Nazi Germany

Problems in Weimar Germany

            Treaty of Versailles "Stabbed Germany in the back"
            -War Guilt clause
            -Heavy reparations
            -No Rearmament
            Food Shortage
            -Massive food problems because of a bad harvest from what farmland was not turned into trenches during WWI.
            -Crime rates soar as people steal for food.
            Inflation is over a million%.

            SPD Government
            After the Armistice on 11 November 1918, the government had to surrender unconditionally or risk civil war (based on revolts in Kiel).
            The SPD government aka "Bourgeois Democracy" or "November Criminals," is weak and subject to many violent communist uprisings lead by the Spartacists.

          Weimar Constitution
The Weimar Constitution was fatally flawed because of the independently elected President's power. Article 48 allowed him to rule by decree, which the first President, Ebert, did extensively.  The next President, Hindenburg (1925), was a staunch monarchist and so much abused Article 48 that it was hard to tell Weimar was a Republic. The Constitution also allowed a separate military, which was more like a political party and not loyal to the government.

            Right-wing ex-soldiers used by the government to destroy Communist uprisings.
            Kapp Putsch
            The Freikorps launch a rebellion against the Republic. It fails because the workers don't like them and the subsequent strike causes a lack of supplies.

1923              France invades the Ruhr
            Germany has stopped paying war reparations because all their resources are gone. When France invades their industrial centre, the workers just stop.

Nazi Consolidation of Power

            Rapollo Treaty
            Weimar Germany avoids the no rearmament clause in the Treaty of Versailles by testing weapons, etc in Russia.

Stresemann is Chancellor
He tries to fix the inflation problem by introducing a new currency, the Retenmark.
Locarno Treaty
            The Western Front borders of Germany, Belgium, and France are not to be attacked.

            9 November   Munich Beer Hall Putsch
            Attempted Nazi takeover. Failed because they did not win the support of the Army in Bavaria. Hitler and other Nazis are arrested. Hitler's trial brings him to the attention of the public as he uses the court to expound upon his nationalistic philosophy. His sentence is very light and he writes Mein Kampf while in prison for 9 months.

            The government fails to fix unemployment and the Nazi's present themselves as the "alternative revolution" –the only option.
            Nazis get majority in the election, but refuse to work with (Catholic) von Papen. Hindenburg, who himself has no support, uses Article 48 to appoint Schleicher as Chancellor in an attempt to garner some support.

            The SA destroys the labour movement

             Economy is on the rise
            The Young Plan scales down the level of war reparations
            Brüning works on fixing the defense budget

Fighting between Papen and Scheicher leads Papen to persuade Hindenburg to make Hitler Chancellor.
            30 January                   Hitler appointed Chancellor
            27 February     van der Lubbe (Communists) burns the Reichstag
            The Nazi's exploit the fear of communism

            28 February
            Hindenburg issues emergency decrees suspending constitutional rights, the secret police holds people indefinitely, the central government takes over local states.
            1 March
            The Reichstag is dissolved.
            5 March
            Elections in which anti-communist propaganda and voter intimidation win the Nazis 44% of the votes.

            13 March
            Goebbels becomes Propaganda Minister and effectively controls the media.

            24 March                       Enabling Act
            Eliminates the Reichstag and Hitler can rule by decree
Law for Restoration of Professional Civil Service
            -All administrative functions, courts, educational posts, etc are purged of Jews
            2 May
            "Day of National Labour" the workers were given the May Day Holiday, after which the Nazi's seized trade union offices
            Employment Law –all major public works are controlled.
            14 July  
            Law Against Formation of New Parties
           -Germany becomes a single-party state, all parties but the Nazi Party are banned.
            20 July            Concordat
            The state and Vatican agree that the church will not allow political activity if the government protects religious freedom

            Law for Reconstruction of State
                        -The Reich will appoint Commissioners
                        -The state assemblies are dissolved and Reich Governors (Gauleiters) will control Germanic States

            30 June      Night of the Long Knives
            The SS (lead by Himmler) shoot SA leaders (Röhm is killed) and others who were a threat.
            2 August
                        Hindenburg dies and Hitler combines the posts of President and Chancellor to become the Führer.
                        The army swears allegiance to Hitler.

The Rise of Nazism -How did Hitler gain power?

Evidence for Having Substantial Support:
- 30 January 1930: Hitler appointed Chancellor
   -When the Reichstag is destroyed by fire, the Nazi's are able to benefit from (and exploit) the fear of communism
-5 March 1933: Elections in which Nazi's get 44% of votes
-The Enabling Act's passage by 441 votes to 94. The only votes against it were SPD.

Used Force:
-13 March: Goebbels controls the media
-24 March: Enabling Act
            -Cabinet can pass decrees without involving the President
-Law for Restoration of Professional Civil Service
-2 May: Trade union offices seized
-Employment Law (June)
-14 July: Law Against Formation of New Parties
-January 1934: Law for reconstruction of State
-June 1934: Night of the Long Knives
-2 August 1934: Hindenburg dies and Hitler becomes Führer.

