no longer an exclusively vicarious one.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Modern History: Nazi Germany

Notes for Modern History
Nazi Germany

Start and rise of the Nazi Party:
- Drexler formed the German Workers’ Party in 1919 in Munich. Hitler joined in September that year and quickly became the dominant personality. In February 1920, they issued their 25-point programme. It concerned the Treaty of Versailles, lebensraum, the position of the Jews, the role of the state, role of women, religious freedom and the nationalising of industry. In April they changed their name to the NSDAP, ex-freikorps began to join and in 1921 Hitler became the official head of the party. Besides workers and small tradespeople, they now began to attract the middle class and some gov. officials and army offices.
- In 1923, as a result of the Ruhr crisis and the gov’s inability to deal with it, right-wing opposition became strong and Hitler lead a coup in Munich in Bavaria that was unsuccessful, but served to heighten his public profile. When he left prison, 9 months into a 5-year sentence, he decided against his previous methods, instead trying to legally gain power.
- In prison, Hitler wrote “Mein Kampf”, the essence of future Nazism and the blueprint of Nazi policies. His key idea was concerned with race. Aryans were the master race and Jews their mortal enemies. Social Darwinism and the necessity of struggle meant that the Aryans had to defeat the Jews for their own survival. A successful movement must have a single leader at its head. The Party’s aim was to gain power. This was it sole purpose. He also outlines the use of propaganda, force and education as political tools.
- By 1933, with the gradual collapse of Weimar gov, Hitler and his Nazis were in a powerful position. On 30 Jan 1933 Schleicher was dismissed and Hindenberg swore in Hitler and his cabinet. Hitler controlled the Ministry of the Interior (therefore the police) and SA and SS got new powers

- Nazi’s different armed forces:
o SA – storm troops (brownshirts) est. 1921
o SS – defence unit (blackshirts) est. 1923
o SD – security service (a special unit within SS) est. 1931
o SST – death’s head units (concentration camp guards) est. 1936
o Gestapo – secret state police est. 1936
o Waffen SS – absorbed the SS and SST, with full military training est. 1939
o Einsatzgruppen – special action units (for killing Jews and ‘undesirables’) est 1941
- Feb 1933 the Reichstag building burnt down. This led to a witch hunt of all Nazi “enemies” especially the Communists who were accused of sabotage. Hitler got an emergency decree that abolished rights of free association and assembly and freedom of the press
- Hitler pressed for elections in March 1933, and with an unlimited supply of money, the Nazis launched a successful campaign. However, they still didn’t get a big enough majority and would have had to rely of their coalition partners. Propaganda was launched by Goebbels to introduce the Enabling Act, which would give temporary dictatorial powers to the gov if it had 2/3 Reichstag votes. SPD delegates were arrested and all other parties voted for the Act, 441 to 84.
- In August 34, after the death of Hindenberg, Hitler combined the roles of President and Chancellor. He then instituted the personal oath of the army.
- Kershaw, Stern and Evans all explain why the German people permitted these events by saying that they are all compatible with old German traditions. Structuralists tend to blame Article 48, but it was put in as a fail safe in case democracy didn’t work. Kershaw: Hitler had restored much of lost national pride and the sense of humiliation left behind after WWII. His message was one that the German people wanted to hear anyway.
- Gleichschaltung (synchronisation or co-ordination) was the Nazi consolidation of power from 1933-1937. Initially Hitler attacked the left-wing forces and opposition to conservatism. It evolved into the destruction of every institution that was not demonstrably pro-Nazi. Conservatives supported many of the decisions and laws made. Some measures:
o Dissolving unions (33)
o Abolition of all other political parties (33)
o Reichsrat (upper house) abolished (34)
o Rust: Education was “nazified” (34)
o Nuremberg laws against Jews begun in 1935
- The SA had grown in the 1920’s and began to demand a greater say in policy and the running of the party. By the time the Nazis came to power the SA were about ½ a million and its radical demands began to pose a threat to the Party itself. After months of hesitation Hitler ordered that the SA leadership be killed on 30 June 1934, the Night of the Long Knives.
- Himmler’s SS had been formed in 1923 as Hitler’s special guard, who were to be a disciplined elite. On the Night of the Long Knives, the SS were used to massacre the largely innocent SA. The SS was given control of the concentration camps and Himmler used his new powers to gradually increase the police force he now all but controlled.
- Bracher proposes a gradual “quasi-legal” Nazi revolution with its roots in due processes of the state but with a repression of civil liberties that was not part of the constitution (33-36).

