Life in Nazi Germany 1933-39 Flashcards Preview

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discuss Hitler wanting to reduce the power of the church

  • 1930s most Germans Christians and church very influential
  • During Wiemar Republic, the state and the church had worked closely together and the church was involved in national matters like education
  • some prominent Nazis were anti-Christian and Nazi ideology disagreed with the role the church traditionally had in society
  • Hitler though religion should comply with the state and wanted churches to promote Nazi ideals. He was also worried that some members of the church might publicly oppose Nazis
  • Nazi Party was careful to maintain support from the Catholic/Protestant churches during its rise to power because they were so popular.
  • However as Hitler consolidated his totalitarian state, his control over churches increased

how was the Catholic church persecuted

  • July 1933 an agreement called the Concordat was signed between the Pope and the Nazi government. Hitler promised not to interfere with the Catholic church if the church agreed to stay out of German politics
  • The concordat reassured Christians that Hitler was consolidating ties with the Catholic church but he was actually restricting its power
  • The Catholic Church now banned from speaking out against the Nazi party and Hitler soon broke his side of the deal
  • The Nazi Party started to restrict the churches role in education
  • In 1935 Nazis began arresting priests and put them on trail
  • in 1936 all crucifixes were removed from schools
  • by 1939 Catholic education had been destroyed
  • Catholic newspapers were suppressed and the Catholic Youth group was disbanded

what did the pope do in 1937


in 1937 the pope spoke out against Hitler in a letter to Catholic churches in Germany. The stance of the church had changed but many German Catholics were too scared ti speak out against the Nazi Party. Catholics tried to protect their religion by avoiding confrontation with the Nazi Party


what did the the Nazis do to the Protestant Church

  • the protestant church was reorganized and fell under Nazi control
  • When Hitler became Chancellor in 1933 there were 28 independent protestant churches
  • these churches were politically divided and some formed a group known as the German Christians. They supported Hitler and favored an anti-Semitic version of Christianity
  • The Nazi Party backed this version of Christianity and believed all Christians should follow its principles
  • in 1936 all protestant churches merged to form the Reich Church

what was the Reich Church


1936 all protestant churches were merged to form the Reich Church which ‘Nazified’ Christianity
- replaced the symbol of cross with Nazi Swastika
- Bible replaced with ‘Mein Kampf’
- Only Nazis could give sermons
- the church suspended non-Aryan ministers
the Reich Church was an attempt to increase state control over the Protestant church and make a National Socialist version of Christianity

Not everyone supported the Reich Church and it was opposed by a Protestant group called the ‘Confessing Church’


discuss the opposition of the political left

  • political left opposed Hitler but was divided and weak
  • Once in power Nazis banned other political parties including those on the political left like the Communist party (KPD) and the Social Democratic Party (SPD)
  • But their members formed underground groups to try and organised industrial unrest like strikes. These networks were often infiltrated by the Gestapo and party members could be executed
  • their impact was also often limited because the different parties of the left were divided and didn’t cooperate

name three members of the church who were opposed to the Nazis


there was little opposition to the Nazis in Germany from Christian Groups but a number of Church members did oppose the Nazis even though they risked been sent to concentration camps

  • Martin Niemoller
  • Dietrich Bonhoeffer
  • Clemens August von Galen

what was the confessing church


protested against Hitler’s attempt to unite the different Protestant Churches into one Reich Church


who was Martin Niemoller

  • a protestant pastor, former U-boat captain and a one- time Nazi supporter
  • He objected to the Nazi inference in the church and was one of the founders of the confessing church
  • he used a sermon in 1937 to protest against the persecution of church members and as a result spent several years in concentration camps

who was Dietrich Bonhoeffer

  • another key member of the confessing church
  • a protestant theologian and pastor who opposed the Nazis from the beginning
  • he joined the resistance, helped Jews escape from Germany and planned an assassination of Hitler
  • he was caught and imprisoned then executed just weeks before the fall of the Nazis

who was Clemens August von Galen

  • the Catholic Bishop of Munster
  • he used his sermons to protest against Nazi racial policies and the ‘euthanasia’ of the disabled
  • his protests didn’t stop the killing but they did force the Nazis to keep them secret
  • only the need to maintain the support of German Catholics stopped the Nazis from executing him

who were the Edelweiss Pirates

  • name given to groups of rebellious youths who rejected Nazi values and opposed the Hitler Youth organisation
  • they helped army deserters, forced labourers and escaped concentration camp prisoners
  • At first the Nazis mostly ignored them but cracked down after they started distributing anti-Nazi leaflets
  • Many members were arrested and publicly hanged

who were the swing kids/youth

  • groups of young people who rebelled against the tight control the Nazis had over culture acting in ways that were considered ‘degenerate’ by the Nazi regime (e.g listening to American music like jazz and drinking alcohol)
  • they were mostly considered a nuisance rather than a threat but some members were arrested and even sent to concentration camps

discuss the impact of German opposition


German opposition to the Nazis didn’t really threaten their dominance but it did mean the Gestapo were kept busy tracking down the people who had distributed anti-Nazi leaflets, held secret meetings and committed acts of sabotage

