Failures of the 2nd Reich to Reform
Nature of Imperial Germany - Kaisers were 'emperors' of Germany, Prussia had a prominent role, country had rapidly industrialised since 1871, had a working class and general class system, 1871 - 1918.
'The revolution from above' - 18th Oct '18, Generals Ludendorff + Hindenburg urged Kaiser to appoint new govt. made of biggest parties in Reichstag (war beyond winning), created a parliamentary democracy, Prince Max of Baden appointed Chancellor alongside politicians Scheidermann(SPD) + Erzberger (Centre Party).
Why 'the revolution from above'? Ludendorff + Hindenburg did not support democracy but knew peace treaties would be fairer if govt. not autocratic, also diverts attention from their responsibility over loss of the war.
'The revolution from below' - Nov '18, Admiral Scheer (Chief of German naval staff) ordered "last-ditch" attack on British, led to naval mutiny against "suicide mission", Soviets (social democrats) took over Hamburg, Munich, Berlin, Frankfurt + Cologne when govt. lost control, Kaiser abdicated 4th Nov + Ebert led new 6 man socialist govt.
Similarities - new govts. both led by socialists, gave "people power" to all classes, military involved (differently).
Differences - "from below" was broad + popular, "from above" was only supported by a clique.
The Spartacist Revolt + The Free Corps
Spartacist Leaders - Rosa Luxembourg + Karl Liebnicht, who implemented principle of revolutionary socialism whose political system was based on soviets, elected by working class, w/ no say from upper + middle classes (argued that if all Germans could vote, upper + middle classes would have control, NOT a socialist govt.).
Spartacist Advantages - backing from Lenin's Russia + Berlin's radical trade union, could exploit hunger + unrest, army disintegrated + unreliable.
Spartacist Disadvantages - no serious plans for uprising (just THEORISTS), numerically weak force, challenged by powerful forces + those against 'Bolshevism' (Ebert + Groener pact).
Free Corps Leaders - Gustav Noske est. this militant group to remove rebels, each section named after leader, 400,000 men in Free Corps, 11,000 in Hulsen Free Corps, 5,000 in Ehrhardt Brigade, reputation for brutality, motivated by hatred + fear of revolutionary Marxism.
Spartacist Revolt, Jan '19 - Spartacists seized govt. building in Berlin, Free Corps suppressed Communist outbreaks + halted revolt within a week, overthrew Bavarian Socialist Republic in May '19 w/ 35,000 strong army, 600 deaths.
Framing the Weimar Constitution
National Assembly Elections - January '19, involving the political parties of the Republic (KPD, DVP, SPD, NSDAP, Centre Party, DDP, DNVP), won w/ 80% vote by German Democratic Party, Catholic Centre Party + SPD as democratic republic favoured.
Extreme Right - low taxes, strong foreign policy, authoritarianist, nationalist + conservative.
Key Features of Weimar Constitution:
- ultra-democratic, as much power as possible remained in hands of the people, frequent elections
- a federal constitution, political authority split between national govt. + state/provincial govt. to avoid concentrations of power + give localities control over own affairs
- in terms of national govt, a British-style parliamentary system + American-style presidential system. Governed by Reichstag w/ President given powers inc. Article 48 (power to rule by decree in emergencies, potential vast power, elected every 7yrs).
Weaknesses of the Weimar Constitution
Structure - referendums (triggered if 10% or more of electorate petitioned against it) + citizen's rights, national govt. of Reich Chancellors + Reich Ministers who were involved w/ the Reichstrat (represented interests of 17 states in law making) + the Reichstag (main law making body w/ elections every 4 years), President (elected for 7 years, Head of State + Commander-in-Chief of armed forces, powers of Article 48, could be deposed by referendum), state govts.
Weaknesses of Weimar Constitution:
- system of proportional representation (awarded seats in parliament to parties on basis of the percentage share of the vote they won in elections), encouraged multi-party politics + led to many weak, unstable coalitions of several parties, made it easy for extremists to win seats + gave them a platform to attack Republic.
- Article 48, enabled President to sideline Reichstag + govern country esp. in 1930-33, defective if people exploited it.
HOWEVER, proportional representation not a main cause of political difficulties rather divisions in German society + warring parties, Germany would've had problems whatever political system it had used, extremists always a problem too.
ARTICLE 48 most problematic in early 1930s when powerful people were willing to exploit it.
Challenges From The Extreme Right + Left
The Extreme Right - dispatched ruling class of 2nd Reich, DNVP ( won 10% votes in 1920s as rural poor voted), Alfred Hugenburg (DNVP leader, media tycoon, used his resources against Republic), paramilitary forces (1/2 million strong Stalhelm associated with DNVP).
Reasons for Extreme Right - ruling class resentment over loss of power/status, considered Weimar responsible for creation of a Sozi-Republic which "concentrated on" socialists, Catholics + Jews, blamed Weimar for loss of war ("November Criminals").
Kapp Putsch '20 - triggered by ToV + cuts to armed forces, Ehrhardt Brigade ordered to disband causing Hermann Ehrhardt to make plans w/ Walther von Luttwitz + Wolfgang Kapp to topple Republic, army refused to help govt. SO Berlin's civil servants refused to work during Kapp Putsch + general strike instigated.