Hitler’s Role:
- Historical debate:
o Intentionalists: Hitler was a strong leader in all aspects, and personally supported his position. He directed the 3rd Reich, following logical steps to implement his aims based on ideology. Eg. Bullock, Trevor-Roper, Bracher
o Structuralists: Hitler was less powerful than suggested in many ways, and he was forced to react to forces he couldn’t control. He set the direction but events spiralled out of control. The “final solution” wasn’t planned. It wasn’t a true totalitarian regime. Eg. Broszat, Geyer, Kershaw.
- Nazi philosophy:
o Based on racism. Hitler considered Jews racially inferior, but also as masterminds of an international conspiracy.
o Lebensraum was the living space of the volkisch state. The Volk would live in a harmonious national community (volksgemeinschaft), with all class differences overcome. It could only be accomplished by war. Later he would specify the reunification of the Slavic states and expansion into Russia.
o The role of the party was to be the source of all ideology, to provide legitimacy to the regime, and as a focus of mass support.
- The Fuhrer myth:
o A term coined by Propaganda Minister Goebbels to describe the “heroic leader image.
o This image was not only accepted, but desired by Germans. Kershaw’s reasons for this were because of the political splintering and upheaval, spread of imperialistic ideology and the disruption caused by unification, the Weimar authoritarian constitution and industrialisation.
- Hitler used the idea of a heroic leader in 1924 to strengthen the Party and to create a mass base of support. After 1933, with control of the media, imprisonment of opposition, control of the police, and his new aggressive foreign policy, Hitler was able to again promote his image. Goebbels’ propaganda also added other qualities, such as his modesty, simplicity, toil and the “intense loneliness of a man who had sacrificed everything for his people”. He embodied a well-established and extensive ideological consensus (anti-Marxist, putting national before personal/party interests, his responsibility for the ‘economic miracle’, foreign policy, ruthlessness against the ‘enemies of the people’).
- Weber: Hitler gained his power from personal loyalty, not abstract rules and had to have repeated successes to provide proof of his abilities. Failure was fatal, and after Stalingrad, this was proved.
- This form of charismatic leadership allowed free rein to some of the more radical elements in the party.

The Nazi state:
- Historians’ views are closely related to how they view Hitler’s role. Intentionalists see it as definitely totalitarian, led by Hitler; Structuralists look more closely at the changing internal structures of the regime.
- Reichleiters were senior party officials, appointed by Hitler. It seemed like a well-organised system but was dependent on one man, leading to constant plotting as individuals jockeyed for positions of power and influence.
- Gauleiters were in charge of a Gau (regional district that replaced states). Again appointed by Hitler.
- Geyer: “The Nazi state was more of a morass than ‘superbly organised’”. Craig: the relation between party and state was “characterised by mutual suspicion, competition and duplication of function”.
o Success was based on competition
o The main pursuit was not economic power, but political control
o Civil service depts and Party orgs existed simultaneously, duplicating functions and creating confusing, competing systems. There was no coherent gov.
o Traditional bonds (eg of industries) were destroyed by encouraging self-interest and applauding the strong.
o Competition was based on terror and force, and the ability to impose one’s will on others.
o Eg. Goring’s Four-year plan overshadowed Schacht’s Ministry of Economics on economic matters; Reich Ministry of Labour took over Ley’s Labour Front.
- There was no authority under or besides Hitler.

