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Rise and Rule of Single Party State in Germany 1918 – 1945: HITLER and the Nazis. Paper 2 Review Everything you could ever want to know about Hitler for Paper 2, and then some! Mr. Bacon. Germany Background. Germany as a single, unified state was created in 1871

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rise and rule of single party state in germany 1918 1945 hitler and the nazis

Rise and Rule of Single Party State in Germany1918 – 1945:HITLER and the Nazis

Paper 2 Review

Everything you could ever want to know about Hitler for Paper 2, and then some!

Mr. Bacon

germany background
Germany Background
  • Germany as a single, unified state was created in 1871
    • Prussia had been its largest state
    • Power was wielded by the Kaiser (emperor)
    • There was an elected Parliament (Reichstag), but the country was authoritarian
    • Germany underwent rapid industrialization in the late 1800s (even surpassing GB)
    • Germany had Europe’s largest and best army
  • Kaiser Wilhelm II (1888-1918) pursued an aggressive foreign policy
germany background cont
Germany Background cont
  • WWI
    • Germany was certainly partially to blame for the militarism, alliance system, imperialism and other causes of WWI
    • Germany thought WWI would be short by using Schlieffen Plan to defeat France and Russia
    • But WWI became a war of attrition on all sides
    • By Sept 1918, German military commanders (including Hindenburg) accepted that Germany could not escape defeat
  • Germany’s citizens were unable to accept the defeat and turned on the government
    • Strikes, riots and mutinies broke out
germany background cont4
Germany Background cont
  • Kaiser Wilhelm II was forced to abdicate on Nov 9, 1918
  • Germany was declared a republic, and led by Friedrich Ebert
  • Germany signed a ceasefire to end WWI
  • Germany held elections in January 1919
    • The main political parties that supported democracy (Social Democratic Party, Democratic Party, Centre Party) received over 70% votes
    • Weimar Government opened in February – not in Berlin because of the chaos and riots there
    • The assembly voted in July 1919 to accept the new constitution (Weimar Constitution)
germany background cont5
Germany Background cont
  • Scheidemann, from the Social Democratic Party (SPD), was the Chancellor
  • Weimar government faced serious problems from the beginning:
    • Anger and resentment over the Versailles Treaty
      • Diktat
      • Loss of territory
      • Reparations
      • Restricted military
    • Extremist right and left wing movements opposed democracy and were committed to overthrowing the new Republic
germany background cont6
Germany Background cont
  • Threats from the LEFT:
  • Background:
    • Extreme left-wing socialist movement known as the Sparticists set up the German Communist Party (KPD)
    • KPD wanted a Bolshevik-style government
    • KPD contested many elections in the 1920s and consistently received 10-15% of the vote
    • The KPD and the SPD would not work together (except in the case of the German October, 1923) and made it easier for Hitler to come to power in 1933
germany background cont7
Germany Background cont
  • The Sparticist Uprising – January 1919
    • Staged in Berlin by the Sparticists (left wing Socialists)
    • Put down by the freikorps (extreme right-wing ex-soldiers)
    • Sparticist leaders were murdered
  • Communist Uprising in the Ruhr – March 1920
    • Set up their own govt at Essen and in April briefly took over Munich
    • German army intervened and killed hundreds of communists
  • “German October” – 1923
    • The German Communist Party (KPD) organized strikes and demonstrations, and joined with the Social Democratic Party (SPD) to win control of local governments
    • Berlin used the army to arrest KPD ministers and dissolve the disturbances
germany background cont8
Germany Background cont
  • Threats from the RIGHT:
    • Background:
      • Many German nationalists never accepted the Weimar Republic because it had accepted the Treaty of Versailles
      • Many conservative elites (large landowners, big industrialists, senior army officers, judges and civil servants) only sort of, kind of supported the new govt – often they were actually hostile
      • Many wanted restoration of the monarchy or some authoritarian alternative
germany background cont9
Germany Background cont
  • The Kapp Putsch – March 1920
    • Wolfgang Kapp and General von Luttwitz attempted to overthrow the govt
    • Thousands of unemployed soldiers joined the Freikorps units to seize control of Berlin
    • Regular army (Reichswehr) was ordered to attack the former soldiers, but they refused
    • Trade unions in Berlin went on strike paralyzing the city
    • After 4 days, Kapp realized he could not succeed and he fled the country
germany background cont10
Germany Background cont
  • The “White Terror’ – 1920-22
    • Many political murders and high level assassinations
    • Freikorps was mainly responsible
  • The Beerhall Putsch – November 8, 1923
    • Hitler and his SA took over a govt meeting in Bavaria
    • The local leader (Kahr) escaped and warned the police and army
    • Nov 9 the Nazis marched on Munich, but the army was ready and arrested many Nazis
    • Hitler was tried, convicted and sentenced to 5 years, but only spent 9 months in jail – used trial as a bully pulpit and won over many new supporters
    • In jail he wrote Mein Kampf and decided to work from within the system rather than against it
what was wrong with the weimar constitution
What was wrong with the Weimar Constitution?
  • Background:
    • All men and women over 20 could vote
    • Reichstag had great power
    • Ministers were accountable to Reichstag rather than the President
  • Weaknesses:
    • Voting system was proportional representation
      • Small parties could get seats in govt – factionalism slows govt – no party could get a majority
      • 1919-23 saw 8 different coalition governments
      • Very instable
what was wrong with the weimar constitution12
What was wrong with the Weimar Constitution?
  • Weaknesses cont:
    • Article 48 of Constitution gave President extensive emergency powers
      • Could suspend civil liberties in emergencies
      • Hindenburg used this frequently to bypass the stalemates in the Reichstag 1930-32
      • Hindenburg also used it in 1933 after the Reichstag Fire:
        • Hitler was then able to arrest many communist and socialist opponents and close down their newspapers
        • This was an important step toward his creation of a single party state
economic problems 1919 23
Economic Problems 1919-23
  • High unemployment and low industrial output
    • WWI soldiers couldn’t find work
    • Destruction from WWI
  • Germany lost valuable resources from TofV
    • Poland and France both received mineral rich land from Germany for 15 years
  • Inflation was serious since start of WWI
    • Government continued to print more money to make it even worse
    • Reparations added to the situation
    • 1914: 20 marks = 1 £

