The return to economic stability boosted the regime's popularity. Racism , especially antisemitism , was a central ideological feature of the regime. The Germanic peoples were considered by the Nazis to be the master race , the purest branch of the Aryan race. Discrimination and persecution against Jews and Romani people began in earnest after the seizure of power. The first concentration camps were established in March Jews and others deemed undesirable were imprisoned, and liberals, socialists, and communists were killed, imprisoned, or exiled.
Christian churches and citizens that opposed Hitler's rule were oppressed, and many leaders imprisoned. Education focused on racial biology , population policy, and fitness for military service. Career and educational opportunities for women were curtailed. Recreation and tourism were organised via the Strength Through Joy program, and the Summer Olympics showcased Germany on the international stage. Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels made effective use of film, mass rallies, and Hitler's hypnotic oratory to influence public opinion. The government controlled artistic expression, promoting specific art forms and banning or discouraging others.
The Nazi regime dominated neighbours through military threats in the years leading up to war. Nazi Germany made increasingly aggressive territorial demands, threatening war if these were not met. It seized Austria and almost all of Czechoslovakia in and By early , Germany controlled much of Europe. Reichskommissariats took control of conquered areas and a German administration was established in the remainder of Poland.
Germany exploited the raw materials and labour of both its occupied territories and its allies. Einsatzgruppen paramilitary death squads inside the occupied territories conducted mass killings of millions of Jews and other peoples deemed undesirable by the state.
Many others were imprisoned, worked to death , or murdered in Nazi concentration camps and extermination camps. This genocide is known as the Holocaust. While the German invasion of the Soviet Union in was initially successful, the Soviet resurgence and entry of the United States into the war meant the Wehrmacht German armed forces lost the initiative on the Eastern Front in and by late had been pushed back to the pre border.
Large-scale aerial bombing of Germany escalated in and the Axis powers were driven back in Eastern and Southern Europe. After the Allied invasion of France , Germany was conquered by the Soviet Union from the east and the other Allies from the west, and capitulated in May Hitler's refusal to admit defeat led to massive destruction of German infrastructure and additional war-related deaths in the closing months of the war.
The victorious Allies initiated a policy of denazification and put many of the surviving Nazi leadership on trial for war crimes at the Nuremberg trials. Germany was known as the Weimar Republic during the years to It was a republic with a semi-presidential system. The Weimar Republic faced numerous problems, including hyperinflation , political extremism including violence from left- and right-wing paramilitaries , contentious relationships with the Allied victors of World War I , and a series of failed attempts at coalition government by divided political parties.
The government printed money to make the payments and to repay the country's war debt, but the resulting hyperinflation led to inflated prices for consumer goods, economic chaos, and food riots. It was the renamed successor of the German Workers' Party DAP formed one year earlier, and one of several far-right political parties then active in Germany. When the stock market in the United States crashed on 24 October , the effect in Germany was dire. They promised to strengthen the economy and provide jobs. Although the Nazis won the greatest share of the popular vote in the two Reichstag general elections of , they did not have a majority.
Hitler therefore led a short-lived coalition government formed with the German National People's Party. This event is known as the Machtergreifung "seizure of power". On the night of 27 February , the Reichstag building was set afire. Marinus van der Lubbe , a Dutch communist, was found guilty of starting the blaze. Hitler proclaimed that the arson marked the start of a communist uprising. The Reichstag Fire Decree , imposed on 28 February , rescinded most civil liberties, including rights of assembly and freedom of the press. The decree also allowed the police to detain people indefinitely without charges.
The legislation was accompanied by a propaganda campaign that led to public support for the measure. Violent suppression of communists by the SA was undertaken nationwide and 4, members of the Communist Party of Germany were arrested. In March , the Enabling Act , an amendment to the Weimar Constitution , passed in the Reichstag by a vote of to The remaining major political parties followed suit.
The founding of new parties was also made illegal, and all remaining political parties which had not already been dissolved were banned. The Hitler cabinet used the terms of the Reichstag Fire Decree and later the Enabling Act to initiate the process of Gleichschaltung "co-ordination" , which brought all aspects of life under party control.
These Commissars had the power to appoint and remove local governments, state parliaments, officials, and judges. In this way Germany became a de facto unitary state , with all state governments controlled by the central government under the NSDAP. All civilian organisations, including agricultural groups, volunteer organisations, and sports clubs, had their leadership replaced with Nazi sympathisers or party members; these civic organisations either merged with the NSDAP or faced dissolution.
