Nazi Germany (Leaders & Main Events) Revision

Nazi Germany (Leaders & Main Events) Revision

  • Abwehr
  • Anti-Semitism in Nazi Germany
  • Beer Hall Putsch
  • Christianity in Nazi Germany
  • Concentration Camp
  • Crystal Night
  • Death's Head Units
  • Der Stürmer
  • Education in Nazi Germany
  • Enabling Bill
  • Extermination Camps
  • Final Solution
  • German Army
  • German Election in 1933
  • German League of Girls
  • German Fascism
  • German Labour Front
  • German Resistance
  • Gestapo
  • Hitler Youth
  • Jewish Children in School
  • Jewish Emigration from Germany
  • Jews in Nazi Germany
  • July Plot (1944)
  • Labour Service
  • Lebensborn
  • Luftwaffe
  • Mein Kampf
  • Nazi Germany Timeline
  • Nazi Propaganda
  • Nazi Party (NSDAP)
  • Night of the Long Knives
  • Nuremberg Laws
  • Nuremberg Rally
  • Nuremberg War Trials
  • Oberfohren Memorandum
  • Operation Valkyrie
  • Reichstag
  • Reichstag Fire
  • Schutzstaffel (SS)
  • SD Security Service
  • Strength Through Joy
  • Sturmabteilung (SA)
  • Trade Unions in Nazi Germany
  • Volkswagen
  • Völkischer Beobachter
  • Waffen SS
  • Wannsee Conference
  • Women in Nazi Germany
  • White Rose Group
  • Max Amann
  • Klaus Barbie
  • Joseph Berchtold
  • Ernst Bergmann
  • Albert Bormann
  • Martin Bormann
  • Philip Bouhler
  • Viktor Brack
  • Karl Brandt
  • Wilhelm Brückner
  • Wilhelm Canaris
  • Kurt Daluege
  • Theodor Dannecker
  • Fritz Darges
  • Richard Darré
  • Sepp Dietrich
  • Otto Dietrich
  • Rudolf Diels
  • Karl Doenitz
  • Anton Drexler
  • Karl von Eberstein
  • Dietrich Eckart
  • Adolf Eichmann
  • Theodore Eicke
  • Franz Ritter von Epp
  • Karl Ernst
  • Hermann Esser
  • Gottfried Feder
  • Hermann Fegelein
  • Eugen Fischer
  • Hans Frank
  • Wilhelm Frick
  • Hans Fritzsche
  • Roland Freisler
  • Walther Funk
  • Fritz Gerlich
  • Kurt Gerstein
  • Erwin Giesing
  • Joseph Goebbels
  • Hermann Göring
  • Walter Gross
  • Otto Günsche
  • Ernst Hanfstaengel
  • Albrecht Haushofer
  • Karl Haushofer
  • Erhard Heiden
  • Edmund Heines
  • Rudolf Hess
  • Walter Hewell
  • Reinhard Heydrich
  • Erich Hilgenfeldt
  • Heinrich Himmler
  • Adolf Hitler
  • Rudolf Hoess
  • Heinrich Hoffmann
  • Alfred Hugenberg
  • Ernst Kaltenbrunner
  • Emile Kirdorf
  • Erich Koch
  • Karl Koch
  • Josef Kramer
  • Hermann Kriebel
  • Gustav Krupp
  • Alfried Krupp
  • Robert Ley
  • Heinz Linge
  • Kurt Ludecke
  • Victor Lutze
  • Erich Ludendorff
  • Franz von Pfeffer Solomon
  • Emil Maurice
  • Rochus Misch
  • Theodor Morell
  • Heinrich Mueller
  • Ludwig Müller
  • Arthur Nebe
  • Konstantin von Neurath
  • Carl Oberg
  • Hans Oster
  • Oswald Pohl
  • Johannes Popitz
  • Herman Rauschning
  • Erich Raeder
  • Joachim von Ribbentrop
  • Ernst Röhm
  • Alfred Rosenberg
  • Jutta Rüdiger
  • Bernard Rust
  • Fritz Saukel
  • Hjalmar Schacht
  • Julius Schaub
  • Max Scheubner-Richter
  • Walter Schellenberg
  • Ernst-Gunther Schenck
  • Baldur von Schirach
  • Julius Schreck
  • Kurt von Schröder
  • Richard Schulze-Kossens
  • Franz Schwarz
  • Hans von Seeckt
  • Wolf Sendele
  • Arthur Seyss-Inquart
  • Franz von Pfeffer Solomon
  • Martin Sommerfeldt
  • Albert Speer
  • Reinhard Spitzy
  • Fritz Stangl
  • Johannes Stark
  • Julius Streicher
  • Gregor Strasser
  • Otto Strasser
  • Max Scheubner-Richter
  • Fritz Thyssen
  • Fritz Todt
  • Albert Voegle
  • Horst Wessel
  • Fritz Wiedemann
  • Karl Wolff
  • Appeasement
  • Sudetenland
  • Czechoslovakia
  • Anti-Comintern Pact
  • Poland
  • Operation Barbarossa
  • Western Offensive
  • Rhineland
  • Anschluss
  • Munich Agreement
  • Nazi-Soviet Pact
  • German-Japanese Pact
  • German Atrocities
  • Invasion of Finland
  • Ferdinand von Bredow
  • Hugo Bleicher
  • Eduard Bloch
  • Susanne von der Borch
  • Eva Braun
  • Gretl Braun
  • Ilse Braun
  • Norah Briscoe
  • Paul Briscoe
  • Wallace R. Deuel
  • Otto Dibelius
  • Otto Dix
  • Gertrud Draber
  • Erich Dressler
  • Elsbeth Emmerich
  • Effie Engel
  • Hedwig Ertl
  • Inge Fehr
  • Joachim Fest
  • Johannes Fest
  • Fritz Fink
  • Erich Fromm
  • August von Galen
  • Marianne Gärtner
  • Fritz Gerlich
  • Ima Grese
  • Gustaf Gründgens
  • Magda Goebbels
  • Adam Grolsch
  • Franz Gürtner
  • Erwin Hammel
  • Reinhold Hanisch
  • Veit Harlan
  • Fritz Hartnagel
  • Konrad Heiden
  • Martin Heidegger
  • Armin Hertz
  • Rolf Heberer
  • Lina Heydrich
  • Gudrun Himmler
  • Heinrich Himmler
  • Margarete Himmler
  • Ilse Hirsch
  • Henriette Hoffmann
  • Stephanie von Hohenlohe
  • Ernst Jünger
  • Hans Junge
  • Traudl Junge
  • Gustav von Kahr
  • Wolfgang Kapp
  • Erich Kempka
  • Egon Erwin Kisch
  • Erich Klausener
  • Erich Koch
  • Hildegard Koch
  • Isle Koch
  • Ilse Koehn
  • August Kubizek
  • Anne Lehmann
  • Wilhelm Leuschner
  • Herbert Lutz
  • Inge Neuberger
  • Ernst Oberfohren
  • Friedrich Olbricht
  • Franz von Papen
  • Hedwig Potthast
  • Thomas Mann
  • Melita Maschmann
