Nazi Control and Dictatorship 1933-39 Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in Nazi Control and Dictatorship 1933-39 Deck (27)
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why did Hitler take no chances in the March 1933 elections


Hitler needed to increase the Nazi Party’s seats in the Reichstag to get a majority and be able to pass new laws. If they got 2/3 majority then the Nazi Party would be able to make changes to the constitution. This would mean the Nazi Party could change the way the government was structured and give Hitler absolute power


how did the Nazi Party use dirty tricks to win the March 1933

  • In the March 1933 elections the Nazis took no chances. Hitler tried to stop other political parties from carrying out effective campaigns
  • they controlled the news media and opposition meetings were banned
  • Hitler used the SA to terrorise opponents
  • In February 1933 the SA raided the Communist Party headquarters in Berlin and claimed to have found evidence that then communists were planning an uprising against the government
  • just 6 days before the elections in February 1933 a fire broke out in the Reichstag. Hitler blamed the Communist Party and used the event to whip up anti-communist feelings

how did Hitler use the Reichstag fire to his advantage and to whip up anti-communist feelings

  • Hitler used the fire to claim that communists were a threat to the country. Nazi newspapers used the event as an excuse to publish anti-communist conspiracy theories
  • President Hindenburg issued a decree giving Hitler emergency powers to deal with the supposed communist threat. Many basic rights given to the people under the Weimar constitution like freedom of speech were suspended.
  • Hitler used these powers to intimidate communist voters. the decree also enabled the SA to round up and imprison nearly 4000 communist members

after the Reichstag fire Hindenburg gave Hitler a decree of emergency powers, what did this mean


the emergency powers granted to Hitler were a turning point, they were the first step towards making Germany a dictatorship. Hitler justified them by saying that they were necessary to protect the German people. This meant he faced title opposition from the German public.


what was the enabling act


in the march 1933 elections the Nazi Party won 288 seats but didn’t have an overall majority so Hitler made the communist party who had 81 seats illegal.
this gave him enough support in parliament to bring in the enabling act passed with threats and bargaining in march 1933.
This let him govern for 4 years without parliament
Hitler could now pass laws and amend the constitution without the Reichstag’s consent. Other Chancellors had used Article 48 to bypass parliament so the new act may not have seemed that extreme to some Germans

the enabling act was an important step in Hitler’s consolidation of power. It allowed Hitler to bring controversial legislation into force to strengthen the Nazi Party’s position.


what two things did Hitler do under the enabling act


In May 1933 Hitler abolished trade unions and arrested union officials. Hitler saw Trade Unions as a threat because they had great influence over the working class. After May 1933 workers had to join the Nazi-controlled Labour Front instead.

In July 1933 all political parties except from the Nazi Party were banned. The new law also banned new parties from forming. After July 1933 Germany was officially a one party state


what did people think about Germany been a one party state


some Germans thought a one-party state would be an improvement. Parties often couldn’t reach an agreement in the Reichstag and Germans were tired of political instability. Between March 1930 and March 1933 there were four different chancellors


why was the SA a threat to Hitler

  • the SA (private Nazi army of over 400,000 men) had helped Hitler come to power
  • But Hitler now saw the SA as a threat because its members were loyal to Ernst Rohm the SA’s leader
  • The SA was also unpopular with the leaders of the German army and some ordinary Germans

what was the Night of the Long Knives

  • Ernst Rohm was the biggest threat to Hitler but Hitler was also worried about other members of the Nazi Party who disagreed with his views
  • On the 29th-30th June 1934 Hitler sent men to arrest or kill Rohm and others. Altogether several hundred people were killed or imprisoned including Rohm and various other leaders of the SA and senior politicians
  • Hitler claimed those who had been killed had been plotting to overthrow the government so he declared their murders legal.
  • it was a triumph for Hitler and became known as the Night of the Long knives
  • It stamped out all potential opposition within the Nazi Party and sent a powerful message to the party about Hitler’s ruthlessness and brutality. It also showed that Hitler was now free to act above the law

why was their little outcry about the Night of the Long Knives


Most Germans wouldn’t have known exactly what had happened on the night until a few days later when Hitler declared the events legal. Even then there was little outcry. It’s likely that some people believed Hitler’s claims that the violence was necessary to protect the country. Others were too scared to speak out.


Discuss Hitler taking full control of national and local government

  • In August 1934 Hindenburg died. Hitler used the opportunity to combine the posts of Chancellor and President and also made himself Commander-in-Chief of the army
  • he called himself Der Führer (the leader) and this was the beginning of the dictatorship
  • At this point Hitler reorganised the local government, in 1926 he had created branches of the Nazi Party in different areas of Germany called Gaue. These now became official provinces of Germany with a Gauleiter (loyal Nazi) in charge of each. they had control of the lower levels of the party. Beneath the Gauleiters he appointed other officials including local and district party leaders
  • Above them were Reichsleiters who advised Hitler e.g Goebbels who was in charge of propaganda and Himmler who was chief of the German police
  • At the top and in absolute control was the Führer, Hitler
  • Every aspect of life was carefully controlled and only loyal Nazis could be successful

when was the night of the long knives


29-30th June 1934


what did some Germans think about having a Führer


when the Nazis took over some Germans were glad that someone was at last taking control after the chaos and political weakness of the Weimar years