Organisation Consul - est. by Ehrhardt after failure of Kapp Putsch as means for political assassination, 'November Criminal' Matthias Erzberger assassinated in '21 + Jewish (FM) Walter Rathenau assassinated in '22.
Extreme Right, 1923 - events in Ruhr created nationalistic mood, middle/upper-class fears of Communism exploitable, passive resistance (like Weimar giving in to Republic), Hugenburg, Stinnes, von Seckt + Ludendorff considered Putsch, "Beer Hall Putsch" inv. Nazis + von Kahr who ordered open fire on Nazis, killing 14 + 4 police.
KPD in '20s - boosted by 400,000 new recruits in '20 + led revolt in Ruhr, crushed by army, failed in Saxony '21 for too (but had support from Russia), treated hasrhly as pre-war elites still held positions in govt. + judicial system.
Threats to the Republic: Treaty of Versailles, 191
German reaction - newspapers, church leaders and politicians criticised the signing of the ToV, as did the German people, resentment of 'diktat'.
- Alsace-Lorraine loss, Rhineland demilitarised, Saar loss, 'Polish corridor', Memel, Danzig and Upper Silesia loss, stripped of overseas colonies, self-determination, Anschluss banned,
- 'war guilt clause' (clause 231), reperations of £6,600 million fixed 1921,
- 100,000 army, no air force, no tanks/heavy artillery, limited navy w/ no subs, six battleships.
- Kapp Putsch and later threats from extreme right (Organisation Consul), nationalism intensified,
- French/Belgian invasion of the Ruhr in Rhineland and hyperinflation, extremism, breakdowns in govt. coalitions.
The Republic's Survival 1919-23
Why did Weimar survive?
- determination of politicians
- no one wanted outbreak of another war
- support for democracy (from SPD, DDP, DVP, Centre)
- divisions amongst opposition + its general weakness
- use of force against opposition
- Ebert's leadership (using Article 48, Ebert-Groener Pact to support army).
Threats to the Republic: Hyperinflation ,1923
Causes - French dissatisfaction at ToV (aims to permananently weaken Germany), occupation of the Ruhr, passive resistance to French (strikes), Germany's already terrible finances (acute debt problem), already existing inflation.
Results - rising governement spending (due to payment of strikers in Ruhr) and falling income from taxation, government had to print more money to cope with budget deficit, destroyed confidence in German, total downfall of currency, people exchanged goods for goods w/o money (e.g. cinema admission for two lumps of coal).
Figures - in 1918 bread cost half a mark, by 1923 cost more than 1 billion marks.
"Winners" - those who paid off debts in worthless currency (e.g. industrialists, investors, currency speculators like Hugo Stinnes), many from wealthiest parts of German society.
Permanent losers - those w/ savings wiped out (not compensated, e.g.those w/ bank accounts, pensions and insurance), mostly middle classes.
Temporary losers - those w/ no savings but whose wages couldn't keep pace (short term suffering but quick recovery), mostly working class.
The Importance + Role of Gustav Stresemann
As Chancellor - called off passive resistance as unbearable cost for govt. (later negotiated w/ French + Belgians but put govt. at risk from right), oversaw introduction of Rentenmark (later Reichsmark, limited quantities so retained value, one trillion old marks for one Rentenmark), fended off extremist threats (e.g. defeated Communists w/ army + waited w/ police for end of "Beer Hall Putsch"), Foreign Minister 1924-29 ("Golden Years")
Foreign Policy - Rathenau's policy of fulfilment (improving relationship w/ Allies in hope of changes to ToV), caused outrage to extremists as fulfilment like accepting "war guilt" but only option as limited military, aims; scale down reperations + restore status.
- Dawes Plan '24, resuming reperations in return for reduction, $200 million loan from USA to restart payments, Allied supervision of banks, French occupation to end.
- Locarno Pact '25, peaceful border agreement w/ French, admission to LoN, no French occupation, renounce claim to Alsace-Lorraine.
- Young Plan '29, (didn't happen) was to reduce reperations from £6.6 mil to £1,850 mil (2/3 reduction), Allies to remove Rhineland forces five years ahead of schedule.
Relative Stability + Prosperity of Later 1920s
YES Economic Stability - economic relative normality, highly attractive to foreign investors, good international relationship (US loans), no hyperinflation, economic growth (industrial output return to pre-war levels in '28), wages rise (trade union success), inclinations spend.
NO - GM prosperity dependent on foreign investment (loans + credits), Dawes Plan brought serious consequences after Wall Street Crash, agricultural sector did not share in prosperity (world food prices low), farmers in debt + resented Republic, in biggest industries were tensions between employers + workers (unions too much power + wages too high, confrontation, reduction of workforce, frequent strikes + lock-outs), govt. lived beyond means (unsustainable defecit as spending higher than taxation).
YES Political Stability - extremists had nothing to "feed on" (elections Dec '24: Nationalists 21% + in '28: 14%), absence of putsch attempts, extreme right election losses.