Terror and Propaganda:
- Propaganda was used to stimulate and mobilise the population in support of Nazi aims. Terror was used against those who stood out against Nazism, or who were classed as “enemies” of the Nazi state. As time passed and the regime became more radical and esp. after war losses, propaganda became less effective, while terror was increased.
- The use of terror and force was not kept secret, as part of its effectiveness lay in its public nature. The fear of retribution, and being sent to a concentration camp was an effective barrier against any possible opposition. Penkent: it was met with popular approval.
- Hitler’s action in the Night of the Long Knives in 1934 was congratulated in the press. The purge, perceived by many as a necessary step to rid the Nazi movement of radical left-wingers, enhanced Hitler’s personal prestige as Fuhrer in the eyes of the people.
- Inmates of the concentration camps were every kind of opponent of the regime, including Jews, socialists, communists, unionists, gypsies, Jehovah’s Witnesses, homosexuals and dissenters of all kinds. Inmates were beaten, starved, worked to death and/or executed.
- In March 1933 special courts were set up for political crimes. There were 3 Nazi judges and no jury. It cloaked the lawlessness of Nazi procedures in seemingly legal procedures.
- In the 1930’s, propaganda aimed at promoting the ideological goals of the regime, offering congratulations for the regime’s achievements in foreign and domestic spheres, and at the creation and maintenance of the Fuhrer myth. During war years the content changed to focus on anti-Allied propaganda, attempts to raise civilian morale, and an increasing emphasis on the nobility and necessity for sacrifice in the face of the enemy. After defeats, gradually less emphasis was placed on the invincibility of the Fuhrer.
- The Nazis controlled the cinema though the Reich Chamber of Films. They controlled content through censorship, and gradually the industry by nationalisation. By the end of 1934 they controlled all of the German press, albeit indirectly. By 1939 70% of all households had a radio and Goebbels used this mass medium. He saw broadcasting as essentially authoritarian because it was immediate, it penetrated, and then it disappeared. Loudspeakers were also installed in factories, to make propaganda even more pervasive.
- Goebbels as Minister for Propaganda:
o Placed film above all other media, but hated overtly political films.
o Believed films should be escapist and entertaining.
o The political purpose of film was to get people off the streets and forget their worries.
o By the time of war, he was also creating the newsreels.
o He didn’t try to change peoples’ view, but reinforced existing views through values in entertainment
o Purposely created the Fuhrer myth. He was using propaganda and censorship in a way, and on a scale like no other contemporary.
o Eg. “Jew Suss”,
- Rallies were exciting spectacles of power and order. They played an integral part in the expansion of Nazi followers and Party recruits. They were meant to impress and overawe – see Speer notes.

Nazism as totalitarianism:
- The term “totalitarianism” was first coined by Mussolini in 1920’s
- Fitting Nazi Germany into the Friedrich/Brzezinski model of a totalitarian state:
Central direction of the economy.
Germany had this but also encouraged private enterprise.
Single mass party
This was true on the surface, but individual Gauleiters meant there were regional differences.
Official monopoly of mass communications
Officially, yes, but there were still resistant groups, eg. White Rose, Edelweiss societies.
Secret police
The Gestapo and other branches were not successful in maintaining order, many still spoke out.
Single leader
Outwardly, this was Hitler, but Fest, Broszat, Bracher all point at a polycratic, bureaucratic state that had separate and overlapping ministries trying to run different aspects of the country.
One ideology.
Ideology, as seen by most, is a binding system of beliefs. The only real ideology of the Nazis was racial hatred. They gave up on socialism very early with the destruction of the SA; the ideal of lebensraum should have meant a war on communism and Russia, but Hitler signed a Nazi-Soviet non-aggression pact; and Nietzsche’s ideal of raising Aryan farming families was not true at all. They were simply convenient propaganda material, made to appeal to the populace.
Models such as this are good as a description, or to contrast different systems, not as an explanation.
- However, since the 50’s-60’s, Structuralists have showed that Friedrich’s definition concentrated on the form rather than the content of the regime and this is its major weakness. The chaotic jungle of competing institutions, radical programmes, system of terror and the Fuhrer myth are not properly exposed.
- Totalitarianism is often discussed when contrasting Stalin’s Russia and the 3rd Reich.

