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The Rise of Hitler and life in Nazi Germany
Transcript of The Rise of Hitler and life in Nazi Germany
Growing support for Political extremism
In the 1930 Reichstag election, the Nazis gained 143 seats - a big improvement on their previous showing. Hitler only expected between 50 to 60 seats. What was a disaster for the Weimar was a huge advantage to the Nazis. By July 1932, the Nazis gained 230 seats making them the largest party in the Reichstag. Hitler had also challenged Field Marshall Von Hindenburg for the presidency that same year.
Hitler becoming Chancellor
As Hitler and the Nazis became the largest party in July 1932 with 230 seats, the government was in chaos. In January 1933, Hindenburg and Papen came up with a plan to get the Nazis on their side by offering to make Hitler vice chancellor. He refused and demanded to be made chancellor. They agreed, thinking they could control him.
In January 1933, Hitler became chancellor, and immediately set about making himself absolute ruler of Germany...
Reasons why Hitler rose to power
Hitler was a great speaker, he was persuasive making people support him and made promises to voters
Weakness of the opposition, other political parties would quarrel and underestimated the Nazis
The Depression in 1929 made people turn to Communists and Nazis
Propaganda lead by Goebbels was effective in getting the message across to social groups and exploited peoples fears
Industrialists gave Hitler money and support.
Rise of Hitler and the Nazis
The Weimar Republic was devastated by the Wall Street Crash in October 1929 and the Great Depression that followed. After the Wall Street Crash, America gave Germany 90 days to start to re-pay money that Germany had loaned from the Dawes Plan in 1924 and the Young Plan in 1929. Companies throughout Germany became bankrupt and unemployment was rising so fast that in 1933 it reached over 6 million.
As money was required for food, heating, a home etc. and with no obvious end to the Depression, people starting turning to the more extreme political parties in Germany- The Nazi and Communist parties...
From Chancellor to Führer...
In August 1934, Hitler declared himself Führer, the leader of Germany. What happened during 1933 and 1934 that allowed Hitler to take the ultimate position of authority?
27th February 1933, Reichstag building in Berlin is set on fire. A Dutch communist was found at the scene, which removed one major source of opposition, the Communists- Nazis claimed this was the start of a plot to take over Germany.
5th March 1933, Nazis use the police and the S.A to put pressure on their politcial opponents, helping to increase the number of Nazis in the Reichstag.
23rd March 1933, the Enabling law would give Hitler power to pass laws without going through anyone. This gave him a lot of power and control, allowing him to ban Communists from voting.
2nd May 1933, Trade unions are abolished and leaders arrested which meant that workers could not organise and protest by going on strike.
14th July 1933, all political parties banned so that no new parties could be set up to challenge the Nazis- the Nazis were now the only party in Germany
30th June 1934, S.A leaders were dragged from their beds, taken to Nazi headquaters and shot dead. This was know as the Night of the Long Knives. This sent a warning to the rest of Germany about how ruthless Hitler was in pursuit of power.
2nd August 1934, Hindenburg dies and Hitler declares himself President and Commander of the Army giving him more power and leadership being in charge of everything.
Life in Nazi Germany
Propaganda and censorship...
Nazi Propaganda was controlled by Joseph Goebbels and all forms of communication in Germany: newspapers, magazines, books, public meetings, rallies, art, music, movies, and radio. Anything that was threatining to Nazi beliefs was banned.
On the night of the 10th May 1933, Nazis raided libraries and bookstores across Germany and marched through streets singing chants and threw books into huge bonfire burning over 25,000 books. Some of these books were written by Jewish writers or contained different views other than Nazi. This is known as censorship, forcing people to think Nazi and only read the Nazi views and ideas and noting else.
The Nazi "Police State"
The Nazi Police State was to ensure that everybody did as they were told - or paid the price. The Nazi Police were controlled by Heinrich Himmler and his feared secret police, the Gestapo who did as they pleased in Nazi Germany. The Gestapo grew rapidly and within six months grew to over 150,000 men.
The SS was Hitler's private army. Himmler made sure all people part of the SS were Aryan type. By the time the Nnazi party gained control in 1933, the SS had grown to 52,000.
Key aspects of Nazi Foreign Policy:
End the restrictions on Germany of the Versailles treaty
Unite all German speaking people in one country to make a greater Germany
Promote Nazi ideology to the world - Aryan superiority, anti-jewish, pro-fascist and anti-communist, economic dynamism
Hitler had calcuated that sooner or later this would require a war...
Germany’s economy was in a mess when Hitler was elected Chancellor in January 1933. Hitler and Nazi propaganda had exploited people's fear of no hope. Unemployment peaked at 6 million during the final days of the Weimar Republic. The "economic miracle" was based on unemployment dropping by a large amount by 1939.