  • Emil Maurice
  • Karl Mayr
  • Hans Mend
  • Ruth Mendel
  • Unity Mitford
  • Renate Mueller
  • Arthur Nebe
  • Inge Neuberger
  • Rudolf Olden
  • Franz von Papen
  • Irmgard Paul
  • Leopold Potsch
  • Adolf Rall
  • Geli Raubal
  • Karma Rauhut
  • Maria Reiter
  • Leni Riefenstahl
  • Karl Ritter
  • Lord Rothermere
  • Alfons Sack
  • Ernst Schmidt
  • Helga Schmidt
  • Elisabeth Scholl
  • Magdalena Scholl
  • Robert Scholl
  • Werner Scholl
  • Gertrud Scholtz-Klink
  • Christa Schroeder
  • William L. Shirer
  • Truman Smith
  • Josef Stone
  • Fritz Tobias
  • Ernst Torgler
  • Bert Trautmann
  • Tomi Ungerer
  • Rebecca Weisner
  • Christa Wolf
  • Johanna Wolf
  • Gerda Zorn
  • Konrad Adenauer
  • Hannah Arendt
  • Karl Barth
  • Ludwig Beck
  • Ernst Bergmann
  • Eduard Bernstein
  • Heinrich Blücher
  • Dietrich Bonhoffer
  • Klaus Bonhoffer
  • Willy Brandt
  • Rudolf Breitscheid
  • Bertolt Brecht
  • Axel von dem Bussche
  • Georgi Dimitrov
  • Otto Dix
  • Hans Dohnanyi
  • Erich Fellgiebel
  • Frank Foley
  • Viktor Frankl
  • Kurt Gerstein
  • Hans Gisevius
  • Carl Goerdeler
  • Willi Graf
  • Christiane Grautoff
  • George Grosz
  • Herschel Grynszpan
  • Heinrich Gruber
  • Werner von Haeften
  • Falk Harnack
  • Paul von Hase
  • Ulrich von Hassell
  • John Heartfield
  • Wolf von Helldorf
  • Hans Hirzel
  • Susanne Hirzel
  • Erich Hoepner
  • Casar von Hofacker
  • Erich Honecker
  • Kurt Huber
  • Otto John
  • Jakob Kaiser
  • Egon Erwin Kisch
  • Edwald Kleist-Schmenzin
  • Gunther von Kluge
  • Kathe Kollwitz
  • Heinz Kucharski
  • Traute Lafrenz
  • Carl Langbehn
  • Julius Leber
  • Hans Leipelt
  • Katharina Leipelt
  • Marinus van der Lubbe
  • Erika Mann
  • Heinrich Mann
  • Klaus Mann
  • Helmuth von Moltke
  • Josef Muller
  • Erich Mühsam
  • Zenzl Mühsam
  • Willie Munzenberg
  • Martin Niemöller
  • Hans Ulrich von Oertzen
  • Hans Oster
  • Friedrich Olbricht
  • Rudolf Olden
  • Erwin Piscator
  • Hubert Pollack
  • Johannes Popitz
  • Blagoi Popov
  • Christoph Probst
  • Albrecht Metz von Quirnheim
  • Lilo Ramdohr
  • Adolf Reichwein
  • Kurt Rosenfeld
  • Greta Rothe
  • Fabian Schlabrendorff
  • Alexander Schmorell
  • Hans Scholl
  • Inge Scholl
  • Sophie Scholl
  • Richard Sorge
  • Claus von Stauffenberg
  • Günther Stern
  • Helmuth Stief
  • Carl-Heinrich von Stülpnagel
  • Vassili Tanev
  • Ernst Thalmann
  • Karl Freiherr von Thüngen
  • Ernst Toller
  • Henning von Tresckow
  • Adam von Trot
  • Walter Ulbricht
  • Eduard Wagner
  • Josef Wirmer
  • Juegen Wittenstein
  • Erwin von Witzleben
  • Peter von Wartenburg
  • Clara Zetkin
  • Jurgen von Arnium
  • Hermann Balck
  • Fritz Bayerlein
  • Ludwig Beck
  • Werner von Blomberg
  • Guenther Blumentritt
  • Fedor von Bock
  • Heinrich von Brauchitsch
  • Ernst Busch
  • Wilhelm Canaris
  • Kurt Daluege
  • Joseph Dietrich
  • Karl Doenitz
  • Adolf Eichmann
  • Alexander von Falkenhausen
  • Werner von Fitsch
  • Erich Fromm
  • Adolf Galland
  • Hermann Goering
  • Heinz Guderian
  • Franz Halder
  • Erich Hartmann
  • Kurt Hammerstein-Equord
  • Gotthard Heinrici
  • Adolf Heusinger
  • Erich Hoepner
  • Herman Hoth
  • Hans Hube
  • Alfred Jodl
  • Wilhelm Keitel
  • Albert Kesselring
  • Paul von Kleist
  • Gunther von Kluge
  • George von Kuechler
  • Wilhelm Leeb
  • Joachim Lemelsen
  • Siegmund List
  • Erich von Manstein
  • Hasso Manteuffel
  • Erhard Miltch
  • Walther Model
  • Werner Moelders
  • Walther Nehring
  • Freidrich Paulus
  • Gunther Prien
  • Erich Raeder
  • Walther von Reichenau
  • Wolfram von Richthofen
  • Erwin Rommel
  • Hans Ulrich Rudel
  • Gerd von Rundstedt
  • Friedrich Schorner
  • Fabin Schlabrendorff
  • Kurt von Schleicher
  • Rudolf Schmundt
  • Hans von Seeckt
  • Fridolin von Senger
  • Otto Skorzeny
  • Hans Speidel
  • Hugo Sperrle
  • Jürgen Stroop
  • George Stumme
  • Kurt Student
  • Carl Stulpnagel
  • Kurt von Tippelskirch
  • Wilhelm von Thoma
  • Henning von Tresckow
  • Ernst Udet
  • Heinrich Vietinghoff
  • Walther Warlimont
  • Siegfried Westphal
  • Karl Wolff
  • Erwin von Witzleben
  • Kurt Zeitzler
  • German Army
  • Sturm Abteilung (SA)
  • German Navy
  • Luftwaffe
  • Schutz Staffeinel (SS)
  • Waffen SS
  • Nazi Germany
  • Adolf Hitler's Early Life
  • Daily Mail and Adolf Hitler
  • Adolf Hitler and the First World War
  • The German Workers' Party
  • Who Set Fire to the Reichstag?
  • Adolf Hitler the Orator
  • Trade Unions in Nazi Germany
  • The Hitler Youth
  • Sturmabteilung (SA)
  • D-Day: Opening the Second Front
  • German League of Girls
  • Night of the Long Knives
  • Case-Study: Sophie Scholl
  • Assessment of the Nazi-Soviet Pact
  • British Newspapers and Adolf Hitler
  • Kristallnacht
  • White Rose Anti-Nazi Group
  • Adolf Hitler v John Heartfield
  • Women in Nazi Germany
  • Hitler's Volkswagen
  • Heinrich Himmler and the SS
  • Assassination of Reinhard Heydrich
  • Last Days of Adolf Hitler

