The Lean Yearsfor Nazis • The 1920’s were hard times for the Nazis. While Hitler was in jail the party had no real leader, and declined in popularity. • The chaotic days of violence and hyperinflation were gone and the Weimar Republic experienced its “Golden Age”. • The German Mark stabilized, unemployment was low, and the economy prospered. Few people wanted to hear Hitler’s speeches anymore.
What you should know by the end of this lesson • 1. Know what Hitler wrote in his book, “Mein Kampf” and how this will become the “blueprint” for the Nazi policy of genocide. • 2. Understand Hitler’s new strategy to take over Germany and why it met with only limited success. • 3. Identify the significance of Joseph Goebbels and the effect of his propaganda on the German people. • 4. Understand the SS organization and its mentality towards the Jews.
From April to December 1924 Hitler was jailed on the outskirts of Munich in Landsberg Prison. • He was treated more like an honored guest than an inmate. • The guards let him have his own room, furniture, clothing, and guests whenever he wished. • He devoted much of this time to writing his book, “Mein Kampf” in which he communicated his ideas to the German people. What is the translation of the title “Mein Kampf”?
Mein Kampf • Originally Hitler wanted to call his book “Four and a half years against Lies, Stupidity, and Cowardice” but his friends made him change his mind. • Published in 1925 it’s separated into two volumes. The first is his autobiography and talks about Germany and the Aryan Race. The second describes the Nazi Party and his vision for the future. • Mein Kampf is over 600 pages and is known for it’s long winded passages. As a result very few people bought the book, let alone read it. • For many people Hitler was seen as a political extremist who had no chance of obtaining power, others simply did not take the book seriously. • Had the public become aware of his goals, and understood he meant to do what he said, it is conceivable that Hitler would never have become leader of Germany. Did you Know? After Hitler came to power it was required that all households in Germany have a copy of Mein Kampf. This made Hitler a millionaire, as he received a 15% royalty on every purchase.
Mein Kampf Editions • Three editions • People’s Edition (original dust jacket, navy blue, gold swastika eagle) • Wedding Edition (golden symbol given to marrying couples) • Compact Edition (Red cover, combined edition issued by the post office to send to soliders • Hitler’s 50th birthday edition
Mein Kampf Facts • Hitler wrote a sequel after the 1928 elections • Only two copies were made – one was found by the Untied States • Published by the United States in 2003 as “Hitler’s Second Book” (Deals with Foreign Policy) • In certain countries it is illegal to buy the book • In certain countries it is illegal to trade the book (promoting Nazi Ideas) • In the United States the book can be found in most book stores and libraries but it is banned in all school libraries • After Hitler’s death all of his estate (including the rights to Mein Kampf) were passed to the Bavarian Government • Mein Kampf is scheduled to enter Germany public domain on January 1, 2016 (50 years after Hitler’s death) • Last time it was published in Germany was 1945 • The publication of Mein Kampf is illegal in Germany • Most libraries in Germany carry a heavily edited version. • Some want to reprint it and use it as a teaching tool
The main points of Mein Kampf • First, Hitler outlined his hatred of what he called the worlds “Twin Evils”: Communism and Judaism. • Secondly, he spoke of the Fuhrer Principal whereby the nation would follow one leader with blind obedience and total loyalty. • Thirdly, he spoke of the need for Lebensraum, or “Living Space” for the German people east of Germany. His plan was to either forcibly remove or kill the inhabitants of Poland and Russia and then use the land for German colonization. • Most importantly, Hitler outlined his perception of the Jewish people. Although he does not literally say what should be done to the Jews, he conveys the budding ideas for the Holocaust.
