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Secondary 3 Chapter 3: Would you have followed Hitler?
Transcript of Secondary 3 Chapter 3: Would you have followed Hitler?
Most Germans voted for the Nazis because they thought they would bring economic recovery and strong, stable
government. They probably did not take too much notice of other Nazi plans for Germany.
All Germans would put the needs of the state (the National Community) above everything else - even the needs of their family and friends.
Aryan people would get the best jobs and be encouraged to have lots of children.
Hitler (the FUHRER) would be the key figure in Germany. The armed forces, government, all organisations and all Germans would be loyal to him.
The armed forces
would be built up.
War would make Germany strong. The German people would be mentally prepared for war.
The Nazis would destroy the USSR and all those who believed in Communism.
All non-Aryan people (such as Jews, Gypsies and Afro-Europeans) would have no place in Germany. They would be sent away or killed.
Others who did not fit in with Nazi ideas (for example, homosexuals, the mentally ill, the physically disabled) would be imprisoned or killed.
PROPAGANDA would win Germans over to Nazi ways of thinking.
In the short term, the Nazis would get the unemployed back to work and help Germany recover from the Depression.
In the long term, Hitler would build up Germany's industries ready for war.
Germany would win back the land lost by the Treaty of Versailles.
LEBENSRAUM (living space): there would be a giant empire in
Eastern Europe where pure Aryan Germans would live.
First they came for the Communists and I didn't speak up
Because I wasn't a Communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists and I didn't speak up
Because I wasn't a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews and I didn't speak up
Because I wasn't a Jew.
Then they came for me - and there was no one left to speak for me.
- Pastor Martin Niemoller, Survivor of The Holocaust
In 1933, Hitler ordered his army generals to prepare to treble the size of the army to 300,000 men.
He also decided that Germany needed a modern air-force and ordered the Air Ministry to plan to build 1,000 war planes.
Military buildings such as barracks were built.
For two years, the German military expanded in secret. By March 1935, the Nazis had 2,500 war planes and an army of 300,000 men. Hitler announced that there would be compulsory conscription in Nazi Germany and that the army would be increased to 550,000 men.
I liked it in the Hitler Youth. I thought the uniform was smashing, the dark brown, the black, the swastika, all the shiny leather. I liked the comradeship, the marching, the sport and the war games. We were brought up to love our Fuhrer, who was to me like a second God. I was convinced that because of the German blood in my veins I was superior.
- Henry Metelmann (
who joined the army when war broke out
The Edelweiss Pirates was a name given to many small groups of young people from many different parts of Germany. They wore the edelweiss flower (and other emblems) as a symbol of their resistance to the Nazis.
They opposed Nazi control and made fun of Hitler Youth groups or even violently attacked them. When war started in 1939, the Pirates stepped up their activities and the Nazis began to clamp down on the groups.
Other young people who opposed the Nazis included the Swing Movement and the White Rose, etc.
"How can we expect righteousness to prevail when there is hardly anyone willing to give himself up individually to a righteous cause? Such a fine, sunny day, and I have to go, but what does my death matter, if through us, thousands of people are awakened and stirred to action?"
The last words of Sophie Scholl of the White Rose before she was executed in 1943 at the age of 21.
Scholl's firm Christian belief in God and in every human being's essential dignity formed her basis for resisting Nazi ideology
TERROR would deal with anyone who opposed the regime.
Melita Maschmann was a fifteen year-old who joined the Hitler Youth against her family's wishes.
She was later enlisted by the Gestapo to spy on the family of her best friend who was Jewish. Her friend's sister and mother were arrested and sent to a concentration camp and prison respectively.
"What we must fight for is to safeguard the existence and reproduction of our race and our people, the sustenance of our children and the purity of our blood..." Hitler in Mein Kampf
1933 Forced sterilisation to "prevent offspring with hereditary defects" was made legal in Germany. Between 1933-1944, an estimated 300,000 to 400,000 people were sterilised.
