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Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany
Historical Background: The peace and prosperity promised by the Treaty
of Versailles was short lived. Disappointment and despair grew over issues
like new boundary disputes, reparations payments, national pride and
inflation until the American stock market crash sent the European economy
into a depression as well. Eventually, through well carefully planned tactics,
Adolf Hitler and the National Socialists Party gained power in 1933. Once in
power, Hitler had a goal in creating a fascist totalitarian state. The Nazis
would use propaganda, mass rallies, economic policies, organizations and
terror to control the country. In a country of 70 million, there was only
about 10 million registered Nazi Party members. While it can be said most
of the entire German population may not have been in agreement with
Hitler's plans, there was almost no large scale objection to him or Nazi
policies.
Essential Question: What key methods, techniques or strategies
did Hitler and the Nazis use to win over the loyalty of the German
people to their policies, programs and agendas?
Directions: Once Hitler took power in 1933, the Nazis established control
over all aspects of government. Hitler had a goal in creating a totalitarian
state. The Nazis used economic policies, propaganda, mass rallies,
organizations and terror to control the country and further their goals.
Refer to the documents below to answer the essential question as well as
the additional critical thinking questions. You may also refer to your notes,
PowerPoints or any other information not presented in the documents to
help you answer the questions.
Mass Rallies
Once in power, the Nazis needed loyalty from the people. They thought they could gain that
through grand and impressive rallies. The Nazis ordered marches, rallies and festivals that
boasted Germany’s order, discipline and strength. Hitler demanded active involvement from all
citizens. The rallies gave Germans a greater sense of belonging to a great movement and
emphasised the fact that Nazis created order out of chaos. Crowds would gather to watch Hitler
speaking at the annual rally in Nuremberg. Hitler would express his ideas in a simple way,
repeating them over and over.
“It was my first time at a rally in 1935. I
had heard rumors of the grandeur, pomp
and discipline of rallies. I never believed it
till I saw it with my own eyes… The sight of
tens of thousands people standing shoulder
to shoulder with each other shouting “Heil
Hitler” took my breath away. From that
moment on, I loved the Nazis.”
Hans Grimdt, a German Stockbroker
"My fellow countrymen, my fellow German
workers… I come from among your ranks. I was one
of you, and I was right beside you during the four
years of the War. Then, progressively, thanks to my
perseverance, by educating myself, and by enduring
great hunger, I lifted myself up! But deep down, I
remained the same… No one talks about the tens
of thousands of people who asphyxiate themselves
each year, out of despair… As Fuehrer of the
German people, I can thank God at this moment
that he has so wonderfully blessed us in our hard
struggle… I am convinced that the time is coming
when those millions of people who condemn us will
join our ranks and hail with us what we have
created and gained through so much effort: this
new German Reich, this Reich of greatness, honor,
and strength… We want to be a single, unified
Reich… the people need to be obedient… but also
courageous… we do not want the people to grow
soft, but we want it to be hard... tough as leather
and solid as steel… we are determined to create a
new race… a magnificent era is before us! Germany
has finally awakened. We have conquered power!”
Excerpts from Hitler’s Speeches
Propaganda
Hitler and Nazi officials manipulated public opinion by using propaganda techniques. They were known for
their ability to create extensive and varied forms of propaganda, with words and images carefully chosen that
they thought would gather the most support for their policies. Dr. Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi Minister of
Propaganda, wanted to highlight the ideas he thought would appeal to the German people. Propaganda was
presented through a variety of media including radio, film, print and even school textbooks and children’s
fairytale stories! Testimonies of German people, especially youth, reveal that they mostly accepted what
they heard and saw as the truth, without ever evaluating the accuracy of the statements. The success of Nazi
propaganda in influencing the minds and hearts of the people demonstrates the dangers that can befall a
society whose citizens are not able to make informed judgments about the media around them.
“We will rebuild together.”
“The German attitude,
the German performance,
prove Nordic race heritage!”
