Hitler shakes hands with President von Hindenburg on an official occasion in Berlin, probably February 1933.
Torchlight procession by units of the Nationalist organisation in Kiel on 2 February 1933, three days after the announcement that Adolf Hitler had been named as Chancellor.
The burnt out dome of the Reichstag or parliament building in Berlin after the mysterious fire of 27 February 1933. The Nazis pinned the blame on a young Communist, Van der Lubbe, who was sentenced to death. The fire, just a week before the general election, provided the Nazis with the excuse they wanted to prevent the Communists taking their seats in the new parliament. Forty-seven years later a West Berlin court overturned the verdict of the 1933 court and acquitted Van der Lubbe posthumously.
Himmler and Hitler review the Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler section of the SS at the Nuremberg Rally of 1935. Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler (meaning Adolf Hitler's Bodyguard) originally compromised 120 carefully selected SS men who were to act as Hitler's personal bodyguard. Himmler subsequently formed various special SS units to carry out specific functions. The Leibstandarte later became a formidable SS military unit.
The 1935 Nuremberg Rally. Hitler addresses a vast crowd of over 100,000 at the Luitpold Arena.
A battalion of the RAD (Reichsarbeitsdienst or National Labour Service) marching past Hitler and Mussolini standing in front of the two Ehrentempeln in Munich, 25 September 1937. The RAD was originally a voluntary organisation (set up in 1933 but modelled on pre-Nazi public works programs) providing work of national importance for the unemployed. After June 1935 service in the RAD became compulsory for boys on leaving school. Work included the building of the Autobahns and barracks, clearing forests and draining marshes.
Hitler and Goebbels at table eating the Eintopfgericht or one-pot meal. The Nazis imposed the idea of a frugal single-dish meal six times a year between September and March. The money thus saved was supposed to go to Winter Relief, a Nazi-organised charity to give help to the poor. As well as raising money, the Eintopfgericht was intended to foster community spirit.
Symbol of the DAF (Deutsche Arbeitsfront or German Labour Front) erected over the exhibition hall in Berlin where the "German People, German Labour" exhibition was held. The DAF, a labour organisation allied to the Nazi Party, was set up by Hitler as a substitute for the potentially dangerous trade union movement. Dr. Robert Ley, who was instrumental in destroying the trade unions in May 1933, became the leader of the DAF when it was officially established on 10 May 1933 "to re-establish social peace in the world of labour". A Labour Charter was introduced in January 1934 and DAF agencies such as Strength Through Joy (Kraft durch Freude) gave workers all kinds of benefits including free holidays in an attempt to win working class support.
The Hall of Columns of the House of German Art in Munich. This was the epitome of Nazi neo-classical architecture and was built to house what were considered by the Nazis to be the best German paintings. It was opened in the summer of 1937. The first exhibition of German art displayed about 500 works by Nazi artists, Hitler making the final selection himself. The nearby exhibition of Degenerate Art, which also opened in 1937, attracted 2 million visitors, five times more than attended the German Art exhibition.
Primary schoolchildren being taught to give the Nazi salute. Under the Nazis the education system was adjusted to put Nazi values and ideas at the centre of the curriculum. Children learned about Germany's glorious past and were taught to believe in the infallibility of the Fuhrer. Teachers were faced with the choice of accepting the changes or losing their jobs. Ninety-seven per cent joined the Nazi Teacher's Association. Despite the general acquiescence in the new system, teachers found their status declining in the face of the mounting importance of the youth movement.
The burning of the books in front of the Opera House, Berlin 10 May 1933. The universities had already been heavily under Nazi influence when Hitler came to power. As early as 1931 approximately 60% of undergraduates supported the Nazi Student Organisation, about double the level of support in the country as a whole. After January 1933 the universities quickly became centres of Nazi fanaticism and the ritual book-burning ceremonies carried out in the major towns and cities of Germany in May 1933 were organised by students themselves under the eye of Goebbels. Any books with Communist, Jewish or anti-Nazi connotations were labelled "un-German" and consigned to the flames.
The Drum Corps of the Jungvolk (the junior branch of the Hitler Youth movement) parading at the Nuremberg Rally of 1935 and pledging their loyalty to the Fuhrer. The Hitler Youth movement (Hitler Jugend) was perhaps the most important way of inculcating Nazi beliefs and values into the young and so ensuring a future generation of devoted Nazis. Under the leadership of Baldur von Schirach, the youth movement laid great stress on physical fitness, on the importance of self-sacrifice for the sake of the group and on personal devotion to the Fuhrer.
Girls of the Bund deutscher Madel (League of German Girls) exercising on the beach. At 10 they could join the Jungmadel (Young Girls) and then from 14 to 17 the Bund deutscher Madel. The emphasis was on comradeship, service and preparation for future motherhood. Its heartier side was not always very popular with adolescent girls but the elder sister organisation, Glaube und Schonheit (Faith and Beauty), set up in 1938 for the over 17s, proved more popular with its emphasis on physical beauty as well as fitness and on learning domestic skills and mothercraft.
