History Revision Notes – Germany Weimar – strengths and weaknesses The Weimar Republic After Germany lost the First World War, the Kaiser fled and a new democratic government of Germany was declared in February 1919 at the small town of Weimar. It was too dangerous to make a declaration in Berlin where there had just been a revolt by a Communist group called the Spartacists. STRENGTHS • A Bill of Rights guaranteed every German citizen freedom of speech and religion, and equality under the law. • All men and women over the age of 20 were given the vote. • There was an elected president and an elected Reichstag (parliament). The Reichstag made the laws and appointed the government, which had to do what the Reichstag wanted. WEAKNESSES • Proportional representation – instead of voting for an MP, like we do in Britain,
Weimar Germans voted for a party. Each party was then allocated seats in the Reichstag exactly reflecting (proportional’ to) the number of people who had voted for it. This sounds fair, but in practice it was a disaster it resulted in dozens of tiny parties, with no party strong enough to get a majority, and, therefore, no government to get its laws passed in the Reichstag. This was a major weakness of the Republic. Article 48 – this said that, in an emergency, the president did not need the agreement of the Reichstag, but could issue decrees [Decrees: Laws passed by one minister in a parliament, which have not been approved by the majority parliament. ]. The problem with this was that it did not say what an emergency was, and in the end, it turned out to be a way that Hitler used to take power legally. Weimar – problems 1919-1923 The Weimar Republic faced opposition from the outset in 1919, after the signing of the Treaty of Versailles. Economic hardship affected the whole nation and led to uprisings and assassinations.
Key problems The Weimar Republic was created at a time of confusion and chaos after Germany had lost the First World War. Many people felt that Germany had received a very harsh deal in the Treaty of Versailles and they resented the government for signing it and agreeing to its conditions. The Weimar Republic faced violent uprisings from various groups, not to mention economic problems. Germany between 1918 and 1919 was in chaos. People were starving, the Kaiser had fled and people hated the government for signing the armistice to end the war in November 1918 – they called them the November criminals.
Bands of soldiers called Freikorps refused to disband and formed private armies. It was not a good start for the Republic. There was continuous violence and unrest: • In March 1920, there was a rebellion – the Kapp Putsch – that aimed to bring back the Kaiser . • Nationalist terror groups assassinated 356 government politicians. • Many of the people in Germany were communists who wanted to bring in a Russian-style communist government. There were a number of communist uprisings. For instance, in 1919 the Spartacists rebelled in Berlin. [pic] The Kapp Putsch march in March 1920, the right-wing nationalist Dr Wolfgang Kapp took over Berlin. The army refused to attack him; he was only defeated when the workers of Berlin went on strike. The Weimar government’s main crisis occurred in 1923, when the Germans failed to make a reparations payment ( payments made for damage caused in WW1. Part of T of V) on time, which set off a train of events that included: • a French invasion of the Ruhr • a general strike • hyperinflation • a number of communist rebellions • an attempted Nazi putsch in Munich Weimar – crisis of 1923
The 1923 crisis began when Germany missed a reparations payment. This situation spiralled out of control and once again the German people were unhappy and in financial difficulty, so uprisings occurred throughout the country. Hyperinflation The sudden flood of paper money into the economy, on top of the general strike – which meant that no goods were manufactured, so there was more money, chasing fewer goods – combined with a weak economy ruined by the war, all resulted in hyperinflation. Prices ran out of control – eg a loaf of bread, which cost 250 marks in January 1923 had risen to 200,000 million marks in November 1923.
German’s currency became worthless. But remember: • Some people made fortunes during the crisis. One man borrowed money to buy a herd of cattle, but soon after paid back his loan by selling one cow. • People on wages were safe, because they renegotiated their wages every day. • Pensioners on fixed incomes and people with savings were the most badly hit. One woman sold her house with the intention of using the money to live on. A few weeks later, the money wasn’t even enough to buy a loaf of bread. The Early Nazi Party The Nazi ideology: • Lebensraum – the need for ‘living space’ for the German nation to expand. A strong Germany – the Treaty of Versailles should be abolished and all German-speaking people united in one country. • Fuhrer – the idea that there should be a single leader with complete power rather than a democracy. • Social Darwinism – the idea that the Aryan race was superior and Jews were ‘subhuman’. • Autarky – the idea that Germany should be economically self-sufficient. • Germany was in danger – from Communists and Jews, who had to be destroyed. The appeal of the Nazis In the 1920s, the Nazis tried to be all things to all people.