“The Jewish nose is bent, like the #6.”
"This genetically ill person will cost our people's
community 60,000 marks over his lifetime.”
The Eternal Jew was a
propaganda film
presented as a
documentary. The film
was made at the
insistence of Joseph
Goebbels who took a
personal interest in the
German film industry.
Children’s stories
like Cinderella
were re-told by
the Nazis. An
emphasis was
placed on her
blond hair, blue
eyed, Aryan
purity.
Hitler Youth Organization
In setting up a totalitarian state, the Nazis recognized the importance of winning young people
over to their ideas. Hitler believed that the future of Nazi Germany was its children. Therefore,
the Hitler Youth, an organization for young people between the ages of 10 and 18, was formed in
1926. The Hitler Youth was seen as being just as important to a child as school was. In fact,
educational programs were created to indoctrinate them with Nazi views. The Hitler Youth wore
uniforms and even attended meetings and rallies. The Hitler Youth was actually an extension of
the SA, with education programs designed to prepare young boys for future military service.
The Nazis wanted their youth to be physically fit.
Part of their "military athletics" included
marching, bayonet drill, grenade throwing,
trench digging, map reading, gas defence, use of
dugouts, how to get under barbed wire and
pistol shooting.
Joining the Hitler Youth was required and
by 1936, there were 4 million members.
In addition to the Hitler Youth, the Nazis also
created the League of German Girls. Activities
for the girls were fitness related as well as
preparing them for motherhood. Girls had to
be able to run 60 meters in 14 seconds, throw a
ball 12 meters, complete a 2 hour march, swim
100 meters and know how to make a bed.
A League of
German Girls
poster reads,
“Every girl
belongs to
us.”
This poster shows a young Aryan-looking
member of the Hitler Youth looking up to an
idealized, God-like version of Adolf Hitler.
Children as young as 10 years old served the
leader by joining the organization. For Hitler
believed that devotion should be fostered as
early as possible.
This poster features a young,
swastika-waving German student
with the caption, “The German
student fights for the Führer and
the people.” The Nazis aimed to
combine their ideology with
academic life.
“He alone, who
owns the youth,
gains the future.”
- Adolf Hitler
Unemployment
in Germany
Total
January 1933 6 million
January 1934 3.3 million
January 1935 2.9 million
January 1936 2.5 million
January 1937 1.8 million
January 1938 1.0 million
January 1939 302,000
Economic Programs
Germany’s economy was in a mess when Hitler came to power in 1933. WWI reparations and the
Great Depression had wreaked havoc on Germany. Hitler and the Nazis played upon the
population’s fear that there was no hope for recovery. Unemployment peaked at 6 million during
the last days of the Weimar Republic (1933) – near 33% of the nation’s working population was out
of work. However, Hitler put the people back to work through public works projects and grants to
private companies. Miraculously, unemployment all but disappeared by 1939. Hitler was able to
stimulate a nation to do what no other could during the time of the economic depression.
With unemployment at an all-time high,
Hitler promised the German people
“Arbeit und Brot” or “Work and Bread”.
When in power, the Nazis created the
Reichsarbeitsdienst (or the RAD, Reich
Labor Service). This policy forced every
man, ages 18-25 to work, thus reducing
unemployment.
In addition to public works, Hitler put people
back to work in a massive rearmament project.
Re-arming Germany’s military created new jobs
by supplying raw material and manufacturing
military equipment, (tanks, airplanes, battleships
and submarines.) At first, Germany was secretly
rearming itself due to the restrictions of the
Treaty of Versailles. However, by 1935, they
were openly rearming and the armed forces
grew from 100,000 in 1933 to 1,400,000 in 1939.
The Nazis put people to work through several
public work projects. Many jobs created were
building hospitals, houses, networks of roads
(Autobahn), planting trees, digging ditches on
farms, etc. All work was done by hand, which
required more workers and created more jobs.