A Short History of the Nazi Party

The Nazi Party was a political party in Germany, led by Adolf Hitler from 1921 to 1945, whose central tenets included the supremacy of the Aryan people and blaming Jews and others for the problems within Germany. These extreme beliefs eventually led to World War II and the Holocaust. At the end of World War II, the Nazi Party was declared illegal by the occupying Allied Powers and officially ceased to exist in May 1945.

(The name “Nazi” is actually a shortened version of the party’s full name: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei or NSDAP, which translates to “National Socialist German Workers’ Party.”)


Today in labor history: Nazis destroy unions

On May 2, 1933, Adolf Hitler’s storm troopers occupied all trade union headquarters across Germany, and union leaders were arrested and put in prison or concentration camps. Many were beaten and tortured. All of the unions’ funds – in other words, the workers’ money – were confiscated. Former union officials were put on blacklists, preventing them from finding work.

This was one of the first acts of Hitler and the Nazis, who had just come to power in Germany a few months earlier, in January 1933. The German labor movement was one of the largest and strongest in the world, with some 7 million members at the time. The Nazis, much like some far-rightists in our own country then and now, saw that unions exercised significant power by representing workers’ interests and promoting a democratic humanitarian outlook among workers. The unions presented a barrier to the Nazi effort to control all areas of life and create a corporate-fascist state. Therefore, the Nazis made a priority of eliminating trade unions in Germany.

In their place, Hitler set up a “German Labor Front,” which included both employers and workers. Under the guise of providing benefits and services to workers, it supported the racist and pro-corporate Nazi agenda and spread Nazi propaganda among workers. Jews were banned from membership. Collective bargaining and the right to strike were outlawed. Pay and working conditions were decided by Hitler officials. As a result, wages were frozen, and the average workweek increased by 20 percent in just a few years.

