Nazi Germany

Nazi Germany

Overview
Nazi Germany also known as the Third Reich (German: Drittes Reich), but officially called German Reich (German: Deutsches Reich) from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich (German: Großdeutsches Reich) from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

 and his Nazi Party.
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Timeline

1933   Construction of Dachau, the first Nazi Germany concentration camp, is completed.

1933   The Gestapo, the official secret police force of Nazi Germany, is established.

1933   Nazi Germany withdraws from The League of Nations.

1933   Albert Einstein, fleeing Nazi Germany, moves to the U.S..

1933   Adolf Hitler withdraws Nazi Germany from the League of Nations

1934   Nazi Germany passes the "Law for the Prevention of Genetically Diseased Offspring".

1934   The Nazis assassinate Austrian Chancellor Engelbert Dollfuss in a failed coup attempt.

1935   Nazi Germany adopts a new national flag with the swastika.

1937   Hindenburg disaster: The German zeppelin ''Hindenburg'' catches fire and is destroyed within a minute while attempting to dock at Lakehurst, New Jersey. Thirty-six people are killed.

1938   ''Anschluss:'' German troops occupy Austria.

 
Encyclopedia
Nazi Germany also known as the Third Reich (German: Drittes Reich), but officially called German Reich (German: Deutsches Reich) from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich (German: Großdeutsches Reich) from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

 and his Nazi Party. Colloquially, the state was also called Greater Germany (German: Großdeutschland) after 1938. Historiographically, the period is generally referred to as die Zeit des Nationalsozialismus or NS-Zeit ("the National Socialist era") in Germany.

On 30 January 1933, Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

 legally became Chancellor of Germany
Chancellor of Germany
The Chancellor of Germany is, under the German 1949 constitution, the head of government of Germany...

, appointed by President Paul von Hindenburg
Paul von Hindenburg
Paul Ludwig Hans Anton von Beneckendorff und von Hindenburg , known universally as Paul von Hindenburg was a Prussian-German field marshal, statesman, and politician, and served as the second President of Germany from 1925 to 1934....

. Although he initially headed a coalition government
Coalition government
A coalition government is a cabinet of a parliamentary government in which several political parties cooperate. The usual reason given for this arrangement is that no party on its own can achieve a majority in the parliament...

, he quickly made Hindenburg a figurehead
Figurehead
A figurehead is a carved wooden decoration found at the prow of ships largely made between the 16th and 19th century.-History:Although earlier ships had often had some form of bow ornamentation A figurehead is a carved wooden decoration found at the prow of ships largely made between the 16th and...

 and eliminated his non-Nazi partners. The Nazi regime restored economic prosperity and ended mass unemployment
Unemployment
Unemployment , as defined by the International Labour Organization, occurs when people are without jobs and they have actively sought work within the past four weeks...

 using heavy military spending while suppressing labor union
Trade union
A trade union, trades union or labor union is an organization of workers that have banded together to achieve common goals such as better working conditions. The trade union, through its leadership, bargains with the employer on behalf of union members and negotiates labour contracts with...

s and strikes
Strike action
Strike action, also called labour strike, on strike, greve , or simply strike, is a work stoppage caused by the mass refusal of employees to work. A strike usually takes place in response to employee grievances. Strikes became important during the industrial revolution, when mass labour became...

. The return of prosperity gave the regime enormous popularity and made Hitler's rule mostly unchallenged, although resistance, culminating in the failed 20 July plot in 1944, grew after the onset of military aggression. The Gestapo
Gestapo
The Gestapo was the official secret police of Nazi Germany. Beginning on 20 April 1934, it was under the administration of the SS leader Heinrich Himmler in his position as Chief of German Police...

 (secret state police) under Heinrich Himmler
Heinrich Himmler
Heinrich Luitpold Himmler was Reichsführer of the SS, a military commander, and a leading member of the Nazi Party. As Chief of the German Police and the Minister of the Interior from 1943, Himmler oversaw all internal and external police and security forces, including the Gestapo...

 destroyed the liberal, Socialist, and Communist opposition and persecuted the Jews
Jews
The Jews , also known as the Jewish people, are a nation and ethnoreligious group originating in the Israelites or Hebrews of the Ancient Near East. The Jewish ethnicity, nationality, and religion are strongly interrelated, as Judaism is the traditional faith of the Jewish nation...

, attempting to force them into exile while taking their property. The party took control of the courts, local government, and all civic organizations except the Protestant and Catholic churches. All expressions of public opinion were controlled by Hitler's propaganda minister, Joseph Goebbels
Joseph Goebbels
Paul Joseph Goebbels was a German politician and Reich Minister of Propaganda in Nazi Germany from 1933 to 1945. As one of Adolf Hitler's closest associates and most devout followers, he was known for his zealous oratory and anti-Semitism...

, who made effective use of film, mass rallies, and Hitler's skillful oratory
Oratory
Oratory is a type of public speaking.Oratory may also refer to:* Oratory , a power metal band* Oratory , a place of worship* a religious order such as** Oratory of Saint Philip Neri ** Oratory of Jesus...

.

The Nazi state idolized Hitler as its Führer
Führer
Führer , alternatively spelled Fuehrer in both English and German when the umlaut is not available, is a German title meaning leader or guide now most associated with Adolf Hitler, who modelled it on Benito Mussolini's title il Duce, as well as with Georg von Schönerer, whose followers also...

 ("Leader"), centralizing all power in his hands
Führerprinzip
The Führerprinzip , German for "leader principle", prescribes the fundamental basis of political authority in the governmental structures of the Third Reich...

. Nazi propaganda centered on Hitler and was quite effective in creating what historians call the "Hitler Myth" – that Hitler was all-wise and that any mistakes or failures by others would be corrected when brought to his attention. In reality, Hitler had a narrow range of interests and decision-making was diffused among overlapping, feuding power centers; on some issues he was passive, simply assenting to pressures from whoever had his ear. All top officials still reported to Hitler and followed his basic policies, but they had considerable autonomy on a daily basis.

Hitler's foreign policy during the 1930s used a diplomatic strategy of making seemingly reasonable demands, threatening war if they were not met. When opponents tried to appease
Appeasement
The term appeasement is commonly understood to refer to a diplomatic policy aimed at avoiding war by making concessions to another power. Historian Paul Kennedy defines it as "the policy of settling international quarrels by admitting and satisfying grievances through rational negotiation and...

 him, he accepted the gains that were offered, then moved on to his next goal. That aggressive strategy worked as Germany pulled out of the League of Nations
League of Nations
The League of Nations was an intergovernmental organization founded as a result of the Paris Peace Conference that ended the First World War. It was the first permanent international organization whose principal mission was to maintain world peace...

 (1933), rejected the Versailles Treaty and began to re-arm (1935), won back the Saar
Saar (League of Nations)
The Territory of the Saar Basin , also referred as the Saar or Saargebiet, was a region of Germany that was occupied and governed by Britain and France from 1920 to 1935 under a League of Nations mandate, with the occupation originally being under the auspices of the Treaty of Versailles...

 (1935), remilitarized the Rhineland
Rhineland
Historically, the Rhinelands refers to a loosely-defined region embracing the land on either bank of the River Rhine in central Europe....

 (1936), formed an alliance ("axis") with Benito Mussolini
Benito Mussolini
Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini was an Italian politician who led the National Fascist Party and is credited with being one of the key figures in the creation of Fascism....

's Italy (1936), sent massive military aid to Francisco Franco
Francisco Franco
Francisco Franco y Bahamonde was a Spanish general, dictator and head of state of Spain from October 1936 , and de facto regent of the nominally restored Kingdom of Spain from 1947 until his death in November, 1975...

 in the Spanish Civil War
Spanish Civil War
The Spanish Civil WarAlso known as The Crusade among Nationalists, the Fourth Carlist War among Carlists, and The Rebellion or Uprising among Republicans. was a major conflict fought in Spain from 17 July 1936 to 1 April 1939...

 (1936–39), annexed Austria
Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

 in the Anschluss
Anschluss
The Anschluss , also known as the ', was the occupation and annexation of Austria into Nazi Germany in 1938....

 (1938), took over Czechoslovakia after the British and French appeasement of the Munich Agreement
Munich Agreement
The Munich Pact was an agreement permitting the Nazi German annexation of Czechoslovakia's Sudetenland. The Sudetenland were areas along Czech borders, mainly inhabited by ethnic Germans. The agreement was negotiated at a conference held in Munich, Germany, among the major powers of Europe without...

 of 1938, formed a peace pact with the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 (Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact
Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact
The Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, named after the Soviet foreign minister Vyacheslav Molotov and the German foreign minister Joachim von Ribbentrop, was an agreement officially titled the Treaty of Non-Aggression between Germany and the Soviet Union and signed in Moscow in the late hours of 23 August 1939...

) in August 1939, and finally invaded Poland in September 1939. Britain and France declared war, resulting in the start of World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 – somewhat sooner than the Nazis had prepared for or expected.

During the war, Germany conquered or controlled most of Europe and North Africa
North Africa
North Africa or Northern Africa is the northernmost region of the African continent, linked by the Sahara to Sub-Saharan Africa. Geopolitically, the United Nations definition of Northern Africa includes eight countries or territories; Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, South Sudan, Sudan, Tunisia, and...

, intending to establish a "New Order" in Europe and elsewhere of complete Nazi German hegemony
Hegemony
Hegemony is an indirect form of imperial dominance in which the hegemon rules sub-ordinate states by the implied means of power rather than direct military force. In Ancient Greece , hegemony denoted the politico–military dominance of a city-state over other city-states...

. The Nazis persecuted and killed millions of Jews
Jews
The Jews , also known as the Jewish people, are a nation and ethnoreligious group originating in the Israelites or Hebrews of the Ancient Near East. The Jewish ethnicity, nationality, and religion are strongly interrelated, as Judaism is the traditional faith of the Jewish nation...

, Romani people, and others in the Holocaust
The Holocaust
The Holocaust , also known as the Shoah , was the genocide of approximately six million European Jews and millions of others during World War II, a programme of systematic state-sponsored murder by Nazi...

. Despite its Axis alliance
Axis Powers
The Axis powers , also known as the Axis alliance, Axis nations, Axis countries, or just the Axis, was an alignment of great powers during the mid-20th century that fought World War II against the Allies. It began in 1936 with treaties of friendship between Germany and Italy and between Germany and...

 with other nations, mainly Italy and Japan
Empire of Japan
The Empire of Japan is the name of the state of Japan that existed from the Meiji Restoration on 3 January 1868 to the enactment of the post-World War II Constitution of...

, by 8 May 1945 Germany had been defeated by the Allied Powers
Allies of World War II
The Allies of World War II were the countries that opposed the Axis powers during the Second World War . Former Axis states contributing to the Allied victory are not considered Allied states...

, and was occupied by the Soviet Union, the United States, Britain, and France. Up to 40 million Europeans died as a result of the war.

Hitler, Nazism, and the Holocaust are used as symbols of evil in the modern world. Newman and Erber (2002) wrote, "The Nazis have become one of the most widely recognized images of modern evil. Throughout most of the world today, the concept of evil can readily be evoked by displaying almost any cue reminiscent of Nazism ... "

Name and boundaries


The most popular name to refer to this state in English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

 is Nazi Germany , mostly used to differentiate it from other historical German states such as Imperial Germany and Weimar Germany (although there is direct legal continuity between the Weimar and Nazi periods, see below). Third Reich (German: Drittes Reich) is another common but informal term, suggesting a historical succession from the medieval Holy Roman Empire
Holy Roman Empire
The Holy Roman Empire was a realm that existed from 962 to 1806 in Central Europe.It was ruled by the Holy Roman Emperor. Its character changed during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period, when the power of the emperor gradually weakened in favour of the princes...

