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OCR GCSE Schools History Project
Transcript of OCR GCSE Schools History Project
World War I
World War One lasted from 1914-1918. Fighting ended with the armistice on November 11th 1918. The winners (Britain, France and the USA) then enforced peace treaties on the losers- in particular on Germany.
Invasion of the Ruhr
In 1923, Germany couldn't pay the reparations. As a result France and Belgium occupied the Ruhr (the richest industrial part of Germany) to take resources instead. This infuriated the Germans. The workers were ordered to down tools and were promised to still get paid.
The History of
Treaty of Versailles
- Germany had to take the
for the war.
- The German military also lost
. It was banned from the Rhineland and also were forbidden to join with Austria (Anschluss).
were reduced to 100 000 men, conscription was banned, the army wasn't allowed armoured vehicles, submarines or aircrafts, they could only have 6 warships.
- Germany was forced to pay
for the damage caused. The amount of money they would have to pay back wasn't decided until 1921.
- Germany also lost its
. The places lost, such as Alsace Lorraine, were put under the control of Britain and France.
Why did Germany hate the Treaty of Versailles?
The Germans hated the Treaty of Versailles because they coldn't afford the reparations. They also thought they should not be blamed for the war and refused to accept defeat. Germans lost pride without their armed forces as well as suffering an economic crisis. Furthermore, Germany lost industrial areas and colonies and now often lived under foreign rule in new countries.
At the end of the war, Germany got a new democratic system of government after the abdication of Kaiser Wilhelm II. The Kaiser had ruled the German empire as a monarch. At the end of the First World War, there was a period of violent unrest in Germany- and the Kaiser was forced to abdicate in November 1918.
In early 1919, a new government took power led by Friedrich Ebert and changed Germany into a republic. It was set up in Weimar (because there was violence in Berlin). Ebert became the first President. The new government believed the people should have a say on how the country was run. This new government was called the
The new government wasn't invited to the peace conference in Versailles in 1919 and so, had no say in the Treaty of Versailles. At first Ebert refused to sign the treaty, but in the end he had little choice as Germany was too weak to risk restarting the conflict.
Problems faced by the Weimar Republic
The Weimar Republic had many problems. It was difficult to make decisions because there were so many parties in the Reichstag. It was also hard to pick a chancellor who had the support of most of the Reichstag.
The Weimar Republic had to accept the Treaty of Versailles and as a result were hated by many Germans as they had felt stabbed in the back.
There were many outbreaks of trouble, and Ebert agreed to form the Freikorps, a body of soldiers to keep the peace.
Thousands of people were poor and starving. A flu epidemic had killed thousands.
Many Germans denied they had lost the war and instead blamed it on those who had agreed to the armistace and Treaty of Versailles
Others blamed for losing the war included the Communists and the Jews.
The government was seen as weak and ineffective. The Treaty of Versailles had made living conditions worse in Germany.
The Sparticist Uprising
In January 1919, Sparticists led by Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg tried to take over Berlin in the Sparticist uprising. This was poorly planned and eventually defeated by the Freikorps.
The Kapp Putsch
In March 1920, some of the right-wing Freikorps themselves took part in the Kapp Putsch led by Wolfgang Kapp. They took over Berlin to form another government as they wanted a dictatorship. Meanwhile, the Weimar Republic had fled to Dresden and ordered the workers to stage a strike. As a result, the Kapp gave up. The government did not punish the rebels as many judges sympathised with people like Kapp.
Which led to...
As a result of the workers still getting paid combined with no money coming in from the Ruhr, the German economy was plunged into hyperinflation.
Government prints off more money to pay for reparations and wages of the workers.
Workers go out and spend the money they have been paid.
Shop owners raise their prices as the workers now have more money to spend
Money decreases in value until it is worthless
The German Mark became worthless.
People who benefited were those who had debts to pay as now they could pay it in one single go, however, the middle classes lost out as bank savings became worthless.
