Nazi Societal Reorganization

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Thesis: Whether or not Nazism positively affected Germans during the 3rd Reich After coming into power in 1933 it became their aim to create a totalitarian state headed by Hitler, under which they could control the everyday lives of the German people. They hoped to achieve this through organization and to discourage any form of thinking that was not part of the state approved ideology.  The Nazis impacted on the German people by controlling key institutions such as the army, the education system, the church and employment. There is strong debate as to whether the Nazis provoked a social revolution in Germany and if they had a lasting impact on the lives of the German people. Modern historian Ian Kershaw would argue that “it seems clear that Nazism did not produce a ‘social revolution’ in Germany during the period of the Third Reich… it was… incapable of bringing about a complete and permanent social revolution.” However, Mark Roseman, another historian of modern Europe disagrees with Kershaw. Roseman states that “Recent work suggests that the Nazis were astonishingly successful at integrating heterogeneous social groups into the Volksgemeinschaft… it profoundly disrupted established perceptions, patterns of behaviour and allegiances.” The view that the Nazis did impact upon the German population to a relatively large extent is supported by the American social scientist and historian David Schoenbaum when he states that Hitler succeeded in changing the values of the German population. Therefore Nazism could be seen to have had a large impact on German daily life, however it was achieved in such a way through gradual change and keeping some aspects of ordinary life the same that many German lives were not drastically changed.

Religion: The Nazi's accounting for Christianity's association with the German People. Catholicism vs. Protestantism In 1933 99% of the German population was Christian. Therefore the church held a lot of power and influence in Germany, which is shown through the complex and constantly shifting approach of the Nazi party toward the church. Layton argues that the Nazi party was “torn between a policy of total suppression, which would alienate a large number of Germans, and a policy of limited persecution, which would allow the churches and unacceptable degree of independence outside of state control.” The Nazis realized that the church was too well established to ignore or try to force allegiance from. This left the Nazis with a problem as whilst the Nazi party ideology and the church agreed on some issues such as the importance of traditional values and their united hatred of communism, these shared opinion were overshadowed by Christianity’s teaching of love, peace and forgiveness and the completely challenging views of Nazism which valued warriors and encouraged violence. The Nazi’s approach to Catholicism and Protestantism showed substantial differences. This was because it seemed a lot easier for the Nazi’s to integrate into the many divided protestant churches whereas to completely control the Catholic Church the Nazis would first have to conquer the Vatican.

Mini-Religion: How Nazis initially dealt with Catholicism and Protestantism. Therefore to appease the Catholic Church the Nazis arranged a Concordat between themselves and the Papal regime, in which they would guarantee the church religious freedom, would not interfere with Catholic property and legal rights, and it would accept catholic right of control over its own education.  In turn the Catholic Church agreed not to interfere in party issues and it would not hinder Nazi diplomacy. The Concordat was extremely useful to the Nazis as it gave them international recognition as a party that had been approved by the Pope. The Protestant church experienced less of an obvious integration with Nazi policy, through the placement of Nazi bishops such as Ludwig Muller, who was appointed Reich Bishop in 1933 to help align the...
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