Weimar Nazi Germany


Problems after WW1

-Military = 11 million German troops fought in war and 55% became casualties

-Economy = German government's debts trebled due to cost of war (150 billion marks in debt and had to paid off by taxpayers)

-Food shortages = British Navy blockaded German ports meaning no food into Germany and 750k Germans died due to starvation

-Riots/strikes = workers went on strike and demonstrated in the streets. Soldiers refused to control riots in Hanover. In 1918 there was a general strike led by Jewish communist to announce separation from Germany

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Abdication of Kaiser

1) Kaiser had lost support of German army and officers due to war defeat so kaiser abdicated and went into exile in the Netherlands

2) In Berlin some people gathered outside of reichstag and others took over parts of the city

3) Philipp Scheidemann was leading member of SDP and was told that armed rioters were ready to announce new communist government in Berlin

4) Ebert became Kaiser and agreed with General for army to work with government to keep communists out of power

5) Council of people's representatives was set up to keep Germany in control and prevent communists from taking over

6) Armistice was signed on 11th November and TOV was to become a major burden on the new Republic

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Setting up the republic

-Civil servants = had previously helped run Germany under the kaiser and now worked with soldier's/workers' councils

-Army = army was not reformed so officers kept their ranks and in return the General agreed to use army to keep republic in power

-Industry = land was not confiscated from leaders of industry and there was no state control over private industries to ensure that businesses and economy continued to operate

-Trade unions = leader of trade unions were promised that Republic would achieve 8 hour working day

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Strengths of constitution

1) democratic = confirmed by article 1 where women were given the vote, voting age decreased to 21 and Reichstag was elected under proportional representation

2) Nobody had too much power = Chancellor proposed new laws but had to be voted for by Recihstag/Reichsrat (Reichstag was more powerful but Reichsrat could delay laws from being passed), central government became more powerful but local government retained traditional powers

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Weaknesses of constitution

1) Coalition governments = proportional representation meant many small parties won seats due to no clear majority so parties joined together as coalition governments and had to compromise but was unsuccessful due to lack of clear policies and arguments

2) Weakness in crises = Article 48 stated that in a crisis the chancellor could ask the president to pass law by decree without reichstag permission which weakened democracy and the overall constitution

3) Division and violence = despite democracy people had a lack of choice, German revolution meant government had to use force to subdue public riots, many parties with opposing political views were elected into reichstag, republic was opposed by extremists and moderates

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Effects of TOV

-War guilt = Article 231 stated that germany caused the war and that reparations had to be paid to the Allies as compensation for war damage (132 billion marks)

-Military weakened = reduced to 100k men in army, no iar force and no submarines, Rhineland demilitarised meaning Germany was not allowed in

-Lost land = Alsace and Lorraine were lost to France whilst Possia and West Prussia was lost to Poland, Germany lost 10% of its population and 13% of European territory as well as overseas properties and some iron/coal reserves

-Dolchstoss = some Germans believed their army was never defeated in war. Critics of TOV believed the army was betrayed by German politiicans who surrendered when they could have won


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Spartacist Revolt (Jan 1919)

-Spartacists were a left-wing communist group which wanted to replace the Weimar government witha communist system run by working classes

1) Ebert sacked the chief police officer who was popular with workers so thousands of workers protested on the streets

2) Spartacists called for a general strike by taking over government's newspapers and telegraph offices

3) Ebert used Friekorps (a right-wing group of ex-soliders who had kept their weapons) to put down the revolt

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Kapp Putsch (March 1920)

-Due to TOV, military had to be reduced meaning the Friekorps feared unemployment

1) Friekorps marched into Berlin led by a right-wing politician named Wolfgang Kapp

2) Weimar governemnt fled from Berlin and ordered a national strike

3) Kapp was unable to rule Germany due to the strike and was therefore forced to flee

4) Weimar government returned to Berlin after putsch failed

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French occupation of the Ruhr (Jan 1923)

-Germany couldn't afford to continue to pay reparations and failed to send coal to France from Ruhr coalfields (which was a term in the TOV)

1) French troops imnvaded Ruhr to seize raw materials and take control of industries

2) German army of 100k was no match for 750k French troops which meant they couldn't resist the invasion. Germany resorted to passive resistance (strikes)

3) Money was printed for workers to pay for their income (which eventually led to inflation) and there was now a shortage of goods

4) French occupation crippled germany by increasing debt and unemployment and worsening the shortage of goods

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-After French occupation of Ruhr, German mark became worthless and shortage of goods meant prices increased

Advantages of hyperinflation:

-People could pay off loans/mortages as value of money owed decreased

-Farmers benefitted as they were paid more for food

-Foreign visitors could buy more for their money

Disadvantages of hyperinflation:

-Savings became worthless which affected the middle class

-People with fixed monthly incomes sufferred e.g. pensioners

-People blamed Weimar government which meant it was unpopular

-People struggled to afford essentials like bread e.g. 1919 = 1 mark, 1923 = 200k billion marks

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Political assasinations

-Politicians were worried about assasinations as 376 took place

-E.g. Walther Ratenau (Weimar's foreign minister) was machine-gunned to death

-Some right-wing extremists used assassinations to weaken Republic

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-Nov 1923, Stresemann (Chancellor and foreign minister) set up new state-owned bank called Rentenbank and introduced new currency named Rentenmark

-Supply of notes was limited but was trusted ore than old mark as the value of the new currency was tied to the price of gold which gave the public more confidence

-German money was now trusted at home and abroad

Hyperinflation ended, businesses recovered and employment improved

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Dawes Plan


-1924, US banker Dawes designed a plan to make payment of reparations easier by reducing reparations to £50 million a year and by organising US loans to German industry

-Republic's economy improved, industrial output doubled, employment icnreased, tarde increased and income from taxation increased

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Young Plan


-Aug 1929, young plan was set up by Allies and US banker Young which reduced reparations total to £2 billion and extended deadline to 1988

-Lower reparations meant lower taxes which released public spending power 

Industry and employment was boosted

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Locarno Pact


-A 1925 agreement between Germany, GB, France, Italy and Belgium 

-Germany agreed to new border with France

-All agreed to permanent demilitarisation of Rhineland

-Discussed Germany's potential membership of the League of Nations

-Relations with France improved, increased popularity/status of Weimar Republic and boosted confidence in more moderate political parties

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League of Nations


-Set up in 1920 by Allies and aimed to allow counries to solve problems and avoid war

-Germany joined in 1926 which boosted confidence in Weimar Republic as it showed Germany's views mattered

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Kellogg-Briand Pact


-Agreement between 62 nations in 1928 and agreed to avoid war in order to achieve foreign policy aims

-Showed Germany was a major power

-Showed moderate parties could build germany's strength internationally

-Increased public confidence in how Germany was being led

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Economic and Political Problems


-Extreme political parties were completely against germany paying reparations at all

-Economic recovery depended on US loans which meant future of germany was fragile


-Hated terms of TOV were still in place

-Some didn't like confirmation of new border with France

-There were still extremist parties in germany

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Standard of Living

-Unemployment insurance = 1927 Unemployment Act charged over 16 million workers 3% of their wages which was put towards insurance. If a worker fell out of work due to sickness or unemployment, they would be given an average of 60 marks per week

-Housing = by 1923 there was a shortage of 1 million homes. In 1925 15% rent tax was introduced to fund building associations which led to over 100k houses being built which reduced the shortage massively

-Wages and work = working conditions improved, working hours reduced and wages rose by 25% between 1925-1928

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Women in Politics

-In 1918 women were given the right to vote and the right to stand in elections, meaning 90% of women turned out at elections

-By 1932, 112 women were elected into the Reichstag

-Article 109 stated women had equal rights with men and could enter professions on an equal basis

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Women at Leisure

-Greater earning power meant more independent women

-'New women' were young and unmarried women working in cities who wore lots of makeup and smoked/drank alcohol (some images of new women were used in adverts)

-Some people felt they threatened to change social traditions e.g. motherhood

-Birth rate fell = more women needed to be mothers

-Divore rate rose = more women needed to be wives

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Women at Work

-75% of women in work during WW1 as many men had left, but this decreased to 36% after the war

-Women were paid 33% less than men for doing the same job

-Women were expected to give up work after marriage to focus on housework and motherhood


-There was an increase in part-time work for women

-Some professions like teaching offered new opportunities for women

-Women were eventually encouraged to go to university

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-Artists painted everyday life so everyone could access it and relate

-Some art was made to comment on social problems to make people think

-Popular style of art was expressionism which included raw emotion and confronted WW1 disaster

-Example of artist was Otto Dix

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-During 1920s, films were popular around the world

-Expressionism flourished in film-making in germany

-German films were exciting and innovative e.g. 'The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari' was one of the world's first horror films

-Germany's first sound film was made in 1930 and eventually there were 3800 sound cinemas in germany

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-Architects and designers challenged traditional ideas e.g. the Bauahus School looked radical compared to traditional designs

-Mendelsohn designed Einstein Tower which was futuristic and looked like a rocket which was unique

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-DAP (German Workers' Party) was party of protest and was strongly opposed to weimar politicians who accepted TOV, democracy as they viewed it as weak and jews as they blamed them for undermining the economy

-DAP issued 25-point programme:

1) Demanded that germany and its people would be treated fairly by other countries

2) Stated that you could only be a part of Germany if you are actually german (excluded Jews)