The 25-Point Programme had policies that were: • Socialist – eg farmers should be given their land; pensions should improve; and public industries such as electricity and water should be owned by the state. • Nationalist – all German-speaking people should be united in one country; the Treaty of Versailles should be abolished; and there should be special laws for foreigners. • Racist – Jews should not be German citizens and immigration should be stopped. • Fascist – a strong central government and control of the newspapers. The Nazis did not appeal to: • working men who voted Communist intellectuals such as students and university professors They were popular with: • nationalists and racists • farmers • lower middle-class people such as plumbers and shopkeepers who were worried about the chaos Germany was in • rich people worried by the threat from Communism Rebellions Unsurprisingly, the hardships created by hyperinflation led to many uprisings as groups struggled to take power from Weimar. The Munich Putsch 1923 In November 1923, Hitler tried to take advantage of the crisis facing the Weimar government by instigating a revolution in Munich.
It seemed like the perfect opportunity, but poor planning and misjudgement resulted in failure and the subsequent imprisonment of Adolf Hitler. Summary At first, the Nazis were just a terrorist group. Hitler assembled a large group of unemployed young men and former soldiers, known as the storm troopers (the SA), which attacked other political groups. Hitler hoped to take power by starting a revolution During the crisis of 1923, therefore, Hitler plotted with two nationalist politicians – Kahr and Lossow – to take over Munich in a revolution.
Hitler collected his storm troopers and told them to be ready to rebel. But then, on 4 October 1923, Kahr and Lossow called off the rebellion. This was an impossible situation for Hitler, who had 3,000 troops ready to fight. [pic] Hitler waved a gun at Khar and Lossow On the night of 8 November 1923, Hitler and 600 storm troopers burst into a meeting that Kahr and Lossow were holding at the local Beer Hall. Waving a gun at them, Hitler forced them to agree to rebel – and then let them go home. The SA took over the army headquarters and the offices of the local newspaper. 16 Nazis were killed in the scuffle
The next day, 9 November 1923, Hitler and his Nazis went into Munich on what they thought would be a triumphal march to take power. However, Kahr had called in police and army reinforcements. There was a short scuffle in which the police killed 16 Nazis. Hitler fled, but was arrested two days later. Why did Hitler attempt the Munich Putsch in 1923? 1. By 1923, the Nazi party had 55,000 members and was stronger than ever before. 2. The Weimar Republic was in crisis and about to collapse. 3. In September 1923, the Weimar government had called off the general strike, and every German nationalist was furious with the government. . Hitler thought he would be helped by important nationalist politicians in Bavaria. 5. Hitler had a huge army of storm troopers, but he knew he would lose control of them if he did not give them something to do. 6. Hitler hoped to copy Mussolini – the Italian fascist leader – who had come to power in Italy in 1922 by marching on Rome. Results of the Munich Putsch The Munich Putsch was a failure. As a result: 1. The Nazi party was banned, and Hitler was prevented from speaking in public until 1927. 2. Hitler went to prison, where he wrote ‘Mein Kampf’.
Millions of Germans read it, and Hitler’s ideas became very well-known. 3. Hitler decided that he would never come to power by revolution; he realised that he would have to use constitutional means, so he organised: o the Hitler Youth o propaganda campaigns o mergers with other right-wing parties o local branches of the party, which tried to get Nazis elected to the Reichstag o the SS as his personal bodyguard, which was set up in 1925 It was this strategy of gaining power legitimately that eventually brought him to power. How did the Weimar Republic survive?
In 1923 the Weimar Republic was teetering at the brink of a very large cliff with problems such as hyperinflation, attempted revolutions and public discontent, pushing it increasingly towards the edge. How could the Republic possibly survive? Gustav Stresemann and Charles Dawes In 1923, the Weimar Republic was on the verge of collapse, but, surprisingly, the crisis was the start of a period of stability and success. The period 1923-1929 was a time when the economy boomed and cultural life flourished in Germany. This dramatic turnabout happened because Germany was saved by two people – Gustav Stresemann and Charles Dawes.
Gustav Stresemann had been a nationalist, but he realised that something needed to be done to save Germany. Under Stresemann’s guidance, the government called off the strike, persuaded the French to leave the Ruhr and even got the rest of the world to allow Germany to join the League of Nations in 1926. Stresemann also introduced reforms to help ordinary people such as job centres, unemployment pay and better housing. Charles Dawes was the US budget director. In 1923, he was sent to Europe to sort out Germany’s economy. Under his advice, the German Reichsbank was reformed and the old money was called in and burned.