The day after, SA stormtroopers demolished union offices around the country; all trade unions were forced to dissolve and their leaders were arrested. The Nazi regime abolished the symbols of the Weimar Republic—including the black, red, and gold tricolour flag —and adopted reworked symbolism. The previous imperial black, white, and red tricolour was restored as one of Germany's two official flags; the second was the swastika flag of the NSDAP, which became the sole national flag in Germany was still in a dire economic situation, as six million people were unemployed and the balance of trade deficit was daunting.
July Plot: Background
The SA leadership continued to apply pressure for greater political and military power. On 2 August , Hindenburg died. The previous day, the cabinet had enacted the "Law Concerning the Highest State Office of the Reich", which stated that upon Hindenburg's death the office of president would be abolished and its powers merged with those of the chancellor.
The new law provided an altered loyalty oath for servicemen so that they affirmed loyalty to Hitler personally rather than the office of supreme commander or the state. Most Germans were relieved that the conflicts and street fighting of the Weimar era had ended. They were deluged with propaganda orchestrated by Minister of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda Joseph Goebbels , who promised peace and plenty for all in a united, Marxist-free country without the constraints of the Versailles Treaty.
Beginning in April , scores of measures defining the status of Jews and their rights were instituted. Eventually the Nazis declared the Jews as undesirable to remain among German citizens and society. In the early years of the regime, Germany was without allies, and its military was drastically weakened by the Versailles Treaty. Poland suggested to France that the two nations engage in a preventive war against Germany in March Fascist Italy objected to German claims in the Balkans and on Austria , which Benito Mussolini considered to be in Italy's sphere of influence.
As early as February , Hitler announced that rearmament must begin, albeit clandestinely at first, as to do so was in violation of the Versailles Treaty. On 17 May , Hitler gave a speech before the Reichstag outlining his desire for world peace and accepted an offer from American President Franklin D. Roosevelt for military disarmament, provided the other nations of Europe did the same. In , Hitler told his military leaders that a war in the east should begin in When the Italian invasion of Ethiopia led to only mild protests by the British and French governments, on 7 March Hitler used the Franco-Soviet Treaty of Mutual Assistance as a pretext to order the army to march 3, troops into the demilitarised zone in the Rhineland in violation of the Versailles Treaty.
Hitler sent military supplies and assistance to the Nationalist forces of General Francisco Franco in the Spanish Civil War , which began in July The German Condor Legion included a range of aircraft and their crews, as well as a tank contingent. The aircraft of the Legion destroyed the city of Guernica in Schuschnigg scheduled a plebiscite regarding Austrian independence for 13 March, but Hitler sent an ultimatum to Schuschnigg on 11 March demanding that he hand over all power to the Austrian NSDAP or face an invasion.
German troops entered Austria the next day, to be greeted with enthusiasm by the populace. The Republic of Czechoslovakia was home to a substantial minority of Germans, who lived mostly in the Sudetenland. Under pressure from separatist groups within the Sudeten German Party , the Czechoslovak government offered economic concessions to the region.
The crisis led to war preparations by Britain, Czechoslovakia, and France Czechoslovakia's ally. Attempting to avoid war, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain arranged a series of meetings, the result of which was the Munich Agreement , signed on 29 September The Czechoslovak government was forced to accept the Sudetenland's annexation into Germany.
Chamberlain was greeted with cheers when he landed in London, saying the agreement brought "peace for our time". Austrian and Czech foreign exchange reserves were seized by the Nazis, as were stockpiles of raw materials such as metals and completed goods such as weaponry and aircraft, which were shipped to Germany. In January , Germany signed a non-aggression pact with Poland.
The British announced they would come to the aid of Poland if it was attacked. Hitler, believing the British would not actually take action, ordered an invasion plan should be readied for September He expected this time they would be met by force. The Germans reaffirmed their alliance with Italy and signed non-aggression pacts with Denmark, Estonia, and Latvia whilst trade links were formalised with Romania, Norway, and Sweden.
Germany's wartime foreign policy involved the creation of allied governments controlled directly or indirectly from Berlin. They intended to obtain soldiers from allies such as Italy and Hungary and workers and food supplies from allies such as Vichy France. Bulgaria signed the pact on 17 November. German efforts to secure oil included negotiating a supply from their new ally, Romania , who signed the Pact on 23 November, alongside the Slovak Republic. Although Japan was a powerful ally, the relationship was distant, with little co-ordination or co-operation.
For example, Germany refused to share their formula for synthetic oil from coal until late in the war. Initially the intention was to deport them further east, or possibly to Madagascar. But little other activity occurred until May, so the period became known as the " Phoney War ". From the start of the war, a British blockade on shipments to Germany affected its economy. Germany was particularly dependent on foreign supplies of oil, coal, and grain.