1923: 16,000,000,000,000 = 1 £

hyper inflation of 1923
Hyper-Inflation of 1923
  • January 1923 Germany failed to pay reparations
  • France and Belgium sent 60,000 troops into the Ruhr
  • German workers in the region strike – passive resistance
  • Clashes killed about 150 Germans
  • French seal Ruhr off from the rest of Germany
    • Ruhr produced 80% of Germany’s steel and 70% of its coal
    • Devastating impact on Germany’s economy
    • German unemployment went from 2% to 23%
hyper inflation of 192315
Hyper-Inflation of 1923
  • Stresemann became chancellor in Aug 1923:
    • Led a brief coalition in government
    • Brought in Schacht (banker) to help with currency crisis
    • Ordered Ruhr workers to cooperate with the French
    • Resumed reparations payments
    • Introduced new currency (Rentenmark)
      • 1 rentenmark = 10,000,000,000,000 marks
    • 1924 Rentenmark was replaced with Reichsmark which continued until 1945
long term effects of hyper inflation
Long-term effects of Hyper-Inflation
  • Many in the middle class who lost their savings in hyper-inflation were permanently alienated from Weimar Republic
  • Germany had a shortage of domestic business investment – needed for future increases in GDP
  • Germany was increasingly dependent on loans from USA (Dawes Plan). The Dawes Plan helped the situation in 1924-28, but when the economy in US tumbled in 1929, the US called back many of its loans compounding the bad situation in Germany
the good years 1924 29
The Good Years 1924-29
  • Some historians believe the prosperity would not have lasted in Germany even without the Great Depression
  • Some historians believe the issues in the US really caused the collapse of the German economy in 1929
evidence of progress 1924 29
Evidence of Progress 1924-29
  • Economic
    • Dawes Plan inserted needed $ into economy
    • By 1928, industry exceeded its 1913 numbers
    • Foreign exports increased 40% from 1925-29
  • Social
    • Workers’ wages rose 21% in 1927-28 alone, making them the highest paid in Europe
    • Government spending on health, education and social services was huge
      • 1913 – 37% of govt spending
      • 1932 – 68% of govt spending
    • New universities in Hamburg and Cologne
    • Unemployment insurance issued for 17 million workers in 1927
evidence of progress 1924 2919
Evidence of Progress 1924-29
  • Cultural
    • Germany (esp. Berlin) became a vibrant cultural center
      • Architecture – Bauhaus design movement
      • Literature – Thomas Mann, Nobel Prize 1929
  • Political
    • There were no further attempts to seize power by the extreme Left or Right
    • 1928 elections – both KPD (Communists) and DNVP (Nationalists) lost seats (KPD 62 to 54 seats, DNVP 95 to 73). Nazis only have 12 seats
evidence of progress 1924 2920
Evidence of Progress 1924-29
  • Political cont
    • Moderate parties made huge gains – Social Democrats (SPD) from 100 to 153 seats
    • 1928 – 1930, Grand Coalition of SPD (Social Democrats) DDP (Democratic Party) DVP (People’s Party) and ZP (Center Party) have over 60% of seats in Reichstag
    • Hindenburg’s election in 1925 as President was a stabilizing factor as he was seen as a “Kaiser-substitute”
evidence of progress 1924 2921
Evidence of Progress 1924-29
  • Germany’s International Situation
    • Gustav Stresemann(leader of German People’s Party) wanted what was best for Germany
      • Even if this meant accepting terms of Treaty of Ver.
      • He was briefly Chancellor in 1923
      • Then became Foreign Minister until his death in 1929
      • Policies were unpopular with the Nationalists but he made Germany accepted again diplomatically and even won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1926 along with Aristide Briand (French Foreign Minister) for trying to improve Franco-German relations)
stresemann s achievements
Stresemann’s Achievements
  • Negotiated the withdrawal of French and Belgians from Ruhr in 1924
  • Helped negotiate Dawes Plan in 1924
  • Stresemann’s suggestion of recognizing and guaranteeing Western Europe’s frontiers was finalized into Locarno Pact of 1925
  • Germany was allowed in League of Nations 1926
  • Negotiated a partial withdrawal of the Rhineland by the Allies in 1928
  • Negotiated the Young Plan in 1929 which reduced the total reparations bill by almost two-thirds
  • When he died he was negotiating the final withdrawal of the Allied troops from Rhineland which happened in 1930
evidence of continuing problems under stresemann
Evidence of continuing problems under Stresemann?
  • Economic
    • Germany was heavily reliant on US loans
    • Unemployment never went below 1.3 million and was up to 1.9 million by 1929 Crash
    • Agriculture was way behind industrial recovery in 1920s (tough competition from American and Canadian efficiency)
  • Social
    • Farm workers’ wages were only just over half the national average in 1929
evidence of continuing problems under stresemann24
Evidence of continuing problems under Stresemann?
