What role did the Nazi Party play in the revolutionising of German State and society between 1933 and 1939? With full Bibliography

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It cannot be argued that the Nazi Party did not make drastic changes within the German State and within German Society. What is arguable is whether the Nazi Party could be deemed responsible for revolutionising Germany. This essay will look to see if there was any transformation within German society and if so what role did the Nazi Party play. To ascertain the role played by the Nazi Party this essay will explore the political, economical, and social changes made during the period of 1933 - 1939 and see what the direct consequences were for the German people.

The popularity of the NSDAP was inexplicably high with members numbering 850,000 in 1933. It would seem that although many NSDAP members joined initially as opportunists thinking that they would benefit their careers, some believed in the ideologies of the Party and others felt by joining they could help to improve the economic conditions of the State. The fact that in July 1933 saw the Law against the Formation of Parties whereby The Nazi Party became the only political party in Germany, would account for many of its members. All other parties were banned and their leaders imprisoned. Hitler was less concerned with the formation of new political parties but more concerned with the reformation of old parties such as the 'socialist or communist parties under other names'. Nazi Party members were given better jobs, better houses and special privileges. There were certainly good incentives for people to join. The shear numbers of members whom most of which gained privileges would in itself dictate that the Nazi Party was responsible for revolutionising society purely on the basis of vast numbers of people gaining a better quality of lifestyle.

It could be argued however, that because Hitler was offering incentives to encourage people to join the Party, an ever increasing chasm of social differences was developing; a good example of this would be Nazi Party's KdF 'Strength through Joy' organisation.

The purpose of the KdF was to ensure harmony within the factories but more importantly to increase productivity in order to have more money for the rearmament programme. Because of the money going to the rearmament drive wages were low and the Party needed to appease the working class in someway and keep them loyal to the Party. The DAF (German Labour Front) felt that in order to get maximum productivity then the workers must be able to relax outside of work and therefore return to work fully charged and raring to go. It was also a propaganda tool of the Party. They needed to instil in the workers a sense of "egalitarianism and community spirit" The ethos was that the 'Strength through Joy' program would distract the workers from the closely controlled and regimented lives they led and the fact that the increased wages that had been promised to them had not materialised. The Party made a huge deal out of the fact that because of the 'Strength through Joy' programme working class people could now obtain luxuries only usually reserved for the rich. Working class people were now able to go on holiday to the same places as the upper classes and so the class divide was getting smaller. But was this the case in reality? The following exert from SPD report in 1939 would argue otherwise. "On the group tours there is a sharp social differentiation. The 'top people' only go on big trips where there will be a more select clientele. The big mass trips are for the proletariat. People now look for places where there are no KdF visitors". It could therefore be argued that the NSDAP had not revolutionised society to the extent that maybe they had thought they had. Yes the working class got a better deal regarding consumer goods and relaxation but the volksgemeinschaft ideal of the NSDAP which was intended to bring about a sense of National Community was perhaps not panning out as well as they had hoped. The class divide was still there.

Germany's defeat in the First World War had...
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