Impact on society and economy:
- Women and family:
o Women had 3 sanctioned areas to work in: reproduction, the home, and ‘womanly’ work (domestic service, sales, farm work)
o Propaganda slogan was “Kinder, Kirche, Kuche” (children, church, kitchen)
o They were banned from political life, barred as judges, removed from the upper ranks of civil service, as doctors and lawyers and uni places were cut for women. Grants were offered for large families.
o However by 1944, 60% of the workforce was females.
o Although propaganda praised the family, it was eroded by Nazism’s gender-based division of society, sterilisation programmes to develop ‘Aryan’ stock, industrial unemployment.
- Youth and education:
o Emphasis in education went from the academic to the physical, it was anti-intellectual because they believed that they “think with our blood”
o Emphasis on racism and anti-Jewish thinking from very early on
o Boys: apprenticeship, athletics and nazified history, then to the Jungvolk. At 14 entered the Hitler Youth to learn elements of soldiering. From 1939 boys were conscripted to the Hitler Youth, before that education climaxed at 18 with a year of compulsory labour service followed by conscription to the armed forces
o Girls: similar emphasis on physical fitness to prepare for motherhood. At 14 joined the Bund Deutscher Madel (BDM League of German Maidens) and between 18-21 did a year of labour service on farms or as a mother’s help.
- Churches:
o Nazism didn’t link itself with any religion, but promised religious freedom except for those “endangering the German race”
o June 1933, Nazis signed a concordat with the Vatican. Each would not interfere with the other.
o In 1936 the Protestant ‘Confessing Church’ condemned anti-Semitist policies. Jehovah’s Witnesses were attacked because of their refusal to do military service.
o However German churches were not united in their attitudes to the Nazis. One successful protest was the Catholic Church’s against the 1939 euthanasia programme.
o Eventually organised religion was attacked so as not to interfere with Fuhrer worship and the Nazi doctrine.
- Arts:
o Nazis tried to control and direct the various arts to fulfil their own purposes.
o Visual art suffered most. Many artists had to flee the country. C19th techniques were favoured, with emphasis on the glory of Hitler, the beauty of the Aryans and the nobility of the peasantry.
o Film was not usually outwardly propagandist, but had to conform to the Nazi code. All works had to be submitted to the Reich Cultural Chamber. Many Jews in the industry fled to Hollywood. Classics were revived to emphasis the heroic and historic.
o Music suffered least, as it was believed to be the least political of the arts. Classical and martial music flourished because it was an integral part of Nazi pomp and ritual. Jazz, swing and Jewish music was banned as degenerate.
- Opposition:
o 3 main reasons for why there was so little opposition:
§ organised political opposition was dealt with quickly and ruthlessly
§ open and efficient system of terror was swiftly put in place
§ high level of consensus was achieved by the Nazis for their regime.
o Left wing leaders were arrested, thrown into concentration camps; party and union buildings and funds were confiscated; parties themselves were banned. Efforts to regroup wer smashed by waves of arrests. Even the underground resistance was fragmented.
o Youth resistance:
§ Listening to forbidden BBC broadcasts
