Weimar Republic

1.1) Emergence of the Democratic Republic and the impact of the Treaty of Versailles

Emergence of the Democratic Republic

Oct. 2 1918 Reichstag was told Germany cannot win the war. Allies demanded the Germans establish democracy before peace would be discussed; this meant Kaiser Wilhelm II had to abdicate, which he refused to do.

German revolution started at Kiel, where there was mutiny in the navy. Workers/soldiers soon followed their example, and revolution spread.

9 Nov. revolution came to Berlin, and the Kaiser finally agreed to abdicate after being told army was no longer at his command. Power was now handed to Social Democratic Party (SPD), with their leader Friedrich Ebert becoming chancellor.

9 Nov. Ebert received phone call from General Groener, commander of the army. Groener wanted support for officer corps, and in return would support govt. in resisting left-wing extremist attacks. Ebert agreed.

To enforce law/order, irregular volunteer companies (known as Freikorps) were established to 'defend Germany against communism'.

Killed thousands of suspected communists.

19 Jan. 1919 elections held; produced first elected govt. of Weimar Republic (WR). More moderate parties of Reichstag won most votes, showing majority of people wanted democracy. Extremist parties did not get as many votes, as they wanted to restore the old Germany.

SPD won most with 165 seats. National Assembly voted Ebert as first President, who in turn appointed Philipp Scheidemann as first chancellor. A coalition govt. was formed between SPD, Centre Party and German Democratic Party.

Constitution of WR was one of most democratic in the world, although there were vital flaws in proportional representation and Article 48.

Ebert - Groener Pact: Ebert to remain discipline in the army and would oppose any revolutionary changes. Groener guaranteed the support of the army. Meant survival of the conservative elites

Impact of the Treaty of Versailles

Chancellor Scheidemann resigned rather than accept the treaty. Ebert, Groener and Noske argued but had no choice but to sign the treaty

Hitler's opposition to the Treaty of Versailles built his support

Germans were stunned by the harshness of the treaty, looked for someone to blame; army had not been defeated in the field, and therefore full brunt of blame placed on socialist government who signed the armistice - 'the November Criminals'. As a result, army reputation still intact.

Others declared Germany had been 'stabbed in the back' by communists and Jews - 'Dolchstosslegende'

Long term bitterness and humiliation was felt by the Germans

The Weimar Republic was forever associated with the acceptance of the TOV, this lessened the faith Germans had in the democracy

The reparations payments of 132 000 million gold marks and Article 231- war guilt clause caused much anger. Germany struggled to meet repayments causing serious political and economic instability

1919 - 1922 Germany experienced political violence, anti democratic bias with the police doing little to seek out right wing people

Army was becoming a state within a state

Civilian politicians blamed for defeat as they signed TOV → army has passed power to them. Carried the shame of signing the TOV; army was not defeated, but the govt. signed the treaty.

Weimar Republic always associated with hated TOV, and the humiliation/embarrassment that came with it. Was used by Hitler and other parties to discredit the Republic.

Blockade of Germany by Allied powers after WWI ended → severe food shortages, 70,000 deaths from starvation

Richard Evans: weakness of the republic was not gaining the support of the army and the conservative elites

1.2) Political, economic and social issues in the Weimar Republic to 1929


Kapp Putsch (1920); immediate cause was attempts to carry out military clauses of TOV. Took place when Freikorps Brigade did not stand down; Ebert expected support from army, which did not come. Kapp Putsch failed due to defiance of Berlin working class. Significant → showed govt. had no support from army against right-wing threats.

Munich Beerhall Putsch (1923); govt. of Bavaria opposed Stresemann govt. With unrest in Bavaria, Hitler/N.P. moved into the beerhall where Bavarian leaders were and declared a new national govt. Putsch failed as N.P. did not have support. Success → Hitler realised need to obtain power legally/have support of the army.

Proportional Representation: difficulty in forming stable coalitions, growth of small parties brought political instability

Article 48: 'The suicide clause' possible misuse

Parties with similar ideals refused to join together making extremist party dominance possible



Occupation of Ruhr and passive resistance to occupation had disastrous results on already failing economy. Govt. failed to take appropriate steps to alleviate problems.

Summer 1923, govt. costs soared 700%. Sept. 1923 → US$1 = 10 million marks. End of Sept. = 160 million marks. To get more money, govt. simply printed more notes, made situation worse.