 (962–1806) and the modern German Empire
German Empire
The German Empire refers to Germany during the "Second Reich" period from the unification of Germany and proclamation of Wilhelm I as German Emperor on 18 January 1871, to 1918, when it became a federal republic after defeat in World War I and the abdication of the Emperor, Wilhelm II.The German...

 (1871–1918). This term, although in common usage among many Germans at the time, eventually fell from favor with the Nazi authorities, who banned its continued use by the press in the summer of 1939. Germany had two official names during the Nazi period; German Reich (German: Deutsches Reich), which was in use from the Unification of Germany
Unification of Germany
The formal unification of Germany into a politically and administratively integrated nation state officially occurred on 18 January 1871 at the Versailles Palace's Hall of Mirrors in France. Princes of the German states gathered there to proclaim Wilhelm of Prussia as Emperor Wilhelm of the German...

 in 1871 onward until 1943, when the regime legally renamed it Greater German Reich (German: Großdeutsches Reich).

The German national borders in 1933 were those mapped out by the victors in World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, at the Treaty of Versailles
Treaty of Versailles
The Treaty of Versailles was one of the peace treaties at the end of World War I. It ended the state of war between Germany and the Allied Powers. It was signed on 28 June 1919, exactly five years after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. The other Central Powers on the German side of...

 (1919). To the north, Germany was bounded by the North Sea
North Sea
In the southwest, beyond the Straits of Dover, the North Sea becomes the English Channel connecting to the Atlantic Ocean. In the east, it connects to the Baltic Sea via the Skagerrak and Kattegat, narrow straits that separate Denmark from Norway and Sweden respectively...

, Denmark
Denmark
Denmark is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. The countries of Denmark and Greenland, as well as the Faroe Islands, constitute the Kingdom of Denmark . It is the southernmost of the Nordic countries, southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. Denmark...

, and the Baltic Sea
Baltic Sea
The Baltic Sea is a brackish mediterranean sea located in Northern Europe, from 53°N to 66°N latitude and from 20°E to 26°E longitude. It is bounded by the Scandinavian Peninsula, the mainland of Europe, and the Danish islands. It drains into the Kattegat by way of the Øresund, the Great Belt and...

; to the east, it was divided into two and bordered Lithuania
Lithuania
Lithuania , officially the Republic of Lithuania is a country in Northern Europe, the biggest of the three Baltic states. It is situated along the southeastern shore of the Baltic Sea, whereby to the west lie Sweden and Denmark...

, the Free City of Danzig
Free City of Danzig
The Free City of Danzig was a semi-autonomous city-state that existed between 1920 and 1939, consisting of the Baltic Sea port of Danzig and surrounding areas....

, Poland
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

, and Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia or Czecho-Slovakia was a sovereign state in Central Europe which existed from October 1918, when it declared its independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, until 1992...

; to the south, it bordered Austria
Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

 and Switzerland
Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

, and to the west, it touched France, Luxembourg
Luxembourg
Luxembourg , officially the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg , is a landlocked country in western Europe, bordered by Belgium, France, and Germany. It has two principal regions: the Oesling in the North as part of the Ardennes massif, and the Gutland in the south...

, Belgium
Belgium
Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

, the Netherlands
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

, and the Saarland
Saar (League of Nations)
The Territory of the Saar Basin , also referred as the Saar or Saargebiet, was a region of Germany that was occupied and governed by Britain and France from 1920 to 1935 under a League of Nations mandate, with the occupation originally being under the auspices of the Treaty of Versailles...

. These borders changed after Germany regained control of the Saarland, transformed itself into Greater Germany
German question
The German question was a debate in the 19th century, especially during the Revolutions of 1848, over the best way to achieve the Unification of Germany. From 1815–1871, a number of 37 independent German-speaking states existed within the German Confederation...

 by annexing Austria, and also gained control of the Sudetenland
Sudetenland
Sudetenland is the German name used in English in the first half of the 20th century for the northern, southwest and western regions of Czechoslovakia inhabited mostly by ethnic Germans, specifically the border areas of Bohemia, Moravia, and those parts of Silesia being within Czechoslovakia.The...

, the remainder of Bohemia and Moravia, and the Memel Territory before the war. Germany expanded further by seizing even more land during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, which began in September 1939.

History



Nazi Germany arose in the wake of the national shame, embarrassment, anger and resentment resulting from the Treaty of Versailles
Treaty of Versailles
The Treaty of Versailles was one of the peace treaties at the end of World War I. It ended the state of war between Germany and the Allied Powers. It was signed on 28 June 1919, exactly five years after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. The other Central Powers on the German side of...

 (1919), that dictated, to the vanquished Germans, responsibility for:
  • Germany's acceptance of and admission to sole responsibility for causing World War I
  • The permanent loss of various territories and the demilitarization of other German territory
  • The payment by Germany of heavy reparations, in money and in kind, such payments being justified in the Allied view by the War Guilt clause
  • Unilateral German disarmament and severe military restrictions


Other conditions fostering the rise of the Third Reich include nationalism and Pan-Germanism
Pan-Germanism
Pan-Germanism is a pan-nationalist political idea. Pan-Germanists originally sought to unify the German-speaking populations of Europe in a single nation-state known as Großdeutschland , where "German-speaking" was taken to include the Low German, Frisian and Dutch-speaking populations of the Low...

, civil unrest attributed to Marxist groups, hyperinflation in the Weimar Republic, the global Great Depression
Great Depression
The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression in the decade preceding World War II. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations, but in most countries it started in about 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s or early 1940s...

 of the 1930s, the reaction against the counter-traditionalism and liberalism of the Weimar Republic
Weimar Republic
The Weimar Republic is the name given by historians to the parliamentary republic established in 1919 in Germany to replace the imperial form of government...

 and the rise of communism
Communism
Communism is a social, political and economic ideology that aims at the establishment of a classless, moneyless, revolutionary and stateless socialist society structured upon common ownership of the means of production...

 in Germany, i.e. the growth of the Communist Party of Germany
Communist Party of Germany
The Communist Party of Germany was a major political party in Germany between 1918 and 1933, and a minor party in West Germany in the postwar period until it was banned in 1956...

 (KPD). Many voters, seeking an outlet for their frustrations and an expression for their repudiation of parliamentary democracy which appeared incapable of keeping a government in power for more than a few months, began supporting far right-wing and far left-wing political parties, opting for political extremists such as the Nazi Party.

The Nazis promised strong, authoritarian
Authoritarianism
Authoritarianism is a form of social organization characterized by submission to authority. It is usually opposed to individualism and democracy...

 government in lieu of effete parliamentary republicanism, civic peace, radical economic policy (including full employment), restored national pride (principally by repudiating the Versailles Treaty), and racial cleansing, partly implemented via the active suppression of Jews
Jews
The Jews , also known as the Jewish people, are a nation and ethnoreligious group originating in the Israelites or Hebrews of the Ancient Near East. The Jewish ethnicity, nationality, and religion are strongly interrelated, as Judaism is the traditional faith of the Jewish nation...

 and Marxists, all in the name of national unity and solidarity rather than the partisan divisions of democracy, and the social class divisiveness of Marxism. The Nazis promised national and cultural renewal based upon Völkisch movement
Völkisch movement
The volkisch movement is the German interpretation of the populist movement, with a romantic focus on folklore and the "organic"...

 traditionalism
Traditional values
Traditional values refer to those beliefs, moral codes, and mores that are passed down from generation to generation within a culture, subculture or community.-Summary:Since the late 1970s in the U.S., the term "traditional values" has become synonymous...

 and proposed rearmament, repudiation of reparations, and reclamation of territory lost to the Treaty of Versailles.

The Nazi Party claimed that through the Treaty, the Weimar Republic’s liberal democracy
Liberal democracy
Liberal democracy, also known as constitutional democracy, is a common form of representative democracy. According to the principles of liberal democracy, elections should be free and fair, and the political process should be competitive...

, the traitorous “November criminals” had surrendered Germany's national pride by the inspiration and conniving of the Jews, whose goal was national subversion and the poisoning of German blood. To establish that interpretation of recent German history, Nazi propaganda
Nazi propaganda
Propaganda, the coordinated attempt to influence public opinion through the use of media, was skillfully used by the NSDAP in the years leading up to and during Adolf Hitler's leadership of Germany...

 effectively used the Dolchstoßlegende (“Stab-in-the-back legend”) explaining the German military failure.

From 1925 to the 1930s, the German government evolved from a democracy to a de facto conservative–nationalist authoritarian state under war hero-President Paul von Hindenburg
Paul von Hindenburg
Paul Ludwig Hans Anton von Beneckendorff und von Hindenburg , known universally as Paul von Hindenburg was a Prussian-German field marshal, statesman, and politician, and served as the second President of Germany from 1925 to 1934....

, who disliked the liberal democracy
Liberal democracy
Liberal democracy, also known as constitutional democracy, is a common form of representative democracy. According to the principles of liberal democracy, elections should be free and fair, and the political process should be competitive...

 of the Weimar Republic
Weimar Republic
The Weimar Republic is the name given by historians to the parliamentary republic established in 1919 in Germany to replace the imperial form of government...

 and wanted to make Germany into an authoritarian state. The natural ally for establishing authoritarianism was the German National People's Party
German National People's Party
The German National People's Party was a national conservative party in Germany during the time of the Weimar Republic. Before the rise of the NSDAP it was the main nationalist party in Weimar Germany composed of nationalists, reactionary monarchists, völkisch, and antisemitic elements, and...

 (Deutschnationale Volkspartei, DNVP), "the Nationalists", but after 1929, with the German economy floundering, more radical and younger nationalists were attracted to the revolutionary nature of the National Socialist Party, to challenge the rising popular support for communism. Moreover, the middle-class political parties lost support as the voters aggregated to the left- and right- wings of the German political spectrum, thus making a majority government in a parliamentary system even more difficult.

In the federal election of 1928, when the economy had improved after the hyperinflation
Hyperinflation
In economics, hyperinflation is inflation that is very high or out of control. While the real values of the specific economic items generally stay the same in terms of relatively stable foreign currencies, in hyperinflationary conditions the general price level within a specific economy increases...

 of the 1922–23 period, the Nazis won only 12 seats. Two years later, in the federal election of 1930, months after the US stock market crash, the Nazi Party won 107 seats, progressing from ninth-rated splinter group to second-largest parliamentary party in the Reichstag
Reichstag (Weimar Republic)
The Reichstag was the parliament of Weimar Republic .German constitution commentators consider only the Reichstag and now the Bundestag the German parliament. Another organ deals with legislation too: in 1867-1918 the Bundesrat, in 1919–1933 the Reichsrat and from 1949 on the Bundesrat...

. After the federal election of 1932, the Nazis were the largest party in the Reichstag, holding 230 seats. President Hindenburg was reluctant to confer substantial executive power to Hitler, but former chancellor Franz von Papen
Franz von Papen
Lieutenant-Colonel Franz Joseph Hermann Michael Maria von Papen zu Köningen was a German nobleman, Roman Catholic monarchist politician, General Staff officer, and diplomat, who served as Chancellor of Germany in 1932 and as Vice-Chancellor under Adolf Hitler in 1933–1934...

 and Hitler concorded an NSDAP–DNVP party alliance that would allow Hitler’s chancellorship, subject to traditional-conservative control, to develop an authoritarian state. In the event, Hitler consistently demanded to be appointed chancellor in exchange for Hindenburg’s receiving any Nazi Party support of the cabinets appointed under his authority.