  • Political
    • German Nationalist Party (DNVP) opposed the Young Plan because it implied Germany still accepted war guilt. DNVP moved further to the right as a result
    • Center Party also moved to the right
    • “Grand Coalition” was unstable as it tried to negotiate with a range of parties from right of center to left. In 1930 it collapsed after the SPD argued with its Center Party coalition partners over how to respond to the Great Depression
the nazi party and hitler
The Nazi Party and Hitler
  • Hitler born 1889 in Austria
  • Wanted to be an architect but applications to school were rejected in Vienna
  • Sold scenic paintings to earn a living
  • Became interested in writings of racist authors (like Lanz von Liebenfels)
  • Began to believe that Germans were superior to other nationalities of the Austro-Hungarian Empire (mainly Slavs) and the rest of the world
  • Hitler resented the wealth of the rich Jewish businessmen of Vienna
the nazi party and hitler26
The Nazi Party and Hitler
  • Hitler also noted that many leading Socialists and Communists were Jews
  • Hitler believed that Darwinism (evolution of species and survival of the fittest) could be applied to human societies
  • Hitler was a German Nationalist and welcomed WWI
  • He enlisted in the German army rather than Austro-Hungarian since he was living in Munich
the nazi party and hitler27
The Nazi Party and Hitler
  • Many Germans, including Hitler, were surprised by WWI loss in 1918
  • Felt that Germany had been betrayed by the communists and the Social Democrats and that the “November criminals” were to blame for Germany’s loss
  • January 1919 Anton Drexler set up German Workers’ Party (DAP) to join working class and nationalists
  • Hitler was put in charge of recruitment and propaganda in September 1919
  • 1920 he took over as party leader and produced the 25 Point Program(combined nationalist and socialist demands, a “guide book” for Nazis)
  • 1921 Hitler set up the Sturmabteilung (storm-troopers, or SA)
the nazi party and hitler28
The Nazi Party and Hitler
  • SA was originally used to protect party meetings, and made up of former Freikorps
  • Propaganda and symbolism was valuable and swastika was adopted, along with raised-arm salute
  • Party was renamed National Socialist German Workers Party (NSDAP) in 1921
  • Hitler and Nazis aimed to seize power by force, modeled on Mussolini’s March on Rome in Oct 1922
  • Led to the Munich Putsch (Beer Hall Putsch) which failed and Hitler sentenced to jail
what did hitler learn from the failed beer hall putsch
What did Hitler learn from the failed Beer Hall Putsch?
  • He changed his tactics – used legal method rather than revolution
  • Party needed to broaden appeal beyond working-class. He moved away from socialist ideas in the 25 Points toward more nationalist elements of the middle-class
  • Successfully reorganized the fractured Nazi Party after his stay in prison
  • SA were reorganized and given greater responsibility over propaganda
  • Founded SS (Shutzstaffel – bodyguards) and the Hitler youth in 1926
  • Party membership remained low – 35,000 in 1926 and only 12 seats in Reichstag in 1928 (3% of vote)
the wall street crash of 1929
The Wall Street Crash of 1929
  • Effect on German Economy:
    • US investors withdrew money from Germany
    • German businesses went bankrupt and banks collapsed
    • Unemployment soared
      • Late 1920s – just under 2 million
      • 1930 – 3.5 million
      • 1931 – 4.4 million
      • 1932 – 6 million
    • Prices fell – lower profit margins forced more businesses to go bankrupt
    • Value of German exports fell more than 50%
the wall street crash of 192931
The Wall Street Crash of 1929
  • Impact on German Politics:
    • Revived violent and unstable politics of 1918-23
    • Large-scale street violence
    • Each political party had its own paramilitary
      • Nazi SA
      • Communist Red Front
    • Extremists grew in number and power
    • Chancellor Brüning (1930-32) was traditional and cautious
      • Kept government spending and taxes down
      • Waited for economy to improve
      • The unemployed were furious and turned to extremist political parties
    • 1930 - Nazis won 107 seats, Communists won 89
nazis membership grows
Nazis Membership Grows
  • Hitler was looked to as a ‘messiah’ to ‘save’ Germany
  • As unemployment skyrockets, so does Nazi party membership (Nazis promised job creation)
  • Weak leadership in government made Hitler look even better (Hitler even got 13 million votes to Hindenburg’s 18 million in April 1932 showing how strong a following he had)
  • Many were worried about a communist revolution and the 700,000 strong SA seemed to be able to provide security
  • Appealed to small farmers and peasants struggling under debt and falling food prices (they were promised subsidies)
nazi membership grows
Nazi Membership Grows
  • Nazis got support from lower middle-class (teachers, civil servants, etc) fearing they would become unemployed