Mein Kampf Activity Directions – 25 Points • 1. Spilt into teams of 2 • Read the selections from Mein Kampf Chapter 11 paying special attention to the boxed passages. • 4. Create 4 “Thesis Points” from your understanding of the chapter. For each thesis point attach a quotation(s) which support your thesis point. • Example: • Thesis Point • Propaganda must establish a single point of view in order to be effective. • Quotation relating to the Thesis Point • “What for example would we say about a poster that was supposed to advertise a new soap and that described other soaps as “good”?” (Mein Kampf 182) “ As soon as our own propaganda admits so much as a glimmer of right on the other side, the foundation for doubt in our own right has been laid.” (Mein Kampf 183) • Your thesis points will be collected at the end of class – I need one per group with BOTH names on it
Review Questions • 1. Why did the Nazi Party decline during the 1920’s? • 2. While in prison what did Hitler do? What were his prison conditions? Why do you think the guards treated him this way? • 3. List 3 reasons why most people (including the German-Jewish population) not see Hitler as a danger even after “Mein Kampf” was published? • 4. Describe the following: • A. The world’s twin evils • B. Fuhrer Principle • C. Lebensraum • 5. List at least 6 Thesis Points to Hitler’s words in the Chapter entitled “Race and Nation”.
Setting a New Course • After Hitler was released from prison in December 1924 he set a new path for the Nazi Party. • They would no longer be a group that seeks to overthrow the government in a revolution, but one that seeks to obtain power legally through democratic elections. • For the first few years the Nazis met with only limited success with this policy. • With the economy improving Germany became more stable, and fewer Germans were attracted to radical groups such as the Nazis.
Hitler’s House • Hitler decided to spend most of this time in seclusion to avoid being held responsible for the poor performance of the Nazi Party. • He bought a home in a rural town called Berchtesgaden and named it the Berghof. Berchtesgaden became the second capital of Nazi Germany complete with administrative buildings and homes for all the top Nazis. • As a 50th birthday present in 1939 Hitler received a second home called The Eagles Nest just above the Berghof on top of the Bavarian Alps.
Reichstag Elections of the 1920’s: Number of Seats in each election * = Moderate Party favoring Democracy Percent of Nazi Vote in Bavaria • Questions: • How well do the non-democratic parties do in the elections? • What can explain the rising number of seats for the Social Democratic Party? • What can explain the dramatic drop in popularity of the Nazis from May to December 1924? Think About what was happening early in the year.
Question for Review • 1. What new direction did Hitler choose for the party to obtain power? Why did it only meet with limited success? • 2. How did Hitler avoid being blamed for the party’s poor performance? • 3. What were Hitler’s homes called? What significance did they have in the Third Reich?
Out with the Old, in with the New Ludendorff only got 2% of the vote in the Presidential election. His friend Paul Von Hindenburg won. • By this time Ludendorff became a liability for the Nazis. After Ludendorff’s very poor showing in the 1925 Presidential election Hitler split with Ludendorff and the general retired. • The same year a man named Joseph Goebbels came to Hitler’s attention. As a propaganda official he had incredible morale boosting techniques and believed in rampant anti-Semitism. He was quickly named Nazi Propaganda Minister and held this title till the end of the Third Reich in 1945. • As Minister of Propaganda in the Third Reich, Goebbels had complete control over the German media. Every newspaper, magazine, movie, and radio program was under his dominion. • Using this power his was able to transform public opinion in Germany against the Jews in preparation for the Holocaust.
Joseph Goebbles • Born in 1897 in Rhineland • Went to college at Heidelberg University • Served in WW I for the German army • Joined the Nazi Party in 1924 • His job was to build support in Berlin for the Nazi party • He killed his family and himself in 1945 • Before Hitler died, Hitler gave his watch to Goebbles, claiming he was the only senior Nazi that had stayed with him till the end
Quote by Goebbles • “The essence of propaganda consists in winning people over to an idea so sincerely, so vitally, that in the end they succumb to it utterly and can never again escape from it.”
The Influence of Goebbels in real life • To inspire the Germans with the Nazi Party, Goebbels began the tradition of holding a national party rally in the Bavarian city of Nuremberg each September. The rallies grew in size each year until more than 2 million people were involved by 1938. • Nuremberg became the spiritual center of the Third Reich. It had so much significance that after World War II American officials chose the city to hold the trials where the Nazis were convicted of crimes against humanity.
