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GERMANY 1919-1945 Almudena Corrales Social Sciences
Introduction: The extremist opponents of the Weimar government had not disappeared. One of the most important was the Nazi Party (National Socialist German Worker’s Party): The Nazis were led by Anton Drexler. Adolf Hitler joined the party in 1919. Drexler realised Hitler had great talent and put him in charge of propaganda and the political ideas of the party.
In 1920 the party announced its Twenty- Five Point Programme: The most important points were: the abolition of the Treaty of Versailles union of Germany and Austria only ‘true’ germans to be allowed to live in Germany large industries and businesses to be nationalised generous provision for old age pensioners a strong central government in Germany
THE MUNICH PUTSCH, 1923 By 1923 the Nazis were still very much a minority party, but Hitler had given them a high profile. Nazi storm troopers began taking over official buildings. 16 Nazis were killed and the rebelion broke up in chaos. Hitler escaped in a car. He and other leading Nazis were arrested and charged with treason, but at the trial Hitler gained enormous publicity .
THE NAZIS IN THE WILDERNESS, 1924-1929 Hitler used his time in prison to write a book, Mein Kampf (My Struggle) He came to the conclusion that the Nazis would not be able to seize power by force. They could have to work within the democratic system. Hitler created a network of local Nazi parties which in turn set up the Hitler Youth, the Nazi Student’s League and similar organizations. 1925 Hitler enlarged the SA with the ranks of the unemployed (many were ex-servicemen) He also set up a new group called SS fanatically loyal to Hitller personally.
Goebbels was chosen to take charge of Nazi propaganda. Hitler and Goebbels believed the best way to reach the masses was by appealing to their feelings rather than by rational argument: posters, leaflets, films and radio broadcasts. However, the prosperity of the Stresemann years and Stressmann’s success in foreign policy made Germans uninterested in extreme politics.
THE DEPRESSION AND THE RISE OF THE NAZIS In 1929 the American stock market crashed and sent the USA into a disastrous economic depression. Countries around the world began to feel the effects and Germany was particullary affected. The USA asked German banks to repay the borrowed money. Businesses went bankrupt and unemployment rocketed.
NAZI CAMPAIGNING The Nazis’ 25 points were attractive to those more vulnerable to the Depression: The unemployed The eldery The middle class Nazi campaign methods were modern and effective: Slogans German people united behind one leader Tradicional values
HOW DID HITLER BECOME CHANCELLOR IN 1933? After the Reichtag elections of July 1932 the Nazis were the largest single party but no a mayority party. Hitler demanded the post of Chancellor to the President. Hindenburg chose Franz von Papen (and old friend). Von Papen had virtually no support at all, and in December 1932 Kurt Schleicher became Chancellor. January 1933, Hindenburg and von Papen met secretly with industrialists, army leaders and politicians. They offered Hitler the post of Chancellor
HITLER’S DICTATORSHIP Few people thought by the summer 1934 he would be the supreme dictator of Germany. He called election for March 1933 to try to get overall Nazi majority. The Reichstag building burnt down. Hitler blamed the Comunists. Hitler acted quickly against his opponents -The Night of the Long Knives - He accused Röhm (SA leader) of plotting to overthrow and murder him. 400 others were executed included the ex Chancellor Schleicher.
NAZI CONTROL OF GERMANY a totalitarian state where The aim of the Nazis was to create could no be rival parties or political debate. The Nazis had a powerful range of organizations and weapons to control Germany: The police and the The Gestapo courts (secret state police) The Nazis controlled They could arrest magistrates, judges citiziens on and the courts, which suspicion and send meant that opponents them to of Nazis rarely concentration received a fair trial camps Concentration camps The SS Ultimate sanction against Aryans very their own people. These highly trained camps were run by SS and totally Death’s Head units. loyal to Hitler Prisioners were forced to do hard labour and food was very limited.
DID GERMANS GAIN FROM NAZI RULE? Hitler and the Nazis promised to use radical methods to solve the 2 main problems: CRISIS IN GERMAN UNEMPLOYMENT FARMING Dr Hjalmar Schacht organised Germany’s finances to fund a huge programme of work creation. The National Labour Service sent men on public works projects. In 1936 Hitler announced a Four-Year Plan to get the German economy ready for war.
He won the loyalty of industrial workers by a variety of initiatives: Strength Through Joy (KDF): cheap theatre and cinema tickets, courses, trips and sports events. Volkswagen Beetle, the people’s car. Symbol of the prosperous new German. The Beauty of Labour movement.
Certanly many middle-class business people were grateful to the Nazis for eliminating the Communist threat to their businesses and properties. The big companies no longer had to worry about troublesome trade unions and strikes. IG Farben gained huge government contracts to make explosives, fertilisers and artificial oil from coal. Mercedes abd Volkswagen prospered from Nazis policies.
THE IMPACT OF THE SECOND WORLD WAR ON GERMANY In war, as in a peace time, the Nazis used all methods available to make the German people support the regime. Food rationing in september 1939 Clothes rationing in november 1939 Hitler tried to maintain people’s support by asking them to make sacrifices. German people began to see and hear less of Hitler.
The bombing of Dresden In 1942 the Allies decided a new policy. The British began an all-out assault on both industrial and residential areas of all the major German cities. The bombing of Dresden in february 1945 killed between 35,000 and 150,000 people in 2 days. Three months after the massive destruction of this city, Germany’s war was over
HITLER AND THE JEWS Throughout Europe, Jews had experienced discrimination for hundred of years. They were often treated unjustly in courts or forced to live in ghettos. Jews were blamed for the death of Jesus Christ. Another reason was that they tended to be well educated and therefore held well-paid professional jobs or ran successful businesses. Hitler became obsessed by the fact that Jews ran porperous businesses, particulary large department stores. As soon as Hitler took power in 1933 he began to mobilise the full powers of the state against the Jews