Hitler’s destruction of unions was supported by important German business leaders and conservative politicians who shared the Nazi fear of a socialist revolution during the turbulent 1920s and early 󈧢s. Many of these people wanted restrictions on or complete abolition of unions, which they felt had become “too powerful.” This was one reason why many conservatives helped the Nazis come into power and joined or supported Hitler’s government.

Between 1933 and 1945 thousands of German trade unionists were arrested and imprisoned, and many were tortured, executed or sent to concentration camps.

Thus, the defeat of Hitler and liberation of Germany from Nazism represented a momentous victory for the working class of Germany and the rest of the world. But the struggle for labor rights continues, as we see daily in our own country.

Photo: Communists and trade unionists were among Hitler’s first targets. Here, Nazis rally in front of the headquarters of the German Communist Party (KPD) in 1933 in Berlin. Slogans on the building include: Against war, fascism, hunger … for work, bread, and freedom. Robert Sennecke, Biblioteque nationale de France, Wikimedia Commons


Field Marshal of the German Army (Wehrmacht), Chief of the Supreme High Command of the German Armed Forces (OKW) and Chief of Defence for Germany, Hitler’s Chief of Staff.

Head of the Nazi Party Chancellery (a role previously called Deputy Fuhrer until Hess defected and Bormann replaced him with the new title), Hitler’s Personal Private Secretary, controlling all information passed to and from Hitler and controller of all personal access to Hitler. He had final approval over all legislation and de facto control over all domestic matters.


The Nazi Party

On 5th January 1919, Anton Drexler together with Gottfried Feder and Dietrich Eckart founded the Deutsche Arbeiterpartei DAP (German Workers’ Party). Drexler wanted to form a party that supported the German workforce. From its earliest beginnings the party tended towards right wing politics. It was Nationalist, racist, anti-Semetic, anti-capitalist, anti-communist and determined to see a return to pre-war Germany.

Although the group only had around 40 members in 1919, the authorities were concerned that it may be a Communist group and so sent an army intelligence agent, Adolf Hitler, to investigate.

On September 12th 1919, Adolf Hitler attended a meeting of the German Workers’ Party. During the meeting a point was raised with which Hitler disagreed and made a passionate speech against. Anton Drexler was impressed with Hitler’s ability to speak well and invited him to join the party. After some persuasion Hitler agreed. He was the fifty-fifth person to join the group. (Later he changed his membership card to show that he was the 7th person).

On 24th February 1920 the name of the group was changed to Deutsche Nationalsozialistische Arbeiterpartei NSDP National Socialist German Workers’ Party, known as the Nazi Party. As part of its re-launch the party published its 25 point programme:

1. We demand the unification of all Germans in the Greater Germany on the basis of the right of self-determination of peoples.

2. We demand equality of rights for the German people in respect to the other nations abrogation of the peace treaties of Versailles and St. Germain.

3. We demand land and territory (colonies) for the sustenance of our people, and colonization for our surplus population.

4. Only a member of the race can be a citizen. A member of the race can only be one who is of German blood, without consideration of creed. Consequently no Jew can be a member of the race.

5. Whoever has no citizenship is to be able to live in Germany only as a guest, and must be under the authority of legislation for foreigners.

6. The right to determine matters concerning administration and law belongs only to the citizen. Therefore we demand that every public office, of any sort whatsoever, whether in the Reich, the county or municipality, be filled only by citizens. We combat the corrupting parliamentary economy, office-holding only according to party inclinations without consideration of character or abilities.

7. We demand that the state be charged first with providing the opportunity for a livelihood and way of life for the citizens. If it is impossible to sustain the total population of the State, then the members of foreign nations (non-citizens) are to be expelled from the Reich.

8. Any further immigration of non-citizens is to be prevented. We demand that all non-Germans, who have immigrated to Germany since the 2 August 1914, be forced immediately to leave the Reich.

9. All citizens must have equal rights and obligations.

10. The first obligation of every citizen must be to work both spiritually and physically. The activity of individuals is not to counteract the interests of the universality, but must have its result within the framework of the whole for the benefit of all Consequently we demand:

11. Abolition of unearned (work and labour) incomes. Breaking of rent-slavery.

12. In consideration of the monstrous sacrifice in property and blood that each war demands of the people personal enrichment through a war must be designated as a crime against the people. Therefore we demand the total confiscation of all war profits.

13. We demand the nationalization of all (previous) associated industries (trusts).

14. We demand a division of profits of all heavy industries.

15. We demand an expansion on a large scale of old age welfare.

16. We demand the creation of a healthy middle class and its conservation, immediate communalization of the great warehouses and their being leased at low cost to small firms, the utmost consideration of all small firms in contracts with the State, county or municipality.

17. We demand a land reform suitable to our needs, provision of a law for the free expropriation of land for the purposes of public utility, abolition of taxes on land and prevention of all speculation in land.

18. We demand struggle without consideration against those whose activity is injurious to the general interest. Common national criminals, usurers, Schieber and so forth are to be punished with death, without consideration of confession or race.

