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Chapter 25 Hitler’s Germany

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  • Category: German

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Before Hitler came to power, freedom to live ones own life within the law was protected by powerful forces within the German Republic. 1st, the Republic was a federation of states, or lander, each with its own democratically elected government. Those second-level govs. Worked as a check on the power of the federal gov. in Berlin. 2nd, a citizen could join an organization which protected his interests. 3rd, a citizen had the right to speak, listen and read criticism of those who ruled him. And finally, there was the crucial principle that no person or gov. was above the law. Germans were to be moulded into a volk, a racially pure people, whose only loyalty was to Hitler.

Hitler gave facts of life in Nazi Germany: “the gov. will brutally beat down all who oppose it. ” On 23, March 1933 the Reichstag passed the Enabling Act, which gave Hitler the authority to make his own laws. On 2 May, Union offices throughout the country were raided by the SA and SS. IN their place the German Labour Front (DAF) was set up, led by Robert Ley, which both workers and employers sere forced to join. The DAF was basically a means of stopping German workers organizing themselves in their own interests.

ON 14 July a new law destroyed the German people’s democratic right to disagree openly with those who ruled them. “Law Against the New Formation of Parties” Article 1: The sole political party existing in Germany is the National Socialist German Workers’ Party. Article 2: Whoever shall undertake to maintain the organization of another party, or to found a new party, shall be punished. The NSDAP (Nazi) itself became a mass party. For many people it was a convenient, and prudent, to join the Nazis’ there were all kinds of benefits for Party members, such as being first in line for jobs.

By 1939 Party membership was a condition of entry into the civil service. By 1937 there were 700,000 political leaders in Germany; regional party chiefs, area bosses, local leaders, cell leaders, and block leaders. Through these ‘mini-fuhrers’ of his mass party, Hitler could regulate and spy on the nation. -to raise the right arm at an angle so that the palm of the had becomes visible and say ‘Heil Hitler’, that stiff-armed salute was officially known as the ‘German greeting’. On the ‘Night fo the Long Knives’, 30 June 1934, Hitler dealt with his challengers. Rohm and over 150 others were murdered.

The instruments of death were the black-shirted SS, commanded by Heinrich Himmler. ON 2 August, President Hindenburg died. Hitler than announced that the offices of Chancellor and President were combined, and on the same day, the soldiers of the German army swore their loyalty to a new chief. – The Hitler Youth had at the end of 1936 gathered in all Germany’s youth by making membership compulsory. In Mein Kampf, Hitler wrote “The bodies of the young will be systematically trained form infancy onwards, so as to be tempered and hardened for the demands to be made on them in later years.

The girls “In the education of the girl the final goal always to be kept in mind is that she is one day to be a mother. ” The Hitler Youth movement emphasized physical fitness, endurance and participation in team-games. Some children were selected to complete their secondary education in special Adolf Hitler Schools, emphasis on physical fitness was carried out even more. A small number of students were selected to go on to the four Ordensburgen (Order Castles) to completed the education of the young people who had been picked out as the future Party leaders.

Early in 1933 the Nazis had bonfires of literature, burning everything they disliked or despised- books by Jews, books by socialists, books about the merits of democracy, and many textbooks used in the schools of the Republic-especially history textbooks. The Organization of Terror: Thousands of Germans had experiences with the brutal police. In June 1936, Fuhrer gave Himmler control of all Germany’s police. The SS was responsible to no one but its own leader, and he was answerable only to Hitler. The most widely feared branch of Himmler’s organization was the Gestapo, controlled by Reinhard heydrich.

The most suitable means of removing the ‘germs of destruction’ was to place them in ‘protective custody’- Nazi shorthand for arresting suspicious characters and handing them over, without trial, o the concentration camps run by the SS at Dachau, Sachsenhausen, Buchenwald and Lichtenburg. From the end of 1937 the political prisoners in ‘rotective custody’ were joined by more and more people roped in by the police under their new posers of ‘preventive detention’. The argument behind this was: certain types of people were always causing trouble, refusing to behave like everyone else- so why not lock them up?

The ‘anti-social’ elements included beggars, gypsies, prostitutes, grumblers, alcoholics, hooligans, and mental cases. Homosexuals were ‘anti-social, and so were people who refused to work. By the summer of 1939 there were 25,000 prisoners in the camps. The Law was now the will of the Fuhrer. The Empire of the ‘Poison Dwarf’: “the Chief function (of propaganda) is to convince the masses. Hitler had contempt for “the masses” , and at the same time a realization that the fickle “crowd of human children” must be numbered into Nazi ways of thinking by the constant repetition of Nazi propaganda.

On 13 March 1933 Hitler appointed Dr Joseph Goenbbels as his Minister of Popular Enlightenment and Propaganda, responsible for “all tasks of spiritual direction of the nation”. Before long he had created his own empire-of newspapers and magazines, of film studios and radio transmitters. He was called poison dwarf and Wotan’s Mickey Mouse. The 2 most important media were the press and radio. By 1942, 7 out of every 10 German families woned raios. But broadcsting was not aimed just at the home; offices, factories, restaurants and cafes were equipped with wirelesses through which the Minister or his Fuhrer could reach out to the German people.

By early 1935 Goebbels had under his control a network of short-wave transmitters which could broadcast to any part of the world. Goebbels’ propaganda penectrated the homes of Germans who lived outside the Reich-in Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Austria. By the end of 1934 Goebbels h ad extended direct Nazi control of the press from 121 papers to 436; but he had also taken indirect control of all the others. It was difficult, if not impossible to avoid the Party. The Olympic Games were being held in Berlin in 1936.

Jesse Owens spoiled the effect, he won 4 gold medals. Nazi’s purpose was to reveal to the world the new Germans, Hitler’s ‘master race’, in action. Owens, the supreme Olympic athlete, was American, worse still, he was black. IN 1920 Hitler announced the Nazi Party Program the fourth of its 25 Points was: “No Jew, may be a member of the nation” So it followed that a Jew could not be a citizen of the German state, with the same civil rights as anyone else. Anti-Semitism became a feature of everyday life in Germany.

By 1935 local authorities were banning Hews from public parks and playing fields. Hatred of the Jews was taught in schools. The Intentions of Nazi Germany: In Mein Kampf, some of the ideas of Hitler was called ‘German Policy In Eastern Europe’: “Our movement must seek to abolish the present disastrous proportion between our population and the area of our national territory. In striving for this it must bear in mind the fact that e are members of the highest species of humanity on earth. Will have to win (territory) by the power of a triumphant sword.

When we speak of a new territory in Europe today, we must principally think of Russia and the border States to her. ” To deal with unemployment problem Hitler: set up a National Labour Service to employ people on a wide range of public works- in agriculture, land reclamation, the building of schools and hospitals, and the construction of the autobahnen, Germany’s new motorways. The conscription of young men into the armed forces and the expansion of the armaments industry both helped to reduce Germany’s unemployment figures.

And more jobs were created by Hitler’s policy of autarky- his attempt to reduce Germany’s dependence on world markets for essential raw materials. Policies like these- conscription, the development of an air force, massive expenditure on rearmament, autarky- were obviously preparations for a war. On 10 Nov. 1938, Hitler made a secret speech to representatives of the German press: “to the Germans that there are things which if they cannot be achieved by peaceful means, must be achieved by means of force. “

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