Weimar Germany and
the rise of hitler
- Question: How did Hitler
come to power?
- Grab a “Weimar Germany
and the Rise of Hitler” packet
from up front.
- BUT FIRST! Take out a piece
of notebook paper.
An Artistic Legacy
“(World War I) was the most colossal,
murderous, mismanaged butchery that has
ever taken place on earth. Any writer who
said otherwise lied, so the writers either
wrote propaganda, shut up, or fought.” –
WWI marks the entry of modernism
into the forefront of the artistic world.
• Distrust of ruling classes & religion
• No moral progress
“Wounded Veteran,” 1922. Otto Dix.
Courtesy of www.ottodix.org
“The Second of May 1808”, by Goya. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
Blast magazine, an example of English
“Blood and Iron,” 1916. Charles Ernest Butler. Courtesy of the Imperial War Museum.
Otto Dix and the Weimar Republic
Veteran of the First World
War. Fought on both the
Western and Eastern front
Returned to Germany and
disillusioned by the excess
of the Weimar Republic.
Much of his work focused
on the terrors of World
War I and the depravity of
the new Weimar Republic.
Placed in German army in
World War II, captured
and kept as a POW in
Trench warfare = surrealism
“Stormtroops advancing under gas attack,” 1924.
“Mealtime in the Trenches,” 1924. www.ottodix.org
“Corpse in Barbed Wire,” 1924.
“Dead Sentry in the Trenches,” 1924.
“Dance of Death 1917 (Dead Man’s Hill),” www.ottodix.org
Veteran begging in Berlin. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
After the Election
• Nazis make the largest gain in
parliamentary seats. Net gain: +123
seats. Now the majority party.
• Nazis can’t establish governing majority
• November, 1932: Election shows
diminished influence of Hitler and the
• January 30, 1933: Hindenburg appoints
Hitler Chancellor, in hopes that they
can curtail his radicalism – January 30,
• February 27, 1933: The Reichstag burns
down. Hitler blames the Communists.
Issues emergency decree:
• No freedom of speech
• No freedom of assembly
• KPD banned, SPD intimidated
The Reichstag burns. Courtesy of
The Enabling Act – 1933
Laws enacted by the
government of the
Reich may deviate from
the constitution as long
as they do not affect the
institutions of the
Reichstag and the
Reichsrat. The rights of
the President remain
Laws enacted by the Reich
government shall be issued by
the Chancellor and announced
in the Reich Gazette. They
shall take effect on the day
following the announcement,
unless they prescribe a
different date. Articles 68 to 77
of the Constitution do not
apply to laws enacted by the
Hitler’s Speech on the Enabling Act
By its decision to carry out the political and moral cleansing of our public life, the Government is
creating and securing the conditions for a really deep and inner religious life. The advantages for the
individual which may be derived from compromises with atheistic organizations do not compare in
any way with the consequences which are visible in the destruction of our common religious and
The Government will treat all other denominations with objective and impartial justice. It cannot,
however, tolerate allowing membership of a certain denomination or of a certain race being used as
a release from all common legal obligations, or as a blank cheque for unpunishable behavior, or for
the toleration of crimes. [The national Government will allow and confirm to the Christian
denominations the enjoyment of their due influence in schools and education.] And it will be
concerned for the sincere cooperation between Church and State.
The struggle against the materialistic ideology and for the erection of a true people's community
(Volksgemeinschaft) serves as much the interests of the German nation as of our Christian faith.
...The national Government, seeing in Christianity the unshakable foundation of the moral and
ethical life of our people, attaches utmost importance to the cultivation and maintenance of the
friendliest relations with the Holy See. ...The rights of the churches will not be curtailed; their
position in relation to the State will not be changed.
Chancellor to Dictator
• By July 14, 1933 all non-Nazi
parties are outlawed.
• October, 1933: Germany
withdraws from the League of
• August, 1934: One year later,
following the death of President
Hindenburg, Hitler is dictator.
• September, 1935: Hitler
• Over the next five years, Hitler
would cement his grip on
German governance and police
Hindenburg and Hitler. Image
courtesy of elkym.wordpress.com
From a Democracy to Dictatorship
• Following the death of President
Hindenburg in August, 1934, Hitler
combines the offices of President
and Chancellor and declares himself
• Fuehrer translates to “leader,” or
• Führerprinzip: The Fuhrer
Principle – that the Fuhrer’s word is
above all else.
• Certain individuals are born to
• Extremely hierarchical.
Demands total obedience from
• Stormtrooper ideology.
“Long Live Germany.” Image courtesy of www2.needham.k12.ma.us
Reich Party Congress, Nuremberg, 1938. Courtesy of Life Magazine.
Hindenburg and Hitler on the Day of Potsdam, March, 1933. Courtesy of Wikimedia.
The Nuremberg Laws
• Introduced at the annual Party Rally in Nuremberg on
September 15, 1935.
• The first law, known as “The Law for the Protection of German
Blood and German Honour” banned intermarriage and
intercourse between “Jews” and “Germans.”
• “...Bitter complaints have come in from countless places citing the
provocative behavior of Jews....a certain amount of [conspiratorial] planning
was involved....[To prevent] vigorous defensive action by the [Aryan]
people, we have no choice but to contain the problem through legislative
measures....it may be possible, through a definitive secular solution, to create
a basis on which the German people can have a tolerable relationship with
the Jews. ... This law is an attempt to find a legislative solution....if this
attempts fails, it will be necessary to transfer [the Jewish problem] ... to the
National Socialist Party for a final solution by law” – Hermann Goring,
President of the Reichstag.
Nuremberg Laws, cont.
• What did they do?
• Banned marriage between
Jews and German citizens
• Banned intercourse between
Jews and German citizens
• Disallowed the employment
of German women under
the age of 45 by Jews
• Jews forbidden to display the
national flag or colors.
• Violation of laws punishable by
hard labor or imprisonment.
“Jews are not welcome here.,” Berlin
after the passage of the Nuremberg
Laws. Courtesy of Wikimedia
Nuremberg Ancestry Tree. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.