This ended the hyperinflation. Dawes also arranged the Dawes Plan with Stresemann, which gave Germany longer to pay reparations. Most importantly, Dawes agreed to America lending Germany 800 million gold marks, which kick-started the German economy. Was Weimar stable during 1923-1929? Despite all the successes, many historians believe that the stability of the Weimar republic was illusory: 1. The nationalists and fascists did not win many seats in the Reichstag, but they were allowed to exist and campaign, so they were just waiting for the right opportunity to attempt a takeover again. . Everything depended on American money – if that stopped, Germany was ready to return to crisis. 3. No political party had a majority. Coalition gov’t struggled to agree and get laws passed. 4. Dawes Plan and new currency meant eco was stable Hitler’s rise to power Hitler’s rise to power cannot be attributed to one event, but a mixture of factors including events happening outside Germany, the strengths of the Nazi party, and the weaknesses of other parties within Germany. Hitler used these factors to his advantage and in 1933 he legitimately gained power to become chancellor.
In 1929, the American Stock Exchange collapsed, and caused an economic depression. America called in all its foreign loans, which destroyed Weimar Germany due to the Dawes Plan. Unemployment in Germany rose to 6 million. The government did not know what to do. In July 1930 Chancellor Bruning cut government expenditure, wages and unemployment pay – the worst thing to do during a depression. He could not get the Reichstag to agree to his actions, so President Hindenburg used Article 48 to pass the measures by decree. The Nazis gain support Anger and bitterness helped the Nazis to gain more support.
Many workers turned to communism, but this frightened wealthy businessmen, so they financed Hitler’s campaigns. Many middle-class people, alarmed by the obvious failure of democracy, decided that the country needed a strong government. Nationalists and racists blamed the Treaty of Versailles and reparations. [pic] In 1928, the Nazis had only 12 seats in the Reichstag; by July 1932 they had 230 seats and were the largest party. The government was in chaos. President Hindenburg dismissed Bruning in 1932. His replacement – Papen – lasted six months, and the next chancellor – Schleicher – only lasted two months.
Hindenburg had to use Article 48 to pass almost every law. In January 1933, Hindenburg and Papen came up with a plan to get the Nazis on their side by offering to make Hitler vice chancellor. He refused and demanded to be made chancellor. They agreed, thinking they could control him. In January 1933, Hitler became chancellor, and immediately set about making himself absolute ruler of Germany using Article 48. Reasons why Hitler rose to power 1. Hitler was a great speaker, with the power to make people support him. 2. The moderate political parties would not work together, although together they had more support than the Nazis. . The depression of 1929 created poverty and unemployment, which made people angry with the Weimar government. People lost confidence in the democratic system and turned towards the extremist political parties such as the Communists and Nazis during the depression. 4. The Nazi storm troopers attacked Hitler’s opponents. 5. Goebbels’ propaganda campaign was very effective and it won support for the Nazis. The Nazis targeted specific groups of society with different slogans and policies to win their support. 6. Hitler was given power in a political deal by Hindenburg and Papen who foolishly thought they could control him. . German people were still angry about the Treaty of Versailles and supported Hitler because he promised to overturn it. 8. Industrialists gave Hitler money and support. How Hitler consolidated power 1933-1934 Dates and events 1933-1934 |Date |Event | |27 Feb 1933 |Reichstag Fire Hitler used the fire to his advantage in two ways: | |[pic] |It gave him an opportunity to imprison many communist leaders, which stopped them campaigning during the election. | |It allowed the Nazis to say that the country was in danger from the communists during its election campaign. | | |Both these actions helped the Nazis to win more seats in the election. | | |When the courts convicted Dutch Communist van der Lubbe, but did not convict other
Communist leaders, Hitler was furious and | | |replaced the courts with the Nazi People’s Courts. | |5 Mar 1933 |General Election – only 44 per cent of the population vote for the Nazis, who win 288 seats in the Reichstag. |[pic] |Although it did not give the Nazis the majority that Hitler had hoped for in the Reichstag, it gave them enough seats – after | | |Hitler had arrested all the communist deputies and the other parties had been intimidated by the SA – to get the Enabling Act | | |passed, which is all Hitler needed to do. | |23 Mar 1933 |Enabling Act – the SA intimidates all the remaining non-Nazi deputies. The Reichstag votes to give Hitler the right to make his | |[pic] |own laws. | |Arguably the critical event – it gave Hitler absolute power to make his laws. | |26 April 1933 |Local government is reorganised – the country is carved up into 42 Gaus, which are run by a Gauleiter. These Gaus are separated | |[pic] |into areas, localities and blocks of flats run by a Blockleiter. Hitler sets up the Gestapo. | | |This put the Nazis in control of local government, and allowed the Gestapo to rule by terror. | |2 May 1933 |Trade unions are abolished and their leaders arrested. |[pic] |Abolishing the trade unions allowed Hitler to destroy a group that might have opposed him. It also gave Hitler the opportunity | | |to set up the German Labour Front, which gave him control over German workers. | |20 June 1933 |Concordat – Hitler makes an agreement with the Pope who sees him as someone who can destroy communism. This agreement allows | |[pic] |Hitler to take over political power in Germany as long as he leaves the Catholic Church alone.