Denmark fell after less than a day , while most of Norway followed by the end of the month. Against the advice of many of his senior military officers, Hitler ordered an attack on France and the Low Countries , which began in May After outmanoeuvring the Allies in Belgium and forcing the evacuation of many British and French troops at Dunkirk ,  France fell as well, surrendering to Germany on 22 June.
In violation of the provisions of the Hague Convention , industrial firms in the Netherlands, France, and Belgium were put to work producing war materiel for Germany. The Nazis seized from the French thousands of locomotives and rolling stock, stockpiles of weapons, and raw materials such as copper, tin, oil, and nickel. Grand Admiral Erich Raeder had advised Hitler in June that air superiority was a pre-condition for a successful invasion of Britain , so Hitler ordered a series of aerial attacks on Royal Air Force RAF airbases and radar stations, as well as nightly air raids on British cities, including London , Plymouth , and Coventry.
The German Luftwaffe failed to defeat the RAF in what became known as the Battle of Britain , and by the end of October, Hitler realised that air superiority would not be achieved. He permanently postponed the invasion, a plan which the commanders of the German army had never taken entirely seriously. On 22 June , contravening the Molotov—Ribbentrop Pact, 5. In addition to Hitler's stated purpose of acquiring Lebensraum , this large-scale offensive—codenamed Operation Barbarossa —was intended to destroy the Soviet Union and seize its natural resources for subsequent aggression against the Western powers.
The invasion conquered a huge area, including the Baltic states, Belarus , and west Ukraine. After the successful Battle of Smolensk in September , Hitler ordered Army Group Centre to halt its advance to Moscow and temporarily divert its Panzer groups to aid in the encirclement of Leningrad and Kiev. The Moscow offensive, which resumed in October , ended disastrously in December.
REVEALED: Adolf Hitler’s shock plot to invade GIBRALTAR - ‘We MUST’
Four days later, Germany declared war on the United States. Food was in short supply in the conquered areas of the Soviet Union and Poland, as the retreating armies had burned the crops in some areas, and much of the remainder was sent back to the Reich. The harvest was good, and food supplies remained adequate in Western Europe. Germany and Europe as a whole was almost totally dependent on foreign oil imports. Losses continued to mount after Stalingrad, leading to a sharp reduction in the popularity of the Nazi Party and deteriorating morale.
By the end of the Germans had lost most of their eastern territorial gains. Many sorties were intentionally given civilian targets in an effort to destroy German morale. By targeting oil refineries and factories, they crippled the German war effort by late Hitler ordered the destruction of transport, bridges, industries, and other infrastructure—a scorched earth decree—but Armaments Minister Albert Speer prevented this order from being fully carried out. Popular support for Hitler almost completely disappeared as the war drew to a close. Among soldiers and party personnel, suicide was often deemed an honourable and heroic alternative to surrender.
First-hand accounts and propaganda about the uncivilised behaviour of the advancing Soviet troops caused panic among civilians on the Eastern Front, especially women, who feared being raped. High numbers of suicides took place in many other locations, including Neubrandenburg dead , Stolp in Pommern 1, dead ,  and Berlin, where at least 7, people committed suicide in Estimates of the total German war dead range from 5. At the end of the war, Europe had more than 40 million refugees ,  its economy had collapsed, and 70 percent of its industrial infrastructure was destroyed.
The Saarland temporarily became a protectorate of France under the condition that its residents would later decide by referendum which country to join, and Poland became a separate nation and was given access to the sea by the creation of the Polish Corridor, which separated Prussia from the rest of Germany, while Danzig was made a free city. Germany regained control of the Saarland through a referendum held in and annexed Austria in the Anschluss of Some of the conquered territories were incorporated into Germany as part of Hitler's long-term goal of creating a Greater Germanic Reich.
Several areas, such as Alsace-Lorraine, were placed under the authority of an adjacent Gau regional district. The Reichskommissariate Reich Commissariats , quasi-colonial regimes, were established in some occupied countries. Areas placed under German administration included the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia , Reichskommissariat Ostland encompassing the Baltic states and Belarus , and Reichskommissariat Ukraine. Part of Poland was incorporated into the Reich, and the General Government was established in occupied central Poland.
With the issuance of the Berlin Declaration on 5 June and later creation of the Allied Control Council , the four Allied powers assumed temporary governance of Germany. Germany was split into four zones, each occupied by one of the Allied powers, who drew reparations from their zone. Since most of the industrial areas were in the western zones, the Soviet Union was transferred additional reparations. In , Germany finalised her border with Poland by signing the Treaty of Warsaw.
