Nazi Germany

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How far did change in Nazi Germany have a beneficial impact on people’s lives in the 1930’s? In this essay I will be exploring the factors in how far change in Nazi Germany impacted people’s lives in the 1930’s. Nazi Germany had a huge influence over people’s lives, some for the worst… but mostly for the better. Throughout my assessment, I will be explaining how these factors did or did not benefited people’s lives in Nazi Germany. I will also be using sources and my own knowledge to back up my argument. When Hitler became Chancellor of Germany on 30th January 1933 he had three aims. His first aim was to make a strong Germany. He wanted a strong government to overturn the Treaty of Versailles, to make Germany the great military power it previously been, and an economy to restore the prosperity of the German people. Hitler believed that the Aryan people (blonde, blue-eyed Germans) were superior to other races and that many of Germany’s past problems were created because Germany wasn’t run by racially pure Aryans. This was his second aim; a racial Germany. The Nazis wanted all (racially ‘pure’) Germans to feel they were part of the Volk (the peoples’ community). In the Volk individual liberties would be less valued then loyalty to the German people (the Volk), to Hitler (the Führer) and to Germany (the Fatherland). They summed this up in the phrase ‘Volk, Führer und Vaterland’. To create this perfect Germany, Hitler and the Nazi party had to introduce various changes to society. Organisations such as churches, political parties or even swimming clubs or choirs which might divert people’s attention away from serving the Volk would have dissolved or been taken over by the Nazis. Even family loyalties would take second place. The Führer wanted to win the hearts and minds of the German people. There would be no room for freedom of speech. Even everyday conversations between friends were controlled because the Nazis wanted to ensure that ideas opposed to Nazism were banished. “There must be no majority decisions. The decisions will be made by one man, only he alone may possess the authority and right to command.” Hitler’s Mein Kampf was published in 1925. This source sums up all of Hitler’s aims to create a Totalitarian Rule. Although the Nazis’ main weapons for enforcing compliance with their rule were persuasion and propaganda, behind the flags, displays and radio broadcasts was a ruthless system for dealing with their opponents and this form of control had a massive impact on people’s lives. There were two groups that enforced the Nazi control. The SS (Schutzstaffel) were the Nazis’ main security. The Waffen SS were a group of highly skilled and dependable soldiers who fought alongside the regular army. Also the Death’s Head Units ran the concentration camps and later the death camps. The Gestapo was ruthless in dealing with opposition to the Nazis. Its task was to ‘discover the enemies of the state, watch them and render them harmless’. They had the power to arrest and detain suspects without trial. An extensive web of informers ensured that the authorities quickly learned of anyone plotting against them. Together, the SS and the Gestapo controlled people with fear and terror.

From 1933 the German courts were ‘Nazified’. Hitler set up a ‘People’s Court’ to try people who opposed the Nazi regime. The number of political prisoners increased dramatically. Between 1930 and 1932 just eight people were found guilty and executed. By 1939 there were 734 people under ‘protective arrest’.

The Nazis also made use of concentration camps. Discipline was very harsh and food very poor. Few people survived a stay in the camps. At first, most prisoners were communists or trade union leaders. Later, other ‘undesirable’ groups were also sent to the camps (e.g. Eastern Europeans, Jews, homosexuals and religious fundamentalists). In 1942, when the Nazis came up with their ‘Final Solution’ to the ‘Jewish problem’, many of these concentration...
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