Topic 3 : The Nazi Dictatorship 1933 - 1939

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  • Created on: 10-04-19 11:28

Removal of the opposition

  • Hitler didn't want to be controlled by Von Papen, so he called for a general election on the 5th of March and he needed the majority of the votes to make himself a dictator legally
  • A week before the elections the Reichstag was set on fire
  • The Nazis blamed this fire on Marius van de Lubbe, a Dutch communist, in the period after 4,000 communists were arrested
  • However the Reichstag was probably set on fire by the members of the SA in Berlin, led by Karl Ernst and acting on orders from Hermann Goering
  • They were later shot by the ** to avoid the truth coming out
  • In the election the Nazis won 17.3 million votes and got 223 seats and they were therfore the biggest party however they didn't have the majority as there were 22 million votes for other parties
  • But with the support of Hugenberg's national party the Nazis had control over the Reichstag
  • When the Reichstag met on the 17th of March, the Socialists and Communists stayed away out of fear and therefore Hitler could now do as he pleased
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The Enabling Act

  • On the 23rd of March, 1933, the Reichstag passed the enabling act
  • It gave Hitler the power to by-pass the Reichstag and make laws without its consent for four years
  • It was passed with 441 votes to 83 with the help of the Nationalists and th pressure of the Reichstag being surrounded by armed SA members 
  • Local governments were taken over by the Nazis and each of the 18 provinces was given to a Nazi governor
  • Only Nazis could become civil servants (judges)
  • Trade unions were abolished on the 2nd of May 1933
  • in July 1933 all other political parties were banned due to the Law against the Establishment of Parties
  • Dachau was set up in 1933 to hold political opponents
  • in 1934 Hindenburg died and Hitler was able to take the position of both President and Chancellor, he from then on called himself Der Fuhrer
  • The army had to swear an oath of loyalty to Hitlero
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The Night of the Long Knives : Why?

  • Once Hitler became chancellor he began to face opposition from his own party
  • Hitler's only rival was Ernst Rohm who was head of the SA
  • Roehm wanted a socialist revolution and he wanted the SA to be merged with the German army and him to be head, this would give him more power than Hitler
  • Hitler did not want the socialists within the party to take control, he wanted a right-wing dictatorship
  • He needed the support of the army for his plans of war
  • Roehm claimed that the SA was growing rapidly and he said that membership was around 3,000,000 although it was more likely to be around 500,000
  • On the night of the 30th June 1934, 400 SA leaders, including Rohm, were assassinated by the ** on Hiter's orders.  Kurt von Schleicher and his wife were also murdered
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The Police State

  • The Gestapo was set up in 1933 and was run by Himmler after 1936
  • The Gestapo was responsible for investigating treason, espionages and sabotage and it was exempt from the jurisdiction of the courts
  • This meant that complaints could not be made and there would be no cases against their actions
  • This meant that the Gestapo could do anything they pleased
  • Informers were used, this meant that people started to inform on others
  • Every block had an informer who reported on behaviour that might be anti-Nazi (e.g. not giving a Hitler salute)
  • People who got arrested by the Gestapo would be sent away for 're-education', which usually meant a spell in 'protective custody'
  • This involved the arrest and detention of individuals
  • The 'People's court' people, however all the judges wer nazis
  • By 1939 there were more than 160,000 political prisoners in Germany
  • The first concentration camp had been opened 1933 (Dachau) and it was there to act as a detterent to politcal opponents (like gypsies, or any other people regarded as 'untermenschen') 
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The Nazis and the Catholic Church

  • In 1933, Hitler signed a Concordat with the Pope to protect the Roman Catholic Church in Germany
  • He agreed to safeguard the rights of Catholics if the Church stayed out of politics, there was no agreement with the Protestant Church
  • Criticisms of changes in education began in 1935 and resulted in priests being arrested
  • In March 1937 Pope Pius IX attacked the Nazis in an encyclical (open letter) and the Nazis reacted by arresting hundreds of priests, of which many got sent to concentration camps and even shot
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The Protestant Churches

  • Protestants belonged to many different Churches so the Nazis believed that they would be able to deal more effectively with them
  • The Nazis was supported by 'German Christians'who believed that National Socialism adn Christianty shared common values
  • The opposition was led by Martin Niemoller who set up the Confessional Church and this soon claimed 75% support amongst church ministers
  • The Nazis declared this Church illegal and in 1937 arrested 800 ministers alone, many of them were sent to concentration camps
  • Some protestants formed the 'Reich Church'
  • Here 'Mein Kampf' was placed next to the bible and the swastika was given equal prominence with the cross
  • Many Protestants refused to join and many were arrested
  • Many other religious groups were persecuted
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  • In 1933 Josef Goebbels became Minister for People's Englightenment and Propaganda
  • He controlled all forms of communication: books, newspapers, radios, film, music, arts and news reels
  • No non-Nazi vies were ever heard of.  Only views praising Hitler
  • In 1934 the 'Burning of the Books' took place.  Students took anti-Nazi books and books by Jewish authors out of libraries and burnt them in huge bonfires
  • The novels by H.G. Wells were banned because 'Things To Come' described a future war in which humanity was destroyed
  • Photgraohers, writers, musicians and others had to join Nazi organisations to work, otherwise their work was banned
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  • Gilms and parades became Nazi propaganda 
  • Hundreds of films glorifying the Nazi's were made
  • Feature films were made about German heroes (e.g. the Teutonic Knights)
  • Thousands of extras were used to create massive battle scenes in which the Germans were always victorious
  • Newsreel films were made by directors like Leni Riefenstahl who filmed the Olympic Games in 1936 and 'Triumph of the Will' which encouraged people to fight against the odds
  • Cheap radios were produced so people could always hear the Nazi message
  • Hitelr's portrait was in almost every public space
  • Rallies were held regularly at which Nazi flags were carried and speeches were made praising Hitler
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