  • SA was predominantly working-class, but Nazis had little support from this group overall
  • Nazis received financial backing from some leading industrialists who were worried about the socialists
  • Presented an image of dynamism and youth
    • Campaign tactics were more modern
    • Mass rallies created sense of belonging
nazi membership grows34
Nazi Membership Grows
  • Nazi Propaganda (Goebbels) used different messages for different groups
    • Subsidies to peasants
    • Law and order and return to traditional values to middle class
    • Jobs for unemployed
    • Defense against communist revolution and revival of Germany as great power to conservative nationalists
  • At the same time promised to unite all Germans
  • Jews, democratic system, Communists, and WWI victors were provided as scapegoats for Germany’s problems
nazi membership grows35
Nazi Membership Grows
  • None of this was new, so why were these messages more effective in the 1930s than in the 1920s?
    • Widespread disillusionment with the Weimar Republic and democratic parties was far greater, as was the scale of Germany’s economic problems
    • Hitler had created a more respectable image for the Nazis after his release from prison and was therefore able to win more middle class support
breakdown of democratic government 1930 32
Breakdown of Democratic Government (1930-32)
  • No political party could command a majority in Reichstag
  • Article 48 of Weimar constitution gave president authority to declare state of emergency and govern by decree without consulting parliament
  • Hindenburg (President)
    • Didn’t like the Weimar Republic
    • Was a Nationalist
    • Thought the Nazis were thugs, but hated Social Democrats and Communists even more
breakdown of democratic government 1930 3237
Breakdown of Democratic Government (1930-32)
  • 1930 Hindenburg dismissed Chancellor Müller’s government and appointed Brüning (Center Party) to Chancellor
  • Brüning had little support in Reichstag but was able to rule because of Hindenburg’s use of emergency powers to pass laws
  • Hindenburg grew tired of having to support Brüning so he replaced him with conservative von Papen (but he had even less support)
  • Hindenburg agreed to call a general election in July 1932
    • Nazis triumphantly won 230 seats in Parliament (largest single party in Parliament, but not yet a majority – still needed to form a coalition)
breakdown of democratic government 1930 3238
Breakdown of Democratic Government (1930-32)
  • Hindenburg asked Hitler to join a coalition, but Hitler refused unless he could be Chancellor
  • Hindenburg refused (hated Hitler and feared SA) and called a second general election in November 1932
    • Nazis lost seats (down to 196) but was still largest single party
  • Hindenburg fired von Papen for not being able to form a coalition and replaced him with General Kurt von Schleicher
breakdown of democratic government 1930 3239
Breakdown of Democratic Government (1930-32)
  • Nazi morale was low
    • Lost seats in second election
    • Low on money from two campaigns
    • Some in party were becoming impatient and were calling for an armed rising
  • Von Schleicher tried to take advantage and split the Nazi party by getting support of the ‘left-wing’ Nazis, but this did not work
  • Hitler quickly reasserted his control over the Nazis
why was hitler appointed chancellor on jan 30 1933
Why was Hitler appointed Chancellor on Jan 30, 1933?
  • Hindenburg decided it was the only way to achieve a majority coalition
  • Hindenburg actually didn’t mind offering it to him (he wasn’t worried) since the Nazi’s position was a bit weaker than it had been in November
  • Only 3 of the 11 Cabinet ministers were Nazi
from chancellor to dictator in 1 5 years
From Chancellor to Dictator in 1.5 years
  • 1933
    • January Hitler appointed Chancellor
    • February Reichstag fire
      • Communists and union leaders arrested
    • March Reichstag elections
      • Nazis won 44%, Nationalists only 8%
    • March Enabling Act
      • Hitler could then bypass the Reichstag to make laws
    • March State parliaments are Nazi majority
      • (all state parliaments abolished in 1934)
from chancellor to dictator in 1 5 years42
From Chancellor to Dictator in 1.5 years
  • 1933 cont
    • April Hitler replaced all 18 state governors with Nazis
    • May Trade unions banned and replaced by the German Labour Front
    • June All parties except Nazis banned
    • July Law passed making the Nazi Party the sole legal party
from chancellor to dictator in 1 5 years43
From Chancellor to Dictator in 1.5 years
  • 1934
    • June Night of the Long Knives
      • Ernst Rohm and other SA leaders arrested or killed
      • Hitler claimed they had been planning a putsch
      • SA absorbed into the military
    • August President Hindenburg died
      • Hitler made himself Fuhrer, combining positions of President and Chancellor
      • Army swore an oath of loyalty to Hitler
hitler s ideology
Hitler’s Ideology