People with savings lost everything and never forgave the republic

Stresemann came to government August 1923, made following changes:

Called off policy of passive resistance

Printing of worthless mark stopped, rentenmark introduced

Budget balanced, govt. expenditure cut, new taxes introduced

The US loaned Germany $800 million

Dawes Plan: two year moratorium on reparations payments, payments to be scaled down and Germany lost control of its central banks and railways

Germany's economic success relied on US money, US short term loans were being used to fund long term investments

1926 - Agricultural depression

High unemployment due to economic modernization

Reliance on international loans and trade was dangerous


Women's rights progressed

1927: Unemployment insurance act

Government spending on education, nursing and health

High taxation - resented by salary earners and businessmen

Berlin famous for its theatres, music, literary/artistic life.

Newspapers/magazines proliferated, cinemas developed, radio introduced, new sports.

Sexuality much more opens → nudity/homosexuality regular part of club scene.

Experimental design in architecture/achievements in science and technology

Richard Evans: Political stability was a mirage, parties such as the centre party were under control of opponents to democracy. The Republic was far away from achieving stability

1.3) Collapse of the Weimar Republic 1929 - 1933

Reasons for the collapse

Germany embraced democracy after WWI. Was a true representative democracy; there were free/open elections; everyone could vote; constitution established; equal protection/rights of all citizens; freedom → speech, press, etc.

Both long- and short-term factors in collapse of the W.R.

Flaws in the constitution from the start:

Voting system → proportional representation. Small parties able to gain representation in Reichstag; caused political instability/frequent elections. No party ever had a majority, all govts were coalitions.

Article 48 → allowed president to rule by decree in emergencies. Intended to protect the democracy, but became one of the methods to overthrow it. Ebert used Article 48 135 times between 1919-1923, and Hindenburg used it almost continuously until appointment of Hitler as chancellor.

Tolerant/liberal environment → allowed enemies of democracy to attack and finally destroy the system.

No tradition of democracy; Germany had little experience in the democratic process.

As W.R. suffered humiliation, political disorder, violence and economic hardship, more and more Germans closed their minds to democracy. The W.R. was always associated with what was wrong; weakened confidence of Germans in democracy.

Of political parties in W.R., only the SPD and Centre Party supported democracy.

The Depression


Events leading to the collapse

Heinrich Brüning appointed chancellor in 1930. Supported through Hindenburg and Article 48; however, Brüning's party did not have majority in Reichstag.

Brüning's proposed economic policy to deal with GD rejected by Reichstag; Brüning took the matter to Hindenburg → passed it through Article 48. Significant step to failure of democracy in W.R.; even though Reichstag rejected a law, could be approved through the autocratic-style Article 48, which undermined concept of democracy.

Brüning made major miscalculation when asked Hindenburg to dissolve the Reichstag and call elections. At time of crisis (GD), the N.P. relished the political opportunity, and took full advantage. 1930 elections: N.P. won 107 seats over previous 12. N.P. now second largest party in the Reichstag.

Brüning survived as SPD had 143 seats still supported him over N.P.

After 1932 presidential election, Schleicher worked to have Brüning removed. Brüning failed to remedy economic woes, and too dependent on SPD for support. Asked for resignation at end of May 1932. Was another significant failure of democratic system; power now resided with Hindenburg and his inner circle. Franz von Papen → new chancellor, only support from Hindenburg/Schleicher.

Elections, July 1932: N.P. won 37.4% of the vote, with 234 seats. Now largest party in Reichstag. Papen still chancellor, but no support. Elections November 1932: N.P. vote down to 32%, but still largest party in Reichstag.

Papen dismissed on Dec. 2, largely due to Schleicher's influence over Hindenburg. Schleicher appointed new chancellor.

Papen worked with Hitler/N.P. to overthrow Schleicher; was bitter over his dismissal. Took a proposal to Hindenburg (January 1933):

Chancellor: Hitler, Vice-Chancellor: Papen.

Hindenburg assured that Hitler would be controlled by Papen, and real power was not with Hitler.

Hitler declared chancellor on January 30, 1933.

