Presentation on theme: "1933-1945 Nazi Germany: The Big Questions...... How did Hitler become dictator of Germany? Reichstag Fire Feb 1933 Enabling Act March 1933: makes Germany."— Presentation transcript:
Nazi Germany: The Big Questions.....
How did Hitler become dictator of Germany? Reichstag Fire Feb 1933 Enabling Act March 1933: makes Germany a one party state Regional governments abolished Trade unions removed Secure relationship with Army Propaganda Terror Weakness of opposition Death of Hindenburg Gleichschaltung
How did Hitler prepare Germany for war? Four Year Plan: 1936: Germany must be prepared for war, increase production of raw materials, develop ersatz (substitute) products, increase agricultural production Guns vs Butter debate Autarky Increase military expenditure
Social Policy: Traditional or Radical? Traditional: gender roles Traditional view of women, appearence Stressed in education Radical: removal of non-Aryans
Image vs Reality Image of Hitler as a strong leader Reality: badly organised, lazy, focus on foreign policy Image of Gestapo as all seeing all powerful body Reality: few Gestapo officers, bogged down in bureaucracy
Image vs Reality Image: Strong, Organised government Reality: Chaotic, over lapping ministries, Four Year Plan// Ministry of Economics. Polycracy: system of overlapping ministries. Cabinet meetings became more infrequent. 72 times in 1933, 4 times in After 1938 it didn’t meet at all.
Was the style of government intended? No: evidence of Hitler’s lack of organisational skills Yes: belief in Social Darwinism would reward the most committed. Hitler wanted to keep leading Nazis on their toes: Goering kept out of policy meetings after 1941, Hess adopted deputy because he wasn’t a threat to Hitler.
Intentionalists vs Structuralists Intentionalists: Polycratic nature of the Third Reich was deliberately extended by Hitler, partly in order to ‘divide and rule’. “Hitler was the master of the Third Reich” Structuralists: Hitler was indecisive, lazy and easily manipulated. As a result, the chaotic nature of National Socialism spiralled into criminal brutality and lawlessness. “ Hitler was a weak dictator”
How did the Holocaust happen? Anti Semitism existed in Germany before April: Boycott, removal of Jews from teaching posts, lawyers. Anti-Semitic propaganda and education September: Nuremberg Laws: Reich Citizenship Act and Law for the Protection of German Blood and Honour November: Kristallnacht : Creation of the Reich Central Office for Jewish Emigration January: Wannsee Conference: Final Solution. Chaired by Eichmann
How did the Holocaust happen? Initial arrangements were haphazard and the Nazis did not have any clear programme to deal with the Jewish question until 1941 No written order for killing the Jews from Hitler has ever been found. Probably around autumn 1941 it was decided by the top Nazi leadership to launch an extermination policy, this was agreed at Wannsee.