Nationalism as a Cause of WWII


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Humanities 20-1
Ashten Blain
Jan 31 2011

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Nationalism as a Cause of WWII

  1. 1. Nationalism as a Cause of World War Two Humanities 20-1, Mr. Esteves Ashten Blain1929 • Wall Street stock market crash hit Germany hard because the economy was built on mostly loans from America and was dependent on trade, so when the loans needed to be paid and there was no trade, Germany’s industrialism stopped; German workers were laid off, banks failed so saving and accounts were wiped out, inflation made it difficult to purchase necessities, etc. • Hitler decided that he needed to do everything at a political level aboveboard, so that he would be seen as a legitimate leader and not someone associated with violence and bad things; wanted to highlight the failings of other political parties ⇒ Hitler’s inflamed sense of nationalism encouraged him to share his beliefs and values with his fellow countrymen. His strong dependence on his beliefs gave him the reassurance he needed to do whatever he could to further his cause, no matter what people thought about him. • Image: Inflation led to such high prices and such a low dollar value, that it was actually cheaper to burn money than to pay for firewood effects-on-germany/1930 • Depression really took hold of Germany, and Germany had to repay the debt created by the Young Plan; Hitler tried to defeat the Young plan and this campaign made him a political force throughout the country; in his campaigning he turned down his Jewish hatred and promised to get rid of Communists and “other enemies “ and to reunite Germany and other German speaking parts of Europe • Extremists were losing popularity because stability was returning; German Nationalist party made him respectable by asking for him to help campaign against the Young Plan’s repayment arrangements; Nazi party won 18.3% of the vote in September 1930 ⇒ German nationalism made German citizens sympathize with one another, and the thought of more or worse poverty because of the repayments to America worried them all. Hitler, although not the most popular politician in the works at the time, definitely was able to wiggle his foot in the door because of the small amount of doubt in the minds of the people.
  2. 2. • Image: Hitler campaigning against the Young plan and the required reparations payments born-again-christians-part-2-%E2%80%93-kill-all-jews-the-deadly-trinity-of-bible-luther-and- hitler-part-7-of-the-most-dangerous-book-on-earth-%E2%80%93warnin/1931 • Many banks and financial institutions were falling apart at the seams, and the Nazi party and Hitler took advantage of this to show that the current government was ineffective • The SS Engagement and Marriage order is announced and under this law no member of the SS is allowed to get married unless the couples respective genealogy had been analyzed by a new SS department called the Office of Race and Settlement ⇒ Hitler was trying to create a sense of nationalism in German people, to the point where they felt they were better than any person of any other race, and therefore entitled to more. By creating a clear separation, Hitler was able to set the German’s apart from others living in the same area. • Image: a chart to help the new Office of Race and Settlement classify people • Nazi party receives 30.1 percent of the vote for president; in a runoff election, Hitler receives 36.8 percent; SA and SS are banned after coup is discovered; ban on SA and SS is lifted • Hitler tries to move into position as chancellor, but is denied by Hindenburg twice ⇒ As the democratic government loses control over the Reichstag, the army and the economy, people begin to become worried. The lack of confidence united them as a people, and they began to look for extreme solutions for an extreme and complicated problem. • Image: an elections poster for the last year German citizens had a choice in their ruler http:// • Hitler is appointed Chancellor by Hindenburg; Brownshirts celebrate Hitler’s appointment with a torchlight parade through Berlin
  3. 3. • Hindenburg signs the Decree for the Protection of the People and the State, which was drawn up by Hitler’s aides, entitling Hitler to suspend the civil liberties of the people of Germany, and to put opponents of the Nazi party in prison and concentration camps; the passing of this law would effectively remove democracy and establish Hitler as the dictator ⇒ Nationalism takes a step towards ultra-nationalism at this point, as Hitler begins to over-control and overprotect the German people in order to bring them to where they need to be. By removing competition of the Nazi party and removing other systems of government, Hitler paved the way for his beliefs and values to be spread throughout Germany and the people. • Image: The torchlight parade in Berlin streets • Hitler and the Nazis announced within hours of Hindenburg’s death that the position of president would be combined with the position of chancellor, and therefore Hitler was named president of Germany • Hitler changed the laws so that the oaths that the public officials and soldiers had to use was sworn to Hitler, the Fuhrer of Germany, rather than to the German government or German nation, and they were forced to take this oath if they were to enter service ⇒ Hitler felt that the only way Germany would return to order was through the Nazi regime. By combining Chancellor and President, he ensured that he would be at the head of the government and could spread his fiery nationalism to his people. • Image: German soldiers swearing loyalty to Hitler http://germanhistorydocs.ghi- • Nuremberg Laws: German citizens may not marry or have sex with Jews in order to keep the blood pure (punishment of hard labor); Jews are not allowed to employ female German citizens under 45 as domestic workers(punishment of imprisonment or hard labor); Jews aren’t allowed to display the Reich and national flag or national colors, but can display Jewish colors(punishment of a year in prison and a fine, or hard labor) • Luftwaffe: Hitler signed a secret decree that authorized the Reich Luftwaffe as a third German military service to join the army and