AJP Taylor: it was not the economic crisis that ended the democracy, but the appointment of Brüning

1.4) Impact of the Great Depression on Germany

The end of US funds going into Germany

Businesses all over Germany collapsed

Bankruptcy became a nationwide issue

Unemployment rates rose from 3 200 000 in January 1930 to 6 000 000 in January 1933

July 1931: the Danat Bank went bankrupt

Working class families faced eviction and lived in shanty towns, health levels deteriorated, children forced to leave school early and families broke up

Middle class families slipped down class levels and faced the humiliation of being unable to support their families

The 'final straw' for the republic; Germans had been disillusioned with it before (TOV/economic problems/other issues), but the great depressions was so catastrophic that it tipped the balance against the Weimar Republic, and greatly helped the Nazi Party to power.

Confidence in the German republic collapsed and exports fell

William Shirer: depression did not cause the collapse of the republic; it gave men like Hitler the opportunity to take advantage of the misfortune

Richard Evans: as Germany fell deeper into depression, middle class citizens saw the Nazi party as a possible way out

The rise of the Nazi Party

2.1) Rise of the Nazi Party (NSDAP) from 1923

The Munich (Beer Hall) Putsch: November 1923

Bavaria under control of Von Kahr, Von Lossow and Von Seisser

8th of November, Hitler orders Von Kahr to join him in an attempted Putsch

Hitler was captured and put on treason and received a 5 year imprisonment

From the Putsch Hitler realised: he could not achieve power though force and would have to do it legally through the ballot box. He would need the support of the army and the trial brought Hitler to national prominence

Party growth 1924 - 1933

The failure of the Putsch resulted in party membership falling significantly and the party was banned in Bavaria

Hitler faced the rivalry of Gregor Strasser, promoted 'left' socialist aims

A special congress in Feb. 1926 reimposed Hitler's leadership.

Nazi organisations such as the Nazi student's league, Teacher's league, and Women's league were formed to appeal to interest groups.

Brown shirts from excess stock from the army became the party uniform in 1924.

The Swastika became the party emblem.

In 1926 the 'Heil Hitler' became party ritual.

In 1925 the SS was set up.

By 1926 membership was up to 49,000

1928: gained 12 seats at the election with 2.6% of votes

June 1929 - Muller accepted the Young Plan with reduced reparations and returned control of German railways and banks to the government

The election saw Nazis increase seats in the Reichstag from 12-107. 2nd largest party in Reichstag.

The presidential elections occurred in 1932. Hindenburg, a nationalist leader, communist, and Hitler ran. The Nazis had a vigorous election campaign. Membership was around 45,000 and in 3 weeks 300 political meetings were arranged. The first election on the 14th of March 1932 saw no clear majority. A second round of voting was set for 10th of April. Hitler visited 21 cities in one week. Hindenburg won the election with a 53% majority but Hitler was second with 36.8% of the vote.

Allan Bullock: to millions of Germans, who had barely heard of him before, Hitler had become a familiar figure

2.2) Hitler's accession to power

General Kurt von Schleicher was a close friend of Hindenburg and was impressed by the Nazi's growing electoral success, their right-winged views, opposition to communism, and the fact they worked within the system (or appeared to).

When Franz von Papen was Chancellor Schleicher secured an understanding with Hitler that they would cooperate if the govt. ban on the SS and SA were lifted. Papen agreed. This caused the Reichstag to be dissolved and new elections be called.

The election campaign for July 1932 was violent with SA and communists street fighting. On 17th of July the Nazis marched through the working class area of Hamburg leaving 19 dead and 200 injured.

Hitler visited 50 cities and talked about unemployment (which was at 5.4 million) and hardship of all classes. The election result was the Nazis doubled their representation to 37.4% of the Reichstag, from 108 seats to 230. They were the largest party.

Hitler demanded chancellorship and 5 cabinet places. Hindenburg rejected Hitler for personal reasons, believing he was a 'queer fellow'.

On the 13th of August Hitler was offered the position of vice chancellor and reminded of his promise to cooperate with the govt. Hitler refused and wanted nothing less than chancellorship.

Papen had no support in the Reichstag and it was dissolved the day after being assembled and elections set for November. It was the 4th time in 8 months the Germans were forced to federal election.

Nazis did not want another election. Party funds almost exhausted and difficult to keep momentum. Papen believed the Nazis had peaked.

November 1932 elections saw Nazis drop from 37.432% with 230196 seats. They were still the largest party.