He viewed the government structure as a pyramid, with himself—the infallible leader—at the apex. Party rank was not determined by elections, and positions were filled through appointment by those of higher rank. While top officials reported to Hitler and followed his policies, they had considerable autonomy. This led to a bureaucratic tangle of overlapping jurisdictions and responsibilities typical of the administrative style of the Nazi regime. Jewish civil servants lost their jobs in , except for those who had seen military service in World War I. In August , civil servants and members of the military were required to swear an oath of unconditional obedience to Hitler.
Most of the judicial system and legal codes of the Weimar Republic remained in place to deal with non-political crimes. Thousands were arrested and confined indefinitely without trial. A new type of court, the Volksgerichtshof "People's Court" , was established in to deal with political cases. The Nazis used propaganda to promulgate the concept of Rassenschande "race defilement" to justify the need for racial laws.
These laws initially prohibited sexual relations and marriages between Aryans and Jews and were later extended to include "Gypsies, Negroes or their bastard offspring". The law also permitted the Nazis to deny citizenship to anyone who was not supportive enough of the regime. The unified armed forces of Germany from to were called the Wehrmacht defence force. This included the Heer army , Kriegsmarine navy , and the Luftwaffe air force.
From 2 August , members of the armed forces were required to pledge an oath of unconditional obedience to Hitler personally. In contrast to the previous oath, which required allegiance to the constitution of the country and its lawful establishments, this new oath required members of the military to obey Hitler even if they were being ordered to do something illegal. In spite of efforts to prepare the country militarily, the economy could not sustain a lengthy war of attrition. A strategy was developed based on the tactic of Blitzkrieg "lightning war" , which involved using quick coordinated assaults that avoided enemy strong points.
Attacks began with artillery bombardment, followed by bombing and strafing runs. Next the tanks would attack and finally the infantry would move in to secure the captured area. The decision to attack the Soviet Union and the decisive defeat at Stalingrad led to the retreat of the German armies and the eventual loss of the war. After the purge of , the SA was no longer a major force. Initially a small bodyguard unit under the auspices of the SA, the Schutzstaffel SS; Protection Squadron grew to become one of the largest and most powerful groups in Nazi Germany.
It was dependent on the regular army for heavy weaponry and equipment, and most units were under tactical control of the High Command of the Armed Forces OKW. With recruitment and conscription based only on expansion, by the Waffen-SS could not longer claim to be an elite fighting force. SS formations committed many war crimes against civilians and allied servicemen.
This holding company owned housing corporations, factories, and publishing houses. The most pressing economic matter the Nazis initially faced was the 30 percent national unemployment rate. Hjalmar Schacht , President of the Reichsbank and Minister of Economics, created a scheme for deficit financing in May Capital projects were paid for with the issuance of promissory notes called Mefo bills. When the notes were presented for payment, the Reichsbank printed money. Hitler and his economic team expected that the upcoming territorial expansion would provide the means of repaying the soaring national debt.
In October , the Junkers Aircraft Works was expropriated. From a workforce of 3, people producing units per year in , the industry grew to employ a quarter of a million workers manufacturing over 10, technically advanced aircraft annually less than ten years later. An elaborate bureaucracy was created to regulate imports of raw materials and finished goods with the intention of eliminating foreign competition in the German marketplace and improving the nation's balance of payments.
The Nazis encouraged the development of synthetic replacements for materials such as oil and textiles. Any profits in excess of that amount would be turned over to the Reich. By , Farben regretted making the deal, as excess profits were by then being generated. Major public works projects financed with deficit spending included the construction of a network of Autobahnen and providing funding for programmes initiated by the previous government for housing and agricultural improvements. Envisioning widespread car ownership as part of the new Germany, Hitler arranged for designer Ferdinand Porsche to draw up plans for the KdF-wagen Strength Through Joy car , intended to be an automobile that everyone could afford.
With the outbreak of World War II, the factory was converted to produce military vehicles. None were sold until after the war, when the vehicle was renamed the Volkswagen people's car. Six million people were unemployed when the Nazis took power in and by there were fewer than a million. By early , the focus shifted towards rearmament. By , military expenditures accounted for 73 percent of the government's purchases of goods and services.
The Nazi war economy was a mixed economy that combined a free market with central planning. Historian Richard Overy describes it as being somewhere in between the command economy of the Soviet Union and the capitalist system of the United States. Germany imported and enslaved some 12 million people from 20 European countries to work in factories and on farms. Approximately 75 percent were Eastern European. Poor living conditions led to high rates of sickness, injury, and death, as well as sabotage and criminal activity.