Other Germans expressed their dissatisfaction with the Nazi regime in ‘low level’ ways like by grumbling about the government or spreading rumors. Not everyone considers this genuine opposition but even this was probably risky


discuss the expectations of women

  • Nazis didn’t want women to have too much freedom
  • They believed the role of women was to provide children and support families at home
  • Women were banned from being lawyers in 1936 and the Nazis did their best to stop the following other professions. But a shortage of workers in 1937 meant more women had to go back to work
  • The League of German Maidens spread the Nazi idea that it was an honor to produce large families for Germany
  • Nazis gave awards to women for doing this and encouraged more women to marry by offering financial aid to married couples
  • 1000 loans were given if women gave up work once married, every child they had knocked a 1/4 off the loan
  • women were expected to dress plainly and were discouraged from wearing make-up and smoking
  • at school girls studied subjects like cookery and it was stressed they should choose Aryan husbands

how did unemployment become reduced under Hitler

  • Hitler started a huge programme of public works which helped to reduce unemployment
  • from 1933 jobs were created as a result of the creation of autobahns (motorways)
  • all men between 18 and 25 could be recruited into the National Labour service and given jobs
  • Industrial output increased and unemployment increased
  • Hitler also brought military conscription and encouraged German industry to manufacture more ships, aircraft, tanks and weapons for the military
  • this rearmament meant further falls in unemployment
  • trade unions were banned so workers had to join the Nazis’ Labour Front instead
  • But workers wren’t allowed to go on strike or campaign for better conditions and wages were relatively low

discuss invisible unemployment


Although unemployment fell after the Depression, the Nazis fiddled with the statistics to make it look lower that it really was - they didn’t count women or Jewish people without jobs. The official unemployment statistics didn’t include the invisible unemployment


what did the Nazis want for workers


the Nazis made efforts to maintain the support of German workers. They wanted workers to feel important and believe that they were an essential part of the Volksgemeinschaft (means a community of people working hard towards the same aims)


how did the Nazis make groups in society and workers feel better off

  • The Nazis introduced the Volkswagen (the ‘people’s car’) as a luxury people could aspire to own
  • they also introduced ‘Strength through joy’ a scheme which provided workers with cheap holidays and leisure activities
  • The ‘Beauty of Labor’ scheme encouraged factory owners to improve conditions for workers
  • Many members of the middle classes also felt better off e.g small business owners were able to advance more in society that previously

how did workers and small businesses lose out

  • the cost of living rose by about 25% but wages didn’t go up
  • workers didn’t have the right to strike or resign
  • small businesses had to pay high taxes

why did life under the Nazis feel genuinely better


During the Depression one third of all workers had been unemployed. Many Germans had been desperate so life under the Nazis did feel genuinely better for them


why were the youth movements important

  • Hitler knew that loyalty from young people was essential if the Nazis were to remains strong
  • Hitler Youth Movements were a way of teaching children Nazi ideals so they would be loyal to the Nazi Party when they grew up

discuss the Hitler Youth

  • founded 1926
  • seemed exciting
  • Boys aged 14+ recruited to the movement
  • became compulsory in 1936 and lasted until 1945
  • boys wore military style uniforms and took part in physical exercise preparing for war
  • high-achieving boys might be sent to Hitler school to be trained as loyal Nazi leaders
  • they also went on camping trips and held sports competitions
  • some of those who took part said the organisation was fun, made them feel valued and encouraged a sense of responsibility

what was the league of German Maidens

  • The League of German Maidens was the female branch of the Hitler Youth aimed at girls aged 14-18
  • girls were trained in domestic skills like sewing and cooking
  • sometimes they took part in physical activities like camping and hiking
  • this gave girls new opportunities normally reserved for boys

what happened in relation to youth movements after 1936


after 1936 children were obliged to join the Hitler Youth and all other youth organisations were banned. However towards the end of the 1930s attendance actually decreased as activities adopted an increasingly military focus


discuss education in Nazi Germany

  • education in schools meant learning Nazi propaganda.
  • most teachers joined the Nazi Teachers Association and were trained in Nazi methods
  • children had to report teachers who did not use them
  • Subjects were re-written to fit with Nazi ideals
  • children were taught to be anti-Semitic for example biology courses stated that Jews were biologically inferior to Aryans
  • History courses explained that WW1 was lost because of Jews and Communists
  • PE became more important for boys to prepare them for joining the army. they even sometimes played games with live ammunition
  • In Unis students burned anti-Nazi and Jewish books and Jewish lecturers were dismissed from public schools