NO - middle class disillusionment (complained of unfair treatment after hyperinflation, working class favoured: govt. house building + U.I.A '27, "trade-union" state, proof; Hindenburg's election as President + middle class Economy Party 5% in '28), street violence (e.g. between SA + Ernst Thalmann's Communists' Red Front Fighter's League).
The Formation + Development of the NSDAP 1923-28
NSDAP from 1920-23 - Hitler became leader + sought to give party an identity, Twenty-Five Point Programme '20, evolution from DAP to NSDAP (Nationalist Socialist German Worker's Party), newspaper bought to popularise party views (Volkischer Beobachter or People's Observer), local party branches est. (mostly in Bavaria), party rallies held to increasing popularity, paramilitary SA (storm troopers) est. '21. By '22, had 6,000 members following Ruhr occupation + by time of Munich Putsch, had 50,000 members. core beliefs inc. ultra-nationalism, racism, authoritarianism, anti-capitalism/communism.
Hitler's Treason Trial '24 - 2,000 Nazis had fled at Munich Putsch + Hitler put on trial, had a sypathetic judge, used time in dock as platform for Nazi propaganda, sentenced to five years in prison, released within the year during time which he wrote "Mein Kampf", trial attracted mass publicity, Hitler saw himself as a saviour.
Nazis from 1925-28 - NSDAP banned after Putsch + leaders scattered so Hitler united party under his control not Strasser who later became propaganda chief (Bamberg Conference '26), no changes to policy, "leadership principle" + military-like party structure (Fuhrer at top), Hitler salute.
Political Strategy of LEGALITY - contesting elections rather than putsch (did not believe in democracy or stop violence), SA to attack Communists (appearance of incapability), major party reorganisation to enhance election campaigns (35 electoral districts - Gaue - w/ a Gauleiter, Kreis, Ort, Block, Henchmen). By '29 membership doubled to 100,000, Hugenburg's media.
The Nazi Electoral Breakthrough
Facts + Figures:
- between '28 + '32: voters rose in number from 800,000 to c. 14 mil.
- 1928: Nazis won 0.8 mil. votes + 12 seats
- Sept. 1930: Reichstag elections Nazis won 6.4 mil. votes + 107 seats (18.31%),
Saxony elections Nazis won 14.4%
- 1932: Presidential elections; 1st ballot Hitler won 11.3 mil. votes (30.1%), 2nd ballot Hitler won 13.4 mil. votes (36.8%).
Reichstag elections (Jul) 37.6%, (Nov) 32%.
- Thuringia State elections: 11.3% votes (anything past 10% considered good).
Nazi support declined at end of '32 as internal divisions grew and funds became limited. Public grew impatient at Hitler's refusal to take Vice-Chancellor role under von Papern.
Reasons for Electoral Breakthrough
- The Wall Street Crash - economic situation turned voters towards Nazis, e.g. by late '29 3 mil. unemployed w/ 6 mil. unemployed in winter of '32 (mass unemployment), sense of hopelessness (many turned to KPD), lower middle class felt economically threatened by big business + organised labour wages, elite + middle class fears of Communism. Nazis exploited anxieties of middle classes particularly.
- Fears of Communism - elites + middle classes feared Communist uprising (KPD votes at 13% in '30 + 17% in Dec. '32).
- Propaganda + Nazi Organisation - idea of "rainbow/catch all party" offering something to everybody, Goebbels' propaganda, aided by Hugenburg + anti-Young campaign (access to media empire), mass meetings, rallies + travel by planes + use of new technology, organisation (Fuhrer, Gauleiter, Kreis, Ort, Block), appeal to farmers + middle classes, young people, tailor made appeals, wooing of farmers, "National Community" (Volksgemeinschaft), young women, factory workers + civil servants targeted in similar fashion.
- Hitler Myth - charismatic personality + oratory, distanced from Weimar politics, authoritarian.
- Lack of trust for Weimar govt. - politicians failing, e.g. constant elections + unstable coalitions, Wall Street Crash.
- The SA + Intimidation of Opposition - SA under Rohm, offered food, shelter, a uniform + purpose to unemployed young men, 500,000 men, distributed propaganda, gave impression was organised + made KPD look violent after street fights.
Reasons for Voting Nazi
Industrialists - anti-Weimar, disliked "trade union state", preferred authoritarian forms of govt.
Middle-class voters - disillusionment, fear of communism, feared Communist paramilitaries, previously alienating Nazi brutality now useful and an asset against KPD.
Working-class voters - conservatives stirred by promises of national revival, self-employed workers, e.g. carpenters, plumbers, perhaps Nazis offered best hope for economic restoration, "work+bread".
Zehlendorf (upper middle-class suburb): - '28 elections 2% votes, '30 elections 18%, Jul '32 elections 37%.
Neukolln (deprived working class district): - '28 elections 1%, '30 elections 11%, Jul '32 24%.
Protestants more likely to vote Nazi than Catholics, support strong from upper- and middle-class voters, attracted lots of support in small towns + rural areas of Protestant northern Germany, significant minority of working class won over in '32.