Hitler’s agreement with the Pope | | |was a temporary truce that allowed Hitler to ban the Catholic Zentrum party without opposition from the Catholic Church. | |14 July 1933 |Political parties are banned – only the Nazi party is allowed to exist. | |[pic] |Banning political parties made Germany a one-party state and destroyed democracy in the country. | | |After this action, Germans could no longer get rid of Hitler in an election. |24 April 1934 |People’s Courts – Hitler sets up the Nazi people’s courts where judges have to swear an oath of loyalty to the Nazis. | |[pic] |These were set up to give Hitler greater control over the judgements made in courts. Hitler was furious because the courts did | | |not sentence the communists to death for starting the Reichstag fire. | |30 June 1934 |Night of the Long Knives – some SA leaders are demanding that the Nazi party carry out its socialist agenda, and that the SA | |[pic] |take over the army.
Hitler cannot afford to annoy the businessmen or the army, so the SS [SS: Also known as the Blackshirts. A | | |German police/ military style organisation created to serve as the personal bodyguards of Adolf Hitler. In Hitler’s Germany they| | |eventually controlled the intelligence, security and police forces, and extermination of those they considered undesirable. ] | | |murders perhaps 400 of the SA members, including its leader Rohm, along with a number of Hitler’s other opponents. | |This destroyed all opposition within the Nazi Party. It gave power to the brutal SS. It also showed the rest of the world what a| | |tyrant Hitler was. | |19 Aug 1934 |Fuhrer – when Hindenburg dies, Hitler declares himself jointly president, chancellor and head of the army. This formally made | |[pic] |Hitler the absolute ruler of Germany. | Many historians believe that Nazi Germany only appeared to be a dictatorship.
In fact, officials were left to make most of the decisions themselves, and the Nazi government was badly-organised, and chaotic. Hitler and the army It is important to note that in 1934, the army was not subject to Hitler’s authority. At this point, he still needed the army’s support, which is why he destroyed the SA in the Night of the Long Knives. In 1938, army leaders hoped Hitler’s plan to conquer the Sudetenland would fail and give them an opportunity to depose [Depose: To remove a ruler or monarch. ] him.
When he suceeded, their attempt to get rid of him fell apart, and Hitler dismissed the chief of staff and 60 other generals. Thereafter, the army was also subservient to Hitler. The structures of control in the Nazi state Hitler introduced many policies and measures to ensure the Nazis remained in control, once he declared himself Fuhrer. These measures dealt with political opponents, as well as ordinary people, who suddenly found their private, social and working lives controlled by the Nazis. Seven key structures The Nazi party aimed to control every aspect of people’s political, social and working lives.
It maintained control through a mixture of propaganda [Propaganda: A type of advertising for an idea or cause, produced by supporters or opponents of that idea or cause. It is usually produced to influence how the people of a nation think. ] and intimidation. 1. Government (political) The way Hitler consolidated power in 1933-1934 meant that the Nazis had absolute control of national and local government. 2. Religion (social) • Hitler believed that religion was a threat to the Nazis’ control over people’s minds, so he tried different ways to reduce the power of the church over people.
