Benito Mussolini Mussolini fought in World War I. In March 1919, he formed the Fascist Party . On October 28, 1922, the Fascists undertook their famous “March on Rome.” Mussolini’s followers occupied the capital. Fascists achieved their first parliamentary majority by using violent tactics of intimidation to secure votes. Mussolini destroyed political parties and made Italy into a one-party dictatorship.
Adolf Hitler Adolf Hitler was born in Austria. Joined the German army in World War I. Believed in the racial superiority of the Aryan (German) people and was committed to providing Lebensraum (living space) for his “master race.”
Nazi Party After WW1, Hitler entered politics by joining the National Socialists Party (Nazi), and soon took over the party. In 1923, Hitler and the Nazi’s tried to overthrow government, but failed and Hitler sent to jail. Hitler wrote Mein Kampf (My Struggle) while in jail.
Mein Kampf Quotes “The worst danger is that we are interrupting the natural selection process ourselves (by caring for the sick and the weak).” “The [Nazi party] should not become a constable of public opinion, but must dominate it. It must not become a servant of the masses, but their master!” “...the personification of the devil as the symbol of all evil assumes the living shape of the Jew.”
Chancellor Adolf Hitler Hitler became Chancellor of Germany in January 1933 through legal means. Hitler claimed Germany was on verge of Communist revolution and persuaded President Paul von Hindenburg and the Reichstag (Parliament) to consent to a series of emergency laws, which Nazis used to establish themselves in power. Hitler removed all political parties of Germany except the Nazi party. Within two months, Germany was a police state and Hitler was dictator.
The Third Reich Hitler was dictator now, was called the “Führer” Goal was the unite all German speaking lands. Three goals for the Nazi state: Lebensraum, rearmament, and economic recovery. Hitler started to round up Jews and placing them in Ghettos and eventually concentration camps. For the next six year, Germany began building an army worthy of the new Reich.
Propaganda Joseph Goebbels was Reich Minister of Propaganda. German audience continually reminded of struggle of the Nazi Party and greatness of German culture. “Heroic Art” portrayed only Aryan men as heroic and strong. Hitler was glorified like a God. Jews were depicted as animals or evil monsters.
Jewish “Problem” By beginning of 1939, Nazi policy focused on promoting the “emigration” of Jews from Germany. Heinrich Himmler and the SS shared Hitler’s racial ideology. ReinhardHeydrich given responsibility for what Nazis called their Final Solution to the Jewish problem – extermination.
Jewish “Problem” After defeat of Poland, Heydrich ordered special strike forces to round up all Polish Jews and concentrate them in ghettos. Eventually, death squads entered the ghettos. Their job was to round up as many Jews as possible and execute them. Often times, the Jews dug their own graves before they were executed. As many as one million Jews were killed through this fashion, but was soon perceived as inadequate. Nazis opted for the systematic annihilation of Jews in specially built death camps.
Hitler Makes His Move In March 1938, German forces marched in Austria, they were cheered by Austrians. European leaders sought to avoid war through appeasement. British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain and French Premier had conference with Hitler in Munich. Hitler demanded the Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia, they agreed. Hitler “promised” for no more expansion.
Czechoslovakia Seized Six months after Munich Conference, Hitler occupied the remainder of Czechoslovakia. Seizure finally showed that Hitler’s demands were not limited to German speaking areas but instead determined by the need for Lebensraum (living space) for the “Master Race.” Obvious Poland was Hitler’s next target. On March 31, 1939, Britain and France extended a formal guarantee to support Poland in the event of a German attack. Mussolini took advantage of the European situation by invading Albania on April 1939.
Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact The Soviet Union potentially faced war on two fronts against Germany in the west and Japan in the east. On August 23, 1939 the German-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact signed. Agreement consisted of a 10-year nonaggression pact. Partitioning of Eastern Europe between both nations. USSR will supply vast quantities of raw materials to Germany in exchange for military technology and finished good.
Neutrality “This nation will remain a neutral nation…” Neutrality Act (1935) passed by Congress. It prohibited American munitions sales to any nations at war. The message was clear: the United States would take care of its own problems; Europe should do the same.