In august 1923, Stresemann became chancellor and gradually led Germany back to recovery. Stresemann was Chancellor for a few months and then became foreign minister. He believed Germany's best chance for recovery came from working with other countries.
In September 1923 he told the workers in the Ruhr to return to work.
Stresemann accepted the Dawes plan in 1924 and introduced a new German Mark called the Rentenmark to make the currency more stable.
In 1925, the French and Belgian troops left the Ruhr. In October 1925 he agreed to the Locarno Treaty where the western borders of Germany were agreed but not the eastern.
In 1926, Germany joined the league of Nations, and became one of the permanent members of the council.
In 1929, the Young Plan replaced the Dawes Plan, reparations would be reduced by three quarters of the amount and Germany was given 59 years to pay them. Some big industries began to recover, providing jobs and improving the economy. However, some sectors in society still remained poor.
Berlin had become a centre for culture under the Weimar Republic- there were advances in art, architecture, music and literature. German films were also succesful. Some developments were bold and new and the Weimar Republic encouraged new ways of critical thinking. However, not everyone approved of this as the cabaret culture in Berlin was seen as immoral.
Hitler joined the German Worker's party as ther 55th member.
German worker's party renamed to the National Socialist German Worker's party (Nazis). Hitler helps to write their political programme and becomes leader of the Nazi party. He sets up the SA.
This was the party's own armed group. The SA (Sturmabteilung) were brown shirted stormtroopers who protected Nazi leaders and harassed their opponents. They were led by Ernst Rohm for two years. During Nazi meetings, the SA kept security and order. They carried out marches and sang songs to demonstrate the discipline, unity and nationalist pride of the Nazi party. They would also interrupt and disturb the meetings of others.
Many young men were attracted to the ready made friendship groups and the discipline that the SA could provide. Some people received a place to sleep and hot meals. In the SA, men could go and play sports and go on training camp. They learned violence on a basic level and they also organised parades. Men were also drawn to their smart uniforms.
Hitler planned to overthrow the Weimar Republic as in 1923, things were going bad for them and they were weak. He was going to start by taking control of the government in Bavaria. Hitler's soldiers occupied a beer hall in Munich where local government leaders were meeting. He announced that the revolution had begun. The next day Hitler marched into Munich supported by stormtroopers. But the revolt quickly collapsed when police opened fire on the rebels. Hitler was arrested and put in prison.
As a result...
Whilst in prison, Hitler realised he would need to change his tactics to legally get into power. In the meantime he wrote a book describing his beliefs and ambitions. In this book, it detailed Hitler's beliefs that the Aryans were a master race and other races were inferior. He thought Germans had a right to Lebensraum (more space to live). Hitler wanted to reverse the Treaty of Versailles and create a greater Germany by joining Austria with Germany (Anschluss). Hitler's prison sentencing also brought wide publicity to the Nazi party which Hitler used to his advantage.
After the Munich Putsch...
The Nazi party was banned after the Munich Putsch. After Hitler was released from prison, he re-established the party with himself as supreme leader.
By mid 1920's, the German economy was starting to recover under Stresemann. As a result, general support for the Nazis declined and overthrowing the government in a coup no longer seemed realistic. Hitler changed his tactics and now tried to gain control through the democratic system. The Nazi party network was extended nationally instead of it being just a regional party. Propaganda was used to promote the party's beliefs.
The German economy relied heavily on the USA and when the US stock market crashed in October 1929 (Wall street crash), German economy was once again devastated.
How did this help the Nazis?
The popularity of the Nazis soared as a result of the Depression. The depression caused massive unemployment in Germany and by 1933, over 6 million were unemployed. In 1931, Germany's biggest bank collapsed- this made paying reparations more difficult.
Weimar governments kept changing during this time, however none could solve this economic crisis. As a result, this contributed to the collapse of the Weimar Republic. Instead people hoped a new government could sort out the problems and turned to extremist groups such as the Nazis, therefore increasing their popularity as they had promised strong leadership.