On 30 January 1933, Hindenburg appointed Hitler as Chancellor of Germany
Chancellor of Germany
The Chancellor of Germany is, under the German 1949 constitution, the head of government of Germany...

 after General Kurt von Schleicher
Kurt von Schleicher
Kurt von Schleicher was a German general and the last Chancellor of Germany during the era of the Weimar Republic. Seventeen months after his resignation, he was assassinated by order of his successor, Adolf Hitler, in the Night of the Long Knives....

’s failure to form a viable government (see Machtergreifung
Machtergreifung
Machtergreifung is a German word meaning "seizure of power". It is normally used specifically to refer to the Nazi takeover of power in the democratic Weimar Republic on 30 January 1933, the day Hitler was sworn in as Chancellor of Germany, turning it into the Nazi German dictatorship.-Term:The...

). Hitler pressured Hindenburg through his son Oskar von Hindenburg
Oskar von Hindenburg
Generalleutnant Oskar von Beneckendorff und von Hindenburg was the politically powerful son and aide-de-camp to Field Marshal and President of Germany Paul von Hindenburg....

 and via intrigue by von Papen, former leader of the Catholic Centre Party
Centre Party (Germany)
The German Centre Party was a Catholic political party in Germany during the Kaiserreich and the Weimar Republic. Formed in 1870, it battled the Kulturkampf which the Prussian government launched to reduce the power of the Catholic Church...

. By becoming the Vice Chancellor and keeping the Nazis a cabinet minority, von Papen expected to be able to control Hitler. Although the Nazis had won the greatest share of the popular vote in the two Reichstag general elections of 1932, they had no majority of their own, not even with the NSDAP–DNVP alliance that started governing in 1933 by Presidential Decree per Article 48 of the 1919 Weimar Constitution
Weimar constitution
The Constitution of the German Reich , usually known as the Weimar Constitution was the constitution that governed Germany during the Weimar Republic...

.

The National Socialist treatment of the Jews in the early months of 1933 marked the first step in a longer-term process of removing them from German society. This plan was at the core of Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

's "cultural revolution".

Consolidation of power


Within a few months, the new government installed a single party dictatorship in Germany with legal measures establishing a coordinated central government, (see Gleichschaltung
Gleichschaltung
Gleichschaltung , meaning "coordination", "making the same", "bringing into line", is a Nazi term for the process by which the Nazi regime successively established a system of totalitarian control and tight coordination over all aspects of society. The historian Richard J...

). On the night of 27 February 1933, the Reichstag
Reichstag fire
The Reichstag fire was an arson attack on the Reichstag building in Berlin on 27 February 1933. The event is seen as pivotal in the establishment of Nazi Germany....

 building was set afire (the Dutch council communist Marinus van der Lubbe
Marinus van der Lubbe
Marinus van der Lubbe was a Dutch council communist convicted of, and controversially executed for, setting fire to the German Reichstag building on February 27, 1933, an event known as the Reichstag fire. ....

 was found inside; he was arrested, charged with arson, tried, and then decapitated.). The Nazis claimed that the arson was a signal for a communist uprising and thousands of communist party members were arrested, the party offices raided and all KPD publications banned. The Nazis imprisoned many in the Dachau concentration camp. The Reichstag Fire Decree
Reichstag Fire Decree
The Reichstag Fire Decree is the common name of the Decree of the Reich President for the Protection of People and State issued by German President Paul von Hindenburg in direct response to the Reichstag fire of 27 February 1933. The decree nullified many of the key civil liberties of German...

(27 February 1933), rescinded most German civil liberties including habeas corpus
Habeas corpus
is a writ, or legal action, through which a prisoner can be released from unlawful detention. The remedy can be sought by the prisoner or by another person coming to his aid. Habeas corpus originated in the English legal system, but it is now available in many nations...

, to so suppress their opponents. While Van der Lubbe had had contacts with communists in Holland, there was no evidence that the KPD was in any way implicated in planning or execution of the fire. The 'Fire Decree' was the second enactment that allowed the Nazi administration to restrict civil liberties. The first was a rule that forbade Germans from 'insulting the flag' and this was used consistently to repress any kind of opposition.

In March 1933, with the Enabling Act, was passed by 444–94 (the remaining Social Democrats), the Reichstag changed the Weimar Constitution to allow Hitler's government to pass laws without parliamentary debate for a four-year period, even such deviating from other articles in the constitution (the Act, forming the legal basis for the regime, was subsequently renewed by Hitler's government in 1937 and 1941). Forthwith, throughout 1934, the Nazi Party ruthlessly eliminated all political opposition; the Enabling Act already had banned the Communists (KPD), the Social Democrats (SPD) were dissolved in June, and in the June–July period, the Nationalists (DNVP), the People's Party (DVP) and the German State Party (DStP) were likewise obliged to disband, their members urged to join the Nazi Party or else leave politics. Moreover, at the urging of Franz von Papen
Franz von Papen
Lieutenant-Colonel Franz Joseph Hermann Michael Maria von Papen zu Köningen was a German nobleman, Roman Catholic monarchist politician, General Staff officer, and diplomat, who served as Chancellor of Germany in 1932 and as Vice-Chancellor under Adolf Hitler in 1933–1934...

, the remaining Catholic Centre Party
Centre Party (Germany)
The German Centre Party was a Catholic political party in Germany during the Kaiserreich and the Weimar Republic. Formed in 1870, it battled the Kulturkampf which the Prussian government launched to reduce the power of the Catholic Church...

 disbanded on 5 July 1933 after obtaining Nazi guarantees for Catholic religious education and youth groups. On 14 July 1933, Germany became a de facto single-party state
Single-party state
A single-party state, one-party system or single-party system is a type of party system government in which a single political party forms the government and no other parties are permitted to run candidates for election...

, as the founding of new parties was banned. Further elections in late 1933, 1936 and 1938 were entirely Nazi-controlled and only saw the Nazis and a minor number of independent "guests" (such as Hugenberg
Alfred Hugenberg
Alfred Ernst Christian Alexander Hugenberg was an influential German businessman and politician. Hugenberg, a leading figure within nationalist politics in Germany for the first few decades of the twentieth century, became the country's leading media proprietor within the inter-war period...

) elected for the rubber-stamp
Rubber stamp (politics)
A rubber stamp, as a political metaphor, refers to a person or institution with considerable de jure power but little de facto power; one that rarely disagrees with more powerful organs....

 legislature.



The Nazi regime abolished the symbols of the Weimar Republic, including the black-red-gold tricolor flag, and adopted new and old imperial symbolism representing the dual nature of Germany’s third empire. The previous, imperial black-white-red tricolor was restored as one of Germany's two official national flags; the second was the swastika flag of the Nazi party which became the sole national German flag in 1935. The national anthem remained Deutschland über Alles (aka the Deutschlandlied, "Song of Germany"), but only the first stanza was sung, immediately followed by the Nazi anthem Horst-Wessel-Lied
Horst-Wessel-Lied
The Horst-Wessel-Lied , also known as Die Fahne hoch from its opening line, was the anthem of the Nazi Party from 1930 to 1945...

("Horst Wessel Song") accompanied by the Nazi salute
Nazi salute
The Nazi salute, or Hitler salute , was a gesture of greeting in Nazi Germany usually accompanied by saying, Heil Hitler! ["Hail Hitler!"], Heil, mein Führer ["Hail, my leader!"], or Sieg Heil! ["Hail victory!"]...

.

On 30 January 1934, Chancellor Hitler formally centralized government power to himself with the Gesetz über den Neuaufbau des Reichs (Act to Rebuild the Reich) by disbanding Länder (federal state) parliaments and transferring states’ rights and administration to the Berlin central government. The centralization began soon after the March 1933 Enabling Act promulgation, when state governments were replaced with Reichsstatthalter
Reichsstatthalter
The term Reichsstatthalter was used twice for different offices, in the imperial Hohenzollern dynasty's German Empire and the single-party Nazi Third Reich.- "Statthalter des Reiches" 1879-1918 in Alsace-Lorraine :...

(Reich governors). Local government also was deposed; Reich governors appointed mayors of cities and towns with populaces of fewer than 100,000; the Interior Minister appointed the mayors of cities with populaces greater than 100,000; and, in the cases of Berlin and Hamburg
Hamburg
-History:The first historic name for the city was, according to Claudius Ptolemy's reports, Treva.But the city takes its modern name, Hamburg, from the first permanent building on the site, a castle whose construction was ordered by the Emperor Charlemagne in AD 808...

 (and Vienna after the Anschluss
Anschluss
The Anschluss , also known as the ', was the occupation and annexation of Austria into Nazi Germany in 1938....

 Österreichs
in 1938), Hitler had personal discretion to appoint their mayors.

By spring of 1934, only the Reichswehr
German Army (German Empire)
The German Army was the name given the combined land forces of the German Empire, also known as the National Army , Imperial Army or Imperial German Army. The term "Deutsches Heer" is also used for the modern German Army, the land component of the German Bundeswehr...

remained independent of government control; traditionally, it was separate from the national government, a discrete political entity. The leaders of the Nazi paramilitary Sturmabteilung
Sturmabteilung
The Sturmabteilung functioned as a paramilitary organization of the National Socialist German Workers' Party . It played a key role in Adolf Hitler's rise to power in the 1920s and 1930s...

(SA, "Storm Detachment") which had well over a million members, had expected to assume command of the German army and absorb the Reichswehr (German Army) into its ranks under Ernst Röhm
Ernst Röhm
Ernst Julius Röhm, was a German officer in the Bavarian Army and later an early Nazi leader. He was a co-founder of the Sturmabteilung , the Nazi Party militia, and later was its commander...

’s leadership. The Reichswehr opposed Röhm's ambition; moreover, Röhm favoured a "socialist revolution" to complement the "nationalist revolution" and which would in Röhm's view complete the Nazi revolution. Industrialists, who had provided funds for the Nazi victory, were unhappy with Röhm's socialistic goals and weary of SA political violence. Matters came to a head in June 1934 when President Hindenburg, who had the complete loyalty of the Army, informed Hitler that if he didn't move to curb the SA then Hindenburg would dissolve the Government and declare martial law
Martial law
Martial law is the imposition of military rule by military authorities over designated regions on an emergency basis— only temporary—when the civilian government or civilian authorities fail to function effectively , when there are extensive riots and protests, or when the disobedience of the law...

.
Possessing absolute power only in theory without the support of the Reichswehr, and wanting to preserve good relations with both the army and certain politicians and industrialists, Hitler ordered the Schutzstaffel
Schutzstaffel
The Schutzstaffel |Sig runes]]) was a major paramilitary organization under Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party. Built upon the Nazi ideology, the SS under Heinrich Himmler's command was responsible for many of the crimes against humanity during World War II...

(SS) and the Gestapo
Gestapo
The Gestapo was the official secret police of Nazi Germany. Beginning on 20 April 1934, it was under the administration of the SS leader Heinrich Himmler in his position as Chief of German Police...

to assassinate his political enemies both in and outside the Nazi Party with the "Night of the Long Knives
Night of the Long Knives
The Night of the Long Knives , sometimes called "Operation Hummingbird " or in Germany the "Röhm-Putsch," was a purge that took place in Nazi Germany between June 30 and July 2, 1934, when the Nazi regime carried out a series of political murders...