The Nazis attempts to impose their ideology on children weren’t always effective. Unofficial Hitler Youth movements resisted Hitler and the Nazis


what did Erika Mann say about German education


German children were always been bombarded by Nazi propaganda. Erika Mann a German who opposed the Nazis described Nazi education in Germany. Every child says Heil Hitler from 50 to 150 times a day it is required by law. If you met a friend on the way to school you say it, study periods are opened and closed with it. The Nazis supremacy over the German child is complete


discuss the German Youth becoming involved in fighting the war

  • during WW2 members of the Hitler Youth contributed to the war effort for example helping with air defense work, farm work and collecting donations for Nazi charities
  • Towards the end of the war many Hitler Youth members ended up fighting alongside adults. They were known for being fierce and fanatical fighters

discuss Hitler wanting to cleanse Germany of inferior groups

  • most Nazis believed that Germans were members of a superior ancient race called the Aryans
  • Hitler thought people who were not pure Aryans like Jews did not belong in Germany and had no part to play in the new German empire
  • he wanted to cleanse the German people by removing any groups he thought inferior. Jews were especially targeted but action was also taken against other groups
  • Hitler always claimed the Jews were responsible for many of Germany’s problems

discuss treatment of different groups in Germany

  • Many Romani (gypsies) and Slavs (an ethnic group from central and eastern Europe) were sent to concentration camps. The Nazis believed that they were racially inferior
  • The Nazis practiced eugenics policies, they wanted to create a strong race by removing all genetic ‘defects’ from the gene pool
  • may people with mental and physical disabilities were sterilized or murdered. Many people of mixed race were sterilized against their will
  • homosexual people were sent to concentration camps in their thousands. In 1936 Himmler Head of the SS began the Central Office for the Combating of Homosexuality and Abortion

how did the Nazis change the law to discriminate against Jews

  • 1933 SA organised a national boycott of Jewish businesses with resulted in Nazi-led violence against Jews
  • the violence wasn’t popular with the German people so the Nazis decided to use the legal system to persecute Jews instead
  • over time the number of jobs that jews were banned from gradually increased
  • The Nuremberg laws of 1935 were based on the idea that Jews and Germans were biologically different. They removed many legal rights from Jews and encouraged Aryan Germans to see them as inferior
  • Jews were later forced to close or sell their businesses and they were banned from all employment
  • By 1938 all Jewish children had been banned from attending German schools and jews were no longer allowed in many public places including theaters and exhibitions
  • some jews were given passports enabling them to leave Germany but preventing them from returning

what are the Nuremberg laws of 1935


The Nuremberg laws of 1935 were based on the idea that Jews and Germans were biologically different. They removed many legal rights from Jews and encouraged Aryan Germans to see them as inferior

  • the Nuremberg laws stopped jew being German citizens
  • They banned marriage between Jews and non-Jews in Germany
  • They also banned sexual relationships between Jews and non-Jews

What did the Nazis racial policies aim to do


the Nazis racial policies aimed to isolate Jews from the rest of society
- Aryan Germans were even encouraged to break off friendships with Jews and avoid any contact with Jewish people


what was Kristallnacht


the night of the broken glass

  • In November 1938 a German diplomat was murdered in Paris by a Jew
  • There was anti-Jewish rioting throughout Germany and thousands of Jewish shops were smashed and almost every synagogue in Germany was burned down
  • In the days that followed thousands of Jews were arrested and sent to concentration camps
  • The Nazis claimed that the events of Kristallnacht were a spontaneous reaction by the German people to the Paris murder. In fact they had been planned and organised by the Nazi government. Few ordinary Germans had participated.

what was the impact of Kristallnacht


Kristallnacht was a turning point in the Nazi persecution of Jews. It was the first widespread act of anti-Jewish violence in Nazi Germany. After Kristallnacht, conditions for German Jews got even worse.