Non-Nazi Catholic priests and Protestant pastors such as Martin Niemoller and Dietrich Bonhoffer were sent to concentration camps. • Jews and Jehovah’s Witnesses were openly persecuted. • Hitler set up a state Reich Church, which banned the Bible and the cross. • Nazis encouraged people to revive the old Viking myths and ceremonies. 3. Culture (social) • Hitler ordered Nazification – the imposition of Nazi values – on all aspects of German life. Artists had to produce acceptable paintings that portrayed Nazi values. • Jazz music was banned. • Books written by Jews were publicly burned. Homosexuals were persecuted; they did not fit the Nazi image of the ideal family. • The Olympic Games of 1936 were a huge Nazi propaganda success. 4. Work (working) • Dr Robert Ley, head of the DAF [DAF: German Labour Front ], boasted that he controlled workers’ lives from the ‘cradle to the grave’. The RAD (National Labour Service) sent young men on public works. • Hitler introduced conscription in 1936; most men went into the army after the RAD. • The DAF (German Labour Front) controlled workers’ conditions at work. • The KdF (Strength through Joy) movement regulated their leisure time. . Education and youth (working) •
The lives of young people were controlled both in and out of school to turn them into fanatical Nazis. Non-Nazi teachers and university professors were sacked; teachers had to join the National Socialist Teachers’ League. • Textbooks were re-written to include Nazi political and racial ideas. • History was taught to glorify Germany. • There was a concentration on physical fitness. • Girls were taught cookery; boys were taught science and maths. • The Hitler Youth was compulsory; it indoctrinated boys and prepared them for war. The Nazi Girls’ youth organisation – the BDM – was compulsory; it indoctrinated girls and prepared them for church, children and cooking. 6. Terror (method of control) • Germany became a country where it was unsafe to do or say anything critical of the government. SS and Gestapo (Secret State Police. ) • Blockleiters in each block of flats and street informed on ‘grumblers’. • Arrests of thousands of people terrified opponents. • Set up Nazi people’s courts. • Concentration camps.
7. Propaganda (method of control) Josef Goebbels controlled the Propaganda Ministry, which aimed to brainwash people into obeying the Nazis and idolising Hitler. Mass rallies at Nuremberg. • Newspapers were censored. • People’s radios were sold very cheaply, but broadcasts were controlled. • Films were controlled to make films that glorified war and pilloried the Jews. • Loudspeakers in public places blared out Nazi propaganda. • Cult of personality – Hitler’s picture was everywhere, and he was portrayed as Germany’s saviour. Women in the Nazi state Hitler had very clear ideas about the woman’s role in the Nazi state – she was the centre of family life, a housewife and mother. Hitler even introduced a medal for women who had eight or more children!
The role of women The Nazis had clear ideas of what they wanted from women. Women were expected to stay at home and look after the family. Women doctors, teachers and civil servants were forced to give up their careers. Even at the end of the war, women were never asked to serve in the armed forces. Their job was to keep the home nice for their husband and family – their life should revolve round the three ‘Ks’: • church • children • cooking Goebbels said: “The mission of women is to be beautiful and to bring children into the world. ” Hitler wanted a high birth rate, so the population would grow.
The Nazis even considered making it law that families should have at least four children. Girls did keep fit in the BDM [BDM: Bund Deutscher Madel – the German group for girls age 14+ ] to make themselves healthy for childbirth, but they were discouraged from staying slim, because it was thought that thin women had trouble giving birth. The Law for the Encouragement of Marriage gave newly wed couples a loan of 1,000 marks, and allowed them to keep 250 marks for each child they had. Mothers who had more than eight children were given a gold medal.
Unmarried women could volunteer to have a baby for an Aryan [Aryan: a person of European decent (not Jewish) often with blond hair and blue eyes – the Nazis viewed as the superior human race ] member of the SS Women were supposed to emulate traditional German peasant fashions – plain peasant costumes, hair in plaits or buns and flat shoes. They were not expected to wear make-up or trousers, dye their hair or smoke in public. Opposition Those who spoke out against Hitler and his policies faced intimidation and threats from the Gestapo or imprisonment and in some cases execution.
However, there were some brave individuals and groups who openly opposed Hitler and his policies. Who opposed Hilter? It was difficult – and dangerous – to oppose Hitler. However, some brave people did try: 1. The Catholic Archbishop of Munster, von Galen, led a successful campaign to end euthanasia of mentally-disabled people. 2. Some Catholic priests opposed Hitler. In 1937, the Pope’s message ‘With Burning Concern’ attacked Hitler as ‘a mad prophet with repulsive arrogance’ and was read in every Catholic church. 3. The White Rose group was formed by students at Munich University.