". The purges of Ernst Röhm, his SA cohort, the Strasserist, left-wing Nazis, and other political enemies lasted from 30 June to 2 July 1934. While some Germans were shocked by the killing, many others saw Hitler as the one who restored "order" to the country.

Upon the death of Hindenburg, on 2 August 1934, the Nazi-controlled Reichstag consolidated the offices of Reichspräsident (Reich President) and Reichskanzler (Reich Chancellor), and reinstalled Adolf Hitler as Führer
Führer
Führer , alternatively spelled Fuehrer in both English and German when the umlaut is not available, is a German title meaning leader or guide now most associated with Adolf Hitler, who modelled it on Benito Mussolini's title il Duce, as well as with Georg von Schönerer, whose followers also...

 und Reichskanzler
(Leader and Reich Chancellor). After the "Night of the Long Knives" and Hindenburg’s death, the Reichswehr was prepared to accept Hitler's leadership. As Hitler had announced plans to rearm and increase the size of the Reichswehr, the agreement of the generals was unsurprising. The assassination of Röhm and the SA leaders consolidated the Reichswehr as the sole armed force of the Reich, and the Führer’s promises of military expansion guaranteed him military loyalty. Hindenburg’s death facilitated changing the German soldiers’ oath of allegiance from the Reich of the German Constitution
Weimar constitution
The Constitution of the German Reich , usually known as the Weimar Constitution was the constitution that governed Germany during the Weimar Republic...

 to personal fealty to Adolf Hitler.

In the event, the Nazis ended the official NSDAP–DNVP government alliance and began introducing Nazism
Nazism
Nazism, the common short form name of National Socialism was the ideology and practice of the Nazi Party and of Nazi Germany...

 and Nazi symbolism
Nazi symbolism
The twentieth century German Nazi Party was notable for its extensive use of graphic symbolism, most notably the Hakenkreuz , which it used as its principal symbol, and, in the form of the swastika flag, became the state flag of Nazi Germany....

 to public and private German life; textbooks were revised
Historical revisionism (negationism)
Historical revisionism is either the legitimate scholastic re-examination of existing knowledge about a historical event, or the illegitimate distortion of the historical record such that certain events appear in a more or less favourable light. For the former, i.e. the academic pursuit, see...

, or rewritten to promote the Pan-German
Pan-Germanism
Pan-Germanism is a pan-nationalist political idea. Pan-Germanists originally sought to unify the German-speaking populations of Europe in a single nation-state known as Großdeutschland , where "German-speaking" was taken to include the Low German, Frisian and Dutch-speaking populations of the Low...

 racist doctrine of Großdeutschland (Greater Germany) to be established by the Nazi Herrenvolk
Master race
Master race was a phrase and concept originating in the slave-holding Southern US. The later phrase Herrenvolk , interpreted as 'master race', was a concept in Nazi ideology in which the Nordic peoples, one of the branches of what in the late-19th and early-20th century was called the Aryan race,...

; teachers who opposed curricular Nazification were dismissed. Furthermore, to coerce popular obedience to the state, the Nazis established the Gestapo (secret state police) as independent of civil authority. The Gestapo controlled the German populace with some 100,000 spies and informers, and thereby were aware of anti-Nazi criticism and dissent.

The majority of the German people were relieved that the conflicts and street fighting had been ended and were deluged in a barrage of propaganda orchestrated by Josef Goebbels and which promised peace and plenty for all in a united, Marxist-free country that would redress the wrongs done to Germany in the Versailles Treaty. The first concentration camp for political prisoners was opened at Dachau near Munich in 1933 and "between 1933 and 1945, more than 3 million Germans had been in concentration camps, or prison, for political reasons". "Tens of thousands of Germans were killed for one or another form of resistance
German Resistance
The German resistance was the opposition by individuals and groups in Germany to Adolf Hitler or the National Socialist regime between 1933 and 1945. Some of these engaged in active plans to remove Adolf Hitler from power and overthrow his regime...

. Between 1933 and 1945, Sondergerichte
Sondergerichte
A Sondergericht was a Nazi "special court." After taking power in 1933, the Nazis quickly moved to remove internal opposition to the Nazi regime in Germany. The legal system became one of many tools for this aim and the Nazis gradually supplanted the normal justice system with political courts...

 (Nazi "special courts") sentenced some 12,000 Germans to death, courts-martial ordered the execution of 25,000 German soldiers on charges of cowardice, while civil courts sentenced 40,000 Germans. Many of these Germans were part of the government, civil, or military service, a circumstance which enabled them to engage in subversion and conspiracy, while involved, marginally or significantly, in the government’s policies."

Fate of minorities



From the very earliest speeches and writings of Hitler it was clear that the Jewish community in Germany were an object of hatred, together with gypsies, the mentally disadvantaged or the handicapped. The Nazi ideology laid down strict rules about who was or was not a 'pure German' and actions were set into motion to 'purify' the 'German race' soon after the Nazi takeover. The first wave of antisemitism began in 1933, when the S.A. attacked Jewish-owned stores and called for a boycott of all Jewish commercial activities. Many Jewish families prepared to leave, but many others hoped that as they were German citizens, their livelihoods and property would be safe.

In 1935 the Nuremberg Laws
Nuremberg Laws
The Nuremberg Laws of 1935 were antisemitic laws in Nazi Germany introduced at the annual Nuremberg Rally of the Nazi Party. After the takeover of power in 1933 by Hitler, Nazism became an official ideology incorporating scientific racism and antisemitism...

 were enacted depriving Jews of all citizens' rights, using public transportation, banned from public parks and restaurants, theaters and cinemas, they were forced to bear a yellow star to show that they were Jewish.

In November 1938, a young Jewish male in Paris requested an interview with the German ambassador and was shown in to a meeting with a legation secretary, whom he shot in protest against the treatment meted out to his family in Germany. (By coincidence, both men were from Frankfurt and knew each other slightly.
The attempt was used by the Nazi Party to stir up hatred against the Jewish communities in Germany. The SA was given the task of attacking synagogues and Jewish property throughout Germany. During 'Kristallnacht,' the Night of Broken Glass, at least ninety-one German Jews were killed and Jewish property throughout was destroyed. This phase of exclusion made it very clear that the Jews in Germany were to be targeted in the future. To further illustrate, the Jewish communities were fined one billion marks and told that they would not receive compensation for their losses.

Foreign policy


Hitler began to systematically undermine and eradicate the provisions of the Versailles Treaty that were still valid in 1933. The disarmament clauses had been long since abandoned and Hitler achieved a minor victory when he withdrew Germany from the League of Nations on the grounds that disarmament was applied only to Germany. In January 1935 the Saarland voted to become part of Germany. The region had been placed under League of Nations supervision for 15 years and the decision was greeted as a great victory for the new Germany. In March 1935 Hitler announced that the Reichswehr would be increased to 550,000 men and that there would be a German Air Force. When Britain agreed that the Germans would be allowed to build a naval fleet, the Treaty had become little more than a piece of paper. The signees were ready in the name of peace, to negotiate away on a bilateral basis the terms that Germany had agreed to in 1919.

Hitler's next test of the resolve of the French and British governments' intention to uphold the Versailles Treaty came in March 1936. Mussolini, Hitler's forerunner as a dictator and at the time an object of admiration, invaded Ethiopia, leading to mild protests by the British and French governments. In the wake of this crisis, Hitler ordered the Reichswehr
Reichswehr
The Reichswehr formed the military organisation of Germany from 1919 until 1935, when it was renamed the Wehrmacht ....

 to march into the demilitarised zone along the Rhine, with the proviso that they should withdraw if the French mobilised in response. The French government was in its usual state of internal bickering and Britain had no interest in, and no way of stopping the Reichswehr. The result was a huge victory for Hitler. He had tested the resolve of his opponents and they had been found wanting. Not that there was anything they could have done, for French military strategy was dictated by the existence of the Maginot Line, behind which their army was to remain, come what may, and British politicians regarded the Rhineland as Germany's own backyard. Hitler then held an election in which he received an overwhelming vote of support and his reputation as a vigorous and determined leader was growing fast. The following year was relatively quiet on the foreign affairs front. The Spanish Civil War occupied the headlines in Europe, which was a useful trial ground for the growing Luftwaffe (German Air Force).

Austria and Czechoslovakia


In November 1937, Hitler drew the military leadership together for a conference at which he elucidated the need for Germany to expand eastwards for "Lebensraum". At first he would have to deal with Austria and Czechoslovakia, but he was confident that Britain and France would do nothing when the German armies moved in.

In February 1938, Hitler called the Austrian Chancellor Kurt Schuschnigg
Kurt Schuschnigg
Kurt Alois Josef Johann Schuschnigg was Chancellor of the First Austrian Republic, following the assassination of his predecessor, Dr. Engelbert Dollfuss, in July 1934, until Germany’s invasion of Austria, , in March 1938...

 to a meeting at the Berghof at which he harangued Schussnigg on the need for Germans to secure their frontiers. To forestall Hitler and to preserve Austria's independence, Schuschnigg scheduled a plebiscite on the issue for 13 March but Hitler demanded that it be canceled. On 11 March, Hitler sent an ultimatum to Schuschnigg, demanding that he hand over all power to the Austrian Nazis or face an invasion. On 12 March the Wehrmacht entered Austria, to be greeted with enthusiasm by the Austrians.

Hitler told the leader of the Sudeten German Party, Heinlein, to make a number of unacceptable demands to the Czechoslovak government. Mussolini insisted that Hitler meet the British and French prime ministers to discuss the Czechoslovak crisis. Hitler demanded the immediate annexation of the German areas (called "Sudetenland"). Two more meetings followed, in the second of which, the infamous Munich Agreement was signed, forcing the Czechoslovak government to accept the annexation, but having no part in the negotiations.

The Munich Agreement has had a highly controversial reception among historians and political scientists. One interpretation sees it as a cowardly "Appeasement
Appeasement
The term appeasement is commonly understood to refer to a diplomatic policy aimed at avoiding war by making concessions to another power. Historian Paul Kennedy defines it as "the policy of settling international quarrels by admitting and satisfying grievances through rational negotiation and...

"-- an unwise and unnecessarily capitulation to vehement threats. Other scholars argue that risking war at that stage was unwise because France and Britain had neither the weapons nor a coherent strategy to defeat Germany in 1938. Chamberlain
Neville Chamberlain
Arthur Neville Chamberlain FRS was a British Conservative politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from May 1937 to May 1940. Chamberlain is best known for his appeasement foreign policy, and in particular for his signing of the Munich Agreement in 1938, conceding the...

 was greeted as a hero when he landed in London bringing, he said, "peace for our time." The agreement lasted six months before Hitler seized the rest in March 1939.
Hitler's next move was to call for adjustments to the borders of Poland. In the House of Commons, Chamberlian warned that any further attempts by Hitler to change the status quo would lead to war. In effect, this declaration guaranteed help to Poland and made the outbreak of war inevitable. The German Wehrmacht began to prepare for an invasion of Poland, while the German foreign office made attempts to keep Britain out of the conflict. On 23 May 1939, Hitler ordered his generals to prepare for the attack on Poland This has been described as a typical Hitler 'bluff' by Taylor but the dynamics of mobilisation probably belie this position, for it takes several months to prepare an army for such an attack and the war began with the invasion of Poland on 1 September, just as Hitler had ordered.
Hitler was still uncertain what Stalin would do when Poland was attacked. The Russian regime might be the 'anti-christ' (Kershaw) to the Nazis but it was a crucial element in the invasion of Poland. Britain and France had sent envoys to Moscow with the aim of tying Stalin into a pact. Molotov, Stalin's foreign minister, visted Berlin in July 1939 and elegant hints were dropped about the need for an agreement between Berlin and Moscow. But Stalin was in no hurry.
On 20 August, Hitler telegraphed Stalin with an offer of an agreement to be signed on 22 or 23 August. Ribbentrop, the german foreign minister, flew to Moscow and an agreement was signed between Russia and Germany that made the second world war inevitable. Hitler was delighted. He knew, he told his entourage, that Britain and France would do nothing. Their leaders were worms, he said, he had seen them at Munich. The compromise over Sudetenland still rankled.
The agreement signed in Moscow provided for peace for a period of ten years between the two countries. There was a secret protocol attached in which Poland was divided up 'in the event of a conflict' between Russia and Germany. Russia got the Baltic countries and Hitler could attack Poland.