The Nazis promised prosperity and less unemployment. This appealed to many of the unemployed as well as to businessmen and young people.
Some people supported the Nazi's anti-communist and anti-semitic views as they were looking for someone to blame.
The Nazis promised to make Germany great again.
By April 1932, conditions were serious in Germany. Millions were unemployed and the country was desperate for a strong government.
In July, president Hindenburg had to stand for re-election because his term of office had ran out. Hitler stood against him as well as a Communist candidate. Nazis won 37% of the vote and Hindenburg won 53% despite saying he would easily win. The Nazis won 230 seats and were now the biggest party but they didn't have a majority in the Reichstag. Hitler demanded to be made chancellor but Hindenburg refused as he didn't trust Hitler and instead kept Von Papen.
The Nazi party lost 34 seats in the November 1932, they seemed to be losing popularity despite still being the largest party.
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.
On 27th February 1933 the Reichstag burned down. Later on that same night, a Dutsch Communist called Van Der Lubbe was found with a box of matches on his person and blamed for it. Hitler blamed the fire on a Communist plot and was able to go to Hindenburg and try to get him to ban the Communist party.
Hitler had organised an election to take place and on 5th March 1933, the Nazis won 44% of the vote in the elections.
On 24th March 1933, Hitler forced the Reichstag to pass the Enabling Act. The enabling Act gave Hitler more power than President Hindenburg. It had given Hitler emergency powers under the old constitution. It also gave Hitler the right to create his own laws. Civil liberties (rights enjoyed by ordinary people, e.g. free speech) were suspended. The Communist party was banned which gave Hitler the chance to win more seats in parliament.
Hitler was able to get the Enabling Act through the Reichstag by intimidation. During the meeting in the Kroll operah house, the operah hall was filled with armed SA men. Hitler had given a speech outlining the Enabling act and Nazis cheered. During Otto Wels' (Hitler's opposition) speech in reply, Wels was heckled and shouted at.
The vote came through 444 votes for and 94 votes against. Non-Nazi supporters had been intimidated into voting for the Enabling Act.
One 2nd May, trade unions were banned and replaced with the Nazi-controlled German Labour Front (DAF). This meant that there was no way for people to complain about the way Hitler did things.
On 7th April, Nazis were put in charge of all local government, councils and the police. The Gestapo was formed.
The Gestapo was the state's secret police. They could tap phones and open people's letters. They relied on informers to tell them if people had done anything wrong. There were also block wardens to ensure people were supporting the Nazis and illegal activities such as listening to foreign radio programmes were not taking place
Laws were introduced in July that banned the formation of new political parties in Germany. Social Democrats and Communists were already banned.
The Concordat was also signed with the Roman Catholic Church. This ensured that politics did not clash with religion as Hitler had realised he could not take on the Catholic Church.
The Strength Through Joy (KDF) movement was introduced. It gave people the opportunity to gain rewards, such as holidays, through their work.
Night of Long Knives
With over 400 000 men in the SA, Hitler was worried about rivals within the Nazi party. One of whom was the leader of the SA- Ernst Rohm. Rohm was a threat as he had wanted the SA to be the new army and he wanted to be leader. Hitler did not want this as he feared Rohm would become more powerful than him. Himmler, Heydrich and Goring compiled a list of disloyal SA members in secret and on the night of 29th June, the SS and the police arrested dozens of SA men. Some were shot dead in their homes, others taken to camps. Rohm was jailed and shot dead the next day after refusing to commit suicide. Hitler even took the opportunity to have Von Schleicher, the ex-chancellor, killed.
Hitler justified his actions by telling German citizens that he was supreme judge and did it on Germany's behalf. Over 1000 opponents were killed.
President Hindenburg died on 2nd August 1934. Hitler declared himself Fuhrer and days later, the army had to swear an oath of loyalty towards him.