This is not clearly defined, although his reasoning is set forth in Mein Kampf. It was different from Mussolini’s fascism in that Hitler had a unique racial and anti-Semitic program not present in Italy. The Nazi’s 25 Points of 1920 were a strange mix of nationalist and socialist elements. It became clear though that Hitler was not committed to the socialist element.

hitler s ideology cont
Hitler’s Ideology cont

The Volk community was everything to Hitler, the individual was nothing. His aim was to create a society in which every individual saw the purpose of their life as contributing to the greater good of the German volk. He attacked individual rights and his Volksgemeinschaft had no room for asocials, disabled, or non-Aryans

policy toward asocials
Policy toward asocials
  • 1936 “asocial colony” of Hashude
      • For chronic alcoholics
      • Late 1930s they were sent to concentration camps
  • 10,000 tramps were sent to concentration camps
  • 25,000 gypsies (Germany had about 30,000) died in camps in WWII
policy towards the disabled
Policy towards the disabled
  • 1932 the Prussian Health Council proposed voluntary sterilization for certain hereditary diseases
  • July 1933 Nazi Sterilization Law made it compulsory (320,000 were sterilized)
  • Euthanasia 1939-41
    • Physically and mentally handicapped (72,000)
anti semitic policies
Anti-Semitic policies
  • May 1933 SA organized one day boycott of Jewish businesses
  • Shortly after Hitler in power, Jewish civil servants are fired
  • 1935 Nuremberg Laws deprive Jews of German citizenship
  • 1938 Kristallnacht
    • Attack on Jewish properties and synagogues
    • 20,000 Jews arrested
    • Jews made to pay for cleanup
    • Jewish doctors and lawyers were forbidden to work for Aryans
    • Jewish children had to attend separate schools
  • 1942 Wansee Conference
    • Final Solution (extermination of Jews) was decided
the use of fear
The Use of FEAR
  • Decree for the Protection of People and State
    • Feb 1933 allowed for indefinite detention w/o trial
  • Dachau
    • 1st concentration camp opened in March 1933
    • Never fewer than 10,000 prisoners
    • Overall about 225,000 imprisoned for political reasons (far fewer than Stalin)
  • Hermann Goering set up Gestapo in 1933
    • Heinrich Himmler took over
    • In some cases over 50% of all charges were brought to the police by citizens
the use of fear cont
The Use of FEAR cont
  • SS created in 1925 (Himmler in control after 1929)
    • Immense power after Night of the Long Knives
    • 200,000 members by 1935
    • Ran the concentration camps
    • Enforced racial policies
  • SD set up in 1931 by Himmler
    • Gathered intelligence and monitored public opinion
  • After 1933, judges could be removed for political beliefs
    • Judges ordered to interpret the law according to ‘the will of the Fuhrer’
control of the media
Control of the Media
  • Ministry for Popular Enlightenment and Propaganda
    • March 1933
    • Josef Goebbels
    • Reich Radio Company brought all broadcasting under Nazi control
    • Volksefpfanger (cheap radio) mass-produced
      • In 1932 only 25% of households had a radio
      • By 1939 more than 70% had a radio
    • In 1933 there were 4700 daily newspapers
    • By 1944 there were only 1000 newspapers
    • Eher Verlag (Nazi publishing house) controlled 66% of the press by 1939
nazi policies toward women
Nazi policies toward women
  • Kinder, Kirche, Kuche
  • Employment was restricted
    • Excluded from civil service
  • Marriage encouraged
    • From 1933, women who left work to marry were given an interest free marriage loan (amount to be repaid fell 25% with each child born)
  • Women’s Enterprise (DFW) trained women in domestic skills
    • By 1935 3.5 million women taken courses
nazi policies toward women53
Nazi policies toward women
  • European birth rate was low, but especially in Germany, so…
    • Medals for prolific mommies
      • Bronze 4-5 kids
      • Silver 6-7
      • Gold for 8 or more
    • Divorce was made easy for childless marriages
    • Results
      • 990,000 born in 1932
      • 1.28 million born in 1937
  • By 1936, women were needed due to labor shortages (1943 they were conscripted)
youth in nazi germany
Youth in Nazi Germany
  • Hitler Jugend was set up in 1925
    • By 1933 there were only 55,000
    • Other youth groups totaled 5-6 million
    • 1933 all other youth groups closed, except those run by Catholic Church, and absorbed into the HJ