World War II


Conquest of Europe


The "Danzig crisis" peaked in early 1939, around the time that reports of controversy in the Free City of Danzig
Free City of Danzig
The Free City of Danzig was a semi-autonomous city-state that existed between 1920 and 1939, consisting of the Baltic Sea port of Danzig and surrounding areas....

 increased, the United Kingdom "guaranteed" to defend Poland's territorial integrity and the Poles rejected a series of offers by Nazi Germany regarding both the Free City of Danzig
Free City of Danzig
The Free City of Danzig was a semi-autonomous city-state that existed between 1920 and 1939, consisting of the Baltic Sea port of Danzig and surrounding areas....

 and the Polish Corridor
Polish Corridor
The Polish Corridor , also known as Danzig Corridor, Corridor to the Sea or Gdańsk Corridor, was a territory located in the region of Pomerelia , which provided the Second Republic of Poland with access to the Baltic Sea, thus dividing the bulk of Germany from the province of East...

. Then, the Germans broke off diplomatic relations. Hitler had learned that the Soviet Union was willing to sign a non-aggression pact
Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact
The Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, named after the Soviet foreign minister Vyacheslav Molotov and the German foreign minister Joachim von Ribbentrop, was an agreement officially titled the Treaty of Non-Aggression between Germany and the Soviet Union and signed in Moscow in the late hours of 23 August 1939...

 with Germany and would support an attack on Poland. Germany invaded Poland on 1 September 1939 and two days later, the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 and France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 declared war on Germany. World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 was underway, but Poland fell quickly, as the Soviets attacked it on 17 September. The United Kingdom proceeded to bomb Wilhelmshaven
Wilhelmshaven
Wilhelmshaven is a coastal town in Lower Saxony, Germany. It is situated on the western side of the Jade Bight, a bay of the North Sea.-History:...

, Cuxhaven, Heligoland
Heligoland
Heligoland is a small German archipelago in the North Sea.Formerly Danish and British possessions, the islands are located in the Heligoland Bight in the south-eastern corner of the North Sea...

 and other areas. Still, aside from battles at sea, no other activity occurred. Thus, the war became known as "the Phoney War".

The year 1940 began with little more than the UK dropping propaganda leaflets over Prague
Prague
Prague is the capital and largest city of the Czech Republic. Situated in the north-west of the country on the Vltava river, the city is home to about 1.3 million people, while its metropolitan area is estimated to have a population of over 2.3 million...

 and Vienna
Vienna
Vienna is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Austria and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primary city, with a population of about 1.723 million , and is by far the largest city in Austria, as well as its cultural, economic, and political centre...

 but a German attack on the British High Seas fleet was followed by the British bombing the port city of Sylt
Sylt
Sylt is an island in northern Germany, part of Nordfriesland district, Schleswig-Holstein, and well known for the distinctive shape of its shoreline. It belongs to the North Frisian Islands and is the largest island in North Frisia...

. After the Altmark Incident
Altmark Incident
The Altmark Incident was a naval skirmish of World War II between the United Kingdom and Nazi Germany, which happened on 16 February 1940. It took place in what were, at that time, neutral Norwegian waters...

 off the coast of Norway and the discovery of the United Kingdom's plans to encircle Germany, Hitler sent troops into Denmark and Norway
Norway
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

. This safeguarded iron ore supplies from Sweden
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

 through coastal waters. Shortly thereafter, the British and French landed in Mid- and North Norway, but the Germans de facto defeated these forces in the ensuing Norwegian Campaign
Norwegian Campaign
The Norwegian Campaign was a military campaign that was fought in Norway during the Second World War between the Allies and Germany, after the latter's invasion of the country. In April 1940, the United Kingdom and France came to Norway's aid with an expeditionary force...

.

In May 1940, the Phoney War ended. Against the will of his advisors, Hitler ordered an attack on France through the Low Countries
Low Countries
The Low Countries are the historical lands around the low-lying delta of the Rhine, Scheldt, and Meuse rivers, including the modern countries of Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and parts of northern France and western Germany....

. The Battle of France
Battle of France
In the Second World War, the Battle of France was the German invasion of France and the Low Countries, beginning on 10 May 1940, which ended the Phoney War. The battle consisted of two main operations. In the first, Fall Gelb , German armoured units pushed through the Ardennes, to cut off and...

 ended with an overwhelming German victory. However, with the British refusing Hitler's offer of peace, the war continued. Germany and Britain continued to fight at sea and in the air. However, on 24 August, two off-course German bombers accidentally bombed London – against Hitler's orders, changing the course of the war. In response to the attack, the British bombed Berlin
Berlin
Berlin is the capital city of Germany and is one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.45 million people, Berlin is Germany's largest city. It is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union...

, which sent Hitler into a rage. The German leader ordered attacks on British cities, and the UK was bombed heavily during The Blitz
The Blitz
The Blitz was the sustained strategic bombing of Britain by Nazi Germany between 7 September 1940 and 10 May 1941, during the Second World War. The city of London was bombed by the Luftwaffe for 76 consecutive nights and many towns and cities across the country followed...

. This change in targeting priority interfered with the Luftwaffe
Luftwaffe
Luftwaffe is a generic German term for an air force. It is also the official name for two of the four historic German air forces, the Wehrmacht air arm founded in 1935 and disbanded in 1946; and the current Bundeswehr air arm founded in 1956....

's objective of achieving the air superiority over Britain necessary for an invasion and allowed British air defenses to rebuild their strength and continue the fight.

Hitler hoped to break British morale and win peace. However, the British refused to back down; eventually, Hitler called off the Battle of Britain
Battle of Britain
The Battle of Britain is the name given to the World War II air campaign waged by the German Air Force against the United Kingdom during the summer and autumn of 1940...

 strategic bombing campaign
Strategic bombing during World War II
Strategic bombing during World War II is a term which refers to all aerial bombardment of a strategic nature between 1939 and 1945 involving any nations engaged in World War II...

 in favor of the long-planned invasion of the Soviet Union: Operation Barbarossa
Operation Barbarossa
Operation Barbarossa was the code name for Germany's invasion of the Soviet Union during World War II that began on 22 June 1941. Over 4.5 million troops of the Axis powers invaded the USSR along a front., the largest invasion in the history of warfare...

. Germany and its allies invaded the Soviet Union on 22 June 1941. On the eve of the invasion, Hitler's former deputy, Rudolf Hess
Rudolf Hess
Rudolf Walter Richard Hess was a prominent Nazi politician who was Adolf Hitler's deputy in the Nazi Party during the 1930s and early 1940s...

, attempted to negotiate terms of peace with the United Kingdom in an unofficial private meeting after crash-landing in Scotland. By contrast, Hitler had hoped that rapid success in the Soviet Union would bring Britain to the negotiating table.

Operation Barbarossa was supposed to begin earlier than it did; however, failed Italian ventures in North Africa
North Africa
North Africa or Northern Africa is the northernmost region of the African continent, linked by the Sahara to Sub-Saharan Africa. Geopolitically, the United Nations definition of Northern Africa includes eight countries or territories; Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, South Sudan, Sudan, Tunisia, and...

 and the Balkans
Balkans
The Balkans is a geopolitical and cultural region of southeastern Europe...

 concerned Hitler. In February 1941, the German Afrika Korps
Afrika Korps
The German Africa Corps , or the Afrika Korps as it was popularly called, was the German expeditionary force in Libya and Tunisia during the North African Campaign of World War II...

was sent to Libya to aid the Italians and hold the British Commonwealth forces from British-held Egypt. As the North African Campaign
North African campaign
During the Second World War, the North African Campaign took place in North Africa from 10 June 1940 to 13 May 1943. It included campaigns fought in the Libyan and Egyptian deserts and in Morocco and Algeria and Tunisia .The campaign was fought between the Allies and Axis powers, many of whom had...

 continued, in spite of orders to remain on the defensive, the Afrika Korps regained lost Italian territory, pushed the British back across the desert and advanced into Egypt. In April, the Germans launched the invasion of Yugoslavia
Invasion of Yugoslavia
The Invasion of Yugoslavia , also known as the April War , was the Axis Powers' attack on the Kingdom of Yugoslavia which began on 6 April 1941 during World War II...

 to aid friendly forces and restore order in the midst of what was believed to be a British-supported coup. This was followed by the Battle of Greece
Battle of Greece
The Battle of Greece is the common name for the invasion and conquest of Greece by Nazi Germany in April 1941. Greece was supported by British Commonwealth forces, while the Germans' Axis allies Italy and Bulgaria played secondary roles...

, again to bail out the Italians, and the Battle of Crete
Battle of Crete
The Battle of Crete was a battle during World War II on the Greek island of Crete. It began on the morning of 20 May 1941, when Nazi Germany launched an airborne invasion of Crete under the code-name Unternehmen Merkur...

. Because of the diversions in North Africa and the Balkans, the Germans were not able to launch Barbarossa until late in June. Moreover, men and material were diverted to create the "fortified Europe" that Hitler wanted before Germany focused its attention on the East.

Nevertheless, Barbarossa began with great success. Only Hitler worried that the German Army and its allies were not advancing into the Soviet Union fast enough. By December 1941, the Germans and their allies were at the gates of Moscow
Moscow
Moscow is the capital, the most populous city, and the most populous federal subject of Russia. The city is a major political, economic, cultural, scientific, religious, financial, educational, and transportation centre of Russia and the continent...

; to the north, troops had reached Leningrad
Siege of Leningrad
The Siege of Leningrad, also known as the Leningrad Blockade was a prolonged military operation resulting from the failure of the German Army Group North to capture Leningrad, now known as Saint Petersburg, in the Eastern Front theatre of World War II. It started on 8 September 1941, when the last...

 and surrounded the city. Meanwhile, Germany and its allies controlled almost all of mainland Europe, with the exception of neutral Switzerland
Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

, Sweden
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

, Spain, Portugal
Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

, Liechtenstein
Liechtenstein
The Principality of Liechtenstein is a doubly landlocked alpine country in Central Europe, bordered by Switzerland to the west and south and by Austria to the east. Its area is just over , and it has an estimated population of 35,000. Its capital is Vaduz. The biggest town is Schaan...

, Andorra
Andorra
Andorra , officially the Principality of Andorra , also called the Principality of the Valleys of Andorra, , is a small landlocked country in southwestern Europe, located in the eastern Pyrenees mountains and bordered by Spain and France. It is the sixth smallest nation in Europe having an area of...