19. We demand substitution of a German common law in place of the Roman Law serving a materialistic world-order.

20. The state is to be responsible for a fundamental reconstruction of our whole national education program, to enable every capable and industrious German to obtain higher education and subsequently introduction into leading positions. The plans of instruction of all educational institutions are to conform with the experiences of practical life. The comprehension of the concept of the State must be striven for by the school [Staatsbuergerkunde] as early as the beginning of understanding. We demand the education at the expense of the State of outstanding intellectually gifted children of poor parents without consideration of position or profession.

21. The State is to care for the elevating national health by protecting the mother and child, by outlawing child-labor, by the encouragement of physical fitness, by means of the legal establishment of a gymnastic and sport obligation, by the utmost support of all organizations concerned with the physical instruction of the young.

22. We demand abolition of the mercenary troops and formation of a national army.

23. We demand legal opposition to known lies and their promulgation through the press. In order to enable the provision of a German press, we demand, that:

a. All writers and employees of the newspapers appearing in the German language be members of the race:

b. Non-German newspapers be required to have the express permission of the State to be published. They may not be printed in the German language:

c. Non-Germans are forbidden by law any financial interest in German publications, or any influence on them, and as punishment for violations the closing of such a publication as well as the immediate expulsion from the Reich of the non-German concerned. Publications which are counter to the general good are to be forbidden. We demand legal prosecution of artistic and literary forms which exert a destructive influence on our national life, and the closure of organizations opposing the above made demands.

24. We demand freedom of religion for all religious denominations within the state so long as they do not endanger its existence or oppose the moral senses of the Germanic race. The Party as such advocates the standpoint of a positive Christianity without binding itself confessionally to any one denomination. It combats the Jewish-materialistic spirit within and around us, and is convinced that a lasting recovery of our nation can only succeed from within on the framework: common utility precedes individual utility.

25. For the execution of all of this we demand the formation of a strong central power in the Reich. Unlimited authority of the central parliament over the whole Reich and its organizations in general. The forming of state and profession chambers for the execution of the laws made by the Reich within the various states of the confederation. The leaders of the Party promise, if necessary by sacrificing their own lives, to support by the execution of the points set forth above without consideration.

Year


Nazi Germany

At the risk of appearing to talk nonsense, I tell you that the Nazi movement will go on for 1,000 years!

Adolf Hitler to a British Journalist

At the beginning of the 1930s, Adolf Hitler's Nazi Party exploited widespread and deep-seated discontent in Germany to attract popular and political support. There was resentment at the crippling territorial, military and economic terms of the Versailles Treaty, which Hitler blamed on treacherous politicians and promised to overturn. The democratic post-World War I Weimar Republic was marked by a weak coalition government and political crisis, in answer to which the Nazi party offered strong leadership and national rebirth. From 1929 onwards, the worldwide economic depression provoked hyperinflation, social unrest and mass unemployment, to which Hitler offered scapegoats such as the Jews.

Hitler pledged civil peace, radical economic policies, and the restoration of national pride and unity. Nazi rhetoric was virulently nationalist and anti-Semitic. The 'subversive' Jews were portrayed as responsible for all of Germany's ills.

In the federal elections of 1930 (which followed the Wall Street Crash), the Nazi Party won 107 seats in the Reichstag (the German Parliament), becoming the second-largest party. The following year, it more than doubled its seats. In January 1933, President von Hindenburg appointed Hitler chancellor, believing that the Nazis could be controlled from within the cabinet. Hitler set about consolidating his power, destroying Weimar democracy and establishing a dictatorship. On 27 February, the Reichstag burned Dutch communist Marianus van der Lubbe was found inside, arrested and charged with arson. With the Communist Party discredited and banned, the Nazis passed the Reichstag Fire Decree, which dramatically curtailed civil liberties.

Read more about: Hitler

10 things you didn't know about Hitler

In March 1933, the Nazis used intimidation and manipulation to pass the Enabling Act, which allowed them to pass laws which did not need to be voted on in the Reichstag. Over the next year, the Nazis eliminated all remaining political opposition, banning the Social Democrats, and forcing the other parties to disband. In July 1933, Germany was declared a one-party state. In the 'Night of the Long Knives' of June 1934, Hitler ordered the Gestapo and the SS to eliminate rivals within the Nazi Party. In 1935, the Nuremburg Laws marked the beginning of an institutionalised anti-Semitic persecution which would culminate in the barbarism of the 'Final Solution'.

Hitler's first moves to overturn the Versailles settlement began with the rearmament of Germany, and in 1936 he ordered the remilitarisation of the Rhineland. Hitler became bolder as he realised that Britain and France were unwilling and unable to challenge German expansionism. Between 1936 and 1939, he provided military aid to Franco's fascist forces in the Spanish Civil War, despite having signed the 'Non-Intervention Agreement'. In March 1938, German troops marched into Austria the Anschluss was forbidden under Versailles. Anglo-French commitment to appeasement and 'peace for our time' meant that when Hitler provoked the 'Sudeten Crisis', demanding that the Sudetenland be ceded to Germany, Britain and France agreed to his demands at September 1938's Munich conference. Germany's territorial expansion eastwards was motivated by Hitler's desire to unite German–speaking peoples, and also by the concept of Lebensraum: the idea of providing Aryan Germans with 'living space'.

At the end of the year, anti-Jewish pogroms erupted across Germany and Austria. Kristallnacht – a state-orchestrated attack on Jewish property – resulted in the murder of 91 Jews. Twenty thousand more were arrested and transported to concentration camps. In March 1939, Germany seized the remainder of Czechoslovakia in August Hitler signed the Nazi-Soviet Pact of non-aggression with the USSR. The next step would be the invasion of Poland and the coming of World War II.