Hitler asked for chancellorship and was again refused. Hindenburg wrote that a cabinet led by Hitler 'would inevitably develop into a party dictatorship'.

Papen still without support proposed to Hindenburg on the 1st of December that the president should suspend the Reichstag due to a national emergency.

However Schleicher wanted him removed and told Hindenburg there was threat of civil war. On the Dec. 2 Hindenburg asked for Papen's resignation, and appointed Schleicher as the new chancellor.

German industrialists were never supportive of the republic but it was not until late 1932 they began to support the Nazis. Were attracted by the discipline, order, and opposition to communism but suspicious of their left-wing characteristics.

The major cause of their support came when Papen was dumped and Schleicher became chancellor as they were concerned with his links with the trade unions.

Schleicher lasted only 2 months as chancellor. Made a deal with Gregor Strasser, leader of the Nazis in the Reichstag to be vice chancellor. Hitler was furious and forced Strasser to resign.

After his dismissal from Chancellorship, Papen was determined to have Schleicher removed as well.

On Jan. 4 1933 Papen and Hitler met secretly in Cologne.

More secret meetings followed, with addition people close to Hindenburg. The plan was for a coalition govt. of Nazis, German Nationalist Party, and conservative supporters. This govt. would have the first majority since the Muller govt. in 1930.

The decision rested on Hindenburg and was helped by the support of the industrialists. Hindenburg who hated the republic became its final defender yet was swayed by the arrangements.

Papen would be vice chancellor; Nazis held 3/11 cabinet posts; the others were conservative supporters of Papen. Plan was that these parts of agreement would keep Hitler in check.

Jan. 28, 1933 Hindenburg dismissed Schleicher as chancellor.

Jan. 30 Hitler was made chancellor.

Henry Ashby Turner JR: compared with the roles of the other men, Hitler's was reactive. He played the hands they dealt him but the cards were theirs not his to deal

2.3) Initial consolidation of Nazi power 1933 - 1934

Even though the Nazis were outnumbered in the cabinet Hitler insisted that they controlled key posts. Wilhelm minister for the interior, Goering minister for the interior of Prussia. From these positions they could control the local police.

Hitler's appointment at Chancellor was greeted with parades and celebrations. Papen was regulated to the background.

To win support of army officers on Feb. 2, 1933 Hitler met with leading generals and promised two points; a promise to restore German military strength by rearmament and an assurance the army would not be called up in the case of a civil war. Between 1933-36 Hitler was careful to respect the army opinion.

New laws restricting civil liberties and anti-Semitism were popular with the army. The swastika was printed on army uniforms in Feb 1934 to show a link to the govt.

Hitler through decree on Feb. 6 1933 gave Goering nearly full control of Prussia, which was dismissing the importance of the Prussian state court.

There was strict limitations on the freedom of press, freedom of assembly, and other civil rights and the SA carried on with its campaign of street violence, brawls and assassinations. Though this happened Hitler wanted to appear that he was obeying the law, learning from the Munich Beerhall Putsch that the conservatives did not like revolution.

Hitler was not satisfied with his conservative coalition partners so he called a Reichstag election to gain an absolute majority. The basis of the Nazi campaign was when Hitler made his 'appeal to the people' on Jan. 31, 1933 blaming the Nov. parties and communists for German ills. He also used unity as a factor. To many the republic brought division and indecision.

During the election campaign on the Feb. 27, the Reichstag building was set on fire (allegedly) by Dutch communist Marinus van der Lubbe; however, was suspicion as to whether this was a deliberate NP act. Hitler requested and received emergency powers to deal with the communist threat. Arrests were made and NP removed political opponents.

Feb. 28 Decree for the Protection of People and State helped extend central power over the states.

Despite of the propaganda, terror and approval of the chancellor's office the Nazis won only 43.9%.

The new Reichstag was built in the Kroll opera house and voted for Enabling Act by 444 votes to 94 on the March 23, 1933.

The Enabling Act made Hitler a legal dictator and led to Gleichschaltung.

Gleichschaltung was process where NP successively established totalitarian state, with absolute power over the individual, society and commerce.

State govt. was unified to federal system.

May 2 trade unions were abolished and replaced by German Labour Front.

By 14 July a decree made the Nazi Party the only legal political party.