The unemployed were given a very
simple choice: do whatever work is
given to you by the government or
be classified as "lazy or work-shy" &
be put into a concentration camp.
Terror
In order to control Germany, the Nazis developed a terror state. The goal of the terror state was
to ensure that everybody did as they were told - or paid the price. The Schutzstaffel (SS) was
created for this very reason and were under the direction of top Nazi official, Heinrich Himmler.
They were fanatically loyal to Adolf Hitler, and were responsible for all matters of security within
Germany. The SS played a key role in the terror and control of German citizens. The SS organized
the secret police (Gestapo) who could arrest anyone at any time, as well as being responsible for
administering concentration and later on, death camps (Totenkopf). Answering only to Hitler and
Himmler, the SS came to overshadow other Nazi organizations like the Storm Troopers (SA).
“Terror is the best political
weapon, for nothing drives
people harder than the fear of
sudden death.” - Adolf Hitler
The SS was considered to be an elite
force and membership was restricted to
those who were pure, Aryan Germans.
The SS used the
siegrunen, an
ancient Nordic
symbol, as their
insignia. The ᛋᛋ
characters were
said to mean
victory. The
Nazis often used
old Nordic
symbols. The
Nordic people
were an ancient
Germanic race
(Aryans) which
the Nazis had
aspired to
become and
create a new
world order.
The first concentration camp, Dachau (above), was
opened in 1933 by Heinrich Himmler when the
Nazis first came to power. The camps were
overseen by the Totenkopf. The primary purpose
was the imprisonment and forced labor of Nazi
opponents and eventually Jews. Heinrich Himmler
visits and inspects Dachau (below).
On June 30th
, 1934, the SS committed a series of
political murders against SA leaders. Hitler had
feared many of the Storm Trooper leaders were
becoming too powerful. The purge became known
as “The Night of Long Knives” and showed that no
one was safe, not even within the Nazi party.
In 1936, the Nazis created the Gestapo
and gave them the authority to arrest
anyone, any time without a trial. Most
were executed or sent to concentration
camps. This was done to protect the
country from enemies of the state.
“This instrument which is so feared by
enemies of the State has contributed
most to the fact that today there can no
talk of a Communist or Jewish danger in
Germany...” Herman Goering, Gestapo Leader

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Nazi germany policies information

  • 1. Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany Historical Background: The peace and prosperity promised by the Treaty of Versailles was short lived. Disappointment and despair grew over issues like new boundary disputes, reparations payments, national pride and inflation until the American stock market crash sent the European economy into a depression as well. Eventually, through well carefully planned tactics, Adolf Hitler and the National Socialists Party gained power in 1933. Once in power, Hitler had a goal in creating a fascist totalitarian state. The Nazis would use propaganda, mass rallies, economic policies, organizations and terror to control the country. In a country of 70 million, there was only about 10 million registered Nazi Party members. While it can be said most of the entire German population may not have been in agreement with Hitler's plans, there was almost no large scale objection to him or Nazi policies. Essential Question: What key methods, techniques or strategies did Hitler and the Nazis use to win over the loyalty of the German people to their policies, programs and agendas? Directions: Once Hitler took power in 1933, the Nazis established control over all aspects of government. Hitler had a goal in creating a totalitarian state. The Nazis used economic policies, propaganda, mass rallies, organizations and terror to control the country and further their goals. Refer to the documents below to answer the essential question as well as the additional critical thinking questions. You may also refer to your notes, PowerPoints or any other information not presented in the documents to help you answer the questions.