3) Demanded a "strong central state power" AKA a dictatorship

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Organisation of DAP

1) Jan 1920, DAP set up permanent office in Munich so party's meetings were more organised and better advertised so party membership and funds increased

2) 2 main pillars of 25-point programme were nationalism and socialism so was renamed NSDAP

3) Adopted swastika and straight-armed salute to make them distinguishable

4) By end of 1920, bigger memebrship and better organisation allowed NSDAP to buy newspaper which cost 180k marks and about 17k copies made within a year which meant Nazi voice was widely heard in germany

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Hitler's Personal Appeal

-Powerful orator = rehearsed speeches carefullt and were very persuasive, made powerful gesture e.g. fixing eyes on audience to draw them in, had publicity photos and paintings illustrating him as a powerful orator

-Appeared at 31/46 party gatherings as star speaker

-His appeal spread and some of his followers joined DAP

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NSDAP leadership

-1921 a leadership contest was held and Hitler defeated Drexler and became leader

-Hitler selected his supportersHess (Hitler's deputy), Goering (WW1 pilot), Streicher (publisher who founded another Nazi newspaper), Rohm (popular ex-army officer)

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Role of the SA

-Formed after Hitler became Nazi leader

-SA was a paramilitary force and members were recruited from the unemployed e.g. ex-sokldiers

-Wore brownshirts

-Paraded streets to show force, controlled crowds at NSDAP meetings and disrupted opposition meetings

-By 1922, about 800 SA members and people were impressed with their strong power and organisation

-Many members of SA were wild/difficult to control so only trusted members were chosen to be Hitler's bodyguards

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Munich Putsch Causes

-Long-term = many germans resented acceptance of TOV by weimar republic which increased support for Nazis and by 1923 about 50k members of NSDAP

-Medium-term = NSDAP influenced by right-wing fascists led by Mussolini. Mussolini led paramilitary forces in a 'march on Rome' and forced democratic Italian government to accept him as new leader

-Short-term = Germany was unstable as French occupation of the Ruhr and hyperinflation   

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Events of Munich Putsch

1) Nov 1923, 3 Bavarian government officials were meeting in a Beer Hall in Munich

2) Hitler and 600 SA troops burst into beer hall and announced they would march into Munich to declare himself as president (held officials at gunpoint and they agreed to support)

3) Hitler marched into Munich with SA members and thousands of volunteers

4) Bavarian army stayed loyal and put down the putsch. Nazis were out-gunned and some of Hitler's supporters were shot dead which led to chaos in streets

5) Hitler hid from police but was later found and arrested

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Consequences of Munich Putsch

-Hitler and other leaders put on trial and sentenced to 5 years prison for teason (released after 9 months)

-NSDAP banned (ban lifted in 1925)

-Hitler wrote 'Mein Kampf' in priosn whihc contained political ideas and became inspiration for NSDAP, became bestseller when published

-Hitler realised he needed to gain power without using violence by building a party with nationwide support and use democracy (which he hated)

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Party Reorganisation

-Bouhler (party secretary) and Schwarz (party treasurer) ensured NSDAP was well-organised and well-financed

-Party was organised like a mini-state = Hitler as leader with different departments e.g. education, agriculture

-Replaced Rohm as leader of SA and sent him abroad

-Set up ** and placed Himmler in control (** were to act as Hitler's bodyguards)

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Mein Kampf

-Aryan race destined to rule the world

-There was a Jewish conspiracy to undermine German rule

-Jews planned to weaken Aryan race by intermarriage and taking over German industry

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Bamberg Conference (1926)

-There was a split in Nazi party = some liked socialism (e.g. Goebbels) and others (e.g. Hitler) preferred nationalism

-Bamberg conference held to address divisions

-Everyone put views forawrd but Hitler made socialism seem like communism

-Hitler won Goebbels over to his side which left Strasser's socialist arguments abandoned (Hitler made Goebbels Gauleiter of Berlin as a reward)

-Socialist principles were weakened and gave Hitler power to adopt policies that he liked

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Limited support for NSDAP

-Stresemann's new Rentenmark, the Dawes and Young Plans restored economic stability meaning inflation eased and employment increased

-Stresemann's leadership/Locarno Pact/League of nations memebership/Kellogg-Briand Pact gave Germany more status in the world 

-In 1925, Hindenburg became President of Republic and was a war hero which increased support for Republic

-NSDAP won no support from german working classes e.g. in 1928 the NSDAP only won 1% of votes in general elections

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Wall Street Crash and German Banking Crisis


-Oct 1929, share prices fell on Wall Street stock exchange which led to panic as people rushed to sell shares . As a result share prices collapsed

-'Black Thursday' = 13 million shares sold wthin a week and investors lost $4000 million