Street in Rosenheim, Bavaria, with an anti-Jewish banner strung across it in 1935. The banner reads "Jews are not wanted here". Anti-semitic activity varied. It ranged from the early boycotts carried out by the SA and party radicals and race laws, which culminated in the Nuremberg Laws of 1935, to the systematic removal of Jews from all areas of public life and schemes for emigration. Local expressions of anti-semitism took the form of petty gestures like this banner.
German troops marching into the Rhineland, March 1936. According to the terms of the Treaty of Versailles, Allied troops were to occupy parts of the Rhineland for at least fifteen years and even after that Germany was forbidden to fortify the left bank. In fact through the efforts of Stresemann (Foreign Minister 1923-29) Allied troops left the Rhineland in 1930, three years early. Nationalist feeling had always bitterly resented Allied interference in the Rhineland and Hitler had wholehearted support for his remilitarisation of the area. No opposition was shown by France or Britain.
Chamberlain, Daladier, Hitler, Mussolini and Ciano at the Munich Conference, September 1938. Hitler's excuse for interference in Czechoslovakia was the fact that there were 3 million German-speaking inhabitants of the Sudetenland. After his success in achieving "Anschluss" (union with Austria) in March 1938, Hitler raised the hopes of the Sudeten Germans for absorption into the Reich. The British and French, fearing the possibility of war if Hitler did not achieve his ends, decided on compromise, wrongly judging that this would be Hitler's last territorial demand. In reality the Munich Agreement left Czechoslovakia totally vulnerable. In March 1939 Germany invaded Czechoslovakia and the whole country came under German occupation.
Hitler's entry into Danzig, September 1939. Alleged incidents of mistreatment of Germans within Poland were used as a pretext for a German attack on Poland. The invasion began on 1 September. Danzig, formerly a German port lost in 1919 when the Polish corridor was created, had a mainly German population. Hitler's troops were thus greeted as liberators. The banner across the street reads "Danzig greets her Führer."
Adolf Hitler standing at the Trocadero in Paris with the Eiffel Tower in the background, July 1940. The German army entered Paris on 14 June and on 17 June the French government requested an armistice, which was signed on 22 June at Compiegne. France was divided into two zones: the northern half came under direct German occupation but the southern half was ruled by the newly-established government at Vichy under Marshal Petain. The defeat of France was seen by the German people as a major victory. A national day's holiday was proclaimed and Hitler was welcomed back in Berlin as a great hero.
German civilians donate winter clothing and skis for use on the Eastern Front, January 1942. The Russian campaign, which had begun with the successful invasion in June 1941, proved a very different matter from the Blitzkrieg of 1940. The civilian population was being called on to make sacrifices to help the soldiers at the front and women even gave up their gold wedding rings. Yet Germany never developed a complete war economy in the way Britain did.
German prisoners of war walking through the streets of Stalingrad in 1943. The campaign of 1942 had gone badly wrong for the Germans. The Sixth Army under General von Paulus was ill prepared for the lengthy battle for Stalingrad in the winter of 1942/43. The Russians fiercely defended their city street by street. By the autumn of 1942 the Germans were losing 20,000 men per week. Finally, against Hitler's express orders, von Paulus surrendered with his remaining 93,000 soldiers on 31 January 1943.
The result of an air raid on Berlin, 16 December 1943. Women civilians clearing rubble from the corner of Munchstrasse and Breitestrasse. Despite Goring's assurance that Allied bombers would never penetrate German air defences, both British and US bombers inflicted considerable damage on the city during the Battle of Berlin in November 1943. In fact a higher tonnage of explosive was dropped on Berlin than was dropped on Hiroshima in the atomic bomb attack in August 1945. About 6,000 Berliners were killed.
Mobile soup kitchen for bombed-out civilians, 1944. The intensive air raids on German cities rendered many homeless and caused widespread disruption to gas, electricity and water supplies.
View of Dresden after the Allied bombing of 13/14 February 1945. The destruction of Dresden by British and U.S. bomber crews remains one of the most controversial Allied operations of the Second World War since Dresden had no military installations nor armaments factories. Well over 1,000 aircraft were involved and the fire bombs caused horrific firestorms in the city. One estimate of the death toll is as high as 135,000 but the correct figure will never be known. Of the dead, half were inhabitants of the city and half refugees fleeing from the Russian advance.
A mother and two children among the dead at Belsen, 17 April 1945. This is one of a series of official British photographs. British troops entered and liberated the camp on 15 April. 60,000 men, women and children were found dying of starvation and disease. The S.S. guards (men and women) were forced to remove and bury the thousands of corpses. This photograph appeared in the British Sunday newspapers on 22 April 1945.