Chapter 3 Nazism and the Rise of Hitler
Describe the problems faced by the Weimar Republic.
After the defeat of Imperial Germany, the Weimar Republic came into existence. The Republic had a democratic constitution and a federal structure. The Republic was not well received by the people.
The Weimar Republic faced many problems on all fronts- economic, social, and political. It was held responsible for the defeat in the First World War. The Republic had to pay war compensation and this put the Republic in deep financial crisis. Germany had fought the war largely on loans and had to pay war reparations in gold. Subsequently, gold reserves depleted and the value of the German Mark fell. The prices of essential commodities rose dramatically.
The Weimar Republic faced problems on the political front also. The constitution had many defects. The constitution gave the President the powers to impose emergency, suspend civil rights, and rule by decree.
The Weimar Republic had 20 different cabinets within a short span of time. Soon people lost confidence in the democratic parliamentary system.
Discuss why Nazism became popular in Germany by 1930.
Nazism became popular in Germany by 1930 in the following manner.
- The crisis in the economy, politics and society led to the rise of Hitler. He joined the German Workers’ party in 1919 and took its organisation. He renamed it the National Socialist German Workers’ Party. It came to be known as the Nazi Party.
- Nazism became a mass movement during the Great Depression. After 1929 banks closed, workers lost their jobs and the middle class was threatened with poverty. Nazi propaganda gave hope of a better future. By 1932, the Nazi Party became the largest party in the Reichstag with 37 percent votes.
- Hitler was a powerful speaker. He could draw the attention of the people. He promised to build Germany into a strong nation, wipe out the humiliation of the Treaty of Versailles and restore the dignity of the Germans. He promised employment and better future for the youth.
He understood the importance of show-biz. Massive rallies were held where he addressed the SA and SS columns. Public meetings were held to show support for Hitler and instill unity among the people.
The red banners with the Swastika, Nazi salute, the ritualised round of applause were part of all meetings. Hitler was projected as a saviour, who would end all misery and restore the dignity of Germany and the German people.
What are the peculiar features of Nazi thinking?
Nazi ideologies were
- There is no equality among people.
- The Nordic German Aryans were the best race.
- the Jews were considered the lowest rate.
- Nazism believed in the survival of the fittest.
- New territories had to be captured to enhance the motherland.
- New territories would enhance natural resources and make Germany a powerful nation.
- When the Nazi Party came to power it began to implement these ideologies.
Explain why Nazi propaganda was effective in creating a hatred for Jews.
- Jews remained the worst enemy in Nazi Germany. Hitler’s hatred for the Jews was based on the pseudoscientific theory that conversion was no solution for the Jews. They had to be exterminated. Form 1933 to 1938, they were segregated, from 1939 to 1945 they were place in certain areas and finally they were killed in gas chambers of Poland e.g. Auschwitz.
- Media was used to popularise Nazi thinking. Their ideas were popularised through films, radio, posters, caricatures, slogans and leaflets. The most notorious film made on the Jews was The Eternal Jew.
- Jews were shown with flowing beard and wearing kaftans. They were referred to as vermin, rats and pests. Nazism workedon the thinking of the people and turned their anger and hatred towards the ‘undesirables’.
- One of the posters, showed a Jew sitting on a big bag of money. The caption read, ‘Money is the God of the Jews. In order to earn money, he can commit the greatest crime’.
Explain what role women had in Nazi society. Return to Chapter 1 on the French Revolution. Write a paragraph comparing and contrasting the role of women in the two periods.
In Nazi, Germany women were considered to be different from men. The Nazis did not believe in equal rights for men and women. They felt that equal rights would destroy society. Young women were told to become good mothers, look after the home and rear pure-blooded Aryan children. Women who deviated from the prescribed code of conduct were severely punished.
In direct contrast to the women in Nazi Germany, women in France asserted themselves during the French revolution. Numerous women’s clubs were formed. Women demanded equal rights as men. The government introduced laws to improve the lives of women. Education was made compulsory for girls. Unlike Nazi women who were confined to their homes, the French women were given the freedom to work and run businesses. The French women also won the right to vote which was denied to their Nazi counterparts.
In what ways did the Nazi state seek to establish total control over its people?
Adolph Hitler became the Chancellor of Germany in 1933. He passed many laws to gain total control over his people. The Fire Decree was passed on 28th February 1933.
- the Decree abolished freedom of speech, press, and assembly Concentration Camps were set up and the Communists were sent there.
The Enabling Act was passed on 3rd March 1933.
- All other political parties were banned.
- Nazi Party took complete control of the economy, media, army, and judiciary.
- Hitler became a Dictator
Special Surveillance and Security forces were formed to control the people. The Police, the Storm Troopers, the Gestapo, the SS, and the Security Service were given extraordinary powers to control and order the society in ways the Nazis wanted. The police forces acquired powers to rule with impunity and soon the Nazi State established total control over its people.