-German banks were major investors in shares in US stock exchange 

-German people feared not having access to their own bank accounts so people rushed to queue outside banks to get money 

-German banking collapsed which led to collapse of german industry

-US demanded previous loans given to German industry to be paid back

-German industries and farms cut back production or closed down completely which led to the collapse of the German economy

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Causes of Unemployment

-Industries cut back production/closed down meaning less workers were needed

-Economic crisis was worldwide and German companies which sold goods abroad had falling sales which meant no income and therefore unemployment

-Unemployed Germans became poorer and couldn't afford to buy much which meant sales fell further

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Impact of Unemployment

-Between 1929-1933, unemployment increased from 1.3 million to 6.1 million

-Unemployed people = as more ebcame unemployed, government was unable to pay unemployment benefits so taxes were raised and benefits were cut

-Savers = some had savings invested in shares but hwne share prices collapsed the value of savings became worthless

-Workers = taxes increased and more people were desperate for work so employers cut wages

-Homeless = couldn't afford to pay rent anymore and became homeless and lived in shanty towns, wnadered the streets for food and fights sometimes broke out

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Failure to deal with unemployment and Bruning

-Bruning became Chancellor in 1930 and proposed higher taxes to pay for unemployment benefits and put time limits on benefits to make payment more affordable

-Right-wing parties/middle and uppper classes opposed higher taxes

-Left-wing parties/ working class opposed reduced benefits

-Bruning's polciies were rejected in the Reichstag and he lost control over economy and streets so he resigned in 1932

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Growing support for Communists

-In 1928, 10% of voters supported KPD which increased to 15% of voters in 1932 which made it the largest communist party in the world outside the USSR

-Working class supported KPD due to growing unemployment and falling wages


-Support for NSDAP grew faster as communism scared middle/upper classes as they feared confiscation of land/companies/money. Therefore they were more likely to vote for NSDAP as they saw Hitler as best defence agaisnt communism)

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Growing support for the NSDAP

-Appeal of Hitler = promsied to restore law and order and force other countries to scrap TOV and treat germany fairly. Hitler was popular and featured on Nazi posters and made speeches throughout Germany

-Appeal of SA = made Nazis seem organised, disciplined and reliable e.g. during economic unrest, SA made Nazis looks strong enough to control unrest and stand up to foreign powers. Nazis had stronger private army than KPD (SA=400k> KPD=130k)

-Use of propaganda =  used it to persuade middle classes that they would protect against communism, solve economic crisis and return germany to traditional values (as there was a moral decline under the Republic e.g. more drinking). Used to persuade farmers that land wouldn't be confiscated unless they were Jewish and that they would be protected against communism (in 1932 Reichstag electins the Nazis won 60% of votes in rural areas). Pesrauded women that voting for Nazis would be best for country and families

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How Hitler became Chancellor

1) Von Schleicher (high-ranking army general) advised Hindenburg to appoint Von Papen as Chancellor and turn government into coalition

2) July 1932 Reichstag elections led to violence in streets between Nazis and Communists (NSDAP won 230 seats in Reichstag so became largest party)

3) Hitler told Hindenburg to sack Von Papen and make him Chancellor instead but Hindenburg hated Hitler as he saw him as a jumped-up corporal

4) Von Schleicher abandoned Von Papen and told Hindenburg that if he stayed there would be a civil war and the army wouldn't be able to control it so Von Papen was forced to resign and Von Schleicher became Chancellor in Dec 1932

5) Von Schleicher had little support as chancellor so Von Papen suggested that Hitler becomes Chancellor and he becomes vice Chancellor so they can use Hitler as a puppet whilst Von Papen and Hindenburg had the real power

6)Hitler becomes Chancellor in Jan 1933

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Reichstag Fire (Feb 1933)

-Dutch communist van der Lubbe was arrested on site with matches and firelighters. Eventually found guilty and executed.

-Hitler used the fire to accuse KPD of conspiracy against government so 4000 communists arrested that night

-Decree for the Protection of the People and the State was issued which gave Hitler power to imprison political opponents and ban opposition newspapers

-In March 1933 elections, NSDAP secured 2/3 of seats in Recihstag by using emergency powers to prevent communists from taking their seats

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Enabling Act (March 1933)

-Hitler wanted to abolish Reichstag by passing Enabling Act so he could make laws (needed a 2/3 majority in Reichstag to be able to change constitution)

-Banned communists from taking their seats and some were imprisoned, whilst SA intimidated people into supporting Hitler

-Enabling Act allowed Hitler to make new laws for 4 years without Reichstag consent which marked end of Weimar constitution (democracy) and start of dictatorship

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Removal of other opposition

-Trade unions = Nazis raided trade union offices and arrested key officials. Hitler banned trade unions and strikes became illegal. Trade unions replaced by German Labour Front