Did you know?

When Adolf Hitler was a struggling, poverty stricken artist in Vienna, he did not show any signs of anti-Semitism. Many of his closest associates in the hostel where he lived were the Jewish men who helped him to sell his pictures.

During the 1936 Berlin Olympics, Hitler refused to shake the hand of African-American Jesse Owens, who won four gold medals. However, when questioned about this Owens said: Hitler didn't snub me - it was FDR who snubbed me. The president didn't even send me a telegram.


After World War II, Most ‘Ordinary Nazis’ Returned to Lives of Obscurity. The World Must Recover Their Stories Before It’s Too Late

A mong the numerous tragedies of the current COVID-19 crisis is the large number of Holocaust survivors who count among the disease&rsquos victims. In recent weeks, newspapers across the world have published moving obituaries of individual Jews who, more than three-quarters of a century ago, fled persecution, went into hiding or survived the horrors of the concentration camps. A number of these tributes have even reflected on a world in the not too distant future in which there will no longer be Holocaust survivors to share their testimony. With educators aware of this situation, holograms of remaining survivors have been produced, so that future generations will be able to ask questions about life in 1930s and 1940s Europe.

But while first- and second-generation Holocaust survivors are often no strangers to the public exposure that comes with educating their communities about the past, the same cannot be said for most former Nazis and the children of perpetrators, whose participation in or relationship with the Third Reich has not undergone the same level of public interest or scrutiny.

After the war, most ordinary Nazis&mdashGestapo agents, S.S. and S.A. auxiliaries, party members and government officials, as well as German citizens who embraced the party&rsquos rhetoric&mdashfaded into relative obscurity and were able to create fresh false identities and make a clean break with their pasts. They were aided by a silence within families and within the polity that persisted for decades. When post-war trials against Nazis occurred, they generally ignored low-level functionaries and killers and aimed to convict only prominent members of the regime. Between 1945 and 1958, only 6,093 former Nazis were convicted of having committed a crime&mdasha drop in the ocean when we remember that in 1945 the Nazi party had eight million members. Despite the swathes of people caught up in Nazism before and during World War II, most of us can, today, name only a handful of Nazis, almost always those who formed part of Hitler&rsquos inner circle.

In this context, it is unsurprising that we&rsquore not commonly seeing stories in German newspapers of Holocaust perpetrators or their descendants being affected by the virus. Looking at the figures, we discover that more than 5,000 of the 8,700-plus COVID-related deaths in Germany were people aged over 80. Logic dictates that many of these people, who would have been children or adolescents if they lived in Germany during the Third Reich, likely had parents who made up Hitler&rsquos millions of nameless and faceless followers. Other fatalities of the novel coronavirus in Germany were in their late teens and even early 20s during the Second World War more than 1,600 of those who died were aged over 90, while dozens were aged more than a hundred.

Just as we are beginning to imagine a world without survivors, the disappearance of those with first-hand memories of life under Nazism forces us to pause for a moment and to ask questions about a world without perpetrators, and, also, one that no longer contains anyone who had known, grown up with or even loved a Nazi.

Losing those memories matters. To understand the inner workings of the Third Reich, we need to know not just its leaders, but the ordinary Nazis who made up its ranks, whose role in war and genocide have vanished from the historical record. The act of recovering perpetrators&rsquo voices sheds light on consent and conformity under the swastika, enabling us to ask new questions about responsibility, blame and manipulation.

In 2011 an upholsterer in Amsterdam found a bundle of swastika-covered documents inside the cushion of an armchair he was repairing. The papers belonged to Robert Griesinger, a lawyer from Stuttgart who was an SS member working for the Reich in Nazi-Occupied Prague. Jana, the armchair&rsquos Czech owner had purchased the chair while a student in Prague in the 1960s. As a professional historian of the Second World War, who happened to be known to Jana&rsquos daughter, I was asked to investigate the mystery of the hidden papers. I immediately set out to uncover more about this S.S. official, who was not mentioned in any books on occupied Prague or anywhere online. The results became my new book The S.S. Officer&rsquos Armchair.

My search for Griesinger was to last five years. It would lead me to German provincial towns where he had studied and worked and to archives and libraries across Europe and America. I discovered early on that Griesinger was not as German as I had thought and that his father, born in New Orleans, came from a family that owned enslaved people in Louisiana. Griesinger grew up in a conservative military family, which&mdashas was typical for the time and place&mdashblamed Jews for starting the Great War. It was not inevitable that Griesinger would turn to Nazism, but it&rsquos striking how quickly he adapted to it. As a young legal official seeking to establish a career in an unprecedented political landscape, Griesinger was not even a Nazi party member at the beginning of 1933, yet within a year he had joined a host of Nazi organizations, including the S.S., as a channel for career advancement.

I later managed to track down his daughters and even read his mother&rsquos diary. His story offered a chilling reminder of how ordinary people, not monsters, made the Nazi regime and its heinous crimes.

Returning texture and agency to one such perpetrator allows Griesinger to stand in for the thousands of anonymous ordinary Nazis whose widespread culpability wreaked havoc on countless lives and whose biographies have, until now, never seen the light of day. So many other stories just like his have never been put to paper and, given the rapidly declining number of people still able to remember personal elements of these individual, one wonders whether they will ever be written.