The Nuremburg Laws
The Nuremburg laws were introduced that removed the citizenship rights away from German Jews. They also banned marriages and sexual relationships between Jews and non-Jews in Germany. Many Jews went into exile. Later more laws were enforced on Jews such as having to wear the Star of David and having a 'J' stamped on their passports.
Heinrich Himmler was made head of all police in Germany, including the Gestapo.
Goring produced a four year plan to prepare Germany for war. The aim of the four year plan was autarky (self sufficiency). Hermann Goring was put in charge of the plan on 18th October 1936 and had complete control over the economy- including the private sector. During the following years, Germany began to build refineries, aluminium plants and factories for the development of synthetic materials.
Dr hjalmer Schacht reduced unemployment to 0.3 million.
80% of young people were members of the Hitler Youth.
German forces invaded Poland and World War II began.
The nazis wanted complete control over the German people, they used propaganda to help them get it. Goebbels was appointed as head of the Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda in 1933. It had departments for music, theater, film, literature and radio. All artists, writers, journalists and musicians had to register to get their work approved. It tried to persuade everyone that Nazis were right and to stop people hearing or reading anything that gave a different message. Media was heavily censored under Nazi rule.
The Nazis encouraged the German people to hate the countries that signed the Treaty of Versailles. Nazi propoganda said that Jews and Communist were the biggest cause of Germany's problems. Propaganda also united the German people and made them believe the Nazis would make Germany strong. Nazi propaganda took simple ideas and repeated them constantly until the German citizens were indoctrinated. Many Germans were easier to persuade because the Depression had left them in poverty and the Nazis had promised to help them.
Forms of Nazi propaganda
Heavily censored newspapers
Sold cheap radios for delivering speeches
Controlled media and censorship
German produced films showing the strength of the Nazis and Hitler and the weakness of opponents
Held mass rallies that contained speeches by leading Nazis
Berlin olympics 1936
The Nazis set up a totalitarian state where the government had control over all aspects of life. They did this through the Enabling Act and by banning all political parties except the Nazi party.
After 1933, concentration camps spread across Germany and its territories to hold political prisoners and anybody else considered dangerous to the Nazis. Some of these were later turned into death camps.
The Hitler Youth was founded in 1926. Boys aged fourteen and over were recruited to the movement. It became compulsory in 1936. The Hitler Youth became part of the SA. Promising boys could have been sent to Hitler Schools where they were trained to be leaders. Boys wore military style uniforms and took part in physical exercise preparing for war. Many later joined the army. During the war, members of the Hitler Youth contributed to the war effort. For example, collecting donations for Nazi charities.
League of German Maidens
Girls between fourteen and eighteen joined the League of German Maidens. Girls were trained in domestic skills like sewing and cooking. Sometimes they took part in physical activities like camping and hiking.
A Reich Youth Leader was introduced in 1933 and youth movements increased in importance.
Education in schools changed dramatically. No Jewish people could teach in schools or universities. Most teachers joined the Nazi 's Association and were trained in Nazi methods. Children had to report teachers who did not use them. Subjects like history and biology were rewritten to fit in with Nazi ideas. Children were taught to be anti-semitic and that the First World War was lost because of Jews and Communists. Physical education became more important for boys, sometimes playing war games with live ammunition. In universities, students burned anti-Nazi and Jewish books. Jewish lecturers were sacked. Education across Germany had been 'Nazified'.
Not all, young people supported the Nazis. The Edelweiss Pirates were a group of rebellious young people who were difficult to control. They didn't like being told what to do. Some Edelweiss Pirates even sided with the Allies during the war and several were executed. Other groups, like the Swing Kids who liked banned jazz music, were more of a nuisance than a threat. They would meet up and listen to jazz music. In Munich in 1943, a group of students called the White Rose were arrested for distributing anti-Nazi leaflets. Several, including Sophie and Hans Scholl, were executed.