-Political parties = SA entered SDP and KPD offices to destroy newspapers and confiscate funds. By July 1933, all political parties other than the Nazis were banned

-Local government = in 1934 Hitler abolished Lander parliaments and declared he would appoint governors to run each region of Germany

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Threat of Rohm and the SA

-Rohm didn't like Hitler's policies and supported socialism instead

-Leaders of ** wanted to reduce size of SA in order to increase their own power (SA had 3 million troops and ** feared they would be replaced)

-SA was very loyal to Rohm and Hitler was warned that he was planning to seize power

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Night of the Long Knives (1934)

-Hitler invited Rohm and the SA to a meeting but when they arrived they were arrested by ** and shot

-SA continued afterwards but with reduced power and under control of Hitler

-Other leading politicians were affected e.g. Von Schleicher shot and Von Papen sent abroad

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Death of Hindenburg (1934)

-Hindenburg died in Aug 1934

-Hitler declared himself as Fuhrer which combined powers of Chancellor with powers of President

-Plebiscite (public vote) was held to confirm him as Fuhrer which was bombarded with Nazi propaganda and led 90% voting in favour

-Hitler forced army to swear oath of allegiance to him

-Weimar Republic ended and Third Reich began

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-AKA Protection Squad

-Set up in 1925, led by Himmler and wore black uniforms

-Told Hitler about threat of Rohm and murdered SA leaders in Night of Long Knives

-240k men and in charge of other police/security forces

-Members were expected to marry 'racially pure' women to make 'racially pure' children

-Ran concentration camps

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-AKA Security Service

--Formed in 1931 and led by Heydrich

-Monitored opponents of NSDAP at home and abroad (kept card index with details of suspected opposition)

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-AKA Secret State Police

-Formed in 1933 and led by Heydrich

-Non-uniformed so they could blend in with rest of public 

-Spied on people and used network of informants to identify suspects who spoke out against Nazis

-In 1939 made 160k arrests and used torture to gain info then sent suspects to prison/concentration camps

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Concentration camps

-By 1939, 150k people under 'protective arrest' which meant more prisons called concentration        camps were built

-First camp opened in Dachau in 1933

-Camps built in isolated areas away from cities and public view

-Inmates were undesirables e.g. homosexuals, prostitutes, minorities e.g. Jews and political opponents e.g. communists

-Inmates treated harshly and forced to do hard labour

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Concentration camps

-By 1939, 150k people under 'protective arrest' which meant more prisons called concentration        camps were built

-First camp opened in Dachau in 1933

-Camps built in isolated areas away from cities and public view

-Inmates were undesirables e.g. homosexuals, prostitutes, minorities e.g. Jews and political opponents e.g. communists

-Inmates treated harshly and forced to do hard labour

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Controlling Legal System

-Judges = all had to be members of National Socialist League for the Maintenance of the Law, meaning judges always had to favour Nazis in any decision

-Courts = trial by jury was abolished and only judges decided guilt/innocence. People's court set up to hear all treason cases which involved trials in secret and hand-picked judges (sometimes Hitler impsoed sentences). Between 1934-1939, 534 people sentenced to death for political offences

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Catholic Church

-Friction between Nazis and Catholics as Catholics owed first loyalty to Pope instead of Hitler and Catholic schools taught different values to Nazi state schools

-1933 concordat agreed with Pope which stated that Catholics were free to worship and run their own schools if they didn't interfere with politics and swore loyalty to Nazi regime

-Nazis broke their promise as Catholic priests opposing Nazis were harassed and sent to concentration camps and Catholci schools were brought in line with state schools toherwise they would be closed down

-In 1937 the Pope criticised the Nazis in 'With Burning Anxiety'

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Protestant Church

-Some protestants liked Nazis due to protection against communism

-Reich Church set up in 1936 and led by Muller which was a combo of Protestant Churches who liked working with Nazis

-Protestant pastors who supported Nazis were allowed to continue church services and sometimes displayed swastika in Church

-Nazis banned Jewish baptisms/teachings in Church

-Some Protestants spoke out against Hitler e.g. Niemoller who set up Pastors' Emergency league and Confessional Church

-Churches became 'Nazified' and Germany was gradually becoming a totalitarian state

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-1933, Goebbels became Minister of People's Enlightenment and Propaganda and ensured that views opposing Nazis were censored and views supporting Nazis were promoted in propaganda

-Goebbels had a complex view of propaganda and wanted Nazi attitudes deeply buried in propaganda so people wouldn't realise their views were changing

-Hitler had a simplistic view of propaganda and wanted to constantly repeat Nazi message in a clear way

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-Journalists sometimes told that they couldn't publish (censorship)

-Journalists given info about what the government wanted to release (propaganda)