Confidence in democracy failing, favourable conditions for extremists, support "a mile wide but only an inch deep", electoral support only temporary.
Hitler's Legal Path to Power 1930-33
Breakdown of Parliamentary Govt. - disagreement between moderate parties (4 in coalition: Social Democrats, Centre, Democratic Party, People's Party headed by SD Hermann Muller) as non-socialists called for cuts to govt. spending + unemployment benefit + SDs refused as would not betray their voters (working class) + no govt. w/ majority could replaced failed system. 1930 Recihstag Elections saw 4 democratic parties w/ fewer than 1/2 seats between them. Muller's govt. last coalition in Reichstag + ended parliamentary govt. KPD - 13% SPD - 24% DDP - 4% CENTRE - 15% DVP - 5% DNVP - 7% NAZI - 18% OTHER - 14%.
Presidential Govt. - parl. govt. collapsed, excessive use of Article 48 by President. Hindenburg aged 83, relied on extreme-right circle of advisers (considered enemies of democracy), Kurt von Schleicher most influential. Chancellors ran govt. w/ ministers but puppets of Hindenburg as required Article 48 to implement policies, could be sacked by President, led to several different successive Chancellors, instability leading to Hitler's siege of power.
Heinrich Bruning '30 - WW1 vet, reliable to Hindenburg, conservative, background in economics, Reichstag didn't obstruct 'presidential govt' ('toleration'), orthodox economic ideas, deep cuts in govt. spending, reduced unemployment benefit, cut jobs/wages in public sector, reperations payments suspended in '31, increased fears of Communism (in '30, 44 Communists + 17 Nazis killed in street fighting, 52 + 42 in '31, 75 + 84 in '32) unpopular + unsuccessful, lost power in '32 (relationship w/ Hindenburg soured).
Franz Von Papen '32 - recommended by Schleicher, no govt experience, hard-line right-wing, Schleicher's attempt to encourage Hitler (dictator-like authority), 'the cabinet of barons', ban put on SA by Bruning lifted, called for new elections (knew Nazis would do well), removed Prussia's SD govt.
Political Intrigues '32-'33 - Nazi breakthrough caused period of jockeying/intrigue for top govt. position, Hitler refused supporting role meeting, Hindenburg didn't agree to terms, Hitler encouraged Nazis to join other parties inc. Communists in passing vote of no confidence in von Papen's govt, Schleicher convinved Hin. to sack von Papen once army showed dislike.
Schleicher '32-'33 - few allies, improvised schemes, no backing, plans came to nothing.
Nazi Consolidation of Power, 1933
Hitler under pressure to do deal w/ govt. from supporters after Nov. election, wanted to punish Schleicher for offering Vice-Chancellorship to rival Strasser. Hindenburg wanted von Papen in govt. w/ him + believed he could control Hitler. Von Papen wanted return to govt. + thought could control Hitler, also bitter towards Schleicher.
Hitler's Chancellorship Jan. '33 - five meetings w/ von Papen who convinced Hindenburg to allow their arrangements, Schleicher removed, no absolute power, needed 2/3 majority to amend constitution + take power from President, needed further election.
March '33 Election - to win election; opposition meetings broken up, SA attacks, opposition newspapers banned, Reichstag Fire played on Communism fears (Van der Lubbe a Communist), Hindenburg persuaded to use Emergency Decree (or Decree for the Protection of People + State), KPD outlawed, gave Nazis 44% votes (36 seats short). Nationalists gave Nazis 52 votes + 81 of KPD votes removed. Thus 60% controlled by Nazis + allies.
Enabling Act, March '33 - amendment of constitution, needed 2/3 majority, SPD opposed but deal made with Centre to give support (promises to uphold Catholic Church), "Law to Alleviate Sufferings of the People + the Country passed w/ 444-94, ending democracy.
Conservative elites - closest to Nazi outlook, too willing to help Nazis, fault of Hugenburg, Schleicher + von Papen, Nationalist Party, army, Junkers + big businesses supported.
Left-wing Parties - SPD + KPD enemies of Nazis + each other (SPD helped create conditions for Hitler to get power?), KPD blind to Nazi potential.
Centre Party - had been prepared to join Nazi coalition + voted for Enabling Act.
Middle-class Parties - People's Party + Democratic Party electorally wiped out.
Gleichschaltung, '33-34 - "bringing into line", trade unions disbanded May '33, outlawed SPD Jun. '33, Nationalists, People's Party, Democratic Party + Centre Party pressurised into dissolving, "Law Against the Formation of New Parties" Jul. '33 (official one party state), suppression of left w/ violence (100s murdered by SA or taken to 'wild camps'), Himmler's ** responsible for constructing c. 80 CCs, didn't rush into conflict w/ churches, Protestants persuaded to form Reich Church w/ Bishop L. Muller, minority est. Confessional Church, '33 agreement w/ Vatican to keep priests out of politics, Niemoller's critique of anti-semitism, Bonhoeffer, by '37 100s of Cath. priests imprisoned, breach of concordat + Pope Pius.