  • 2. Mass Rallies Once in power, the Nazis needed loyalty from the people. They thought they could gain that through grand and impressive rallies. The Nazis ordered marches, rallies and festivals that boasted Germany’s order, discipline and strength. Hitler demanded active involvement from all citizens. The rallies gave Germans a greater sense of belonging to a great movement and emphasised the fact that Nazis created order out of chaos. Crowds would gather to watch Hitler speaking at the annual rally in Nuremberg. Hitler would express his ideas in a simple way, repeating them over and over. “It was my first time at a rally in 1935. I had heard rumors of the grandeur, pomp and discipline of rallies. I never believed it till I saw it with my own eyes… The sight of tens of thousands people standing shoulder to shoulder with each other shouting “Heil Hitler” took my breath away. From that moment on, I loved the Nazis.” Hans Grimdt, a German Stockbroker "My fellow countrymen, my fellow German workers… I come from among your ranks. I was one of you, and I was right beside you during the four years of the War. Then, progressively, thanks to my perseverance, by educating myself, and by enduring great hunger, I lifted myself up! But deep down, I remained the same… No one talks about the tens of thousands of people who asphyxiate themselves each year, out of despair… As Fuehrer of the German people, I can thank God at this moment that he has so wonderfully blessed us in our hard struggle… I am convinced that the time is coming when those millions of people who condemn us will join our ranks and hail with us what we have created and gained through so much effort: this new German Reich, this Reich of greatness, honor, and strength… We want to be a single, unified Reich… the people need to be obedient… but also courageous… we do not want the people to grow soft, but we want it to be hard... tough as leather and solid as steel… we are determined to create a new race… a magnificent era is before us! Germany has finally awakened. We have conquered power!” Excerpts from Hitler’s Speeches
  • 3. Propaganda Hitler and Nazi officials manipulated public opinion by using propaganda techniques. They were known for their ability to create extensive and varied forms of propaganda, with words and images carefully chosen that they thought would gather the most support for their policies. Dr. Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi Minister of Propaganda, wanted to highlight the ideas he thought would appeal to the German people. Propaganda was presented through a variety of media including radio, film, print and even school textbooks and children’s fairytale stories! Testimonies of German people, especially youth, reveal that they mostly accepted what they heard and saw as the truth, without ever evaluating the accuracy of the statements. The success of Nazi propaganda in influencing the minds and hearts of the people demonstrates the dangers that can befall a society whose citizens are not able to make informed judgments about the media around them. “We will rebuild together.” “The German attitude, the German performance, prove Nordic race heritage!” “The Jewish nose is bent, like the #6.” "This genetically ill person will cost our people's community 60,000 marks over his lifetime.” The Eternal Jew was a propaganda film presented as a documentary. The film was made at the insistence of Joseph Goebbels who took a personal interest in the German film industry. Children’s stories like Cinderella were re-told by the Nazis. An emphasis was placed on her blond hair, blue eyed, Aryan purity.
  • 4. Hitler Youth Organization In setting up a totalitarian state, the Nazis recognized the importance of winning young people over to their ideas. Hitler believed that the future of Nazi Germany was its children. Therefore, the Hitler Youth, an organization for young people between the ages of 10 and 18, was formed in 1926. The Hitler Youth was seen as being just as important to a child as school was. In fact, educational programs were created to indoctrinate them with Nazi views. The Hitler Youth wore uniforms and even attended meetings and rallies. The Hitler Youth was actually an extension of the SA, with education programs designed to prepare young boys for future military service. The Nazis wanted their youth to be physically fit. Part of their "military athletics" included marching, bayonet drill, grenade throwing, trench digging, map reading, gas defence, use of dugouts, how to get under barbed wire and pistol shooting. Joining the Hitler Youth was required and by 1936, there were 4 million members. In addition to the Hitler Youth, the Nazis also created the League of German Girls. Activities for the girls were fitness related as well as preparing them for motherhood. Girls had to be able to run 60 meters in 14 seconds, throw a ball 12 meters, complete a 2 hour march, swim 100 meters and know how to make a bed. A League of German Girls poster reads, “Every girl belongs to us.” This poster shows a young Aryan-looking member of the Hitler Youth looking up to an idealized, God-like version of Adolf Hitler. Children as young as 10 years old served the leader by joining the organization. For Hitler believed that devotion should be fostered as early as possible. This poster features a young, swastika-waving German student with the caption, “The German student fights for the Führer and the people.” The Nazis aimed to combine their ideology with academic life. “He alone, who owns the youth, gains the future.” - Adolf Hitler
