- Birth of the Weimar Republic
- The Effects of the War
- The Years of Depression
- Effects on Germany
- Hitler’s Rise to Power
- The Destruction of Democracy
- World War II
- The Nazi World View
- The Racial Utopia
- Youth in Nazi Germany
- The Nazi Cult of Motherhood
- The Art of Propaganda
- Crimes against Humanity
- The Holocaust
Birth of the Weimar Republic
First World War
• Germany was defeated in the First World war.
• After the war was over, the monarchy in Germany quits.
The Weimar Republic
A National Assembly met at Weimar to wrote a constitution.
• Deputies were elected to the German Parliament or Reichstag.
• Democratic constitution with a federal structure. Universal Adult Franchise (all adults have right to vote including women).
• Proportional representation: Made achieving a majority by any one party a near impossible task, which led to a rule by coalitions.
• Article 48: Gave the President the powers to impose emergency, suspend civil rights and rule by decree.
• The republic was not received well by its own people largely because of it had to accept the peace treaty of Versailles after Germany’s defeat at the end of the First World War.
Treaty of Versailles
→ Germany lost its overseas colonies.
→ 13 percent of its territories.
→ 75 percent of its iron.
→ 26 percent of its coal.
→ Allied Powers demilitarised Germany.
→ Pay compensation of £6 billion.
Lost resource-rich Rhineland.
• Many Germans held the new Weimer Republic responsible for not only the defeat in the war but the disgrace at Versailles.
The Effects of the War
• The war had a devastating impact on Europe both psychologically and financially.
• From being a creditor, Europe became a debtor.
• The supporters of the Weimer Republic were criticised and became easy targets of attack in the conservative nationalist circles.
• Soldiers came to be placed above civilians.
• Aggressive war propaganda and national honour became important.
Political Radicalism and Economic Crisis
• The Spartacist League was established on the pattern of the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia.
• The Spartacists founded the Communist Party of Germany.
• The Weimar Republic crushed the uprising with the help of a war veterans organisation called Free
• In 1923, Germany refused to pay the war compensations so, France occupied its leading industrial area, Ruhr.
• To counter this, Germany started printing paper currency recklessly.
→ The value of the mark collapsed and the prices of goods rose. There was hyperinflation.
The Years of Depression
• Wall Street Exchange crashed in 1929.
• Between 1929 and 1932, the national income of the USA fell by half.
• The effects of this recession in the US economy were felt worldwide.
Effects on Germany
• Germany received short-term loans largely from the US.
• Industrial production reduced.
• Workers lost their jobs.
• Youth took to criminal activities.
• Small businessmen and self-employed suffered as their businesses got ruined.
• People lost confidence in the democratic parliamentary system, which seemed to offer no solutions.
Hitler’s Rise to Power
• Hitler was born in Austria in 1889.
• He acted as a messenger, corporal in the First World War.
• He joined the German Workers Party and renamed it National Socialist German Workers’ Party.
→ This later came to be known as the Nazi Party.
→ By 1932, it had become the largest party with 37 percent votes.
• Nazism became a mass movement only during the Great Depression.
• By 1932, it had become the largest party with 37 percent votes.
The Destruction of Democracy
• On 30 January 1933, Hitler achieved the highest position in the cabinet of ministries.
• Hitler now set out to dismantle the structures of democratic rule.
• The Fire Decree of 28 February 1933 suspended civic rights like freedom of speech, press and assembly.
• Communists were hurriedly packed off to newly established concentration camps.
• All political parties were banned.
• Special surveillance and security forces were created to control the people and rule with impunity.
• Hjalmar Schacht took over the responsibility of economic recover.
• The state funded project produced the famous German superhighways and the people’s car, the Volkswagen.
• Hitler reoccupied the Rhineland in 1936.
• He integrated Austria and Germany in 1938.
• Acquired German-speaking Sudentenland.
• Hitler chose war to recover from economic crisis.
World War II
• On September 1939, Germany invaded Poland
• Started a war with France and England.
• In September 1940, a Tripartite Pact was signed between Germany, Italy and Japan.
• In June 1941, Germany attacked Soviet Union.
• Germany exposed through both sides.
→ From the western front – to Britishers.
→ From the eastern front – to Soviet Armies.
• Soviet Army defeated Germany at Stalingrad.
• Japan bombed the US base at Pearl Harbor.
• US entered the war.
• US drops atom bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan.
• The war ended in May 1945 with Hitler’s defeat.
The Nazi World View
• According to Nazi ideology there was no equality between people, but only racial hierarchy.
→ Nordic German Aryans were at the top, while Jews were at the lowest while all other races are between them.
• New territories had to be acquired for settlement of Nordic German Aryans race.
The Racial Utopia
• Hitler divided and occupied north-western Poland.
• Poles were forced to leave their homes.
• Educated Polish classes were murdered.
Youth in Nazi Germany
• All schools were cleansed and purified means Jews teachers were dismissed.
• Jews, the physically handicapped and Gypsies were thrown out of schools and later sent to the gas chambers.
• A prolonged period of ideological training for good German students.
• School textbooks were rewritten.
• Racial science was introduced to justify Nazi ideas of race.
• Children were taught to be loyal and submissive, hate Jews, and worship Hitler.
• Ten-year-olds had to enter Jungvolk.
• At 14, all boys had to join the Nazi youth organisation – Hitler Youth.
• They joined the Labour Service at 18.
The Nazi Cult of Motherhood
• Boys were taught to be aggressive, masculine and steel hearted.
• Girls had to become good mothers and rear pure-blooded Aryan children.
• All mothers were not treated equally.
• Women who bore racially undesirable children were punished.
• Women who produced racially desirable children were awarded.
• Honour Crosses were awarded to encourage women to produce many children.
• Women who didn’t follow prescribed code of conduct were publicly condemned, and severely punished.
The Art of Propaganda
• Mass killings were termed special treatment, final solution, euthanasia, selection and disinfection.
• Nazi ideas were spread through visual images, films, radio, posters, catchy slogans and leaflets.
• In posters, enemies of Germans such as Jews were shown as evil.
Crimes against Humanity
• Many people were influence by the idea of Nazi.
• They believed Nazism would bring prosperity and improve general well-being.
• Every German was not a Nazi.
• Large majority of Germans were passive onlookers.
• Jews collected and preserved documents wrote diaries, kept notebooks, and created archives which
are called the Holocaust.
• Jews wanted the world to remember the atrocities and sufferings they had endured during the Nazi killing operations.