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Foreign workers brought into Germany were put into four classifications: guest workers, military internees, civilian workers, and Eastern workers. Each group was subject to different regulations. The Nazis issued a ban on sexual relations between Germans and foreign workers. By over a half million women served as auxiliaries in the German armed forces.
They also took jobs formerly held by men, especially on farms and in family-owned shops. Very heavy strategic bombing by the Allies targeted refineries producing synthetic oil and gasoline , as well as the German transportation system, especially rail yards and canals. By November, fuel coal was no longer reaching its destinations and the production of new armaments was no longer possible. During the course of the war, the Nazis extracted considerable plunder from occupied Europe. Historian and war correspondent William L. Shirer writes: "The total amount of [Nazi] loot will never be known; it has proved beyond man's capacity to accurately compute.
The Bank of France was forced to provide 4. The Nazis exploited other conquered nations in a similar way. Nazi plunder included private and public art collections, artefacts, precious metals, books, and personal possessions. France saw the greatest extent of Nazi plunder. Some 26, railroad cars of art treasures, furniture, and other looted items were sent to Germany from France. Goods and raw materials were also taken. In France, an estimated 9,, tonnes 8,, long tons; 9,, short tons of cereals were seized during the course of the war, including 75 percent of its oats.
In addition, 80 percent of the country's oil and 74 percent of its steel production were taken. The valuation of this loot is estimated to be In Poland, Nazi plunder of raw materials began even before the German invasion had concluded. Following Operation Barbarossa, the Soviet Union was also plundered. In alone, 9,, tons of cereals, 2,, tonnes 2,, long tons; 2,, short tons of fodder, 3,, tonnes 3,, long tons; 3,, short tons of potatoes, and , tonnes , long tons; , short tons of meats were sent back to Germany.
This relatively low number in comparison to the occupied nations of Western Europe can be attributed to the devastating fighting on the Eastern Front. Nazi Germany's racial policy was based on their belief in the existence of a superior master race. The Nazis postulated the existence of a racial conflict between the Aryan master race and inferior races, particularly Jews, who were viewed as a mixed race that had infiltrated society and were responsible for the exploitation and repression of the Aryan race.
Discrimination against Jews began immediately after the seizure of power.
Following a month-long series of attacks by members of the SA on Jewish businesses and synagogues, on 1 April Hitler declared a national boycott of Jewish businesses. The regime used violence and economic pressure to encourage Jews to voluntarily leave the country. Citizens were harassed and subjected to violent attacks. In November a young Jewish man requested an interview with the German ambassador in Paris and met with a legation secretary, whom he shot and killed to protest his family's treatment in Germany. Members of the SA damaged or destroyed synagogues and Jewish property throughout Germany.
The Jewish community was fined one billion marks to pay for the damage caused by Kristallnacht and told that any insurance settlements would be confiscated. Emigrants to Palestine were allowed to transfer property there under the terms of the Haavara Agreement , but those moving to other countries had to leave virtually all their property behind, and it was seized by the government.
Like the Jews, the Romani people were subjected to persecution from the early days of the regime.
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The Romani were forbidden to marry people of German extraction. They were shipped to concentration camps starting in and many were killed. The Nazis intended on deporting all Romani people from Germany, and confined them to Zigeunerlager Gypsy camps for this purpose. Himmler ordered their deportation from Germany in December , with few exceptions. A total of 23, Romani were deported to Auschwitz concentration camp , of whom 19, died.
Outside of Germany, the Romani people were regularly used for forced labour, though many were killed. In occupied Serbia , 1, to 12, Romani were killed, while nearly all 25, Romani living in the Independent State of Croatia were killed. The estimates at end of the war put the total death toll at around ,, which equalled approximately 25 percent of the Romani population in Europe.
Action T4 was a programme of systematic murder of the physically and mentally handicapped and patients in psychiatric hospitals that took place mainly from to , and continued until the end of the war. Initially the victims were shot by the Einsatzgruppen and others; gas chambers and gas vans using carbon monoxide were used by early Most of the victims came from disadvantaged groups such as prostitutes, the poor, the homeless, and criminals.
Germany's war in the East was based on Hitler's long-standing view that Jews were the great enemy of the German people and that Lebensraum was needed for Germany's expansion. The Generalplan Ost "General Plan for the East" called for deporting the population of occupied Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union to Siberia, for use as slave labour or to be murdered. In addition to eliminating Jews, the Nazis planned to reduce the population of the conquered territories by 30 million people through starvation in an action called the Hunger Plan. Food supplies would be diverted to the German army and German civilians.