The Nazis wanted women to be homemakers. They were expected to raise large families. Nazis didn't want women to have too much freedom. They believed the role of women was to support their families at home. Women existed to provide children. The league of German Maidens spread the Nazi idea that it was an honour to produce large families for Germany. Nazis gave awards to women for doing this (the Motherhood Cross). At school, girls studied subjects like cookery. It was stressed that they should choose Aryan husbands. Women were discouraged from having jobs but the shortage of workers after 1937 meant more women had to go back to work.
Many Nazis were against Christianity as its teaching of peace was seen as incompatible with Nazi ideas. However, the Nazis didn't want to risk an immediate attack on it. Hitler signed an agreement with the Catholic church in 1933. Each side promised not to interfere with the other. However the Nazis tried to curb the influence of the church. Hitler tried to unite the different Protestant churches into one Reich church. He placed a Nazi Bishop as its leader. Some church members split off in protest at this state interference and they formed the confessing church. Many clergy who stood up to the Nazi regime were sent to concentration camps.
Opposition from the church
There was little opposition in Germany to the Nazis from Christian groups. Many Christians supported Hitler because he stopped the spread of Communism- which was actively hostile towards religion. There were however, a number of church members who did oppose the Nazis. Martin Niemoller objected to Nazi interference in the Church and was one of the founders of the Confessing Church. In 1937 he used a sermon to protest against the persecution of Church members. Bishop Von Galen used his sermons to protest against the euthenasia of the disabled and against Nazi racial policies.
Nazis believed in a Master Race. They believed that Aryans were the Germans' ancestors. Most Nazis believed that Northern Europeans, including Germans, were member of an ancient race called the Aryans. Nazis thought people under German rule who were not pure Aryans did not belong and that they were weakening 'pure' German people. Hitler wanted to 'cleanse' the German people by removing anybody who spoiled the 'purity' of the Aryan race.
Jews were not the only group accused of spoiling the purity of the German people. Hitler saw gypsies as a racial threat. Many were sent to concentration camps. People with mental and physical disabilities were targeted by the Nazis- many were murdered or sterilised. Under the Nazi rule, over 400 000 people were forcibly sterilised to stop them having children. People of mixed race were also attacked by the Nazis- these were also sterilised against their will. Homosexuals were sent to concentration camps in their thousands. In 1936, Himmler, head of the SS, began the Central Office for the Combating of Homosexuality and Abortion.
After the murder of a German diplomat in Paris by a Jew in November 1938, there was rioting throughout Germany. Between 9th and 10th November, thousands of Jewish shops were smashed and thousands of Jews were arrested. Nazi propaganda made people believe that the Jews were bad for Germany so they should have been sent to special concentration camps or humiliated and maltreated in public. Many people believed the camps were work camps, where the Jews would work for Germany. Later Nazi policy became more terrible as they tried to exterminate the Jewish race.
4 year plan
After the invasion of Poland and Russia more Jews came under Nazi control. Adolf Eichmann was put in charge of dealing with these Jews.
In 1940, the idea of deporting all the Jews from Europe to Madagascar was dropped and instead they were moved into ghettos. These were small areas in cities where Jews were forced to live in overcrowded, unsanitary conditions. The largest ghetto was in Warsaw. Starvation and disease killed hundreds of thousands. When Russia was invaded in 1941, Special Action Corps followed the army with orders to kill every Jew they came across in the occupied towns and villages.
Hitler believed that the German people would need more land. This was the main reason for the invasion of Eastern Europe. Hitler believed much of this new space would be taken from the USSR and in 1941, Germany invaded the USSR. The idea of the volksgemeinschaft was that all people would serve the Reich together as a community rather than just living there. This would lead to a union of pure Germans working together for a greater Germany. People who weren't considered Aryans could play no part in the new German empire. Some Jews were given passports to leave Germany but not to return.