  • 5. Unemployment in Germany Total January 1933 6 million January 1934 3.3 million January 1935 2.9 million January 1936 2.5 million January 1937 1.8 million January 1938 1.0 million January 1939 302,000 Economic Programs Germany’s economy was in a mess when Hitler came to power in 1933. WWI reparations and the Great Depression had wreaked havoc on Germany. Hitler and the Nazis played upon the population’s fear that there was no hope for recovery. Unemployment peaked at 6 million during the last days of the Weimar Republic (1933) – near 33% of the nation’s working population was out of work. However, Hitler put the people back to work through public works projects and grants to private companies. Miraculously, unemployment all but disappeared by 1939. Hitler was able to stimulate a nation to do what no other could during the time of the economic depression. With unemployment at an all-time high, Hitler promised the German people “Arbeit und Brot” or “Work and Bread”. When in power, the Nazis created the Reichsarbeitsdienst (or the RAD, Reich Labor Service). This policy forced every man, ages 18-25 to work, thus reducing unemployment. In addition to public works, Hitler put people back to work in a massive rearmament project. Re-arming Germany’s military created new jobs by supplying raw material and manufacturing military equipment, (tanks, airplanes, battleships and submarines.) At first, Germany was secretly rearming itself due to the restrictions of the Treaty of Versailles. However, by 1935, they were openly rearming and the armed forces grew from 100,000 in 1933 to 1,400,000 in 1939. The Nazis put people to work through several public work projects. Many jobs created were building hospitals, houses, networks of roads (Autobahn), planting trees, digging ditches on farms, etc. All work was done by hand, which required more workers and created more jobs. The unemployed were given a very simple choice: do whatever work is given to you by the government or be classified as "lazy or work-shy" & be put into a concentration camp.
  • 6. Terror In order to control Germany, the Nazis developed a terror state. The goal of the terror state was to ensure that everybody did as they were told - or paid the price. The Schutzstaffel (SS) was created for this very reason and were under the direction of top Nazi official, Heinrich Himmler. They were fanatically loyal to Adolf Hitler, and were responsible for all matters of security within Germany. The SS played a key role in the terror and control of German citizens. The SS organized the secret police (Gestapo) who could arrest anyone at any time, as well as being responsible for administering concentration and later on, death camps (Totenkopf). Answering only to Hitler and Himmler, the SS came to overshadow other Nazi organizations like the Storm Troopers (SA). “Terror is the best political weapon, for nothing drives people harder than the fear of sudden death.” - Adolf Hitler The SS was considered to be an elite force and membership was restricted to those who were pure, Aryan Germans. The SS used the siegrunen, an ancient Nordic symbol, as their insignia. The ᛋᛋ characters were said to mean victory. The Nazis often used old Nordic symbols. The Nordic people were an ancient Germanic race (Aryans) which the Nazis had aspired to become and create a new world order. The first concentration camp, Dachau (above), was opened in 1933 by Heinrich Himmler when the Nazis first came to power. The camps were overseen by the Totenkopf. The primary purpose was the imprisonment and forced labor of Nazi opponents and eventually Jews. Heinrich Himmler visits and inspects Dachau (below). On June 30th , 1934, the SS committed a series of political murders against SA leaders. Hitler had feared many of the Storm Trooper leaders were becoming too powerful. The purge became known as “The Night of Long Knives” and showed that no one was safe, not even within the Nazi party. In 1936, the Nazis created the Gestapo and gave them the authority to arrest anyone, any time without a trial. Most were executed or sent to concentration camps. This was done to protect the country from enemies of the state. “This instrument which is so feared by enemies of the State has contributed most to the fact that today there can no talk of a Communist or Jewish danger in Germany...” Herman Goering, Gestapo Leader