-1600 oppositon newspapers closed down in 1935 (censorship)

-Radio stations censored and used to broadcast Nazi propaganda. Radios had a short range to prevent people from listening to foreign stations

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-Used in election campaigns

-Annual mass rally held to create sense of unity within germany and promote NSDAP

-1934 Nuremburg rally and Stadium had thousands of swastika banners

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-Sports stadiums covered in swastikas so enthusiasm for sport reflected enthusiasm for Nazism

-All teams had to make Nazi salute during national Anthem to show respect

-Sports victories used to reflect victory of Nazi ideals e.g. striving to be the best

-1936 Berlin Olympics = stadium built for 110k (largest in the world at the time) and decorated with Nazi symbols. Germany won most medals (33) and the Games were filmed by one of the best directors and released as propaganda

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-All artists had to be members of Reich Chamber of Visual Arts. If they refused to become members they wouldn't be allowed to teach/produce/sell art

-In 1936, over 12k paintings and sculptures were removed from galleries and Gestapo made surprise visits to check that rules weren't being broken 

-To encourage art that Nazis liked, art competitions were held with large prizes for winners 

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-Films in cinemas preceded by 45-minute newsreel about Germany's achievements

-All filmmakers had to send plot details to Goebbels for approval

-Nazis made their own films, often for entertainment with political messages

-Goebbels had a propaganda cartoon made called Hansi the Canary

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-Nazis disliked modernist and futuristic architecture from Weimar Republic period

-Wanted Nazi Germany to seem powerful 

-Hitler appointed Albert Speer to design Nuremburg parade ground and new Chancellor's office

-Built huge buildings = size suggested power and permanence

-Used ancient features = grand and historic

-Decorated with Nazi flags to promote NSDAP

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-All new books had to be approved by Reich Chamber of Culture before being published

-Existing books which contained ideas that Nazis disapproved of were censored and 2500 writers were banned

-Millions of books from universities and public libraries were burned on huge bonfires e.g. students in Berlin burnt 20k books written by Jews, communists and anti-Nazi authors

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Support for Nazis

-During 1930s there were high levels of conformity with Nazi policies

-Goebbels used propaganda to spread positive messages about Hitler and censorship to ban criticism

-Hitler was successful in reducing unemployment and achieved many successes in foreign policy e.g. regaining land lost by TOV

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Opposition to Nazis

-Secret political opposition = SDP leaders printed 3000 copies of opposition newspaper (Red Shock Troop) and organisers were arrested and sent to concentration camps

-Secret trade unions = KPD still encouraged workers to oppose Nazis so workers undermined building projects by staying off sick/damaging machinery as sabotage agaisnt the Nazis

-Secret army = somy army officers opposed Nazis e.g. General Ludwig Beck tried to get fellow officers to arrest Hitler and also led plots to kill him

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Opposition from the young

-Hitler youth was unappealing because it took away free time, comradeship was poor and it was very strict

-Edelweiss Pirates = teenage boys/girls who resented military discipline in Nazi youth groups and lack of freedom in Germany. Boys stressed their freedom by growing long hair and wearing American-styled clothing

-Swing Youth = teenagers from wealthy middle class families who admired American culture. They played illegally imported records from USA and organised dances

-Jazz Youth = youngsters who enjoyed jazz music. Nazis were against jazz music as it was typically made by black people who they viewed as inferior


-Actions were limited = Pirates/Swing Youth resisted Nazi expectations but didn't oppose them as they only started to make physical attacks after 1939

-Motives were limited = dislike of Nazis due to culture rather than politics as they wanted freedom from nazi control

-Numbers were limited = by 1939, Pirates had only 2k members < 8 million in Hitler Youth

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Opposition from churches

-After Reich Church was set up, Niemoller set up Pastors' Emergency League which opposed Nazi treatment of Protestant Churches, opposed joining regional churches into one national one and opposed Nazi attempt to stop jews from becoming Christian and banning Jewish Old Testament from Christian teaching

-Confessing Church was set up by PEL which opposed Nazi interference (2000 pastors in Reich Church<6000 pastors in Confessing Church)

-Some pastors spoke out against Nazis (800 arrested and sent to concentration camps)

-Niemoller = previously opposed Weimar Republic so instead voted for Nazis and welcomed Hitler as Chancellor but opposed Nazis running Portestant churches and banning Jews from becoming Christian

-Why opposition was limited = big attendances at church in defiance of Nazis and some germans publcily applauded those who opposed the Nazis BUT most weren't brave enough to oppose 

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Nazis' ideal woman

-Work = should stay at home and should not go to work or university

-Appearance = wear traditional clothes, have hair tied back and not too much makeup

-Marriage and family = get married and have as many children as possible

-Skills = needlework and cookery

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Policies about marriage and family