People had jobs and a wage, Nazis set up a scheme called strength through joy in which workers were reawrded and, the streets were safe with no crime. Germany was strong and successful in world affairs, youth groups set up providing activites and holidays for young people and Nazi ideology gave people hope and confidence.
Work and leisure
Hitler’s set up the National Labour Service (Reichsarbeitsdienst or RAD). This organisation gave men jobs in public works schemes, such as the digging drainage ditches on farms, planting new forests, building schools and hospitals and building a network of motorways. Members of the RAD had to wear military uniform and live in camps, and they were only given pocket money as wages. However, for many thousands of men, the RAD provided a better way of life than life with no work at all, and they got free meals.
In March 1935 the Nazis introduced compulsory military service for young men and re-started the development of an air force (Luftwaffe). The army grew quickly from 100,000 in 1933 to 1,400,000 in 1939.
A huge party organisation called ‘Strength Through Joy’ (Kraft Durch Freude- KDF) had the job of organising the leisure activities of the people. This provided workers with cheap holidays, contorlled the entertainment and offered people cheap cars- the Voltswagen beetle. But not a single car was sold to a German customer.
Young people and education
The Hitler Youth was a extension of Hitler's belief that the future of Nazi Germany was its children. The Hitler Youth was seen as being as important to a child as school was. The Hitler Youth was used to prepare boys for military service. In 1`936, the Hitler Youth was made compulsory. The activites included: marching, bayonet drill, grenade throwing, trench digging, map reading, gas defence, use of dugouts, how to get under barbed wire and pistol shooting The girl version of this was the League of German Maidens, where they would be prepared for motehrhood. Girls had to be able to run 60 metres in 14 seconds, throw a ball 12 metres, complete a 2 hour march, swim 100 metres and know how to make a bed.
The Nazis wanted to control young people making sure of their support of the future. They did this by changing what they learnt in school. By rewriting text books so it only contained Nazi ideas and messages, was forcing them to learn the Nazi way- this is known as censorship. History was about the rise of the Nazi party and the greatness of the Nazi party. Biology was to teach race science, and was taught how to classify racial types. P.E was used to get boys fit for the army and girls fit for motherhood.
The role of women
Hitler wanted the role of women in the Nazi sate to be simple- a good housewife and mother. Women were expected to stay at home and look after the family, they were not allowed to have a career. Their job was to keep the house tidy for their husband and family- their life should revolve around the three "K's":
Hitler wanted a high birth rate so the population would grow. Hitler introduced a medal called "the motherhood cross" for women who had eight or more children. Girls and women would do exercise so they would stay fit and healthy to make them healthy for childbirth.
Women had to look a certain way; plain peasant costumes, hair in plaits or buns and flat shoes. Not to wear make-up or trousers, dye their hair or smoke in public.
The Nazis believed in Constructive Christianity and freedom for every religious group- but they also thought of them as a threat to policies. In 1993, the Nazis started to close Catholic churches, around 400 priests were arrested and sent to a concentartion camp. A member or the Nazi part was elected Bishop of the Church. Church members called themselves German Christians with the saying "the Swastika on their chest and the Cross in their heart"
The treatment of minorities
Hitler explained in his book Mein Kampf (Mein Struggle), Hitler explained how he believed that the German people were the true Aryan race and that their purity and superiority had to be maintained at all costs and eliminate those who had no place in the master race. Hitler also explained how the Aryans had been responsible for all major advances in civilisation but that the Jews wanted to destroy everything they had achieved. When Hitler was made Chancellor in 1933, he started to persecute those who didn't fit hi ideal race:Jews, homosexuals, gypsies, the disabled, Jehovah’s witnesses, political opponents, the unemployed, the homeless and ethnic minorities.
Those who spoke out against Hitler and his policies faced intimidation and threats from the Gestapo, or imprisonment and in some cases execution. But there were some brave individuals and groups who opposed Hitler and his policies - some survived, but many were killed. It was difficult, dangerous and stupid to oppose Hitler. During the war groups such as "Swing groups" were formed where young people who rejected Nazi values, drank alcohol and danced to jazz. More violent groups were called the Edelweiss Pirates. They daubed anti-Nazi slogans, sheltered deserters and beat up Nazi officials. In 1944, the Cologne Pirates killed the Gestapo chief, so the Nazis publicly hanged 12 of them.
In 1944, a group of army officers and intellectuals called the Kreisau Circle tried to bomb Hitler. The bomb was planted by Colonel Stauffenberg. It exploded, but Hitler survived. After this in conection with the bombing, 5,000 people were executed.
By Sarah Cheverton