    • By 1939 82% of 11-18 year-olds in the HJ or the League of German Maidens (for girls)
    • 1939 membership was compulsory, but attendance was far from perfect
    • Boys were trained for war and girls for motherhood
  • Main aim was to develop loyalty to the regime
  • No emphasis on the individual
  • 1933 Law for Restoration of a Professional Civil Service led to a purge of teachers
  • History and Biology lessons especially became politicized
  • Emphasis on physical education
  • Eugenics (idea of selective breeding) was introduced and taught
nazis and religion
Nazis and Religion
  • Catholic Church:
    • 1933 Concordat with the Pope
      • Bishops had to take oath of loyalty to Nazi state
    • Nazis broke the agreement in 1936 by closing down Catholic youth groups and monasteries
    • Pope denounced the Nazi regime in 1937 ‘With Burning Concern’
    • The Catholic press was closed down in 1941
nazis and religion57
Nazis and Religion
  • Protestant Churches
    • Nazis tried to control from within
    • 1933 Nazis won 75% of votes in Church elections and their leader, Ludwig Muller, was made Reich Bishop
    • Church leaders opposed and established the ‘Confessional Church’
      • Its leaders were imprisoned
german economy
German Economy
  • By 1933, Hitler knew he needed to tackle economic problems (esp unemployment)
  • Hitler ignored socialist elements of the Twenty-Five Points and rejected SA calls for nationalization of industry (industrialists obviously liked this)
  • 1936 New Plan
    • Govt control of foreign exchange and trade agreements
    • Peasant farmers protected by tariffs and helped by cheap loans and tax exemptions
german economy cont
German Economy cont
  • What did Hitler do to solve unemployment?
    • 1932 5.6%
    • 1934 2.3%
    • 1937 0.9%
    • 1938 0.2%
  • Public works spending:
    • New houses, planting forests
  • Expansion of car industry:
    • Removed tax on luxury cars and cut tax on gas
    • Autobahn
german economy cont60
German Economy cont
  • Cash incentives to women for giving up their jobs
  • Massive re-armament program after 1935
  • Re-introduced conscription in 1935 – young men 18-20 no longer in workforce
  • By 1937, there was actually a shortage of skilled labor
  • By 1938 GNP had risen to 80 billion from a low of 44 billion in 1933
  • By 1939 wages had recovered to 89% of their 1928 level
four year plan 1936
Four Year Plan (1936)
  • Germany’s balance of payments (imports and exports) was out of whack
  • Hitler could not risk cutting back on food imports, so decided to cut industrial raw materials imports (rubber, oil, iron)
  • Planned to produce synthetics domestically
  • Overall the plan was not a success, though rubber and oil production did increase
  • By 1939 Germany was still importing 19% of its food requirements
  • Government spending in billions of Reichsmarks
    • 1932 0.8
    • 1933 1.9
    • 1935 6.0
    • 1938 17.2
  • 1933 Germany had 100,000 army, no tanks, no warplanes, limited navy
  • By 1939 it had 1200 bombers, 980,000 army, navy was three times larger
  • 66% of German industrial investment was devoted to war production from 1936-1939
historical divide
Historical divide:
  • Most historians say that Hitler was actually only gearing up for a limited war (series of short blitzkrieg campaigns) that would allow Germany to exploit economic resources of conquered countries before moving on. USSR spoiled this when Germany got bogged down in a war of attrition with them.
  • Some historians point to the overwhelming percentage of spending on war preparation as proof of total war plans, and that Hitler miscalculated his invasion of Poland dragging all of Europe into war.
opposition to the nazis
Opposition to the Nazis
  • Came from many places:
    • Socialists
    • Communists
    • Working class people
    • Church
      • Both Catholic and Protestant
    • There was some slight opposition from within the army, but since rearmament policies favored Nazi officers, it was few and far between (at least until middle of 1944!)
    • By 1945 500,000 Germans were in concentration camps for opposition
why was opposition limited
Why was opposition limited?
  • Over the years the Nazis became fairly popular due to:
    • Propaganda
    • Their results on unemployment and in foreign policy
  • Organized opposition was eliminated
    • 1933 political parties, trade unions, etc
  • Opposition was illegal and the SS and Gestapo inspired fear and terror
foreign policy
Foreign Policy