-Encouraging marriage = loans up to 1000 marks were given to couples if they got married but loan was only available if wife stopped working and stayed at home to bring up children. For every child they had, 1/4 of the loan would be paid off

-Divorce = if a wife couldn't/wouldn't have children or had an abortion the husbnad was allowed to divorce her. This encouraged childbirth

-Mother's cross = award given to mothers depedning on how many children they had. They were saluted by the Hitler Youth and mothers with 10 children had to name Hitler as godfather of 10th child and if it was a boy name him Adolf

-Lebensborn = started by Himmler in 1935 and provided nurseries and financial aid for women who had children with ** men. Oe Lebensborn home helped over 540 women give birth

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Policies about employment

-Propaganda showed women as wives/mothers and speeches encourged women to leave work and become housewives

-Women were told to focus on Kinder, Kuche and Kirche (children, kitchen, church) 


-Women banned from professional jobs e.g. teachers, doctors

-Women couldn't be judges/lawyers or do jury service

-Schoolgirls were trained for motherhood instead of work so they were taught skills like ironing

-Grammar schools for girls were banned

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Effects of the policies


-Some women were persuaded by Nazi views and accepted them

-Policies worked to an extent as fewer women were in university and birth rate was increasing


-Some women thought Nazi ideas harmed family and degraded women

-Some women didn't like Reich Women's Leader and others felt domestic status of women was degrading


-By end of 1030s, German industry was expanding quickly so many women needed to return to work

-Some policies were reversed e.g. women with marriage loans were eventually allowed to work

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Aims of policies towards the Young

-Young Germans should be proud of their country

-Young Germans should support NSDAP and their policies

-Boys should be encouraged to be strong and healthy to do productive work in German economy and fight in armed forces

-Girls need to be strong and healthy so they can be fertile mothers

-Nazi propaganda portrayed Hitler as a father figure

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Hitler Youth

-Political training = members swore oath of loyalty to hitler and Hitler Youth leader organised lessons to teach Nazi ideas e.g. 'Evil of the Jews'. Hitler Youth members had to report anyone opposing the Nazis which built a constant supply of Nazi supporters

-Military training = practised skills useful to troops e.g. map-reading and there were seprate military divisons for specialist training. By 1938 1.2 million Hitler Youth boys were tarining in small-arms shooting

-Physical training = regular camping/hiking expeditions and ran regional and national sports competitions

-Character training = emphasised loyalty, comradeship and ruthlessness. SA instructors led drills and used harsh punishments e.g dunking in cold ice water

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League of German Maidens

-Girls were trained politically e.g. with rallies and oath of loyalty, physically and did character-building

-No military training 

-Girls were trained to cook/iron/make beds/sew and be good housewives

-They were taught the importance of 'racial hygiene' by only marrying Aryan men to keep German race 'pure'

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Success/failure of youth groups


-Comradeship = enthusiastic

-Trips and sports = fun

-Sense of belonging to greater nation = pride and patriotism


-Obedience = strict and unpleasant

-Parents felt undermined as their children owed first loyalty to Hitler

-Propaganda lectures = boring

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Nazi control of education

-Hitler believed Nazi ideas should be taught at a young age so leading Nazi Bernhard Rust became Education Minister to control views of youths through education

-Teachers = in 1933 a law was passed which allowed Nazis to fire teachers/headteachers they disapproved of e.g. in Prussia, Rust sacked over 180 headteachers. Teachers had to swear an oath of loyalty to Hitler and join Nazi Teachers' League which ran political education courses and told teachers about Nazi ideas. Teachers were expected to behave like Nazis by teaching students the Nazi salute and start and end each lesson with 'Heil Hitler'. Teachers also had to decorate classrooms with Nazi flags/posters

-Curriculum = new subjects were added e.g. Race studies which taught how to classify racial groups and told that Aryans are superior and shouldn't marry inferiors like Jews. Duration of sports lessons doubled to create strong workers/soldiers and fertile mothers. Curriculum was different for boys and girls as girls were taught domestic science and how to be good housewives/mothers. From 1935 all textbooks had to be approved by Nazis and Mein Kampf became a compulsory text to read. Students also gathered in halls to listen to major political speeches on the radio

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Nazi policies to recude unemployment

-Labour Service (RAD) = provided paid work fopr unemployed. From 1935 it became compulsory for all men aged 18-25 to spend 6 months in RAD. Worked on public works e.. repairing roads and draining marshes. It was unpopular as the work was boring with long hours and low pay

-Autobahns = Nazis planned a 7000km network of motorways across Germany which    b b       provided work for 125k men. Autobahns was an example of a public work scheme and other schemes involved building public buildings and bridges. By 1938, approx 38 billion marks spent on public works