Most of the people targeted were patients in mental hospitals and other institutions between 20 and 40 years of age. Most were 'Aryan' Germans.
1938 Hitler issued a decree, which empowered physicians to grant a "mercy death" to patients considered incurable. The aim of this program was to exterminate the mentally ill and handicapped who were a financial burden to society.
From 1939, the Nazi Interior Ministry began registering children with disabilities. Those to be killed were identified as "all children under three years of age in whom any of the following 'serious hereditary diseases' were 'suspected': idiocy and Down Syndrome (especially with blindness and deafness), malformations of all kinds and paralysis.
This poster (from around 1938) reads: "60,000 Reichsmark is what this person suffering from a hereditary defect costs the People's community during his lifetime. Fellow citizen, that is your money too."
Q: Do you agree that the disabled should not be allowed to have children?
1933-1945 An estimated 100,000 men were arrested as homosexuals and 50,000 were sentenced either to regular prisons or concentration camps.
Some homosexuals, like other categories of prisoners, were victims of cruel scientific experiments.
Q: How do we treat people with different principles and beliefs from us?
Who were the Gypsies?
Popular term for the Roma and Sinti, nomadic people believed to have originally came from northwest India. They first appeared in western Europe in the 1400s and eventually spread to every country of Europe.
Prejudice toward Gypsies was and is widespread.
Why do you think there is a prejudice? Why did people not speak up?
1933 "Law against Dangerous Habitual Criminals" - Police arrested many Gypsies and imprisoned them in concentration camps.
1936 A Central Office to "Combat the Gypsy Nuisance" opened in Munich. It oversaw a national data bank on Gypsies and authorised Berlin police to conduct raids against Gypsies to remove them from that city during the Olympics. 600 Gypsies were placed in internment near a sewage dump.
1937-38 A decree on "crime prevention" provided the pretext for police to round up Gypsies. 10,000 Roma and Sinti people from Germany and Austria were deported to concentration camps.
1939-44 Through German-occupied Europe, Gypsies were interned, killed or deported to camps in Germany or Eastern Europe.
An estimated 220,000 to 500,000 Gypsies were killed.
A four year-old-girl found living with a Roma couple in central Greece, October 2013. Greek police are investigating the identity of the girl on suspicion that the child may have been abducted. The girl was found during a police sweep of the settlement for suspected drug trafficking.
Who were the Jews?
A people who trace their origins to the ancient Hebrew people of Israel to Abraham or whose religion is Judaism. During the medieval times, the Jews were frequently the bankers in Europe and hence became very wealthy, which caused tensions. In many Christian countries, they were also persecuted as the "killers of Christ". The Jews were tightly-knit, had different customs, looked slightly different and sometimes spoke a different language.
Written by William Shakespeare between 1596 and 1598
Russian Pogroms between 1881 and 1921
1933 The SA and SS organised a boycott to stop people using Jewish shops. Laws made it difficult for Jews to work in the civil service, media and education.
1935 The Nuremberg Laws (enacted for the protection of German blood and German honour) made marriages and relationships between Jews and Germans illegal. Jews could not be German citizens or hold a job.
1938 Kristallnacht (Night of the Broken Glass) - Jewish properties were smashed and synagogues were burned down. Over 100 Jews were killed and 30,000 arrested. Many ended up in concentration camps. German Jews had to register their names and addresses.
1939 Start of World War II. Germany invaded Poland and one more Jews came under Nazi control. They were rounded up and forced to live in Ghettos.
1941 Germany invaded USSR and brought more Jews under Nazi control. Special units of SS troops began rounding up and shooting Jews.
1941 All Jews still living in Germany were forced to wear the Star of David.
1942-45 "The Final Solution to the Jewish Problem" - All Jews in Nazi-ruled lands were rounded up and transported to camps in Germany and Poland. Some were forced to work as slave labour while others were murdered.