  • Lebensraum – living space
  • Priority was to “fix” the injustices of the Versailles Treaty (TOV)
  • Commitment to the creation of a Greater German Reich (or Third Reich…what were the first two?) and rid the country of untermenschen (sub-humans)
foreign policy67
Foreign Policy

Revision of TOV Achievements in 1935:

  • Saar region becomes part of Germany again
  • Hitler reintroduces conscription and announces rearmament

Opposition to Germany breaks down (known as Stresa Front):

  • Italy, Britain and France
  • Britain signed Anglo-German Naval agreement in June 1935 pissed off Italy and France
  • Mussolini attacked Abyssinia (modern Somalia) in Oct 1935 pissing off Britain and France
foreign policy68
Foreign Policy


  • France and Britain
  • Why?
    • Many felt harshness of TOV was unjust
    • Bitter memories of WWI slaughter
    • Britain more worried about Japanese expansion threatening British interests in Far East
    • French leaders felt France was too weak to fight again without British help
    • Many in France were more worried about Communist expansion
    • Economic problems of the Great Depression were more important
    • Britain and France knew they needed USA help in confronting Germany, but US was practicing isolationism
foreign policy69
Foreign Policy


  • Hitler and Mussolini send troops to Spain to help Franco in Spanish Civil War 1936-39
  • Germany continued trading with Italy during Abyssinian Crisis 1935-36 even though League imposed sanctions on Italy
  • Rome-Berlin Axis friendship treaty Oct 1936
  • Hitler realized Japanese hated USSR as much as he did and signed the Anti-Comintern Pact in Nov 1936
  • Union with Austria (had been forbidden in TOV)
  • Achieved by March 1938
  • Hitler was actually Austrian
  • Austrians “voted” (supervised by Nazis) with 99% in favor of union