, Vatican City
Vatican City
Vatican City , or Vatican City State, in Italian officially Stato della Città del Vaticano , which translates literally as State of the City of the Vatican, is a landlocked sovereign city-state whose territory consists of a walled enclave within the city of Rome, Italy. It has an area of...

 and Monaco
Monaco
Monaco , officially the Principality of Monaco , is a sovereign city state on the French Riviera. It is bordered on three sides by its neighbour, France, and its centre is about from Italy. Its area is with a population of 35,986 as of 2011 and is the most densely populated country in the...

.

On 11 December 1941, four days after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor
Pearl Harbor
Pearl Harbor, known to Hawaiians as Puuloa, is a lagoon harbor on the island of Oahu, Hawaii, west of Honolulu. Much of the harbor and surrounding lands is a United States Navy deep-water naval base. It is also the headquarters of the U.S. Pacific Fleet...

, Nazi Germany declared war on the United States. Not only was this a chance for Germany to strengthen its ties with Japan, but after months of anti-German hysteria in the American media and Lend-Lease
Lend-Lease
Lend-Lease was the program under which the United States of America supplied the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union, China, Free France, and other Allied nations with materiel between 1941 and 1945. It was signed into law on March 11, 1941, a year and a half after the outbreak of war in Europe in...

 aid to Britain, the leaking of Rainbow Five and the foreboding content of President Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin Delano Roosevelt , also known by his initials, FDR, was the 32nd President of the United States and a central figure in world events during the mid-20th century, leading the United States during a time of worldwide economic crisis and world war...

's Pearl Harbor speech made it clear to Hitler that the US could not be kept neutral. Moreover, Germany's policy of appeasement
Appeasement
The term appeasement is commonly understood to refer to a diplomatic policy aimed at avoiding war by making concessions to another power. Historian Paul Kennedy defines it as "the policy of settling international quarrels by admitting and satisfying grievances through rational negotiation and...

 towards the US, designed to keep the US out of the war, was a burden to Germany's war effort. Germany had refrained from attacking American convoys, even if they were bound for the United Kingdom or the Soviet Union. By contrast, after Germany declared war on the US, the German navy began unrestricted submarine warfare
Unrestricted submarine warfare
Unrestricted submarine warfare is a type of naval warfare in which submarines sink merchantmen without warning, as opposed to attacks per prize rules...

, using U-boats to attack ships without warning.

The goal of Germany's navy, the Kriegsmarine
Kriegsmarine
The Kriegsmarine was the name of the German Navy during the Nazi regime . It superseded the Kaiserliche Marine of World War I and the post-war Reichsmarine. The Kriegsmarine was one of three official branches of the Wehrmacht, the unified armed forces of Nazi Germany.The Kriegsmarine grew rapidly...

, was to cut off Britain's supply line. Under these circumstances, one of the most famous naval battles in history took place, with the , Germany's largest and most powerful warship, attempting to break out into the Atlantic and raid supply ships heading for Britain. Bismarck was sunk – but not before sending Britain's largest warship, the battlecruiser
Battlecruiser
Battlecruisers were large capital ships built in the first half of the 20th century. They were developed in the first decade of the century as the successor to the armoured cruiser, but their evolution was more closely linked to that of the dreadnought battleship...

 , to the depths of the ocean. German U-boats were more successful than surface raiders like Bismarck. However, Germany failed to make submarine production a top priority early on and by the time it did, the British and their allies were developing the technology and strategies to neutralize it. Furthermore, in spite of the submarines' early success in 1941 and 1942, material shortages in Britain failed to fall to their World War I levels. The Allied victory in the Battle of the Atlantic was achieved at a huge cost: between 1939 and 1945, 3,500 Allied ships were sunk (gross tonnage 14.5 million) at a cost of 783 German U-boats.

Persecution and extermination campaigns



The persecution of racial, ethnic, and social minorities and "undesirables" continued in Germany and the occupied countries. From 1941, Jews were required to wear a yellow badge
Yellow badge
The yellow badge , also referred to as a Jewish badge, was a cloth patch that Jews were ordered to sew on their outer garments in order to mark them as Jews in public. It is intended to be a badge of shame associated with antisemitism...

 in public; most were kept in walled ghettos, where they remained isolated from the general populace. In January 1942, the Wannsee Conference
Wannsee Conference
The Wannsee Conference was a meeting of senior officials of the Nazi German regime, held in the Berlin suburb of Wannsee on 20 January 1942. The purpose of the conference was to inform administrative leaders of Departments responsible for various policies relating to Jews, that Reinhard Heydrich...

, headed by Reinhard Heydrich
Reinhard Heydrich
Reinhard Tristan Eugen Heydrich , also known as The Hangman, was a high-ranking German Nazi official.He was SS-Obergruppenführer and General der Polizei, chief of the Reich Main Security Office and Stellvertretender Reichsprotektor of Bohemia and Moravia...

 (direct subordinate of Reichsführer-SS
Reichsführer-SS
was a special SS rank that existed between the years of 1925 and 1945. Reichsführer-SS was a title from 1925 to 1933 and, after 1934, the highest rank of the German Schutzstaffel .-Definition:...

Heinrich Himmler
Heinrich Himmler
Heinrich Luitpold Himmler was Reichsführer of the SS, a military commander, and a leading member of the Nazi Party. As Chief of the German Police and the Minister of the Interior from 1943, Himmler oversaw all internal and external police and security forces, including the Gestapo...

), redacted the plans for the "Final Solution
Final Solution
The Final Solution was Nazi Germany's plan and execution of the systematic genocide of European Jews during World War II, resulting in the most deadly phase of the Holocaust...

 of the Jewish Question" (Endlösung der Judenfrage). From then until the end of the war some six million Jews, and six million Poles, Romanies, Slavs, Soviets, and others
Holocaust victims
While the term Holocaust victims generally refers to Jews, the Nazis also persecuted and often killed millions of members of other groups they considered inferior , undesirable or dangerous....

 were systematically killed . In addition, more than ten million people were put into forced labour. In 1978, the term "Holocaust
The Holocaust
The Holocaust , also known as the Shoah , was the genocide of approximately six million European Jews and millions of others during World War II, a programme of systematic state-sponsored murder by Nazi...

" came into general use to describe this genocide in English. It is called the Shoah in Hebrew
Hebrew language
Hebrew is a Semitic language of the Afroasiatic language family. Culturally, is it considered by Jews and other religious groups as the language of the Jewish people, though other Jewish languages had originated among diaspora Jews, and the Hebrew language is also used by non-Jewish groups, such...

. Thousands were shipped daily to concentration- and extermination camps.

Parallel to the Holocaust, the Nazis executed the Generalplan Ost
Generalplan Ost
Generalplan Ost was a secret Nazi German plan for the colonization of Eastern Europe. Implementing it would have necessitated genocide and ethnic cleansing to be undertaken in the Eastern European territories occupied by Germany during World War II...

(General Plan East) for the conquest, ethnic cleansing
Ethnic cleansing
Ethnic cleansing is a purposeful policy designed by one ethnic or religious group to remove by violent and terror-inspiring means the civilian population of another ethnic orreligious group from certain geographic areas....

, and exploitation of the populaces of the captured Soviet
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 and Polish
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

 territories; some 13.7 million Soviet civilians (including Jews & 2.0 million deaths in the annexed territories which are also included with Poland's war dead). and 2.5 million non-Jewish Polish citizens died as a result of warfare, genocide, reprisals, forced labor or famine. The Nazis' aggressive war for Lebensraum
Lebensraum
was one of the major political ideas of Adolf Hitler, and an important component of Nazi ideology. It served as the motivation for the expansionist policies of Nazi Germany, aiming to provide extra space for the growth of the German population, for a Greater Germany...

(Living space) in eastern Europe was waged “to defend Western Civilization against the Bolshevism of subhumans”. Estimates indicate that, had the Nazis won the war and established the New Order, they would have deported some 51 million Slavs from Central and Eastern Europe to western Siberia. Because of the atrocities suffered under Joseph Stalin
Joseph Stalin
Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin was the Premier of the Soviet Union from 6 May 1941 to 5 March 1953. He was among the Bolshevik revolutionaries who brought about the October Revolution and had held the position of first General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union's Central Committee...

, many Ukrainians, Balts
Baltic states
The term Baltic states refers to the Baltic territories which gained independence from the Russian Empire in the wake of World War I: primarily the contiguous trio of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania ; Finland also fell within the scope of the term after initially gaining independence in the 1920s.The...

, and other oppressed nationalities, fought for the Nazis. The populaces of Nazi-occupied Soviet Russia who racially qualified as of the Aryan
Aryan
Aryan is an English language loanword derived from Sanskrit ārya and denoting variously*In scholarly usage:**Indo-Iranian languages *in dated usage:**the Indo-European languages more generally and their speakers...

 race, or had no immediate Jewish ancestors, were not persecuted, and often were recruited to the Waffen Schutzstaffel
Waffen-SS
The Waffen-SS was a multi-ethnic and multi-national military force of the Third Reich. It constituted the armed wing of the Schutzstaffel or SS, an organ of the Nazi Party. The Waffen-SS saw action throughout World War II and grew from three regiments to over 38 divisions, and served alongside...

(Waffen-SS) divisions.

Eventually, the Nazi regime meant to Germanize the racially acceptable volk (ethnic groups) of occupied eastern Europe, with the rest to be exterminated. Parts of the plan were implemented in Polish areas annexed by Nazi Germany
Polish areas annexed by Nazi Germany
At the beginning of World War II, nearly a quarter of the pre-war Polish areas were annexed by Nazi Germany and placed directly under German civil administration, while the rest of Nazi occupied Poland was named as General Government...

, with the classification of Poles on the Nazi Volksliste
Volksliste
The Deutsche Volksliste was a Nazi institution whose purpose was the classification of inhabitants of German occupied territories into categories of desirability according to criteria systematized by Heinrich Himmler. The institution was first established in occupied western Poland...

, according to their racial characteristics
Nazism and race
Nazism developed several theories concerning races. The Nazis claimed to scientifically measure a strict hierarchy of human race; at the top was the master race, the "Aryan race", narrowly defined by the Nazis as being identical with the Nordic race, followed by lesser races.At the bottom of this...

. People classified as Germans who resisted were sent to concentration camps. Those who were not classified as Germans were expelled
Expulsion of Poles by Nazi Germany
The Expulsions of Poles by Nazi Germany during World War II was a massive Nazi German operation consisting of the forced resettlement of over 1.7 million ethnic Poles from all territories of occupied Poland between 1939–1944 with the aim of their geopolitical Germanization .Adolf Hitler had plans...

. Ethnic Germans
Volksdeutsche
Volksdeutsche - "German in terms of people/folk" -, defined ethnically, is a historical term from the 20th century. The words volk and volkische conveyed in Nazi thinking the meanings of "folk" and "race" while adding the sense of superior civilization and blood...

 from the Baltic states were encouraged to leave them, and were settled in Poland in the houses of the expelled Poles. These, and the Poles classified as Germans, were subjected to programs to Germanize them. Children were also abducted from Eastern Europe for Germanization.