Oct. 1933 Hitler withdrew Germany from League of Nations, which came from the TOV.

In an election in Nov. was 87.8% of vote for Nazis even though there was no opposition; this showed clear approval for Hitler.

Hitler wanted to combine Hindenburg's position with his own for absolute power. To do this he needed the support of the army and to do that he needed to address the problem of the SA.

The civil service: April 1933 the law for the restoration of the professional Civil Service where Jews were removed from the industry and those who had once opposed the Nazi Party.

Trade unions: in 1933 membership of trade unions was at 6 million.

The Nazi Party wanted the support of the working class so they declared 1st of May 1933 May Day Holiday.

The next day Hitler abolished free trade unions. Using the SA the leaders were arrested and the organisations declared illegal. A new organisation called the German Labour Front was created under the leadership of Nazi official Dr Robert Ley.

Political parties: June 22 SPD was banned and property confiscated. Its seats in the Reichstag declared invalid. June 28 German Democratic Party dissolved itself. Early July the German People's Party was abolished.

Nazism in power

3.1) Hitler's role in the Nazi State

Füherprinzip was the principle that placed all authority in the hands of the leader.

Hitler wished to be known as 'Führer' means 'leader' in German.

Nazi propaganda deliberately built up his image. He was seen to be chosen by fate to lead the German people. This was helped by Germ history of heroic leaders including Fredrick the Great and Otto von Bismarck.

Created the 'Hitler Myth' that Hitler represented the national will and worked tirelessly for his people. Transcendent of selfishness, defender of German rights and rebuilder of national pride.

In Nazi Germany Hitler was the source of all power; beneath him was chaotic structure of government.

Hitler centered view

Hitler was the absolute centre of the regime, strong personality, understanding allowed him to seize opportunities

Bullock: "Hitler's originality lay not in his ideas, but in the way he set out to translate ideas into reality"


Centre of the regime, clearly defined ideas, strong over weak and an effective leader

Bracher: Hitler's world view, nothing else mattered in the end


Regime was unorganized due to Hitler's weakness, indecisive, chaos as a result of Germany's weakness not strength, adverse to decision making

Working towards the Fuhrer

Hitler would not make decisions, allowed issues to float

Up to others to work out what the Fuhrer wanted

Nazism as totalitarianism

Single mass party led by a Charismatic leader

For: unquestioned leadership, opposed by no one, embodiment of the hopes of the nation, enabling act (only one party), Gleichschaltung (co-ordination) and Füherprinzip

Against: opposition by younger generations, adverse to decision making, structure of Germany chaotic and competing personalities beneath Hitler

Official Ideology

For: propaganda made him god like, Mein Kempf, Lebensraum, Volksgemeinschaft, Füherprinzip, racism and aggressive nationalism

Against: plans not ideology, churches still active, concordat with the Pope, Swing Kids/ The White Rose

State control over the economy

For: Goering's 4 year plan. Hitler - "the nation does not live for the economy"

Against: never had the levels of state ownership that Russia did, Nazi's worked with the Capitalists, big business retained control, Nazi's shared power with the industrialists, weak control over the economy due to the number of plans

State use of terror and repression

For: various judicial systems and police forces under complete Nazi control, organisations that created an atmosphere of fear and German's knew opposition to Nazism would result in punishment

Against: popularity of the regime and willingness of the German people meant terror and repression was not needed. The extreme of Nazi behaviour in police and legal systems was not seen until the late 1930's

Control over the armed forces

Against: control over the German Army never reached an extreme level

Control over mass communication

For: propaganda influenced nationalism, Füherprinzip, press were to instruct and propaganda made Hitler god like

Against: White Rose and Swing Kids. People listened to the BBC and there was printing of opposing literature

Kershaw: totalitarian concept is extremely limited, disadvantages outweigh the advantages when attempting to characterize the Nazi regime

3.2) The role of propaganda, terror and repression; SA and SS; opposition to Nazism


March 1933 Hitler approved the establishment of the ministry of public enlightenment and propaganda. The role was to influence German people to accept the regime, including elements such as Jews as the enemy of the state and Volksgemeinschaft.

A 'Reich Chamber of Culture' was set up in 1933; was supervised by Joseph Goebbels and propaganda ministry.