They published anti-Nazi leaflets, but were discovered and executed in 1944. 4. A paramilitary wing of the Social Democratic Party, called the Reichsbanner, sabotaged railway lines and acted as spies. 5. During the war, ‘swing’ groups were formed. These were young people who rejected Nazi values, drank alcohol and danced to jazz. More violent groups were called the Edelweiss Pirates. They daubed anti-Nazi slogans, sheltered deserters and beat up Nazi officials. In 1944, the Cologne Pirates (the Edelweiss Pirates based in Cologne) killed the Gestapo chief, so the Nazis publicly hanged 12 of them. . Many Protestant pastors, led by Martin Niemoller, formed the Confessional Church in opposition to Hitler’s Reich Church. Niemoller was held in a concentration camp during the period 1937-1945. Another Protestant pastor, Dietrich Bonhoffer, took part in the 1944 bomb plot and was executed. 7. In 1944, a group of army officers and intellectuals called the Kreisau Circle tried to bomb Hitler. The bomb was planted by Colonel Stauffenberg. It exploded, but Hitler survived. In retaliation, 5,000 people were executed. Persecution Who did the Nazis persecute?
The Nazis believed that only Germans could be citizens and that non-Germans did not have any right to the rights of citizenship. The Nazis racial philosophy taught that some races were untermensch (sub-human). Many scientists at this time believed that people with disabilities or social problems were genetic degenerates whose genes needed to be eliminated from the human bloodline. The Nazis, therefore: • Tried to eliminate the Jews. • Killed 85 per cent of Germany’s Gypsies. • Sterilised black people. • Killed mentally disabled babies. • Killed mentally ill patients. • Sterilised physically disabled people and people with hereditary diseases. Sterilised deaf people. • Put homosexuals, prostitutes, Jehovah’s Witnesses, alcoholics, pacifists, beggars, hooligans and criminals – who they regarded as anti-social – into concentration camps. How the Nazis persecuted the Jews: key dates 1933 • Boycott of Jewish businesses. • Jewish civil servants, lawyers and teachers sacked. • Race Science lessons to teach that Jews are inferior 1935 • ‘Jews not wanted here’ signs put up at swimming pools etc. • Nuremberg laws (15 September) Jews could not be citizens. They were not allowed to vote or to marry a German. 1938 • Jews could not be doctors. Jews had to add the name Israel (men) or Sarah (women) to their name. • Jewish children forbidden to go to school. • Kristallnacht (9 November) – attacks on Jewish homes, businesses and synagogues [Synagogues: These are places of Jewish worship and community. ]. [pic] A shop damaged during Kristallnacht 1939 • Jews were forced to live in ghettoes. 1941 • Army Einsatzgruppen squads in Russia started mass-shootings of Jews. • All Jews were forced to wear a yellow star of David. 1942 • Wansee Conference (20 January) decided on the Final Solution, which was to gas all Europe’s Jews.
The main death camps were at Auschwitz, Treblinka and Sobibor. Economic policies and benefits Hitler’s economic policy had four main ideas: 1. Full employment – the idea that everyone should have a job. By 1939, there was virtually no unemployment in Germany. 2. Beauty of Work – the Nazis set up the SdA (Beauty of Work) to help Germans see that work was good, and that everyone who could work should. In fact – because the Nazis had abolished the trade unions, banned strikes, and given more power to the industrialists – real wages fell and hours were longer under Hitler. 3. Re-armament begun in 1935 – the idea of ‘guns before butter’. . Autarky – there was an unsuccessful attempt at making Germany self-sufficient.
The good life in Nazi Germany Despite the loss of political and religious freedom, life improved in Germany for many ordinary people who were prepared to ‘toe the line’ and look the other way. • Everybody had a job, and a wage. To people who had been unemployed and starving, ‘work and bread’ was a wonderful blessing worth every civil liberty they lost. • The Nazis set up KdF (Strength through Joy), which gave workers rewards for their work – evening classes, theatre trips, picnics, and even free holidays. The Nazis devised a scheme to allow workers to buy a Volkswagen Beetle car for a small weekly payment. • People appreciated the public works – eg new schools and hospitals. • Nazi Youth groups provided activities and holidays for young people. How Hitler increased employment Hitler introduced many policies to fulfil his goal of full employment: • He stopped paying reparations and invested the money in German companies. • He began a huge programme of public works including planting forests, and building hospitals and schools. He also built public buildings such as the 1936 Olympic Stadium.
The construction of the autobahns created work for 80,000 men. • Rearmament created jobs in the armaments industry. • The introduction of national service meant all young men spent six months in the RAD [RAD: The labour service in which young men in Germany had to do a six-month compulsory stint. ] and then they were conscripted into the army. By 1939, 1. 4 million men were in the army, so they were not counted as unemployed. • Many Jews were sacked and their jobs given to non-Jews. • Many women were sacked and their jobs given to men.