Allied victory



In early 1942, the Red Army
Red Army
The Workers' and Peasants' Red Army started out as the Soviet Union's revolutionary communist combat groups during the Russian Civil War of 1918-1922. It grew into the national army of the Soviet Union. By the 1930s the Red Army was among the largest armies in history.The "Red Army" name refers to...

 counter-attacked, and, by winter’s end, the Wehrmacht
Wehrmacht
The Wehrmacht – from , to defend and , the might/power) were the unified armed forces of Nazi Germany from 1935 to 1945. It consisted of the Heer , the Kriegsmarine and the Luftwaffe .-Origin and use of the term:...

were no longer immediately outside Moscow. Yet the Germans and their allies held a strong line, and, in the summer, launched a major attack against the petroleum fields of the Caucasus in Southern Russia. For securing the flanks of this offensive, a line at the Volga had to be held, which led to the Battle of Stalingrad
Battle of Stalingrad
The Battle of Stalingrad was a major battle of World War II in which Nazi Germany and its allies fought the Soviet Union for control of the city of Stalingrad in southwestern Russia. The battle took place between 23 August 1942 and 2 February 1943...

 (17 July 1942 – 2 February 1943), wherein Germany and its allies were defeated. After winning a major tank battle at Kursk-Orel
Battle of Kursk
The Battle of Kursk took place when German and Soviet forces confronted each other on the Eastern Front during World War II in the vicinity of the city of Kursk, in the Soviet Union in July and August 1943. It remains both the largest series of armored clashes, including the Battle of Prokhorovka,...

 in July 1943, the Red Army progressed west, to Germany; henceforth, the Wehrmacht and its allies remained on the defensive.

In Libya, the Afrika Korps
Afrika Korps
The German Africa Corps , or the Afrika Korps as it was popularly called, was the German expeditionary force in Libya and Tunisia during the North African Campaign of World War II...

failed to break through the line at First Battle of El Alamein
First Battle of El Alamein
The First Battle of El Alamein was a battle of the Western Desert Campaign of the Second World War, fought between Axis forces of the Panzer Army Africa commanded by Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, and Allied forces The First Battle of El Alamein (1–27 July 1942) was a battle of the Western Desert...

 (1–27 July 1942), having suffered repercussions from the Battle of Stalingrad. Beginning in 1942, Allied bombing of Germany increased, razing, among others, the cities of Hamburg
Bombing of Hamburg in World War II
The Allied bombing of Hamburg during World War II included numerous strategic bombing missions and diversion/nuisance raids. As a large port and industrial center, Hamburg's shipyards, U-boat pens, and the Hamburg-Harburg area oil refineries were attacked throughout the war...

, Cologne
Bombing of Cologne in World War II
The City of Cologne was bombed in 262 separate air raids by the Allies during World War II, including 31 times by the Royal Air Force . Air raid alarms went off in the winter/spring of 1940 as enemy bombers passed overhead. However, the first actual bombing took place on 12 May 1940...

 and Dresden
Bombing of Dresden in World War II
The Bombing of Dresden was a military bombing by the British Royal Air Force and the United States Army Air Force and as part of the Allied forces between 13 February and 15 February 1945 in the Second World War...

, killing thousands of civilians, and causing hardship for the survivors. Contemporary estimates of Nazi German military dead is 5.5 million.

In November 1942, the Wehrmacht and the Italian Army
Royal Italian Army (1940–1946)
This article is about the Italian Royal Army which participated in World War II.The Italian Royal Army was reformed in 1861 and lasted until 1946. The Royal Army started with the unification of Italy and the formation of the Kingdom of Italy . It ended with the dissolution of the monarchy...

 retreated to Tunisia, where they fought the Americans and the British in the Tunisia Campaign
Tunisia Campaign
The Tunisia Campaign was a series of battles that took place in Tunisia during the North African Campaign of the Second World War, between Axis and Allied forces. The Allies consisted of British Imperial Forces, including Polish and Greek contingents, with American and French corps...

 (17 November 1942 – 13 May 1943). The Allies invaded Sicily and Italy next, but met fierce resistance, particularly at Anzio
Operation Shingle
Operation Shingle , during the Italian Campaign of World War II, was an Allied amphibious landing against Axis forces in the area of Anzio and Nettuno, Italy. The operation was commanded by Major General John P. Lucas and was intended to outflank German forces of the Winter Line and enable an...

 (22 January 1944 – 5 June 1944) and Cassino
Battle of Monte Cassino
The Battle of Monte Cassino was a costly series of four battles during World War II, fought by the Allies against Germans and Italians with the intention of breaking through the Winter Line and seizing Rome.In the beginning of 1944, the western half of the Winter Line was being anchored by Germans...

 (17 January 1944 – 18 May 1944), and the campaign continued from mid-1943 to nearly the end of the war. In June 1944, American, British and Canadian forces established the western front with the D-Day
Operation Overlord
Operation Overlord was the code name for the Battle of Normandy, the operation that launched the invasion of German-occupied western Europe during World War II by Allied forces. The operation commenced on 6 June 1944 with the Normandy landings...

 (6 June 1944) landings in Normandy, France. After the successful Operation Bagration (22 June – 19 August 1944), the Red Army was in Poland; and in East Prussia
East Prussia
East Prussia is the main part of the region of Prussia along the southeastern Baltic Coast from the 13th century to the end of World War II in May 1945. From 1772–1829 and 1878–1945, the Province of East Prussia was part of the German state of Prussia. The capital city was Königsberg.East Prussia...

, West Prussia
West Prussia
West Prussia was a province of the Kingdom of Prussia from 1773–1824 and 1878–1919/20 which was created out of the earlier Polish province of Royal Prussia...

, and Silesia
Silesia
Silesia is a historical region of Central Europe located mostly in Poland, with smaller parts also in the Czech Republic, and Germany.Silesia is rich in mineral and natural resources, and includes several important industrial areas. Silesia's largest city and historical capital is Wrocław...

 the German populaces fled en masse, fearing Communist
Bolshevik
The Bolsheviks, originally also Bolshevists , derived from bol'shinstvo, "majority") were a faction of the Marxist Russian Social Democratic Labour Party which split apart from the Menshevik faction at the Second Party Congress in 1903....

 persecution, atrocity, and death. In spring of 1945, the Red Army was at Berlin; US and UK forces had conquered most of west Germany (and would go on to meet up with the Red Army at Torgau
Torgau
Torgau is a town on the banks of the Elbe in northwestern Saxony, Germany. It is the capital of the district Nordsachsen.Outside Germany, the town is most well known as the place where during the Second World War, United States Army forces coming from the west met with forces of the Soviet Union...

 on the Elbe on 26 April 1945).

During the Battle of Berlin
Battle of Berlin
The Battle of Berlin, designated the Berlin Strategic Offensive Operation by the Soviet Union, was the final major offensive of the European Theatre of World War II....

 (16 April 1945 – 2 May 1945), Hitler and key staff members lived in the armoured, underground Führerbunker
Führerbunker
The Führerbunker was located beneath Hitler's New Reich Chancellery in Berlin, Germany. It was part of a subterranean bunker complex which was constructed in two major phases, one part in 1936 and the other in 1943...

while aboveground the Red Army
Red Army
The Workers' and Peasants' Red Army started out as the Soviet Union's revolutionary communist combat groups during the Russian Civil War of 1918-1922. It grew into the national army of the Soviet Union. By the 1930s the Red Army was among the largest armies in history.The "Red Army" name refers to...

 fought remnant forces made up of the German army, Hitler Youth
Hitler Youth
The Hitler Youth was a paramilitary organization of the Nazi Party. It existed from 1922 to 1945. The HJ was the second oldest paramilitary Nazi group, founded one year after its adult counterpart, the Sturmabteilung...

, and Waffen-SS
Waffen-SS
The Waffen-SS was a multi-ethnic and multi-national military force of the Third Reich. It constituted the armed wing of the Schutzstaffel or SS, an organ of the Nazi Party. The Waffen-SS saw action throughout World War II and grew from three regiments to over 38 divisions, and served alongside...

, for control of the ruined capital city of Nazi Germany. In the Führerbunker, Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

, became psychologically isolated and detached. At the situation conference of 22 April, Hitler suffered a total nervous collapse when he was informed that the instructions he had issued the previous day for SS-General Felix Steiner
Felix Steiner
Felix Martin Julius Steiner was a German Reichswehr and Waffen-SS officer who served in both World War I and World War II. He was also a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords...

's Army Detachment Steiner
Army Detachment Steiner
Army Detachment Steiner , was a temporary military unit, something more than a corps but less than an army, created on paper by German dictator Adolf Hitler on 21 April 1945 during the Battle of Berlin, and placed under the command of SS Obergruppenführer Felix Steiner...

 to move to the rescue of Berlin had not materialised. Hitler openly declared for the first time the war was lost and blamed the generals. Hitler announced he would stay in Berlin until the end and then shoot himself. On 23 April, as Berlin became more isolated, Hermann Göring
Hermann Göring
Hermann Wilhelm Göring, was a German politician, military leader, and a leading member of the Nazi Party. He was a veteran of World War I as an ace fighter pilot, and a recipient of the coveted Pour le Mérite, also known as "The Blue Max"...

 sent Hitler an ultimatum, threatening to assume command of Nazi Germany if he received no reply—which he would interpret as Hitler being incapacitated. Upon receiving the ultimatum, the Führer ordered Göring's immediate arrest, and despatched an aeroplane delivering the reply to Göring in Bavaria
Bavaria
Bavaria, formally the Free State of Bavaria is a state of Germany, located in the southeast of Germany. With an area of , it is the largest state by area, forming almost 20% of the total land area of Germany...

. By 25 April the Red Army encirclement of Berlin was complete and secure radio communications with defending units had been lost; the command staff in the bunker were depending on telephone lines for passing orders and on public radio for news and information. Despite the losses of armies and lands, the Führer neither relinquished power, nor surrendered. On 28 April, a BBC report
BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

 stated that Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler
Heinrich Himmler
Heinrich Luitpold Himmler was Reichsführer of the SS, a military commander, and a leading member of the Nazi Party. As Chief of the German Police and the Minister of the Interior from 1943, Himmler oversaw all internal and external police and security forces, including the Gestapo...

 had offered surrender to the western Allies. Hitler ordered Himmler's arrest and had Hermann Fegelein
Hermann Fegelein
SS-Obergruppenführer Hans Georg Otto Hermann Fegelein was a General of the Waffen-SS in Nazi Germany, a member of Adolf Hitler's entourage, brother-in-law to Eva Braun through his marriage to her sister, Gretl, and husband of the sister-in-law to Adolf Hitler through Hitler's marriage to Eva...

 (Himmler's SS representative at Hitler's HQ in Berlin) shot.

Capitulation of German forces



On 30 April 1945, after intense street-to-street combat
Urban warfare
Urban warfare is combat conducted in urban areas such as towns and cities. Urban combat is very different from combat in the open at both the operational and tactical level...

 in Berlin, when Soviet troops were within a block or two of the Reich Chancellery
Reich Chancellery
The Reich Chancellery was the traditional name of the office of the Chancellor of Germany in the period of the German Reich from 1871 to 1945...

, Hitler and Eva Braun
Eva Braun
Eva Anna Paula Hitler was the longtime companion of Adolf Hitler and, for less than 40 hours, his wife. Braun met Hitler in Munich, when she was 17 years old, while working as an assistant and model for his personal photographer and began seeing him often about two years later...

 committed suicide
Death of Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler committed suicide by gunshot on Monday, 30 April 1945 in his Führerbunker in Berlin. His wife Eva , committed suicide with him by ingesting cyanide...

 in his underground bunker
Führerbunker
The Führerbunker was located beneath Hitler's New Reich Chancellery in Berlin, Germany. It was part of a subterranean bunker complex which was constructed in two major phases, one part in 1936 and the other in 1943...