  4. 4. navy; Treaty of Versailles prohibited air force in Germany, but Hitler made the Lufthansa into a civilian airline, therefore not infringing on the rules of the treaty, but still providing training to his new air force pilots; he began to reveal this Luftwaffe little by little so that they would not alarm foreign governments ⇒ Hitler really began to try to drive a wedge between Germans and Jews so that nationalism was felt very differently by the two different groups. In encouraging the nationalism and superiority in the German citizens, he made them feel better and feel against the Jews. • Image: German Luftwaffe planes • German troops reenter the demilitarized Rhineland , military conscription begins, 2 year compulsory military service begins • Jewish stores aren’t allowed to renew leases, Jewish teachers aren’t allowed to tutor German children, Jewish authors are blacklisted, Nazi’s begin campaigning to remove Jews from German economic life; restrictions are placed on Jews throughout the country as anti-Semitic views become more popular ⇒ The Nazi’s encouragement of the exclusion of Jews made the German citizens feel superior. This boosted the feeling of nationalism in the German people, as they felt they were superior to the Jews, and as the people began to believe it, Hitler was encouraged and pushed to continue on his path. • Image: A conscription poster requested by Hitler for WWII
  5. 5. • Hitler formally ends obedience to the Treaty of Versailles; German warplanes attack a Spanish town, and this becomes the first air bombardment of an undefended town in history (picture of Guernica, Spain, after bombardment) • Hitler outlines plans for a future war, confiding in his general of his intent to destroy Czechoslovakia; this was the beginning of Hitler’s process of beginning war ⇒ Ultra-nationalism flexes its muscles here, as the Germans show their new might in their air force and their defiance of the Treaty of Versailles, hereby raising confidence of the German people in their own government and fear of Germany for other countries. • Image: Guernica, Spain after the German bombardment • The Munich Agreement: allowed Nazi German to combine Czechoslovakia’s Sudetenland, areas along the Czech borders that were mostly inhabited by ethnic Germans; a way to appease Hitler • Hitler invades Austria and announces that Austria has become part of the German Reich and the laws of Germany are applied in Austria (including anti-Semitism) ⇒ People in Czechoslovakia felt that they identified as much with the German people as they did with any of the other small sections of the population. When Hitler came to take over Czechoslovakia, the people there were open to it because they were facing the same unrest and problems that Germany was. They were looking for an extreme solution to their extreme problem, like everyone else in the country. • Image: German troops entering Austria (Anschluss) • Hitler takes over Czechoslovakia, seemingly because of the wishes of the president, but actually would have taken it by force • Hitler started World War 2: propagandist reason, codenamed Operation Himmler, was to have the SS act out false attacks by the Polish army towards the German army on the border. They hired a Polish speaking German man to grab the microphone at a radio station and begin a speech in Polish stating that the time had come for the Poles to retaliate against the Germans. Concentration camp prisoners dressed in the army uniform of Poland were to be killed by lethal injection, then shot over and over and left as
  6. 6. evidence of the Polish attacks; on September 1st, 1939, the German army marched into Poland, destroying everything in their path, and effectively beginning World War 2 ⇒ The German people were ready for a war. They believed, because their leader had taught them to, that the only way to improve their situation was to fight for it. Nationalism prepared them for a war, and not only were they ready for the act, but they were ready to accept the consequences. Their need for stability as a country transcended other needs, and they were ready to do what it took to achieve their goals. • Image: German troops marching into Poland 2008/08/dayintech_0901Biggest Results of Nationalism: 1. The Germans Marching on Poland (and beginning WWII) a. Because the German people felt prepared and maybe even wanted a war, they were fine to help in any way they could to restore Germany to what it was before the Great Depression hit. They all felt that they were in the same situation and identified as a whole, and were completely prepared to work together to crawl out of their situation. 2. Conscription and the Swelling of Military Numbers a. As Germany neared a time of war, the people began to feel that they needed to fight to return themselves to their former glory, not in small part due to their fanatical leader. Voluntary sign ups increased, and objection to conscription was much less than normal. 3. Invasion of Czechoslovakia a. While it was a takeover by force, the Czechoslovakian people were open to a change in government and needed an extreme solution to the same extreme problem Germany was facing. 4. End of the Treaty of Versailles a. Now openly defiant of the restrictions placed on them by the Treaty of Versailles, the country of Germany, and Hitler were now able to let their power increase without being limited by the Treaty. Nationalism grew as confidence in their safety and power grew. 5. Hitler’s Aboveboard Actions a. Hitler made sure that everything he did to come to power was looked on as correct so that he would be accepted as a legitimate politician. Hitler wanted to be looked on as someone who had come from the same place everyone else had, so that they would identify with him, and so that he felt just as much a part of his country as other citizens would.
  7. 7. BibliographyTrueman, C. (n.d.). Adolf Hitler. In History Learning Site. Retrieved January 29, 2011, from Rise of Adolf Hitler. (1996, ). In The History Place. Retrieved January 29, 2011, from, R. (2011, January 7). Nazi Propaganda: 1933-1945. In German Propaganda Archive. Retrieved January 29, 2011, from, C. (n.d.). Adolf Hitler 1924 - 1929. In The History Learning Site. Retrieved January 29, 2011, from, R. H. (n.d.). Timebase 1929-1939. In Timebase Multimedia Chronography. Retrieved January 29, 2011, from Contributors. (2011, January 26). Nuremberg Laws. In Wikipedia. Retrieved January 29, 2011, from Last Days of Peace. (2001, ). In The History Place. Retrieved January 29, 2011, from