Cities would be razed and the land allowed to return to forest or resettled by German colonists. Around the time of the failed offensive against Moscow in December , Hitler resolved that the Jews of Europe were to be exterminated immediately. Some would be worked to death and the rest would be killed in the implementation of the Final Solution to the Jewish Question. The Allies received information about the murders from the Polish government-in-exile and Polish leadership in Warsaw, based mostly on intelligence from the Polish underground. Evans states that most German citizens disapproved of the genocide.
Poles were viewed by Nazis as subhuman non-Aryans, and during the German occupation of Poland 2. The German authorities engaged in a systematic effort to destroy Polish culture and national identity. During operation AB-Aktion , many university professors and members of the Polish intelligentsia were arrested, transported to concentration camps, or executed.
During the war, Poland lost an estimated 39 to 45 percent of its physicians and dentists, 26 to 57 percent of its lawyers, 15 to 30 percent of its teachers, 30 to 40 percent of its scientists and university professors, and 18 to 28 percent of its clergy. The Nazis captured 5. Of these, they killed an estimated 3. From onward, Soviet POWs were viewed as a source of forced labour, and received better treatment so they could work. Antisemitic legislation passed in led to the removal of all Jewish teachers, professors, and officials from the education system.
The average class size increased from 37 in to 43 in due to the resulting teacher shortage. Frequent and often contradictory directives were issued by Interior Minister Wilhelm Frick, Bernhard Rust of the Reich Ministry of Science, Education and Culture , and other agencies regarding content of lessons and acceptable textbooks for use in primary and secondary schools. Detailed National Socialist indoctrination of future holders of elite military rank was undertaken at Order Castles. Primary and secondary education focused on racial biology, population policy, culture, geography, and physical fitness.
At universities, appointments to top posts were the subject of power struggles between the education ministry, the university boards, and the National Socialist German Students' League. Women were a cornerstone of Nazi social policy. The Nazis opposed the feminist movement, claiming that it was the creation of Jewish intellectuals, instead advocating a patriarchal society in which the German woman would recognise that her "world is her husband, her family, her children, and her home".
Courses were offered on childrearing, sewing, and cooking. Women were encouraged to leave the workforce, and the creation of large families by racially suitable women was promoted through a propaganda campaign. Women received a bronze award—known as the Ehrenkreuz der Deutschen Mutter Cross of Honour of the German Mother —for giving birth to four children, silver for six, and gold for eight or more.
Though the measures led to increases in the birth rate, the number of families having four or more children declined by five percent between and After the war started, slave labourers were extensively used. Nazi leaders endorsed the idea that rational and theoretical work was alien to a woman's nature, and as such discouraged women from seeking higher education. The number of women enrolled in post-secondary schools dropped from , in to 51, in However, with the requirement that men be enlisted into the armed forces during the war, women comprised half of the enrolment in the post-secondary system by Women were expected to be strong, healthy, and vital.
From 25 March membership in the Hitler Youth was made compulsory for all children over the age of ten. The BDM's activities focused on physical education, with activities such as running, long jumping, somersaulting, tightrope walking, marching, and swimming. The Nazi regime promoted a liberal code of conduct regarding sexual matters and was sympathetic to women who bore children out of wedlock.
Soldier's wives were frequently involved in extramarital relationships. Sex was sometimes used as a commodity to obtain better work from a foreign labourer. With Hitler's approval, Himmler intended that the new society of the Nazi regime should destigmatise illegitimate births, particularly of children fathered by members of the SS, who were vetted for racial purity. Existing laws banning abortion except for medical reasons were strictly enforced by the Nazi regime.
The number of abortions declined from 35, per year at the start of the s to fewer than 2, per year at the end of the decade, though in a law was passed allowing abortions for eugenics reasons. Nazi Germany had a strong anti-tobacco movement , as pioneering research by Franz H. Government-run health care insurance plans were available, but Jews were denied coverage starting in That same year, Jewish doctors were forbidden to treat government-insured patients.
In , Jewish doctors were forbidden to treat non-Jewish patients and in their right to practice medicine was removed entirely. Medical experiments, many of them pseudoscientific , were performed on concentration camp inmates beginning in Josef Mengele , camp doctor at Auschwitz.
Nazi society had elements supportive of animal rights and many people were fond of zoos and wildlife. In , the Nazis enacted a stringent animal-protection law that affected what was allowed for medical research.
It allowed for the expropriation of privately owned land to create nature preserves and aided in long-range planning. When the Nazis seized power in , roughly 67 percent of the population of Germany was Protestant , 33 percent was Roman Catholic , while Jews made up less than 1 percent.