§ Writing and distributing anti-Nazi leaflets
§ Refusing military service.
§ Usually ended in imprisonment or death
o White Rose society (39-43) had a successful newsletter, but were arrested and executed in 1943.
o Working class Edelweiss Pirates put up posters, beat up Hitler Youth, refused to participate in mainstream activities. They were broken up but reformed and spread to have a more active role in resistance orgs during the war.
o Middle-class developed a reactionary subculture based around swing music and English culture, but didn’t contribute to the fall of the 3rd Reich.
o Small groups of conservatives did oppose the Nazis, such as the Kreisan Circle (which included von Moltke). They wanted to re-establish the old Germany
o July bomb plot (20 July 1944) of ranking army leaders failed, with conspirators arrested and executed.
- Ideology emphasised the value of traditional values – the rural way of life. It stood for pre-industrial stability in society and family, and opposed the social disintegration of industrialisation. Theoretically it was against the growth of large industries, the decline of agriculture, equality of women and the changing family structure.
- In 1933 the Nazis had no detailed program for dealing with the economic problems, but with rearmament, public works and conscription to the armed forces, by 1939 there was a labour shortage. Of all the modern industrial nations stricken by the Great Depression, Germany was the only nation in the 1930’s to completely recover from its effects.
- Industry:
o The middle class had supported Hitler in his rise to power because they feared the power of the upper and lower classes, but Nazi policy also undermined small businesses.
o Compulsory cartels were introduced in 1933, threatening small businesses and retailers.
o Nationalisation meant more depts and directorships were given to senior party members and in 1937 all corporations with capital of less than US$40000 were dissolved, wiping out 20000 businesses in one day
o Also, Goering’s Four-Year Plan was to make Germany as independent as possible, although total autarky was impossible. The plan utterly failed to meet projected targets
o Although Hitler was prepared to throw conventional economics out to focus on re-armament, he was not prepared to deprive the German people of consumer goods, as he feared a hostile reaction
- Labour:
o Kershaw believes blue-collar workers remained unconvinced by Nazism, were critical of the Nazi Labour Front. White collar workers seemed more susceptible to the anti-Bolshevik propaganda
o Various decrees attempted to restrict workers’ freedom of movement from one job to another, but labour shortages and “institutional Darwinism” rendered these ineffective.
o Strength Through Joy scheme (Kraft durch Freude, KdF) was a successful, popular org. It aimed at providing leisure activities for workers, and resulted in the doubling of German tourism, building of sports facilities and growth of theatre and cabaret groups.
o The working class had begun by being attacked and excluded, but as workes became more important to the economy, they were better treated.
- Agriculture:
o In spite of some success, Nazi policy never achieved more than 80% self-sufficiency in food.
o Agricultural workers, ideologically supported by the mystical link between blood and soil (“Blut und Boden”), did benefit slightly at the beginning, but inevitably lost out to the demands of industrial expansion and the drive for rearmament.

