To what extent did the Nazi regime change the lives of ordinary German people between 1933 and 1939?

Essay by leelawHigh School, 12th grade May 2004

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From 1933 to 1939 Hitler aimed to achieve a "social revolution" in Germany. Through his concept of volksgemeinschaft, meaning 'people's community,' he hoped to transform Germany into a strong country based on traditional peasant values. Historians have debated how far Hitler actually achieved a "social revolution." Some, such as Schoenbaum have argued that Hitler's "social revolution" was a fake perceived as being real due to the influence of Hitler's propaganda.

Hitler wanted Germany to be a classless society. He believed that if he made everyone equal, it would be easier to control them. He wanted them to unite and follow his orders. He believed that the peasants were the 'blood and soil' of Germany and presented them as the 'back bone' of the community. The peasant family and old aged were idealised in public. They were used in various propaganda campaigns. Hitler believed that they were decent and hard working.

He tried to take Germany back to its rural roots by enforcing labour intensive work and cutting back on machinery. However, he needed machinery for rearmament. His policies (as shown later on) were never going to work, as one contradicted the other. Propaganda showing men ploughing fields using horsepower was a mere dream for Hitler; something he would never achieve if he wanted to rearm. He relied on big businesses - something that also contradicted the peasant values.

Hitler needed support from the working class to achieve his aims. Trade Unions were a threat to Hitler's power. He closed down big businesses and open smaller ones. His aim was to win over the workers through State benefit and material improvement. All the people needed to make them happy was food and entertainment - or "bread and circuses" as Hitler put it.

Hitler had many policies towards the working class. On...