaft.
  • The Reich Food Estate - Richard Darre was in charge of Nazi policy towards farming and the countryside. It was very bureaucratic: by 1939, it employed 20,000 full time officials and 113,000 unpaid officials. Darre's aim in establishing the Reich Food Estate was that producers, wholesalers and retailers of agricultural products would be linked together in a single chain, under the direction of his organisation - this would provide a sense of the 'people's community'.
  • The Nazi regime spent a total of 650,000,000 RM to clear farmer's debts, money that would have been better suited elsewhere.
  • Farmers could no longer afford to pay higher wages to their workers due to price controls.
  • After 1936, the regime had the power to merge small farms into more efficient larger ones which angered many workers.
  • Darre's problem was that the regime was trying to build on rearmament and autarky.
  • Darre's influence began to wane and by 1936, the German Labour Front had take over responsibility of the agricultural labourers. The Reich Food Estate had been regarded as a failure and Darre had been largely marginalised within the regime's hierarchy.
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