'Night of the Long Knives' '34 - Rohm wanted 3mil. strong SA to merge w/ army, Hitler feared would undermine discipline, SA were left-wing Nazis + planned "second revolution" against big businesses but Hitler needed those for military strength, ordered murder of 50+ SA leaders inc. Rohm, also had von Kahr, Strasser + Schleicher murdered by **, SA existed w/o power after + no internal damage to H's reputation, c. 300 deaths, used media to cover up actions w/ excuses.
Hitler's 'Volksgemeinschaft', 1933-41
Role of Propaganda - Goebbels = Minister of Propaganda + National Enlightenment, wanted to unite Germans, use of posters/slogans inc. "community before the individual" + "One Nation! One People! One Leader!", personality cult around Hitler ("Hitler Myth") for hero-worship, relied on H's successes to create myth, political celebrations, e.g. marches/rallies/parades giving impression united by Hitler, Winter Aid Programme, extensive use of radio/cinema, e.g. "Triumph of the Will" film to inspire solidarity, ensured every household had radio (low-cost "People's Receiver"), broadcast in factories + public places.
Key Organisation - Reich Chamber of Culture, part of Goebbels' Ministry of Propaganda. Anyone wanting to work in film/journalism/radio/the arts had to be member of CoC + w/ Nazis.
Popular Culture - attempt to sell "Volksgemeinschaft" to working classes w/ KdF (Kraft durch Freude/"Strength through Joy" movement), was part of German Labour Front (replaced trade unions in '33), it filled gaps in working-class families' lives left by SPD/KPD, offered range of leisure/cultural oppurtunities, e.g. sports, choirs, evening classes, also tourism w/ sponsored travel in Germany + travel on KdF cruises to breakdown regional loyalties, '38 VW/"People's Car" scheme, "a VW for every German",300,000 people signed, project scrapped due to army.
Idea appealed to middle-classes, like KdF to working-classes, Hitler v. popular + little active resistance but FAILED.
Society didn't become more equal, failure to integrate working-classes who weren't won over by Nazism, religious affiliations/regional identities strong in '30s, unsuccessful scapegoating.
Nazi Anti-Semitism, '33-'39
Jewish Community - 0.7% population Jewish, diminishing, small minority, low birth rates + increasing marriages between non-Jews + Jews, didn't dominate business life, under-represented in "upper" industries, middle-class professionals, e.g. medicine, law, teching + journalism, an assimilated community, Union of German Citizens of Jewish Faith, 100,000 of GM's 1/2mil strong Jewish community served in GM army + 12,000 died in action.
Persecution '33 - vicious but uncoordinated, '33 local SA units acted largely on own initiative beating up Jews/destroying shops, 1st Apr '33 one-day boycott of Jewish shops, first anti-Jewish decree 7th Apr '33 ("Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service") ordering dismissal of all non-Aryan civil servants, Hindenburg's intervention for war vets who kept their jobs.
'33-'36 - pause in '34, aggressive SA policy '35, Nuremburg Laws (inc. "Reich Citizenship Law" depriving Jews of GM citizenship/"Law for the Protection of German Blood + Honour" outlawed marriages/sexual relations between Jews + non-Jews), imprecise definitions of "Jew" led to "Supplementary Decree" to "Reich Citizenship Law" defining "Jew" as w/ 3-4 Jewish grandparents + mischlinge (hybrids) had 1-2 (if 2 faced persecution), anti-semitic activity scale down w/ Berlin Olympics (H. showing off regime's success), signs of anti-semitism removed.
'37-38 - Himmler + "Jew-free" GM vs. Goering's "Aryanisation" + Goebbels' Kristallnacht pogrom 9th Nov. '38 (pretext to GM diplomat in Paris by teenage Jew) w/ c. 90 Jews killed, 100s beaten up, c. 200 synagogues burnt + 8,000 businesses smashed/looted), followed w/ rash new laws (inc. "Decree Excluding Jews from German Economic Life"), 1billion mark fine imposed on Jewish community as punishment for Paris murder + 30,000 men taken to CCs.
Policy chaotic + affected by Nazi rivalry, e.g. Himmler + Goering battling for control, Goering + Goebbels fight over Kristallnacht. Persecution intense in '33, '35 + '38-'39 but quiet in '34 + '36-37.
Towards Genocide + Other Persecutions
Towards Genocide '39-'41 - 5mil. Jews at risk after Polish/Russian invasions, now outside of public view, Sept.'39 ** Einsatzgruppen ('task-forces') followed army to Poland + butchered 50,000 civilians (inc. Jews) by end of '39, remaining Jews into ghettoes while fate pondered (1mil.deaths malnutrition/disease), '41 Russian Einsatzgruppen, Jews specifically targeted (over 1mil. shot), against backdrop of mass murder in Poland decided on extermination camps, Jan '42 Heydrich's meeting w/ 15 top officials in Wannsee over "new solution", gas chambers built + 3 new camps.
Roma + Sinti - 35,00 "gypsies" exc. as were "non-Aryans", stereotyped as work-shy/criminal, parallel treatment to Jews, after '33 many sent to CCs, '35 Nuremburg Laws applied to them, Reich Central Office to Combat the Gypsy Nuisance est. + persecution intensified '36, Roma + Sintis from Nazi-occupied Europe after '39 deported to extermination camps in Poland, estimated number of camp deaths between 220,000 + 500,000.
