Depth Studies: Revision.

NAZI GERMANY

Seven Ways to Control Germany
 
1 One-Party State 
The Enabling Act (23 March 1933) Hitler was the all-powerful Fuhrer of Germany.   The Law against the Formation of Parties (14 July 1933) declared the Nazi Party the only political party in Germany.   It was an offence to belong to another Party.   All other parties were banned, and their leaders were put in prison.    Nazi Party members, however, got the best jobs, better houses and special privileges.   Many businessmen joined the Nazi Party purely to get orders. 
2 Terror 
The Nazis took over local government and the police.   On 26 April 1933, Hitler set up the Gestapo (the secret police) and the SS, and encouraged Germans to report opponents and ‘grumblers’.   Tens of thousands of Jews, Communists, gypsies, homosexuals, alcoholics and prostitutes were arrested and sent to concentration camps for ‘crimes’ as small as writing anti-Nazi graffiti, possessing a banned book, or saying that business was bad. 
       On the Night of the Long Knives (13 June 1934) Hitler used his legal power to assassinate all his opponents within the Nazi Party,
3 Propaganda 
The German people were subjected to continual propaganda, under the control of Josef Goebbels.  It was the cult of personality – everything was organised to make Germans permanently grateful to Adolf Hitler.   Germans were made to feel part of a great and successful movement – in this respect the 1936 Olympic Games were a propaganda coup.
       The Nazis used the most up-to-date technology to get their message across.   Find the key methods of Nazi propaganda in the wordsearch:
4 Youth 
‘When an opponent declares, ‘I will not come over to your side’, I calmly say, ‘Your child belongs to us already’.   The Nazis replaced anti-Nazi teachers and University professors, and school lessons included hidden indoctrination – requiring children to calculate how much mentally disabled people cost the state, or to criticize the racial features of Jewish people. 
      German boys were required to attend the Hitler Youth, which mixed exciting activities, war-games and Nazi indoctrination.   German girls went to the BDM and learned how to be good mothers, and to love Hitler.
5    Workforce 
Hitler banned all Trade Unions on 2 May 1933.   Their offices were closed, their money confiscated, and their leaders put in prison.   In their place, Hitler put the German Labour Front which reduced workers’ pay and took away the right to strike.  The National Labour Service sent men on public works programmes.   To keep the workers happy, the Nazis set up the Strength through Joy movement, which offered good workers picnics, free trips to the cinema and (for the very few) free holidays.
6 Religion 
Hitler signed a Concordat with the Pope, agreeing to leave the Roman Catholic Church alone if it stayed out of politics – so most Catholics were happy to accept the Nazi regime.    Protestants and Jehovah’s Witnesses – if they opposed the Nazis – were sent to concentration camps.  
7 Racism
The Nazi regime was from the start based on anti-semitism.   The Racial Purity Law (15 September 1935) took away German citizenship from the Jews, and forbade sex between Germans and Jews.  Other key dates include Kristallnacht (November 1938) and the Wansee Conference (January 1942).          Many Germans approved of this racism.

How did Nazi rule affect the Germans?
     
1 Nazi Party members
• were especially happy – they got all the best houses, preferential treatment, good jobs in the government and power over other people
   
2 Ordinary People
Source A
We all felt the same, the same happiness and joy.    Things were looking up.    I believe no statesman has ever been as loved as Adolf Hitler was then.   
It’s all come flooding back to me.    Those were happy times.
A German farmer, Luise Essig, remembering life in Nazi Germany

For ordinary people, life was good: 
• full employment (work programmes/ Strength through Joy) gave prosperity and financial security – many observers stated that there seemed to be no poverty in Germany,
• full employment (work programmes/ Strength through Joy) gave prosperity and financial security – many observers stated that there seemed to be no poverty in Germany,
• law and order (few people locked their doors),
• autobahns improved transport,
• frequent ceremonies, rallies, colour and excitement,
• Nazi propaganda gave people hope,
• Nazi racial philosophy gave people self-belief
• Trust in Adolf Hitler gave a sense of security (one German woman told the American reporter Nora Wall: ‘He is my mother and my father.   He keeps me safe from all harm.’)
    There were few drawbacks:
• Wages fell, and strikers could be shot – the Nazis worked closely with the businessmen to make sure that the workforce were as controlled as possible.
• Loss of personal freedoms (eg freedom of speech).
• All culture had to be German – eg music had to be Beethoven or Wagner or German folk songs – or Nazi – eg all actors had to be members of the Nazi party/ only books by approved authors could be read.
3 Women
The Nazis were very male-dominated and anti-feminist.     
Nazi philosophy idealised the role of women as child-bearer and creator of the family: 
• The Law for the Encouragement of Marriage gave newly-wed couples a loan of 1000 marks, and allowed them to keep 250 marks for each child they had.   
• Mothers who had more than 8 children were given a gold medal.   But not all women were happy with the Nazi regime: 
• Job-discrimination against women was encouraged.   Women doctors, teachers and civil servants were forced to give up their careers. 
• Women were never allowed to serve in the armed forces – even during the war.


4 Youth

Most German young people were happy.   

• Nazi culture was very youth-oriented.   
• The HJ provided exciting activities for young boys.   
• The HJ and the BDM treated young men and women as though they were special, and told then they had knew more then their parents.   
• Many parents were frightened that their children would turn them into the Gestapo, which gave young people a power that they enjoyed.
    But not all young people were happy with the Nazi regime:
• Some girls were unhappy with the emphasis on the three Cs (Church, children, cooker).   Girls who were regarded as true Aryan girls were sent off to special camps where they were bred (like farm animals) with selected ‘Aryan’ boys.
• Towards the end of the war, youth gangs such as the Eidelweiss Pirates grew up, rejecting the HJ and Nazi youth culture, drinking and dancing to American jazz and ‘swing’ music.   In Cologne in 1944 they sheltered army deserters and even attacked the Gestapo.   If they were caught, they were hanged.
   
5 Opponents
But remember that: 
• Many Germans welcomed this because it brought political stability after the Weimar years The Nazi’s used ‘fear and horror’ against anyone who disapproved of their regime:
• Hitler banned all Trade Unions on 2 May 1933.   Their offices were closed, their money confiscated, and their leaders put in prison. 
• Communists were put into concentration camps or killed.
• Many Protestant pastors such as Dietrich Bonhoffer were persecuted and executed.
• Each block of flats had a ‘staircase ruler’ who reported grumblers to the police – they were arrested and either murdered, or sent to concentration camps.
• Children were encouraged to report their parents to the Gestapo of they criticized Hitler or the Nazi party.

6 Untermensch
But note that:
• Many Germans approved of this.
   

The Nazi regime despised many groups it thought were racially or socially inferior (untermensch = subhuman) – people they called the ‘germs of destruction’.   Groups which were persecuted and killed included:
• Black people, who were sterilized and killed.
• Jews, such as Anne Frank, who the Germans systematically persecuted, put into concentration camps, used for medical experiments and, in the end, devised the Final Solution of genocide.
• Gypsies, who were treated as badly as the Jews – 85% of Germany’s gypsies were killed.
• 5000 mentally disabled babies were killed 1939-45.   
• 72,000 mentally ill patients were killed 1939-41.
• Physically disabled people and families with hereditary illness were sterilized – 300,000 men and women were sterilized 1934-45.
• Beggars, homosexuals, prostitutes, alcoholics, pacifists, hooligans and criminals were also regarded as anti-social, and they were put in concentration camps.

 

 

 

 

 

More on Nazi Germany

http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/gcsebitesize/history/mwh/germany/

 

 

 

 

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