WALT: To what extent did the Nazi’s
D – Describe the features of Volksgemeinschaft.
B – Evaluate the importance of propaganda.
A – Assess the extent that the Nazi’s achieved
• Weltanschauung - world view
• Gleichschaltung - Gleichschaltung is an example from the
early days of the Nazi dictatorship of this use of language to
manipulate and confuse. It is a word rarely to be found in
older German dictionaries. ‘Gleich’ means equal, ‘Schaltung’
means switch, as in an electrical
switch; Gleichschaltung therefore means switching on to the
same track or wavelength, or, to put it in one
word, alignment or co-ordination
• Volksgemeinschaft -
Come up with a definition of
Propaganda – New national consciousness.
How successful was the Nazi
Regime in creating a
• You will now have 25 minutes to put as much information
down on the Sheet of A3 as possible… WORK AS GROUP
• You each have a pot of PlayDoh – You have to create
something memorable from each pot to highlight a point
about the assigned Group.
• You must place as much information around the A3 as
possible to explain each creation.
• You will peer assess each tables efforts.
• Kershaw: ‘The acute perception of social injustice, the classconscious awareness of inequalities...changed less in the Third
Reich than is often supposed...The extent of disillusionment and
discontent in almost all section of the population, rooted in the
socio-economic experience of daily life is remarkable’. (1983)
• Peukert: Volksgemeinschaft had not been achieved by 1939 –
internal harmony maintained by diverting public opinion against
• In conclusion, the Nazi regime created the illusion of a
Volksgemeionschaft, which featured in the propaganda, but it is
very difficult to say exactly why the German people behaved as
they did during the 1930s. Certainly it is difficult to agree that
there had been a 'social revolution'. (Schoenbaum)
• How successful was the Nazi Regime in creating a
• Good answers may conclude that there was a great deal of
acquiescence and social conformity – terror had a part to
play in this – but the existing class structure remained
fundamentally unaltered, despite the insistence of Nazi
propaganda otherwise. If there was a social revolution it
took the form of the elimination of those excluded from the
national community by definition of race, allegiance or
usefulness – Jews, political opponents, asocial, and the
mentally and physically disabled. The Nazis largely failed to
break down old loyalties but achieved at least passive
support. For many Germans, ‘belonging’ to a
Volksgemeinschaft’ was a powerful attraction.
• The mystic Utopia of the Volksgemeinschaft required that
all its members be centred on the same goal, dedicated to
hard work and prepared for self-sacrifice. Those who would
not fit in – the ‘asocial’, the
‘workshy’, homosexuals, political opponents – and those
who could not fit in – ‘aliens’, the ‘uneducable’, the
‘incurable’ – had to be excluded, even eradicated.
Anthropology, biological sciences and eugenics were
deployed to identify both these groups of outsiders and
even to suggest ‘treatment’. As noted above, the treatment
of the ‘insane’ and ‘incurable’ was more violent in Germany
than elsewhere and, from 1939, involved murder.