- For a long time historians saw anti-Semitism as only one aspect of the regime, but Intentionalist historians (like Hillgruber, Jackel, Dawidowicz) are now seeing it as the basis of Hitler’s system of beliefs, and the well-spring of all his policies. They argue that Hitler made a decision to set up the extermination camps in 1941 in the expectation of an imminent Russian collapse. However Structuralists such as Broszat and Mason see the increasingly vicious persecution of Jews as part process of ‘spiralling radicalisation’ rather than as part of a carefully executed plan. Although Hitler had considerable influence on the direction of events, it was not his written order that led to the Holocaust. They claim that local SS leader took the initiative to begin the mass murders. Hitler only found out in 1941.
- There is no doubt that Hitler wanted to remove all Jews from Europe, but debate continues as to whether he planned their mass murder from the start.
- When the Nazis came to power, Jews made up 1% of German population, but made up a significant proportion of many professions and occupations, eg. lawyers, doctors, retail and bankers.
- Anti-Semitism was the defining ideology of Hitler’s regime.
- Nazis moved cautiously at first with their persecution of the Jews for they were sensitive to international criticism. There is also evidence that many middle-class Germans didn’t approve of the new policies
- Between 1933 and 1939, when emigration was stopped, over 250000 German Jews emigrated.
- Nuremberg in 1935 banned Aryan-Jew marriage and classified a Jew not by their religion but by their blood.
- 1937 saw the beginning of the “Aryanisation” of economic life.
- Jews were presented in propaganda as traitors to the country who were in partnership with communist Russia. They were blamed for Germany’s miltary defeat in 1918 and for the economic hardship of the Weimar years. Eg. in the films “Jud Suss” and “The Eternal Jew”, and “Der Sturmer” magazine.
- Kristallnacht was on Nov 9 1938, in response to the murder of a Nazi diplomat in Paris by a Jewish student. SA and SS troops in plain clothes and with the approval of the Nazi leadership, systematically smashed and burnt Jewish property across the country. Many were killed, and shops and synagogues looted and destroyed. 20000 were sent to concentration camps and the Jewish community had to pay a 30million Reichsmarks fine.
- Hitler was determined to rid Germany and its conquered lands of Jews and the first systematic killing of Jews began in Poland. By 1945, 2.6million of Poland’s 3million Jews were dead.
- 1941 is the year when many believe the order was first given to organise the “Final Solution”
- From 1942 Jews from all over Nazi-occupied Europe were transported east to extermination camps, mostly by mass gassing. This was even though they could have been used as a labour resource.
- Timeline to the war:
1933 April: Party organised boycott of Jewish shops
1935 Sept: Jews dismissed from civil service
Nov: Nuremberg laws (incl no Jew-Aryan marriage)
1936: Campaign reduced to influx of tourists for Olympics
1937: Jewish businesses confiscated
1938: Anschluss (racial laws applied in Austria)
Apr: all Jewish wealth had to be registered
June: Munch synagogue destroyed
Aug: ‘Sarah’/‘Israel’ required in Jewish names
17000 ex-Polish Jews were expelled from Germany
Nov: 9: KristalNacht ‘Crystal Night’
Decrees introduced removing Jews from economy, expelling them from schools
1939 Sept: 8pm curfew and confiscation of radios
By now Jews were excluded from employment, state education, access to public transport and entertainment.
1940 Feb: deportation of Jews from Germany begins
1941 Sept: compulsory for Jews to wear yellow Star of David