-Rearmament = increased spending on arms and military equipment (between 1933-1939 spending increased from 3.5 billion marks to 26 billion marks). Aircraft construction increased from 4000 in 1933 to 72k in 1935. Conscription was introduced where all young men had to serve in armed forces 

-Invisible unemployment = official government figures showed unemployment was falling but didn't include Jews being forced out of jobs, women being dismissed/leaving work, or opponents of Nazi regime who were sent to concentration camps. Calculations were inaccurate as people working part-time were included in figures for people working full-time

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Changes in standard of living for workers

-Labour front (DAF) = Hitler disliked trade unions as he believed they supported political rivals e.g. KPD whcih could disrupt economy by calling strikes. In 1933, trade unions were replaced by DAF which set out workers' rights, max length of working week and min pay levels. DAF controlled employers and employees and ensured businesses worked for the best interest of the state. DAF was unfair as workers lost right to negotiate improvements in pay/conditions, max length of working week increased by 6 hours and DAF could punish workers who disrupted production

-Strength through Joy (KDF) = set up in 1933 as a division of the DAF as Hitler realised loss of trade unions cuased unrest. KDF aimed to make work more enjoyable by providing leisure activities e.g. sports events and theatre. Most loyal workers could win holidays and by 1936 the KDF had 35 million members

-Beauty of Labour (SDA) = campaigned for employers to provide better facilities for workers e.g. toilets, changing rooms. Employers were given tax tax breaks to help with building/decorating costs. By 1938 NSDAP claimed that almost 34k companies had improved facilities, however employers expected workers to do building/decorating themselves otherwise they would be dismissed

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Nazi racial beliefs

-Eugenics = originated from Darwin's theory of evolution and scientists explored how changes can be controlled to produce 'better' beings. Nazis encouraged reproduction between 'best' Germans and prevented it between 'unsuitables' by sterilising them. Eugenics became a subject in schools

-Racial hygiene = believed Aryans were superior and racial hygiene was taught in schools/Hitler Youth/propaganda. Laws were passed to prevent mixed-race marriages

-Hitler's views (Mein Kampf) = Aryans should typically have blond hair and blue eyes. Other races e.g. slavs were sub-human and gypsies and Jews were viewed to be unworthy of life

-Anti-semitism = religion, customs and looks of Nazis made Jews stand out. Jews were balmed for execution of Christ, defeat in WW1 and economical porblems. Jews were successful in finance and business so many Germans were jealous. The use of propaganda meant people ignored Jewish persecution

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Treatment of minorities

-Slavs = propaganda portrayed slavs as 'sub-humans' as they were of different origin to Aryans. Nazis threatened to invade Slav countries to create 'living space' for Germans

-Disabled = burden to society and weakened racial purit. T4 programme was introduced which killed disabled babies and prevented hereditarily diseased offspring by sterilising all disabled people (by 1939, 400k sterilised)

-Homosexuals = lowered moral standards and thousands were imprisoned/sent to concentration camps and laws encouraged voluntary castration of homosexuals

-Gypsies = during 1930s, 26k gypsies in germany and were believed not to contribute anything to Germany so they were sent to concentration camp or special camp with no facilities. Gypsies were tested for racial characteristics and if they failed to pass the test they lost citizenship and social benefits

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Persecution of Jews and Jewish boycott

-In education/press/arts/propaganda, Jews portrayed as 'vermin' and 'filth'

-Jews were gradually excluded from powerful positions e.g. banned from government jobs, army and inheriting land

-There were separate yellow park benches for Jews to keep Aryans safe

-Jewish boycott = Nazis planned a boycott of all Jewish businesses/shops in 1933. Members of SA painted Jewish stars or 'Jude' outside Jewish businesses and stood outside with banners to encourage people not to go inside

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Nuremburg Laws (1935)

-Reich Law on Citizenship= stated only those with german blood were truly German so Jews lost right to vote, lost citizenship and German passports. Jews had to wear ellow patches on clothes to be identified

-Reich Law for Protection of German Blood and Honour = forbade marriage/sex between Jews and Germans

-From 1938 Jews had to register all possessions so it was easier for government to confiscate. Jews also had to carry identity cards so it was easier to persecute them

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Kristallnacht (1938)

1) A Polish Jew shot a German as his parents had been treated poorly by germans

2) Goebbels ordered articles to be printed condeming the shooting and police state attacked synagogues and Jewish houses whilst police were told not to prevent any violence against Jews

3) Gangs smashed/burned jewish property and attacked Jews (the gangs were made up of members of the SA and Hitler Youth without uniform)

4) Over 1k properties destroyed and approx 100 Jews killed

5) Jews were blamed for the incident and fined 1 billion marks, whilst 20k Jews sent to concentration camps

6) In 1939, Jews were evicted from homes and deported

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