Made Concessions
            The State and Vatican agree that Hitler's government will protect religious freedom in return for the Church not allowing political activity

Hitler's Social Policies

            "forcible coordination"
            Parties outlawed, purged government, burn books
            -Formed Volksmeinschaft –people's community
            Youth Groups
            HJ –Hitler Youth
            BDM –HJ for girls, somewhat less militant, trains girls to be mothers
    +Cheap radios so that people can listen to the mandatory propaganda broadcast.

Hitler's Economic Policy

25 Point Plan
            At first, the 'socialist' aspect of the Nazi party was more evident. The 25 point plan was populist and somewhat anti-capitalistic. This is abandoned in 1931 so that he can befriend big businesses to re-arm Germany and fix the economy.
1933 Objectives
            -lower unemployment (Public Works Projects)
                        -unemployment was 8 million, but down to 1.7 million by 1936. (This figure was done by removing women and Jews from the work force so that they don't count as unemployed and giving the jobs to suitable men)
            -goal: establisch Germany autarky (independence)
                        -independent of imports, self-sufficient
            "Wehrwirtschaft" –military economy (violates Treaty of Versailles)
Four Year Plan
            Orchestrated by Goering
            Goal: economy and military= ready to fight war in 4 years
            -agricultiure and raw materials are all internal sources
            -government control of heavy industry –takes over Krupp munitions factory
Economic Failures
            -not self-sufficient, still imported 60-70% of oil and copper, 100% of aluminium and 20% of food

Hitler's Foreign Policy

WWI was meant to be a peacemeal takeover, not total war
1933-36             Revisionist Phase
            February 1933, Hitler informs his Generals about his Lebensraum planes
                        -influenced by Japanese invasion of Manchuria because this aggressive act of war went unpunished.
Disarmament Proposal
            In 1933 Hilter proposes the League of Nations that all nations disarm –or that Germany be allowed to rearm to France's level.
            -France refuses and quits the League
            -France forms an alliance with Poland, but this is undermined by the Nazi Non-aggression Pact with Poland
            Hitler announces that the Luftwaffe is rebuilt
Stresa Front
            Alliance between Britain and France
            (Mussolini is a part of this for a while to get on good terms with Britain and France so they won't interfere with his planned invasion of Ethiopia in 1936.)
            -This Alliance is undermined by Britain's Naval Agreement with Germanu
1936             Rome-Berlin Axis
            Nazi troops invade the Rhineland
            Anti-Comintern Pact signed with Japan at same as Britain, France and Poland sign to solidify the Allies despite high tension between France and Britain
Maginot Line
            Extremely good French foritifications…unfortunately they fail to extend the Maginot line to their border with Belgium.


            5 November
            Hossback Memorandum
            Hossback wrote this the day following a meeting in which Hitler, according to Hossback (not 100% credible as it was written with no notes taken during the meeting) revealed plans to take Austria and attack first in the East.

1938              Anschluss
            Austria becomes "Ostmarck" province
            9 March the Austrian Chancellor Schuschnigg opposed the Anschluss, but on 12 March Nazi trrops cross the border and occupy Austria

Munich Conference
            Take back the Sudetenland (part of Czechoslovakia that was practically surrounded by Germany after the Anschluss.
            Hitler said that the Sudetenland was "all he wanted"
            -Appeasement: Chamberlain writes that they will see "peace in this era."

1939              Pact of Steel
            Nazi-Soviet Non-Agression Pact/Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact
            -10 year pact not to invade Russia (At this point the Russians estimated they would be able to beat Hitler should he attack)
            -Secret clause to dismember Poland
            Avoids a two-front war
1 September              Invasion of Poland
3 September
            France and Britain declare war
 Poland falls in 3 weeks because the allies are too far away, have inferior tanks and are vastly outnumbered by Germany and Russia.

Phoney War period 1939-40
Winter War in Finland
            The Allies do not help Finland because they are trying to get Russia on their side.  This battle should have been easy for Russia because they greatly outnumbered and outarmed Finland, but all of their good officers had been purged by Stalin.
            8 April
            Hitler invades Norway to get control of the fjords to attack England

            10-12 April
            England sinks 9 Nazi destroyers, and isolates Nazi land force. The Nazi's eventually wind and pose a huge threat to Britain's Atlantic coast.
            27 May            Belgium Surrenders
            15 June  Nazis Occupy Paris

            22 June            France Falls
            10 May
            Hess' Flight: Hitler's deputy (had been with him since the Beer Hall Putsch), who believed strongly in astrology flew without Hitler's permission/knowledge to Scotland. He wanted to get Lord Hamilton to influence England towards a peace settlement. Instead, he was arrested. His pacifism was condemned in Germany where he was proclaimed mentally imbalanced. This looked bad, but only had a temporary effect on German morale and the British never capitalized on the situation's potential propaganda value.
"The English never hit on the idea of simply issuing statements from Hess' mouth without him actually saying them. What we would have done in Germany if the situation were reversed!" –Goebbels (in his diary)

            Battle of Stalingrad
            Turning point in the war –now Germany is losing
            30 April
            Hitler and Eva Braun commit suicide in the Führerbunker as Soviet troops reach Berlin

            1 May
            Goebbels commits suicide