BBC - History - World Wars: Hitler and 'Lebensraum' in the East
Under the Gleichschaltung process, Hitler attempted to create a unified Protestant Reich Church from Germany's 28 existing Protestant state churches ,  with the ultimate goal of eradication of the churches in Germany. Persecution of the Catholic Church in Germany followed the Nazi takeover. Catholic schools were required to reduce religious instruction and crucifixes were removed from state buildings. Pope Pius XI had the " Mit brennender Sorge " "With Burning Concern" encyclical smuggled into Germany for Passion Sunday and read from every pulpit as it denounced the systematic hostility of the regime toward the church.
Enrolment in denominational schools dropped sharply and by all such schools were disbanded or converted to public facilities. He planned the "extermination of the foreign Christian faiths imported into Germany", and for the Bible and Christian cross to be replaced in all churches, cathedrals, and chapels with copies of Mein Kampf and the swastika. While no unified resistance movement opposing the Nazi regime existed, acts of defiance such as sabotage and labour slowdowns took place, as well as attempts to overthrow the regime or assassinate Hitler.
These networks achieved little beyond fomenting unrest and initiating short-lived strikes. The group was detected by the Gestapo and more than 50 members were tried and executed in The two groups saw themselves as potential rival parties in post-war Germany, and for the most part did not co-ordinate their activities. While civilian efforts had an impact on public opinion, the army was the only organisation with the capacity to overthrow the government. They believed Britain would go to war over Hitler's planned invasion of Czechoslovakia, and Germany would lose.
The plan was to overthrow Hitler or possibly assassinate him. The planned coup was cancelled after the signing of the Munich Agreement in September Several more attempts followed before the failed 20 July plot, which was at least partly motivated by the increasing prospect of a German defeat in the war. Richard J. Evans , The Coming of the Third Reich The regime promoted the concept of Volksgemeinschaft , a national German ethnic community.
The goal was to build a classless society based on racial purity and the perceived need to prepare for warfare, conquest and a struggle against Marxism. As well as taking control of tens of thousands of privately run recreational clubs, it offered highly regimented holidays and entertainment such as cruises, vacation destinations and concerts. Sub-chambers were set up to control aspects of cultural life such as film, radio, newspapers, fine arts, music, theatre and literature.
Members of these professions were required to join their respective organisation. Jews and people considered politically unreliable were prevented from working in the arts, and many emigrated. Books and scripts had to be approved by the Propaganda Ministry prior to publication. Standards deteriorated as the regime sought to use cultural outlets exclusively as propaganda media. Radio became popular in Germany during the s; over 70 percent of households owned a receiver by , more than any other country.
By July , radio station staffs were purged of leftists and others deemed undesirable. Newspapers, like other media, were controlled by the state; the Reich Press Chamber shut down or bought newspapers and publishing houses. By , over two-thirds of the newspapers and magazines were directly owned by the Propaganda Ministry. Under Goebbels, the Propaganda Ministry issued two dozen directives every week on exactly what news should be published and what angles to use; the typical newspaper followed the directives closely, especially regarding what to omit.
Authors of books left the country in droves and some wrote material critical of the regime while in exile. Goebbels recommended that the remaining authors concentrate on books themed on Germanic myths and the concept of blood and soil. By the end of , over a thousand books—most of them by Jewish authors or featuring Jewish characters—had been banned by the Nazi regime. Pacifist works, and literature espousing liberal, democratic values were targeted for destruction, as well as any writings supporting the Weimar Republic or those written by Jewish authors. Hitler took a personal interest in architecture and worked closely with state architects Paul Troost and Albert Speer to create public buildings in a neoclassical style based on Roman architecture.
Neither structure was built. Hitler's belief that abstract , Dadaist , expressionist and modern art were decadent became the basis for policy. The exhibition proved wildly popular, attracting over two million visitors. Movies were popular in Germany in the s and s, with admissions of over a billion people in , and Exports of German films plummeted, as their antisemitic content made them impossible to show in other countries. The two largest film companies, Universum Film AG and Tobis , were purchased by the Propaganda Ministry, which by was producing most German films.
The productions were not always overtly propagandistic, but generally had a political subtext and followed party lines regarding themes and content. Scripts were pre-censored. Leni Riefenstahl 's Triumph of the Will —documenting the Nuremberg Rally—and Olympia —covering the Summer Olympics —pioneered techniques of camera movement and editing that influenced later films.
New techniques such as telephoto lenses and cameras mounted on tracks were employed. Both films remain controversial, as their aesthetic merit is inseparable from their propagandising of National Socialist ideals. The Allied powers organised war crimes trials, beginning with the Nuremberg trials , held from November to October , of 23 top Nazi officials. They were charged with four counts—conspiracy to commit crimes, crimes against peace, war crimes and crimes against humanity —in violation of international laws governing warfare.