The Power of Goebbels in fiction: Jud Suss • One of Joseph Goebbels’s most successful works of propaganda was the film “Jud Suss”. Considered one of the most anti-Semitic films of all time it was viewed by more than 20 million people and was the most profitable German film of 1939-1940. • The movie was shown to SS units before being deployed to the concentration camps, and to non-Jews in lands where Jews were being deported. Even the Nazis knew the power of the film and banned anyone under 13 from viewing it.
Review Questions • 1. What influence did Joseph Goebbels have in Nazi Germany? What was his goal as Minister of Propaganda? • 2. What significance does the city of Nuremberg have? • 3. What factors make the film “Jud Suss” a film which we cannot simply ignore in understanding why the Holocaust happened?
The SS • The SA was essentially an unruly gang of thugs. Hitler decided he needed a new highly disciplined group that would serve as his personal body guard, and show total loyalty to him. This new group was called the SS. • SS stands for “SchutzStaffel” (Protection Service). It was a military, police, and security organization of the Nazi Party, not of the military. It will be the SS that will carry out many atrocities, including the Holocaust.
The Structure of the SS Reinhardt Heydrich: Chief of the SD Geheime Staatspolizei
To be admitted into the SS there were strict racial requirements. You had to prove your “Aryan” ancestry back to 1750 and have no Jewish ancestors. You also had to have at least four children, if you didn’t you received a cut in pay. By World War II the SS had more than a million members. • The Leader of the SS was Heinrich Himmler. Hitler will give him the task of carrying out the Holocaust. It was Himmler who decided to build the concentration camps and it was his decision to build the gas chambers. When Hitler issued orders about the Holocaust he did so verbally to Himmler, usually with no witnesses. It was Himmler’s role to break the direct line of evidence that linked Hitler with the Holocaust. Himmler wanted to introduce policies that even Hitler thought went too far. Those who conspired to kill Hitler worried about Himmler taking his place. They had a saying which went “Why kill a madman only to have a lunatic take his place.”
How to identify an SS officer • The SS had specific insignias which made them easily distinguishable from the army. The collar ranks were made up of either small squares or oak leaves, and their officers hats always had the Death Head Pin. If the uniform does not possess any of these then they were in the regular German Army. Did you know? The SS did not have conventional military ranks. Instead they simply copied the old SA rank structure with ranks such as Sturmmann (stormtrooper) or Obersturmbannführer (Senior assault unit leader)
The results of propaganda on the SS • The Nazis would thoroughly indoctrinate SS recruits with books such as Mein Kampf and films like Jus Suss. • The leadership of the Nazi party would then ask SS men questions such as, “How can we Germans defend ourselves?” or “What can we do before the Jews destroy our people?” • What answer did people like Hitler and Himmler want to hear? • Using this twisted mentality Himmler wanted the SS to be seen as “The Greatest Generation” that must bear the hardship, do they dirty work, so future generations can thrive and humanity evolve into a more perfect form. Fact: All SS officers gave oaths of loyalty to Hitler himself, not to Germany. They were required to obey his word without question, no matter what it may be.
Did people really believe this? • There were a small faction of fanatical Nazis who firmly believed the SS mentality. Evidence exists however that most men in the SS had doubts. This mentality was more the “official ideology” than what people truly believed. • It was up to Joseph Goebbels to drill this mentality into the minds of millions through his propaganda. He had to make sure there was no one left in Germany that could have publicly countered “Nazi political correctness”.
Review Questions • 1. What was the SS and what does it mean? What was the original purpose for the creation? • 2. What are the 3 branches of the SS? What does each branch represent? • 3. Who was the leader of the SS and what is his role in the Holocaust? • 4. How can you tell the difference between a person in the SS and one in the German Army? • 5. What were the results of Goebbels's propaganda on the SS? Was it effective?