NP now controlled newspapers, radio, film, music, theatre, writing, art, architecture, literature and even sport.

The radio became the principle means of reaching the ordinary Germans. An inexpensive radio called the People's radio was produced and increased from 1 million in 1933 to 9 million in 1939, the highest amount in the world. Hitler's speeches and rallies were broadcasted.

The role of the press was not just to inform but to instruct. The Editorial Law 1933 required newspaper editors to follow govt. policy and journalists to be employees of the state.

In cinema the Reich Motion Picture law required all subject matter of films to be approved.

It was in cinema that Joseph Goebbels realised that propaganda must be subtly conveyed to be effective; e.g. heroic films of Germany's past where connections could be made to the present.

Propaganda focused on portraying Hitler as a leader who was at the same time reasonable and moderate, and who also put the good of the nation before his own interest.

Terror and repression

Even though Hitler worked propaganda well the role of terror was still necessary to discourage dissent.

In April 1933 Goering established a new secret police force (the Gestapo), and concentration camps soon emerged.

SA and SS

The SA provided physical intimidation in Nazi election campaigns. In 1934 there were over 2 million of them. They endorsed the socialist aspects of the Nazi socialism.

SS was established in 1925. Was originally a sub-division of SA, but slowly grew to be larger and more influential.

The army made it clear that they expected the SA to be brought under control. Hitler met with army officials on the battleship Deutschland.

With the threat of the SA attempting to overthrow the govt. Hindenburg told Hitler that he would have to declare martial law if something was not done.

On the 21st of June Hitler gave approval for the Night of Long Knives. The 'Night of Long Knives' took place on 30th of June 1934; also known as the 'Rohm Putsch'.

The planning was carried out by Goering/Himmler. Death lists were drawn up and it was code named 'Operation Hummingbird'.

On the night hundreds of SA officers were arrested Hitler went to see Rohm personally arrested. The next day many of the officers were shot.

NP took this as opportunity to eliminate other opposition; those killed included Schleicher.

In all 200 people were murdered and the army had little complaint.

The events reaffirmed the brutality of the regime. After the Rohm putsch the SS took control of the concentration camps.

Opposition to Nazism

Between 1933 and 1939 after the disappearance of political parties opposition was restricted to small numbers. The opposition that did occur was more civil resistance because they knew armed resistance would be crushed.

Those that did oppose Nazism:

The political left the SPD, KPD, and trade unions were ideologically opposed to the Nazis, and detested them for the banning of trade unions in 1933. They met in small groups, engaged in their own propaganda, and encouraged acts of sabotage and absenteeism in factories.

The Army was the most significant before 1939. There were numerous plots to get rid of Hitler but in 1938 Hitler got rid of the Army High Command.

Youth groups formed in opposition to Hitler. There were the Edelweiss Pirates made up of working class youths from western Germany; another group was the Swing Movement, who expressed individuality by dressing in English Style Clothing, embracing swing and jazz and refusing to accept the Nazi ideal of the folk community. The churches

Kershaw: the ineffectiveness of German resistance to Nazism had its roots in the strife torn climate of the Weimar Republic

3.3) Social and cultural life in the Nazi state: role of Hitler Youth, women, religion

Hitler Youth

The Nazis believed that if the Third Reich was to endure they needed the support of the next generation.

Hitler Youth Movement was formed in 1922; under control of the SA. Was shut down after the Putsch in 1923 but re founded in March 1931.

1931 the leadership of Hitler Youth was Baldur von Schirach.

July 1930 League of German Girls was set up.

After the Nazi came to power other youth organisations such as the boy scouts and sporting clubs were gradually closed down.

December 1936 law made membership for Hitler Youth compulsory for all German boys aged 15-18. By 1939 the membership of Hitler youth stood at 7.2 million.

Hitler Youth aimed to force youth to accept the ideology of the state.

These young boys were expected to engage in hiking and other tests of endurance. They were taught map and compass reading and their role in Nazism and their future roles.

Girls (in League of German Girls) were expected to devote themselves to physical fitness through camping and hiking trips and prepare for their future role as wives and mothers. By 1935 1.5 million girls were active in the League of German girls.


The Weimar Republic was progressive in their attitude to women. Before the GD employment rate for women was 400% greater than in the US.