Disabled People - mentally/physically ill exc. as considered unfit to belong to Volksgemeinschaft ("genetically defective" + source of weakness), theories of eugenics applied to them as "burdens" to Hitler who believed in their sterilisation, Jul '33 Law for the Prevention of Hereditary Diseased Offspring providing compulsory sterilisation for: mentally ill, epileptics, those born blind/deaf/physically deformed, alchoholics, led to sterilisation of 400,000, T-4 programme '39 ("euthanasia") targetting hospital in-patients, by '41 70,000 killed by gassing, criticised by Galen (Catholic Bishop of Munster).
Homosexuals - Rohm + several lieutenants openly gay, excluded as "deviants" who failed 3rd Reich + could not produce children, 50,000 men arrested + 15,000 sents to CCs.
Women in Nazi Germany
Weimar '20s an era of progression for German women, e.g. right to vote, economic gains, social freedom, right-wingers alarmed by this.
Nazi Ideas - contempt for "new woman", role to serve country (child-bearing/rearing w/o paid work, naturally intended domestic role, "equally important" yet different, denied oppurtunities, expendable beyond child-bearing years, older women in war years given most dangerous jobs, e.g. munitions factories as of "less value".
'Pronatalism' - policy encouraging child-bearing + glorifying parenthood, Nazis regarded population in '33 as too small + wanted bigger reserves of manpower, wanted to stop falling birth rate using: financial incentives to bear children (Marriage Loan Scheme '33 w/ loans for engaged couples of 1,000 marks reduced by 1/4 per newborn), propaganda glorifying motherhood (Mother Cross award gold for 8 kids, silver for 6, bronze for 4), abortion illegal + birth control clinics closed, divorce laws relaxed in '38 for remarriage = more kids, Deutsches Frauenwerk headed by Gertrud Schlotz-Klink offered courses in motherhood attracting millions.
Impact - limited succes w/ birth rate (lower than '14), women in paid work increased (but difficult to win promotion), late '30s women had to occupy jobs in factories due to military service.
Education in Nazi Germany
Priorities - converting youth into Nazis, preparing young men for military + young girls to become wives/mothers, no concept of independent mind/capacity for critical thought ("worthless").
School Curriculum - dismissed Jewish/politically unreliable teachers (affected few), maths/physics/chemistry/languages/religion fewer timetabled slots, biology/history/physical education gained, w/ biology/history used for indoctrination, P.E. for military/motherhood, biology became "racial science" ('racial hygiene' regarding 'genetically defective'), history only German inc. pre-20th C. heroes + scapegoating Jews/Communists over WW1 + Hitler's "national revival", in chem. syllabus topics like poisonous gases/explosives, in maths solving problems re: bombing impact/cost of disabled (encouraged "ruthlessness"), effects: decline in ed. standards, employers + parents complained about low literacy/numeracy '39, "National Socialist spirit" was Nazi concern.
Elite Schools - not just reliant on mainstream educ., National Political Educational Institutions ('Napolas') est. to prepare students for leadership in civil service/army, 16 by '39, 'Adolf Hitler Schools' for future Nazi leaders w/ best attending 3 'Order Castles' (universities of Nazism).
Youth Movements in Nazi Germany
The Hitler Youth - to overcome non-Nazi households (e.g. Communist/Social Democratic/ Catholic) by capturing hearts/minds of youth, limiting time spent w/ parents, HY organised activities in evenings/weekends feeding Nazi propaganda, youth wings of Weimar banned '33 + Church groups disbanded mid-30s, by '36 HY had 4mil. members, headed by Baldur von Schirach, '36 Law on Hitler Youth passed (membership more/less compulsory), for 10-18 years, both had political education classes, phys. ed. inc. hiking, athletics +gymnastics, differences w/ military training, map-reading, rifle shooting vs. nursing, childcare, household management.
For Boys - 6-10 yrs, 'Little Fellows' (Pimpfen), 10-14 yrs, German Young People (Deutsches Jungvolk), 14-18 yrs Hitler Youth (Hitler Jugend).
For Girls - 10-14yrs League of Young Girls (Jungmadelbund), 14-18yrs League of German Girls (Bund Deutscher Madel).
Success/Failure - popular in early years as novelty BUT enthusiasm waned by end of '30s (boredom), lectures + parade-ground drills v. disliked, absentees increased, rebellious middle-class 'Swing Kids' in Berlin (major crackdown in '41 + '42), 'Edelweiss Pirates' political in western Germany (slogan inc. "Eternal War on HY", ambushed + beat up members, heads shaved by Nazis or sent to CCs., aggression in schools, many soldiers committing war crimes in war from this generation, compulsory movements suggest failure to keep interest, most resistance otherwise during war,
Successes + Failures of the Volksgemeinschaft
- KdF + Winter Aid (Winterhilfwerk) programmes
- Hitler Myth
- middle-class satisfaction as no divisions in democracy/democracy at all
- active resistance limited by fear of Nazi secret police (Gestapo).