Evacuation and Liberation of Buchenwald

As Soviet forces entered German-occupied Poland, the Germans evacuated thousands of prisoners from Nazi German concentration camps. After long, brutal marches, more than 10,000 weak and exhausted prisoners from Auschwitz and Gross-Rosen, most of them Jews, arrived in Buchenwald in January 1945. By February, the number of prisoners in Buchenwald reached 112,000.

In early April 1945, as US forces approached the camp, the Germans began to evacuate some 28,000 prisoners from the main camp and an additional several thousand prisoners from the subcamps of Buchenwald. There are no records of the deaths resulting from starvation, exposure, exhaustion, or murder by guards.

The underground resistance organization in Buchenwald, whose members held key administrative posts in the camp, saved many lives. They obstructed Nazi orders and delayed the evacuation.

On April 11, 1945, in expectation of liberation, prisoners stormed the watchtowers. They seized control of the camp. Later that afternoon, US forces entered Buchenwald. Soldiers from the 6th Armored Division, part of the Third Army, found more than 21,000 people in the camp.

Between July 1937 and April 1945, the SS imprisoned some 250,000 persons from all countries of Europe in Buchenwald. Exact mortality figures for the Buchenwald site can only be estimated, as camp authorities never registered a significant number of the prisoners. The SS murdered at least 56,000 male prisoners in the Buchenwald camp system. Some 11,000 of them were Jews.


Nazi Germany (Leaders & Main Events) Revision - History

This site contains the complete Treaty of Versailles as well as maps and related material.

This site discusses many of the ideas contained within Mein Kampf.

After Hitler was released from prison, he formally resurrected the Nazi Party. Hitler began rebuilding and reorganizing the Party, waiting for an opportune time to gain political power in Germany. The Conservative military hero Paul von Hindenburg was elected president in 1925, and Germany stabilized.

Hitler skillfully maneuvered through Nazi Party politics and emerged as the sole leader. The Führerprinzip, or leader principle, established Hitler as the one and only to whom Party members swore loyalty unto death. Final decision making rested with him, and his strategy was to develop a highly centralized and structured party that could compete in Germany's future elections. Hitler hoped to create a bureaucracy which he envisioned as "the germ of the future state."

The Nazi Party began building a mass movement. From 27,000 members in 1925, the Party grew to 108,000 in 1929. The SA was the paramilitary unit of the Party, a propaganda arm that became known for its strong arm tactics of street brawling and terror. The SS was established as an elite group with special duties within the SA, but it remained inconsequential until Heinrich Himmler became its leader in 1929. By the late twenties, the Nazi Party started other auxiliary groups. The Hitler Youth , the Student League and the Pupils' League were open to young Germans. The National Socialist Women's League allowed women to get involved. Different professional groups--teachers, lawyers and doctors--had their own auxiliary units.

Reich president Paul von Hindenburg's advisers persuaded him to invoke the constitution's emergency presidential powers. These powers allowed the president to restore law and order in a crisis. Hindenburg created a new government, made up of a chancellor and cabinet ministers, to rule by emergency decrees instead of by laws passed by the Reichstag. So began the demise of the Weimar democracy.

Heinrich Brüning was the first chancellor under the new presidential system. He was unable to unify the government, and in September 1930, there were new elections. The Nazi Party won an important victory, capturing 18.3% of the vote to make it the second largest party in the Reichstag.

The Great Depression has a large impact on Germany.

Germany's government remained on the brink of collapse. The SA brownshirts, about 400,000 strong, were a part of daily street violence. The economy was still in crisis. In the election of July 1932, the Nazi Party won 37% of the Reichstag seats, thanks to a massive propaganda campaign. For the next six months, the most powerful German leaders were embroiled in a series of desperate political maneuverings. Ultimately, these major players severely underestimated Hitler's political abilities.

A more complete account of the complexity of German politics in 1932 is available.

Interactive quiz on the rise of the Nazi Party.

Lesson plans, discussion questions, term paper topics, reproducible handouts, and other resources for teaching about the rise of the Nazi Party are available here.


The ugly history of ‘Lügenpresse,’ a Nazi slur shouted at a Trump rally

BERLIN — When a video of two Donald Trump supporters shouting “Lügenpresse” (lying press) started to circulate Sunday, viewers from Germany soon noted its explosive nature. The defamatory word was most frequently used in Nazi Germany. Today, it is a common slogan among those branded as representing the “ugly Germany”: members of xenophobic, right-wing groups.

Its use across the Atlantic Ocean at a Trump rally has worried Germans who know about its origins all too well. Both the Nazi regime and the East German government made use of it, turning it into an anti-democracy slogan.

“Lügenpresse” was branded a taboo word in Germany in 2015 by an academic panel after anti-Islam movements, such as Pegida, started using it more frequently in the presence of journalists. As in the United States, trust in mainstream media is on the decline in Germany.

The verbal attacks against journalists soon turned into physical violence in Germany. At times, media members were unable to cover the Pegida-organized protest marches without private security personnel. Some reporters who risked going in without bodyguards were beaten up. It is without doubt that the word “Lügenpresse” has an extremely ugly meaning in modern-day Germany.

Its history is even worse, though.