The result was convictions of 1, people; of these were sentenced to death and to life in prison, with the remainder receiving lesser sentences. About 65 percent of the death sentences were carried out. The political programme espoused by Hitler and the NSDAP brought about a world war, leaving behind a devastated and impoverished Europe. Germany itself suffered wholesale destruction, characterised as Stunde Null Zero Hour. While Evans remarks that the era "exerts an almost universal appeal because its murderous racism stands as a warning to the whole of humanity",  young neo-Nazis enjoy the shock value the use Nazi symbols or slogans provides.
The process of denazification, which was initiated by the Allies as a way to remove Nazi Party members was only partially successful, as the need for experts in such fields as medicine and engineering was too great. However, expression of Nazi views was frowned upon, and those who expressed such views were frequently dismissed from their jobs. While virtually every family suffered losses during the war has a story to tell, Germans kept quiet about their experiences and felt a sense of communal guilt, even if they were not directly involved in war crimes.
Study of the era and a willingness to critically examine its mistakes has led to the development of a strong democracy in Germany, but with lingering undercurrents of antisemitism and neo-Nazi thought. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Germany from to , while under control of the Nazi Party. For the book, see Das Dritte Reich. Civilian-administered occupied territories. Military-administered occupied territories.
The German state from to , under the dictatorship of Adolf Hitler. Further information: Reich. Further information: Adolf Hitler's rise to power. Further information: History of Germany. Main article: Gleichschaltung. Main article: International relations — Main articles: Anschluss and German occupation of Czechoslovakia. Further information: Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia. Main article: Mass suicides in Nazi Germany. Play media. Main article: Territorial evolution of Germany. Further information: Nazism. See also: Government of Nazi Germany.
Further information: Law in Nazi Germany. Main article: Economy of Nazi Germany. See also: List of companies involved in the Holocaust. Main article: Nazi plunder. Further information: Anti-Jewish legislation in prewar Nazi Germany. Further information: Porajmos. Main article: Aktion T4. Main article: Generalplan Ost. Main article: The Holocaust. Further information: Occupation of Poland — and Nazi crimes against the Polish nation. Further information: German mistreatment of Soviet prisoners of war.
Further information: University education in Nazi Germany. Further information: Women in Nazi Germany. Main article: Animal welfare in Nazi Germany. Main article: Kirchenkampf. See also: Religion in Nazi Germany. If the experience of the Third Reich teaches us anything, it is that a love of great music, great art and great literature does not provide people with any kind of moral or political immunization against violence, atrocity, or subservience to dictatorship.
See also: List of authors banned in Nazi Germany. Main articles: Nazi architecture and Art of the Third Reich. Main article: Nazism and cinema. Main article: Consequences of Nazism. See also: Denazification. See Statistisches Jahrbuch It could not be expected that even for a brief period our Air Force could make up for our lack of naval supremacy.
The figure of 2 to 2. Koldehoff The German Red Cross still maintains that the death toll from the expulsions is 2. Goebbel's propaganda campaigns carried out in the second half of and again in had failed to convert them". Since the late s, there had been repeated attempts by various groups in the German resistance to assassinate Adolf Hitler and overthrow the Nazis. As time went on, Hitler became increasingly suspicious and more heavily guarded, and often changed his schedule at the last minute.
The men behind the July Plot were a group of high-level German military leaders who recognized that Hitler was leading Germany in a suicidal war on two fronts. Lieutenant Colonel Claus Schenk von Stauffenberg , chief of staff of the reserve army, also played a central role in the conspiracy. Stauffenberg then said he had to make a phone call and left the room.
Another officer subsequently happened to move the briefcase out of place, farther away from Hitler. The bomb detonated at p. One person died instantly as a result of the powerful explosion and three others were mortally wounded; however, Hitler suffered only minor injuries. He was even well enough to keep an appointment with Benito Mussolini that same afternoon, and gave the Italian dictator a tour of site where the blast occurred. When the news came through that Hitler was alive, General Friedrich Fromm , commander of the reserve army and someone who condoned the July Plot, turned on the conspirators in order to have his association with them covered up.
Stauffenberg and Olbricht were arrested and executed on July Hundreds of people thought to be involved in the conspiracy also soon were arrested, and around eventually were executed. Beck was arrested and chose to commit suicide rather than stand trial. Tresckow committed suicide after he learned the July Plot had failed.
Erwin Rommel , a highly respected field marshal also linked to the plot, was given the choice of facing trial or committing suicide in order to spare his family. He opted to take his own life. Because Rommel was a renowned figure, the Nazis covered up the true cause of his death and gave him a state funeral. Fromm also was executed by firing squad in