- society didn't become more equal
- the Church continued its religious affiliations
- regional identities remained strong
- unsuccessful at using Jews/other minorities as scapegoats
- "consensus dictatorship", people went along w/ it because of use of terror, but didn't actively support it.
- youth/women made least "progress"
The Nazi Economy '33-'39: Unemployment
Unemployment to '36 - "Battle for Work" (Hjalmar Schacht; chief of national bank '33 + Minister of Economics '34), also non-Nazi w/ lots of power, officially 5mil. out of work '33 but more like 7mil. Fell in next 5yrs quicker than any other industrial country, consumer spending increased '32-'33 + "natural economic recovery" (not result of govt.), Schacht's investment in public works, e.g. autobahnen + lower-profile job creation schemes (land reclamation, road repairs, house building employing more than autobahnen), rearmament (large orders for warplanes, tanks, trucks, munitions, airfields/barracks rebuilt) as ToV ignored, military expense off public accounts 'til '35 --> "mefo bills" (secret credit notes), stats doctored, e.g. Jews/women not counted, 19-25yrs 6-months unpaid in Reich Labour Service, compulsory military service, Schacht's New Plan '34 to solve BfW probs, rearmament used huge quantities of imported raw materials w/ high taxes (trade defecit), SO no imports w/o Ministry of Economics' permission, good but fewer imports/shortages.
(FIGURES: in '33 4.8mil unemployed 25.9%, '34 2.7mil. 13.5%, '35 2.1mil. 10.3%, '36 1.6mil. 7.4%, '37 0.9mil. 4.1%, '38 0.4mil. 1.9%, '39 0.1mil. 0.5%).
Economic Miracle? propaganda heaped praise on H. compared to Weimar, no big improvements in standard of living (badly paid/heavily taxed/long hrs work).
The Nazi "War Economy"
Four Year Plan - intension to make country ready for war w/in 4yrs, launched at Nuremburg rallies '36, H wanted to increase size/firepower + ensure not starved of vitals by enemies (naval blockade of WW1), aim to make GM as self-sufficient as possible, "autarky", Schacht resigned as MoE in '37 (wanted plans slowed), replaced by Goering ("Plenipotentiary for 4Yr Plan", no economic expertise).
Autarky - attempts to reduce imports of raw materials/food, e.g attempts made to encourage farmers who were given grants to cultivate new land, industries required to use GM raw materials (even if cheaper imports SO low-grade home-produced iron ore), investments to develop artificial subs for natural products ("ersatz" goods), plants to derive motor fuel from coal, ersatz rubber, labour retraining for essential skills.
Big Business - expected to cooperate w/ Goering + make profits, e.g. IG Farben (synthetic motor-fuel/synthetic rubber + Zyklon-B), failure to cooperate=by-passed, Ruhr's refusal=state-owned steelworks (Hermann Goering Works), by '40 employed 600,000.
Success? impossible to become completely self-sufficient, e.g. Lebensraum necessary to feed itself, agriculture not a priority so suffered, 1.4mil left land, Reich Entailed Farm Law - preserve middle-size farms, steel production increased by late '30s but not iron-ore, synthetic materials mixed success (e.g. motor fuel below planned), failure to reach targets, played havoc w. finances, huge budget deficits, still importing 1/3 material.
Motor fuel 1,790 in '36, 2,340 in '38, 6,260 in '42, planned target 13,380 + steel, 19,216, 22,656, 20,480 w/ target 24,000.
Actual Output (thousands of tons)
Commodity 1936 1938 1942 4 Year Plan Target
OIL 1,790 2,340 6,260 13,830
STEEL 19,216 22,656 20,480 24,000
IRON ORE 2,255 3,360 4,137 5,549
1927-8 1933-4 1938-9
GRAIN 79% 99% 115%
VEGETABLES 84% 90% 91%
ALL FOOD 68% 80% 83%
Average working weeks: '33 = 43, '39 = 47
National debt 1938/9: 41.7 billion RM
Germany at War '39-'45
Conquest '39-'42 - morale high, Poland fell in weeks, Blitzkrieg tactics, numerically superior, spring '40 occupied Norway/Denmark, safeguarded supplies from neutral Sweden, May-Jun Holland, Belgium + France fell, "Operation Sea Lion" invading Britain, Aug-Feb '41 Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria taken over, "Operation Barbarossa" in Russia 22nd June, USA entered war.
Decisive Reverses '42-'43 - Russian "scorched earth policy" delayed attacks (40,000km railway rebuilding), Stalingrad at Aug. led to retreat, Libyan campaign, British defeat in Oct., lost + surrendered at Stalingrad Jan., surrended at Tunis in May, lost at Kursk in Russia in Jul. '43.
Retreat '44-'45 - Russia entered Poland mid-44, Anglo-American forces in Normandy Jun. '44 + in GM territory Oct. '44, GM lost touch defending France, fighting a losing battle '45, Hitler's suicide Apr. '45 w/ Goebbels + Himmler after invasion of Germany.
