The National Socialist Party came to power through a series of swift, ruthless and devastating actions which firmly established Germany as a fascist state. The centralisation of power in Germany, known as 'co-ordination' (Gleichschaltung), was initiated on the day of the election and was carried out with such clinical efficiency, that the German state was completely transformed within a matter of months.
Hitler's Gleichschaltung was extremely successful in altering the cultural and economic landscape of Germany in the years between 1933 and the commencement of the Second World War in 1939. National Socialism touched every aspect of life; youth culture, the role of women, education, the economy and the effect it had on employment, the working class, as well as religion in the domination of the Christian Church. As this essay will explain, each of these individual developments in German society, which were initiated by the Nazi regime, came together to precipitate a complete cultural transformation for the lives of German people by 1939.
Nazi Seduction of the German People
The attraction of the Third Reich was compelling for the German people and strong feelings of national pride were instilled in the mass population. Germans were moved by wave after wave of brilliantly staged nationalistic promptings in the form of spectacular public rallies and stirring speeches. The totalitarian state model, which was so important to the Nazi Party's grip on its people, was achieved through a mix of persuasion, motivation and discrimination.
Individualism was quickly replaced by a way of life steeped in collective gestures and symbols; mass rallies, uniforms, public commemorations and in particular, the gesture synonymous with the Nazi era - the 'Heil Hitler' salute. Although these public messages became tiresome to many Germans, they were a constant theme throughout the Nazi era, and were therefore inescapable. They...