- Intentionalists (Trevor-Roper) see that Hitler was practically entirely responsible for the start of the war. But in 1961, AJP Taylor challenged this view, claiming Hitler was merely an opportunist and improviser who tool advantage of the situation. His earlier plans were just ‘daydreaming’. This Pluralist view has been supported by Structuralists (Mason, Mommsen) who place less emphasis on Hitler’s personal role and more on the functioning of the Nazi state – domestic crises led to war.
- Timeline:
1935: Mar: Rearmament announced
1936: Mar: Reoccupation of the Rhineland (begins Western appeasement)
Four-Year Plan announced, with focus on rearmament
1937: Nov: Hossbach memorandum, outlining plans for forceful eastern expansion
1938: Anschluss March into Austria
Sept: 29: Munich Conference. Britain and France surrender Czechoslovakia.
1939 Aug: 23: Soviet-German non-aggression pact
Sept: 1: Invasion of Poland
3: Britain and France declare war on Germany

- Preparations:
o Foreign policy stemmed from Hitler’s belief in the necessity of struggle and the conquest of lebensraum into Eastern Europe. He wanted to unite all German peoples, from the Sudetenland to Austria and Poland. His policies made conflict and war inevitable.
o Germany didn’t have the raw materials needed to fight a war. Agriculture had suffered, imports increased, minerals were in short supply. Industrial output surpassed the west, but the economy was still more focussed on consumer goods. Arms expenditure jumped only in 1939. Women were not well represented in the labour force, opposite to a “total war” situation.
o Military preparations had strengths and weaknesses. Alliances had been made with Japan, Italy, USSR and they had the largest standing army of any European neighbour. They had developed new weapons, planes, ships, but production was uncoordinated and inefficient.
- Fighting the War:
o Blitzkrieg tactics developed out of the end of WWI. Shock troops were trained to break through enemy lines, armed with portable weapons. It was a cheap method of warfare. It took the enemy by surprise and cost relatively little in terms of lives or resources. In 1939, to attack Poland, Gen Guderian used his specially trained units who worked with panzer (armoured) tank units, added to MI, tanks, other armoured vehicles and the Luftwaffe.
o The extraordinary rapidity with which Western Europe succumbed led to euphoria in Germany and Hitler reached the zenith of his popularity. However this style eventually failed in Russia. It was due to a combination of a severe Russian winter and the successful Soviet counterattack of December 1941. After this, blitzkrieg was halted and Germans suffered a series of defeats.
o The war is split into two phases: 1939-41, when Germany was successfully on the attack, then 1941-45, when the Allies began to push back.
o In order to end the war in the west, so as not to have to fight on two fronts, Germany had to quickly defeat Britain. The Luftwaffe were to wipe out the airforce, followed by a land invasion. The Battle of Britain (Aug-Sept 1940) over British skies failed to secure a British defeat and left the western Front open. This was followed by another defeat in El Alamein (42), when Rommel was trapped in Tunisia.
o In the Battle of Stalingrad (Sept 42), Hitler ordered the Sixth Army to take the city by Nov. By Jan 1943, they had surrendered.
o The Battle at Kursk (July 43) was the greatest tank battle of the war. 1million German soldiers were ambushed on land and air.
- Home front
o Hitler believed in the importance of a short war, and this had been behind the blitzkrieg successes in Poland, France, Holland, Belgium and Norway. The nation’s economy and mindset were thus unprepared for a long war.
o Hitler only attempted to introduce Goebbels’ ‘total war’ in Germany after the defeats in Russian in 42 forced him to, in Feb 1943. Even then a total commitment on the home front was never achieved. He wanted to shield the German people from economic hardship because he feared a loss of popularity. He believed that WWI had been lost because of a collapse on the home front.
o As victories turned into defeats and Allied bombing of German cities was stepped up, disruption to civilian life, increased hardship and declining support for the Nazi regime all became more evident.
o However, many noticed that that the Allied bombing did not serve to break morale. “Indeed they are having the opposite effect. For amidst such suffering and hardship, political considerations become secondary…”
o Problems were surfacing by 1942-43:
§ Morale declined, due to defeats and reduced access to consumer products
§ Dissidents and punishments increased
§ Fuel shortages
§ Allied bombing of the Ruhr meant a decrease in effective production
§ Casualties increased, meaning less were available on labour and battle fronts
§ The chaotic politics meant new policy couldn’t be implemented properly

The Failure of Nazism:
- The reasons for the failure of Nazism are also debated by historians, for the analysis of its failure is linked to the general assessment of how the Third Reich functioned.
- Intentionalist:
o Meinecke: it was the war that caused the collapse of Nazism, saying that ‘time, hunger and America’ defeated the Nazis. After military defeats, the generals were becoming alienated by the Fuhrer’s refusal to start peace negotiations. Fuel was reduced, the July bomb plot hadn’t removed Hitler, the SS kept using army-essential resources to move Jews to extermination camps.
o The role of the Fuhrer, the chaotic nature of the government, economic disintegration and the negative, increasingly radical policies of the Nazi system inevitably doomed the regime from the start. Charismatic leadership, spiralling radicalisation, wasteful plundering of resources. Needs and policies contradicted each other, leading to policies that ended in their own destruction


Blogger mauser*girl said...

Nice essay but your bit on the BDM (the female Hitler Youth) is wrong. Girls entered at age 10 in the Jungmaedel, which was a sub-section of the BDM. Between 17 and 21 they were members of the Belief & Beauty Society if they chose to be, since it was voluntary. For more info about the BDM -

August 09, 2005 3:05 pm


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