When the Nazis took over they brought with them an ideology that everyone had a role in society that was to be accepted. For women it was the lesser role, for in Hitler's concept of struggle women were weaker and inferior. Many accepted that the role of men and women were different and the places of women were in the home.

Married women were discriminated against in the workforce in favour of men and 800,000 left the workforce between 1933-35.

Women in university were cut drastically from 18,000 to 5000 between 1933 and 1939.

Women were not permitted to serve on juries was believed their judgment was based on emotions.

German birth rate had been declining since the First World War and Nazis wanted to change this.

Law for the promotion of marriage June 1934 allowed married couples who were passed as 'genetically healthy' were eligible for a loan of 1000 Reich marks provided the women gave up her job at the time of the wedding. One-quarter of the loan was paid off. Between 1933 and 1939 1 million marriage loans were granted and the marriage rate increased by 20%.

Mothers were awarded the mothers cross bronze for four, silver for 6, and gold for 8 or more.

Interracial marriages were forbidden in 1935 with the Law for protection of German Blood and Honour.

In Nazi Germany abortions were illegal, birth control discouraged, and family planning centers set up. By 1941 production of contraception was banned.


Hitler had nothing but contempt for Christianity but he understood the influence of the Christian churches so moved cautiously to have them banned.

In 1933 the Roman Catholic Church, anxious to protect the interest of the church, signed a concordat in July 1933, which guaranteed the rights of the church if it engaged in no political activity.

However, before long restrictions were placed on Catholic schools, youth organisations were brought under control of Hitler Youth, and nuns and priests were persecuted.

In Protestant churches there was a tradition of loyalty to the state and obedience to authority, and so was less opposition.

Nazis attempted to gain control of the Protestant churches through an Evangelical Reich Church led by Ludwig Mueller; this caused deeper divisions and 6000 protestant clergy formed the Confessional Church which was opposed to the Nazis.

Bergmann presented the 25 points of German religion in 1934: Christ was a Nordic Martyr put to death by Jews, Hitler was the new Messiah and the Swastika was the symbol for German Christianity

Burleigh: children appeared to have become more brutal, fitter and stupider than their parents

Richard Overy: the new women idealized in propaganda, a contented and competent helpmate for her man

Burleigh: few German Christians gathered that once the Jews were gone, Christianity would be eradicated

3.4) Nazi racial policy; anti-Semitism: policy and practice to 1939

The reasons for anti-Semitic feelings included; their religion, they spoke Yiddish, and supported each other. Hitler's anti-Semitism is believed to come from his time in Vienna where there was racist literature.

In the early 1930s there was approximately 500,000 Jews in Germany, less than 1% of the pop'n. These Jews were heavily concentrated in the professions of law, medicine and journalism.

By 1933 the Nazi developed a deliberate policy to persecute the Jews.

Between 1933 and 1939 more than 400 pieces of anti-Jewish legislation were introduced by the Nazis.

According to the Nuremburg Laws of 1935 an individual with even one Jewish grandparent could be deprived of their German citizenship and status as an Aryan.

The Law for protection of German blood and honour made it illegal for Jews to marry Aryans or have sex with them.

Constant stream of anti-Semitic broadcasts on the radio, and films portrayed the Jews as evil. A violently anti-Semitic newspaper (Der Stürmer) was run by Hitler's friend Julius Streicher. The Eternal Jew (film - 1940) depicted Jews as rats.

In 1936 during the Olympic Games the campaign was lowered. Then in 1937 it began with more ferocity.

August 1938 law required Jews to add the middle name of 'Israel' and 'Sarah'.

In November 1938, Herschel Grynszpan, a young Jew who was upset because his parents had been deported from Germany to Poland killed a German diplomat in Paris.

On Nov. 9th the Nazis organised an outbreak of violence against the Jews which lead to the deaths of 74 Jews, 20,000 arrests, the destruction of 875 Jewish shops and the burning of 191 synagogues. The night was called "The Night of Broken Glass" (Kristallnacht in German) and the bill was 25 million marks.

The Nazis now made the Jewish community pay for the damage by fining them 1 billion marks and thus confiscated the remaining Jewish businesses.

Shirer: Jews exclude by law or Nazi terror, to an extent where half were without means of livelihood

Nazi foreign policy

4.1) Nature of Nazi foreign policy: aims and strategies to September 1939

Hitler's early steps in foreign policy were cautious, as Germany was still recovering.