when Hitler became Führer what did the army and some German workers have to do


the army had to swear an oath of allegiance to Hitler instead of pledging to protect Germany. Some German workers were also forced to take an oath of obedience promising loyalty to Hitler. Those who refused could lose their jobs


discuss Germany becoming a police state

  • The Nazis wanted complete control over the machinery of government and people’s lives. Hitler’s Enabling Act of 1933 allowed the government to read people’s mail, listen in on phone calls and search their homes without notice.
  • The Law for the Reconstruction of the Reich 1934 gave the Nazis total power over local governments
  • there were laws to sack civil servants who didn’t support the Nazis and accept their rules
  • the Nazis also made changes to the legal system
  • The Sicherheitsdienst (SD) was the Nazi intelligent service. It was initially run by Reinhard Heydrich and he aimed to bring every German under continual supervision

what was the Law of the Reconstruction of the Reich



gave the Nazis total power over local governments


discuss the changes to the justice system Hitler made as Police state

  • there were laws to sack civil servants who didn’t support the Nazis and accept their rules
  • Judges didn’t have to be fair and unbiased. Instead they were expected to make rulings that were in line with Nazi Party policy
  • In 1933 the Nazi Party set up special courts where the basic rights of those accused were suspended. They couldn’t appeal or question evidence given against them
  • In 1934 Hitler established the People’s Court in Berlin which held trials for important political crimes. Defendants were nearly always found guilty.

discuss how people could be terrorised into conforming with Germany as a police state


the government was also prepared to use terror and violence against the German people.

  • The SS (Schutzstaffel) began as a bodyguard for Hitler. It expanded massively under the leadership of Himmler during the 1930s. Its members were totally loyal to Hitler and feared for their cruelty
  • Himmler was also in charge of the secret police (the Gestapo). The Gestapo’s job was ‘to protect public safety and order’ but their methods included harsh interrogations and imprisonment without trial
  • Local wardens were employed to make sure Germans were loyal to the Nazis. Members of the public were encouraged to report disloyalty. Many were arrested by the Gestapo as a result
  • After 1933 concentration camps were created across Germany and its territories to hold political prisoners and anybody else considered dangerous to the Nazis. Some of these were later turned into death camps

what was the SD


The Sicherheitsdienst (SD) was the Nazi intelligent service. It was initially run by Reinhard Heydrich and he aimed to bring every German under continual supervision


what was the SS


The SS (Schutzstaffel) began as a bodyguard for Hitler. It expanded massively under the leadership of Himmler during the 1930s. Its members were totally loyal to Hitler and feared for their cruelty


what was the Gestapo


Himmler was also in charge of the secret police (the Gestapo). The Gestapo’s job was ‘to protect public safety and order’ but their methods included harsh interrogations and imprisonment without trial


did everyone live in constant terror with Germany as a police state

  • not everyone lived in constant terror
  • Most Germans were prepared to go along with the new regime. Some people accepted the new rules out of fear
  • Others went along with them because they believed in their aims even if they didn’t approve of the Nazis brutal methods
  • For those who didn’t fit in with the Nazi ideals e.g Jews, life under the SS and Gestapo could be terrifying. But Hitler was supported not feared by many Germans

what is propaganda

  • it aims to control how people think
  • propaganda means spreading information that influences how people think and behave
  • it only gives certain points of view and often leaves out important facts
  • the Nazis used powerful propaganda to get the support of the German people. Dr Joseph Goebbels was in overall charge of the Nazi’s propaganda machine

what ideas did Nazi propaganda give

  • took simple ideas and repeated them
  • Nazi propaganda was used to unite the German people and convince them that the Nazis would make German strong
  • Germans were encouraged to hate the countries that signed the ToV. The Nazis said Germany should fight to get back the territory stolen by the treaty
  • Goebbels created the ‘Hitler Myth’ which made Hitler seem like a god and the saviour of Germany. This was the ‘cult of the Fuhrer’
  • The Nazis propaganda also said that Jews and communists were the biggest cause of Germany’s problems. One Nazi Paper claimed that Jews murdered children for the Passover Feast
  • The Nazis encouraged a return to traditional German values and a revival of traditional German culture
  • A popular slogan was ‘One people, one empire, one leader’. Many Germans devoted their lives to Hitler

discuss the government having to approve all artistic works

  • Goebbels founded the Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda in 1933
  • It had departments for music, theatre, film, literature and radio
  • All artists, writers, journalists and musicians had to register to get their work approved

how did the Nazis use media as a tool of propaganda

  • the Nazis wanted to surround people with their propaganda. They used censorship to prevent Germans from seeing or hearing anything that gave a different message
  • they sold cheap radios and controlled broadcasts
  • By 1939 approximately 70% of households had a radio which gave the Nazis a voice in peoples homes. According to Goebbels radio was a weapon of totalitarian state meaning it was another way to control the people
  • in 1933 only 3% of German daily newspapers were controlled by the Nazis but by 1944 this had risen to 82% meaning the Nazis could decide what was published in the papers
  • the Nazis also produced hundreds of films. Many films showed the strengths of the Nazis and Hitler and showed the weaknesses of their opponents. An important German director was Leni Riefenstahl
  • posters showing the evil of Germany’s enemies and the power of Hitler.
  • Propaganda let Germans know what was expected of them

discuss Nazi propaganda involving spectacular displays

  • Nazis used public rallies