Political Developments - "Radicalisation", '37 non-Nazis removed from influence, '39 war, genocide, Hitler's disappearance from public view (didn't visit troops/bombed cities/no broadcasts/speeches, Goebbels became face of Nazi regime + tried to encourage morale, resistance limited in '30s (Gestapo), Rote Kapelle Communist spy ring survived 'til '42, "White Rose Group" at Munich Uni horrified by anti-semitism (Hans/Sophie Scholl executed '43), 'Kreisau Circle' upper-class political moderates focusing on post-war GM, 'Beck-Goerdeler' group old fashioned upper-class nationalists who turned against GM during retreat inc. senior army officer Beck + govt. member Goerdeler aiming to assassinate Hitler, "July Plot" '44 plans w/ Stauffenberg + planted bomb in Hitler's military headquarters, 4 killed.
The German Economy in Wartime
Use of Foreign Resources - access to food supplies/raw materials from conquests, (French coal/ iron ore, Romanian oil,southern Russian wheat),exploited industrial facilities - steelworks/munitions in France/Belgium, captured military equipment (French tanks/artillery used 'til '45), POW slave labour + foreign civilians, by '44 8mil. foreign labourers in GM factories (treated poorly by BMW/IG Farben/Messerschmidt/Krupps), CC/EC slave labourers at business enterprises near camps making building materials/clothes/furniture/armaments BUT most unskilled, oil shortages as oilfields couldn't keep up, defeated before took Baku oilfield in Russia '43.
Albert Speer - Armaments Minister '42, effectively replaced Goering (failed to stop GB evacuation at Dunkirk + bombing), no military/industry experience but organised/H's friend, recognised that GM had to prepare for "total war", big armaments production increases, replaced chaotic system where departments fought w/ each other, concentrated production on small conc. of gigantic factories, streamlined production cutting out waste/dplication, ineffective managers sacked, intensive use of slave labour, job more difficult as city bombing increased, abled GM to last longer than it might have otherwise, couldn't prevent defeat.
"Guns or Butter" Argument - debate about priorities; supplying consumer goods or rearmaments.
The Impact of War on German Society
Military casualties - 16mil. served, 3mil. killed in action, 1.5mil. taken prisoner, most POWs died in captivity, casualties increased as war ended, more deaths in last 4 months than previous 2 yrs, desperate measures taken to keep enemies at bay so '44 People's Army (Volksstrum) est. ( a home guard of 16-60yr men), HY members in service as young as 14.
39-40: 0.09mil. 40-41: 0.16mil. 41-42: 0.49mil. 42-43: 0.47mil. 43-44: 0.57mil. 45: 1.47mil.
Effects of Bombing - USA bombed by day/British by night, devastation, well-organised GM defence but c. 350,000 civilians killed/750,000 injured, 1/5 housing stock damaged/destroyed, 7mil. homeless by '45, main cities now rubble, Allies aimed to damage economy (e.g. Ruhr RAF attacks), designed to cause panic/break morale (e.g. in Hamburg + Dresden w/ c. 60,000 deaths), GMs lost morale towards end so lived in fear/misery '43.
Hamburg: 75% Cologne: 61% Stuttgart: 56% Frankfurt: 52% Munich: 42% Berlin: 33%
Refugees - when Russians arrived between Jan/May '45 c. 5mil. left homes in fear.
Women - maintained families/normality, air raids constant danger, food/clothing/fuel rationed, expected to work land/in factories, c. 100,000 rapes by Soviets in '45, no. working same as before.
40: 41% 41: 43% 42: 46% 43: 49% 44: 51%.
Wartime Propaganda - Goebbels' ploys, played on fears of Russians, claimed GM developing miracle weapons, couldn't prevent declining support, esp. from '43-'45.
Reasons Germany Lost the War
Economic resources - was fighting GB, USSR + USA simultaeneously (3 v. powerful economies), USA's economy strong enough to supply aid to allies too, GM resources scarce w/ fewer people/factories/raw materials, inability to match combined economic resources of Allies, not a forgone conc. as armies not necessarily determined/effective, GB/France equal w/ GM's economy but not on battlefield, Stalin suspicious of West, potentially dangerous breakdown.
Allied Forces - GM formidable fighting machine 39-42, stubborn/resilient 42-45, took time to defeat but by end Russian/GB forces better equipped/trained/led than before, Russian turnaround most decisive lthough had been disastrous in 41 (lost 4mil. men, 8,000 aircraft, 17,000 tanks) so made changes + improved morale.
Hitler's Mistakes - Allies made mistakes, H assumed GB would make peace/allow his Russian attack (Churchill's determination '40), under-estimated Russian capacity for war (racial inferiors), declared war on US after Pearl Harbor, believed US would come to GB's aid eventually/'twould be yrs before economy mobilised (US made GM its priority regardless of Japanese), H went against advice at Stalingrad so fought to last man (forced to surrender: 150,000 killed/100,000 POWs).
Bombing - cut output in later yrs by c.20%, scarce resources needed to rebuild, 80% LUftwaffe needed to protect GM so unavailable to protect ground forces, e.g. only 200 warplanes facing 2,000 Allies in France.