Oct. 1933 Hitler withdraws Germany from League of Nations and World Disarmament Conference, both of which were popular moves in Germany.

During this period, Hitler spoke of peace and signed non-aggression pact with Poland; deceptive as Poland was Germany's main target.

March 1935 Hitler announced Germany was following policy of rearmament (had secretly been doing so since 1933). Western powers took no action start of policy of appeasement.

Alliance formed between Italy/Germany in July 1936, who supported same side in civil war in Spain. By October 1936, the 'Rome-Berlin Axis' was created.

1936 Hitler takes a gamble when he reoccupies Rhineland. Was a gamble as he knew French could defeat Germany, but France/Britain took no action. Important event, as it revealed French/British weaknesses, and Hitler sought to take fear of another war as an opportunity to achieve his foreign policy aims.

Hitler realised policy of appeasement did not pose threat; foreign policy became more daring. Announced the four-year plan, which was to make Germany self-sufficient and ready for war.

Hossbach Memorandum written record of meeting between Hitler and his military leaders on 5 Nov. 1937. Stated that Hitler wanted to solve problem of Lebensraum as soon as possible, before weapons became obsolete. This document shows Hitler was thinking of taking European territory by force urgently. Outlined incorporation of Austria into the Reich (Anschluss) and overthrow of Czechoslovakia.

On 11 March 1938, Austrian president appointed pro-Nazi Seyss-Inquart as Austrian Chancellor. The next day, German troops marched into Austria unopposed. On 15 March, Austria officially became part of the Reich and was no longer an independent nation. From this time, persecution of Jews began, with SS guards making arrests and Jews being taken to concentration camps.

Czechoslovakia had come into existence after WWI had modern army with good defences. Was seen as threat by Hitler.

3 million Germans were living in Czechoslovakia in area known as Sudetenland (Sudetenland also contained most of Czechoslovakia's border defences); Hitler demanded this portion of land be returned to Germany. This quickly became an international problem.

Hitler made secret orders for military to be ready to attack Czechoslovakia was provoking a war.

Britain/France were still following policy of appeasement; Czechoslovakia did not want to give up Sudetenland, despite support for Hitler from British Prime Minister Chamberlain. Hitler argued Germans in Sudetenland had been victimised and threatened war.

Munich Conference on 29 Sept. 1938 Czechoslovakia was abandoned by British/French, and reluctantly handed over Sudetenland to Germany. This agreement exposed weakness of British/French, and Hitler's good position; the eastern expansion had begun.

March 1939 German troops marched into Czechoslovakia. Poland was seen as Germany's next target; was given guarantee of protection by Britain.

April 1939 Hitler gave orders to prepare for attack on Poland but was unsure of how USSR would react. Soviet leader Stalin viewed the West (Allies) with suspicion, and West had little faith in USSR, believing their army to be weak. USSR also disliked Poland, who had taken territory from them in 1920.

Aug. 1939 secret negotiations between Germany/USSR, who signed a non-aggression pact. On 1 Sept. 1939, German army crossed into Poland. 2 days later, France/Britain gave Germany ultimatum to withdraw by 11am. When Germany did not respond, Britain/France declared war on Germany. Was start of WWII.

4.2) Impact of ideology on Nazi foreign policy to September 1939

Hitler's foreign policy was based on belief that struggle was an essential part of life. Nazism itself was doctrine of conflict/violence, and this was reflected in their foreign policy.

Foreign policy concentrated on securing final destiny of Germany; also based on Hitler's determination to restore Germany to previous position of power.

Foreign policy was national as well as racial and involved expansion of Germany at expense of 'inferior races' (e.g. Slavic people in east).

Significant aspect of Nazi foreign policy the expansion of Germany to acquire 'living space' for its people; known as 'Lebensraum'. Main focus of Lebensraum was in east, such as in USSR, which was abundant in resources. Germany would enslave the Slavic people and control all of USSR; this empire would last for 1000 years.

Hitler also believed German people had been cut off from Germany in other countries, e.g. in Austria, Czechoslovakia and Poland, and had to be brought back to the Reich.

Hitler did not believe in overseas colonies, and instead looked within Europe for Lebensraum.

Hitler believed restrictions placed by TOV had to be eliminated; was already rearming by 1933.