The final solution
The Nazis began the final solution in 1942. The final solution was the Nazis' plan to destroy the Jewish people. Death camps were built in Eastern Europe. Gas chambers were built for mass murder. Mainly Jewish people were killed, but other groups were targeted as well, for example Slavs, gypsies, black people, homosexuals, disabled people and Communists. Himmler was in overall charge of the final solution. Some death camps include Auschwitz, Treblinka, Sobibor, Chelmno and Belzec. By the end of the war, approximately 6 million Jewish people had been killed by the Nazis.
Jews faced death for any resistance. Some fled into the forests and formed resistance groups to blow up railway lines and attack soldiers. In some ghettos, Jewish authorities thought the best way to save lives was to co-operate with the Nazis and to produce goods for them. Reports of what was happening in the camps were smuggled out. Before the war ended, Nazi orders went out to destroy the camps and the evidence but there wasn't enough time.
1943 resulted in the Warsaw Ghetto uprising and the escape from Sobibor camp.
July bomb plot
By the summer of 1944, the German army was on the retreat. A group of army generals decided to kill Hitler and then make peace. On 20th July, Colonel Von Stauffenberg, leader of the plotters, attended a meeting at Hitler's headquarters with Hitler and 24 other officers. Not long after the start of the meeting, Stauffenberg made his excuses and left, leaving behind a briefcase containing a bomb. Minutes later, the bomb exploded. Stauffenberg flew to Berlin and announced Hitler was dead and the army generals were taking over but he had spoken too soon. Moments before the detonation of the bomb, the briefcase had been moved out of Hitler's way- four men were killed in the conference room, Hitler not being one of them. Within hours the plotters had been rounded up by the Gestapo, they were given a short trial and then shot.
In May 1945, Hitler, Goebbels and other Nazi leaders committed suicide. By the end of the war 6 million Jews had been murdered as well as gypsies, homosexuals and 4 million Russian prisoners of war.
Life for workers
Hitler gave work to millions of unemployed. Hitler started a huge programme of public works which gave jobs to thousand os people. From 1933, huge motorways (Autobahns) were started. Unemployment fell dramatically. But the Nazis also fiddled with the statistics to make unemployment rates look lower than it really was- they didn't include women or Jewish people in the unemployment statistics.
People were encouraged to work by rewards. All men between 18 and 25 could be recruited into the National Labour Service and given jobs. The Nazis had gotten rid of trade unions and so, workers had to join the Nazis' Labour front. The Nazis also introduced 'Strength through Joy'- a scheme which provided workers with cheap holidays and leisure activities. Another scheme 'Beauty of Labour' encouraged factory owners to improve conditions for their workers. Output increased in Germany and unemployment almost ended completely. The Nazis introduced the Volkswagen as an ambition for people to aim for, however people never got to see their cars. Wages however, were still relatively low and workers weren't allowed to go on strike or campaign for better conditions.
Germany's industrial growth meant it was buying more raw materials from abroad. Germany was importing a lot more than it was exporting, which caused economic problems. The minister of economy, Schacht, brought in the New plan in 1934. This strictly controlled imports and encouraged exports- the aim was to make Germany more self sufficient. Production increased and unemployment fell. Schacht eventually resigned becuase he felt the increased focus on weapons production was damaging the economy. Control of the economy fell to Goering.
Military conscription was reintroduced and Hitler re-armed the German military.
The SS was created as Hitler's personal bodyguards. Himmler was made its head. The SS were ordered to protect the Fuhrer and were also responsible for getting rid of any undesirables. They planned the final solution. In 1935, the Lebensborn programme, SS members took perfect single German women to hotels to have the perfect baby. By 1944, over 11 000 Nazi babies had been conceived. The SS found that they could charge for their labour and they were lending out their workers to other businesses. These workers were from the concentration camps and were political prisoners. The labour increased dramatically and all of the labour belonged to the SS and the charges they made, they kept.
The Waffen SS was a second army which fought alongside the ordinary army. They were formed in November 1940 by Himmler. It allowed non-Germans to fight for Germany, mainly because they wanted to fight against Communism. There were so many that each memeber got their own division.