In 1919 Hitler joins a small political party called the Nazi Party He eventually becomes the leader of the party and begins to run it on his own ideals and beliefs. In a socially and economically devastated and embarrassed Germany, Hitler and his Nazi party begin to offer promises of world leadership, work for Germans, and the land lost in WWI. He enticed followers by creating a mystique around himself. People were interested in what he said over the radio and through the papers mostly because they had no idea who this person sending powerful messages and promises was!
Why were German’s so eager to follow and believe Hitler? 1. The Treaty of Versailles 2. Germany’s Economic Problems: Inflation 3. Depression and Unemployment 4. Political Instability
1. The Treaty of Versailles The treaty declared that Germany Was to blame for WWI Will pay for the damages to war-torn countries (today’s conversion would be about $30 billion) Will decrease their military to 100 000. Will give back land occupied in WWI. Many world leaders worried that Germany would want revenge for all of the terms of the treaty Germany felt the economic hardships with the large national debt – especially during the Great Depression. Germany wanted vengeance!
2. Economic Problems To finance the war Germany borrowed a lot of money – this led to huge debt. Germany began printing more money. Most of the money went to paying off debts – not into the economy. The value of the money wasn’t supported with real economic value – this caused severe inflation. Example: By 1923 it took 50 000 marks to buy 1 American dollar. Wages were carried home in wheelbarrows.
3. Depression and Unemployment After the stock market crash and the beginning of the Great Depression, the U.S. couldn’t afford to purchase German goods or lend money to Germany to pay off debts. Much like in Canada and the U.S., German businesses closed and people lost their jobs. Hitler saw his chance! The current government wasn’t doing enough for the people. He reached out and manipulated people when they were at their lowest
Don’t Copy To Germans who were bitter about inflation and economic troubles, Hitler and the Nazi party said: ‘ Believe me, our misery will increase! The government itself is the biggest swindler and crook. People are starving on millions of marks! We will no longer submit! We want a dictatorship!’
4. Political Instability German political system weak and wasn’t helping the citizens or economy Out of more than a dozen weak political parties, 3 main political parties were: Communists, Social Democrats and National Socialists (Nazi’s) No party could win a majority government.
As conditions in Germany worsened, people were willing to listen to extremist voices of the Nazi’s Government should be run by the military and the wealthy Industry should be privately owned Democratic government should be outlawed Activities of foreigners and Jews should be severely restricted (due to the belief that they were the cause of economic problems)
In 1933, Hitler and the Nazi’s gained power in Germany and were now the head political party His messages and belief that Aryans (Caucasians that were not of Jewish decent – and pure Germans in particular) were the master race were widely followed by Germans. Hitler was able to convince Germans that Jews were the cause of Germany’s defeat in WWI and the cause of the economic devastation in the county. There was little truth to back these claims, but Hitler was able to convince Germans to despise the Jewish. Hatred of the Jews is called anti-Semitism
Once in power, Hitler: Banned Jews from government jobs, banking jobs, broadcasting, news and entertainment. Jews were banned from stores and had their homes and property taken away. 1935: Nuremberg Laws passed. Laws took away the citizenship and civil rights of all Jews in Germany Illegal for Jews to marry non-Jews Could not go to school, own public land, associate with non Jews, or go to public German areas. (Libraries, bank, park, museums) Many Jews tried to escape Germany at this time.
Hitler rounded up Jews and put them in Ghetto’s and concentration camps. Concentration camps were prison camps where Jews and all other political prisoners were forced into slave labour The German SS (secret police) were able to watch the Jews and make sure they weren’t mingling with the German population. Blacks, Romas, people with mental disabilities were also put into concentration camps.
Kristallnacht (Night of Broken Glass) 1938 young Polish Jew shot German official 7000 Jewish shops were looted by Germans 20 000 Jews were arrested The men were also ordered to arrest as many Jews as the local jails would hold Expulsion of Polish Jews More than 12,000 Polish-born Jews were expelled from Germany on Hitler's orders. They were ordered to leave their homes in a single night, and were only allowed one suitcase per person to store their belongings. As the Jews were taken away, their remaining possessions were seized by both the Nazi authorities and by their neighbors.
MAUS: A Survivors Tail -Biography presented as a graphic novel -Recounts the struggle of Spiegelman's father to survive the Holocaust as a Polish Jew and draws largely on his recollections of his experiences. -All people are presented as anthropomorphic animals.