The term emerged way before the Nazis took over in Germany. For instance, the German Defense Ministry released a book titled “The Lügenpresse of Our Enemies” in 1918 during World War I. According to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper, the term was coined by Reinhold Anton in 1914. In books, Anton used the term mainly in a foreign context to refer to “enemy propaganda.” It is unclear whether Anton was a pseudonym.

At that time, the word was used more descriptively. A decade later, it had turned into an explosive and stigmatizing propaganda slogan, used to stir hatred against Jews and communists. Critics of Adolf Hitler's regime were frequently referred to as members of the “Lügenpresse apparatus.”

Until today, the word has an anti-Semitic connotation, and it implies hatred not only against journalists but against everyone who opposes the “will of the people.” That abstract concept emerged during World War II when Hitler sought to propagate the idea that Germans were a "master race" superior to all others, especially Jews and Slavic people.

The consequences of that rhetoric — of which the term “Lügenpresse” was an important component under propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels — were horrifying. Millions of people were killed in concentration camps by the Nazis, including Jews, political opponents and homosexuals.

Although the word disappeared from public discourse for almost half a century in democratic West Germany, it continued to flourish in communist East Germany, where it was used to condemn Western countries, including the United States.


Concentration camps in Nazi Germany

Concentration camps in Nazi Germany served a number of purposes. First, these camps were used to jail those who opposed Hitler’s government or were thought to threaten it. Second, knowledge of what life was like in a concentration camp was allowed to leak out – or came out when someone was released. The fear of ending up in such a camp was sufficient for a great many Germans to openly declare their loyalty to Hitler even if this was not the case. Therefore for the Nazi leaders, concentration camps served the dual purpose of controlling the majority of the population because of the fear they engendered and also locking away those who crossed the line- a line imposed by the Nazi government.

Hitler had no issues with the harshness of these institutions. Even before he became Chancellor in January 1933 he said to Hermann Rauschning:

“We must be ruthless. We must regain our clear conscience as to ruthlessness. Only thus shall we purge our people of their softness and sentimental philistinism, of their easy going nature and their degenerate blight in beer-swilling. We have no time for fine sentiments. I don’t want the concentration camps transferred into penitentiary institutions. Terror is the most effective instrument. I shall not permit myself to be robbed of it simply because a lot of stupid, bourgeois mollycoddlers choose to be offended by it.”

Officially concentration camps were to “reform” those who had expressed opposition to Hitler’s regime and to turn “anti-social members of society into useful members”. Hitler argued that the Weimar constitution made such camps legal but just in case this was not the case, a law was passed on February 28 th 1933 that suspended the personal liberties of dissenters and allowed for them to be kept in “protective custody”.

The first concentration established in Nazi Germany was at Dachau. As the name of the camps suggest, these camps incarcerated a large number of people into a relatively small area – i.e. concentrated their numbers into a small space. Dachau served southern Germany. Very quickly concentration camps were also established at Buchenwald that served middle Germany, and Sachsenhausen that served northern Germany. Others were built at places such as Ravensbrück (for women), Mauthausen in Austria, Flossenberg and Bergen-Belsen.

Those arrested and put into “protective custody” included Jews, trade unionleaders, Socialists, Communists, Roman Catholics and Protestants. In fact, anyone who deviated from Gleichshaltung could be included.

Before the start of World War Two, it is thought that 200,000 people had been sent to a concentration camp. Some were sentenced to a short term in the hope that they would have ‘learned their lesson’ by the time they were released. Others spent far longer in these camps. Those sent to a concentration camp frequently had no trial and consequently they had no right of appeal against the sentence. When World War Two broke out in September 1939 it is known that at that time there were 50,000 inmates in the camps. During the war, the number of inmates greatly increased.

Inmates were put into four groups: political opponents, members of “inferior races”, criminals and the “shiftless element”. Those classed as criminals found the group subdivided further into BV’s and SV’s. BV’s were criminals who had served several short stays in the camps and had been sentenced to another one. SV’s were in secure custody and were serving long term sentences. Homosexuals were classed as part of the “shiftless element” group and post-war research found that they were especially pick-out by guards for appalling treatment and their fatality rate in the camps was very high.

All concentration camp inmates had to wear a sign on their clothing that indicated what group they were from. The sign was worn on the left breast of the jacket and on the right trouser leg. Jews had to wear a yellow Star of David, homosexuals wore a pink triangle, political prisoners had to wear a red triangle while criminals wore a green triangle. Those in the camps who were deemed to be simple wore a jacket with ‘Blöd’ (Stupid) written on it. Those who the guards thought posed a threat with regards to escape had a jacket with a shooting target in red and white on the front and back of their jacket.

As the Allies advanced east and west in 1944 and 1945, camp guards did what they could to destroy any documentary evidence as to the crimes committed at these camps. However, they could not destroy all of the most obvious of evidence – the victims in the actual camps. When the Americans first entered and filmed the concentration camp at Dachau they were horrified at what they saw. The same occurred at Bergen-Belsen when the British relieved the camp. Concentration camp commandants and the guards who could be traced were punished after the war, as were the doctors at Dachau who had performed inhuman operations on camp inmates.

However, despite the arrival of the Allies, the suffering of those in the camps continued. The Allied authorities took the decision that the risk of disease spreading was so great that the inmates were confined to the camps. Food and other essential supplies were brought in but the authorities could not afford risking the spread of typhus or typhoid until that risk had passed. It was only then that a process started whereby those in the camps started their journey home.