. Two days later, on 2 May 1945, German General Helmuth Weidling
Helmuth Weidling
Helmuth Otto Ludwig Weidling was an officer in the German Army before and during World War II...

 unconditionally surrendered Berlin to Soviet General Vasily Chuikov
Vasily Chuikov
Vasily Ivanovich Chuikov was a Russian lieutenant general in the Red Army during World War II, twice Hero of the Soviet Union , who after the war became a Marshal of the Soviet Union.-Early life and career:Born into a peasant family in the village of Serebryanye Prudy, he joined the Red Army during...

.

Hitler was succeeded by Grand Admiral Karl Dönitz
Karl Dönitz
Karl Dönitz was a German naval commander during World War II. He started his career in the German Navy during World War I. In 1918, while he was in command of , the submarine was sunk by British forces and Dönitz was taken prisoner...

 as Reich's President and Dr. Joseph Goebbels
Joseph Goebbels
Paul Joseph Goebbels was a German politician and Reich Minister of Propaganda in Nazi Germany from 1933 to 1945. As one of Adolf Hitler's closest associates and most devout followers, he was known for his zealous oratory and anti-Semitism...

 as Reich Chancellor. No one was to replace Hitler as the Führer, a position Hitler abolished in his will
Last will and testament of Adolf Hitler
The last will and testament of Adolf Hitler was dictated by Hitler to his secretary Traudl Junge in his Berlin Führerbunker on April 29, 1945, the day he and Eva Braun married. They committed suicide the next day , two days before the surrender of Berlin to the Soviets on May 2, and just over a...

. However, Goebbels committed suicide in the Führerbunker a day after assuming office. The caretaker government
Flensburg government
The Flensburg Government , also known as the Flensburg Cabinet and the Dönitz Government , was the short-lived administration that attempted to rule the Third Reich during most of May 1945 at the end of World War II in Europe...

 Dönitz established near the Danish border unsuccessfully sought a separate peace with the Western Allies. On 4–8 May 1945 most of the remaining German armed forces throughout Europe surrendered unconditionally (German Instrument of Surrender, 1945). This was the end of World War II in Europe
End of World War II in Europe
The final battles of the European Theatre of World War II as well as the German surrender to the Western Allies and the Soviet Union took place in late April and early May 1945.-Timeline of surrenders and deaths:...

.

The war was the largest and most destructive in human history, with 60 million dead across the world
World War II casualties
World War II was the deadliest military conflict in history. Over 60 million people were killed, which was over 2.5% of the world population. The tables below give a detailed country-by-country count of human losses.-Total dead:...

, including approximately 6 million Jews who perished during the Holocaust
The Holocaust
The Holocaust , also known as the Shoah , was the genocide of approximately six million European Jews and millions of others during World War II, a programme of systematic state-sponsored murder by Nazi...

, 3 million Soviet prisoners of war
Nazi crimes against Soviet POWs
The Nazi crimes against Soviet Prisoners of War relate to the deliberately genocidal policies taken towards the captured soldiers of the Soviet Union by Nazi Germany...

 and at least 3 million civilian non-Jewish victims of Nazi crimes. The Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 lost around 27 million people during the war, about half of all World War II casualties. One in four Soviets were killed or wounded. The postwar Soviet population was 45 to 50 million smaller than it would have been if pre-war demographic growth had continued. Towards the end of the war, Europe had more than 40 million refugee
Refugee
A refugee is a person who outside her country of origin or habitual residence because she has suffered persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or because she is a member of a persecuted 'social group'. Such a person may be referred to as an 'asylum seeker' until...

s, the European economy had collapsed, and 70% of the European industrial infrastructure was destroyed.

With the creation of the Allied Control Council
Allied Control Council
The Allied Control Council or Allied Control Authority, known in the German language as the Alliierter Kontrollrat and also referred to as the Four Powers , was a military occupation governing body of the Allied Occupation Zones in Germany after the end of World War II in Europe...

 on 5 July 1945, the four Allied powers "assume[d] supreme authority with respect to Germany" (Declaration Regarding the Defeat of Germany
Berlin Declaration (1945)
By way of the Berlin Declaration of June 5th, 1945, , the victors of World War II assumed...

, U.S. Department of State, Treaties and Other International Acts Series, No. 1520).

The fall of the Third Reich




The Allies' Potsdam Conference
Potsdam Conference
The Potsdam Conference was held at Cecilienhof, the home of Crown Prince Wilhelm Hohenzollern, in Potsdam, occupied Germany, from 16 July to 2 August 1945. Participants were the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States...

 in August 1945 created arrangements for the Allied occupation and denazification of the country, as well as war reparations
War reparations
War reparations are payments intended to cover damage or injury during a war. Generally, the term war reparations refers to money or goods changing hands, rather than such property transfers as the annexation of land.- History :...

 involving the removal of war-related factories. All German annexations in Europe after 1937, and Germany's eastern border was shifted westwards to the Oder-Neisse line
Oder-Neisse line
The Oder–Neisse line is the border between Germany and Poland which was drawn in the aftermath of World War II. The line is formed primarily by the Oder and Lusatian Neisse rivers, and meets the Baltic Sea west of the seaport cities of Szczecin and Świnoujście...

. France took temporary control of a large part of Germany's remaining Saar region
Saar (protectorate)
The Saar Protectorate was a German borderland territory twice temporarily made a protectorate state. Since rejoining Germany the second time in 1957, it is the smallest Federal German Area State , the Saarland, not counting the city-states Berlin, Hamburg and Bremen...

. The Allies each had its zone, which lasted until 1949; Berlin was also divided four ways, and remained under Allied control until 1990.

The United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 organized trials of Nazi leaders for war crime
War crime
War crimes are serious violations of the laws applicable in armed conflict giving rise to individual criminal responsibility...

s and crimes against humanity. At the Nuremberg Trials
Nuremberg Trials
The Nuremberg Trials were a series of military tribunals, held by the victorious Allied forces of World War II, most notable for the prosecution of prominent members of the political, military, and economic leadership of the defeated Nazi Germany....

, the first, major trial was the Trial of the Major War Criminals Before the International Military Tribunal (IMT), of 24 key Nazi officials—including Hermann Göring
Hermann Göring
Hermann Wilhelm Göring, was a German politician, military leader, and a leading member of the Nazi Party. He was a veteran of World War I as an ace fighter pilot, and a recipient of the coveted Pour le Mérite, also known as "The Blue Max"...

, Ernst Kaltenbrunner
Ernst Kaltenbrunner
Ernst Kaltenbrunner was an Austrian-born senior official of Nazi Germany during World War II. Between January 1943 and May 1945, he held the offices of Chief of the Reichssicherheitshauptamt , President of Interpol and, as a Obergruppenführer und General der Polizei und Waffen-SS, he was the...

, Rudolf Hess
Rudolf Hess
Rudolf Walter Richard Hess was a prominent Nazi politician who was Adolf Hitler's deputy in the Nazi Party during the 1930s and early 1940s...

, Albert Speer
Albert Speer
Albert Speer, born Berthold Konrad Hermann Albert Speer, was a German architect who was, for a part of World War II, Minister of Armaments and War Production for the Third Reich. Speer was Adolf Hitler's chief architect before assuming ministerial office...

, Karl Dönitz
Karl Dönitz
Karl Dönitz was a German naval commander during World War II. He started his career in the German Navy during World War I. In 1918, while he was in command of , the submarine was sunk by British forces and Dönitz was taken prisoner...

, Hans Frank
Hans Frank
Hans Michael Frank was a German lawyer who worked for the Nazi party during the 1920s and 1930s and later became a high-ranking official in Nazi Germany...

, and Julius Streicher
Julius Streicher
Julius Streicher was a prominent Nazi prior to World War II. He was the founder and publisher of Der Stürmer newspaper, which became a central element of the Nazi propaganda machine...

. Most defendants were found guilty, 12 were sentenced to execution.

The victorious Allies outlawed the Nazi Party, its subsidiary organizations, and most of its symbols and emblems especially the swastika throughout Germany and Austria; this prohibition remains in force.

The end of Nazi Germany also saw the rise in unpopularity of related aggressive manifestations of nationalism in Germany such as Pan-Germanism
Pan-Germanism
Pan-Germanism is a pan-nationalist political idea. Pan-Germanists originally sought to unify the German-speaking populations of Europe in a single nation-state known as Großdeutschland , where "German-speaking" was taken to include the Low German, Frisian and Dutch-speaking populations of the Low...

 and the Völkisch movement
Völkisch movement
The volkisch movement is the German interpretation of the populist movement, with a romantic focus on folklore and the "organic"...

 which had previously been significant political ideas there, and in other parts of Europe, before World War II. Those that remain are largely fringe movements.

Geography


Administration



To consolidate Adolf Hitler’s control of Germany, in 1935, the Nazi régime de facto replaced the administration of the Länder (constituent states
Constituent country
Constituent country is a phrase sometimes used in contexts in which a country makes up a part of a larger entity. The term constituent country does not have any defined legal meaning, and is used simply to refer to a country which is a part Constituent country is a phrase sometimes used in contexts...

) with gaus (regional districts) headed by governors answerable to the central Reich government in Berlin. The reorganization politically weakened Prussia
Prussia
Prussia was a German kingdom and historic state originating out of the Duchy of Prussia and the Margraviate of Brandenburg. For centuries, the House of Hohenzollern ruled Prussia, successfully expanding its size by way of an unusually well-organized and effective army. Prussia shaped the history...

, which had historically dominated German politics. Moreover, despite having centralised and assumed the Gau governments, some Nazis still retained leadership title to the different Länder; Hermann Göring
Hermann Göring
Hermann Wilhelm Göring, was a German politician, military leader, and a leading member of the Nazi Party. He was a veteran of World War I as an ace fighter pilot, and a recipient of the coveted Pour le Mérite, also known as "The Blue Max"...

 was and remained the Reichsstatthalter
Reichsstatthalter
The term Reichsstatthalter was used twice for different offices, in the imperial Hohenzollern dynasty's German Empire and the single-party Nazi Third Reich.- "Statthalter des Reiches" 1879-1918 in Alsace-Lorraine :...

(Reich state governor) and Minister President of Prussia until 1945, and Ludwig Siebert
Ludwig Siebert (politician)
Ludwig Siebert was a Nazi politician and Bavarian prime minister from 1933 to 1942.-Life:...

 remained as Minister President of Bavaria.

Territorial changes



In the years leading to war, in addition to the Weimar Republic proper, the Reich
Reich
Reich is a German word cognate with the English rich, but also used to designate an empire, realm, or nation. The qualitative connotation from the German is " sovereign state." It is the word traditionally used for a variety of sovereign entities, including Germany in many periods of its history...

came to include areas with ethnic German populations, such as Austria, the Czechoslovak Sudetenland
Sudetenland
Sudetenland is the German name used in English in the first half of the 20th century for the northern, southwest and western regions of Czechoslovakia inhabited mostly by ethnic Germans, specifically the border areas of Bohemia, Moravia, and those parts of Silesia being within Czechoslovakia.The...

, and the Lithuania
Lithuania
Lithuania , officially the Republic of Lithuania is a country in Northern Europe, the biggest of the three Baltic states. It is situated along the southeastern shore of the Baltic Sea, whereby to the west lie Sweden and Denmark...

n territory of Memel (the Klaipėda Region
Klaipėda Region
The Klaipėda Region or Memel Territory was defined by the Treaty of Versailles in 1920 when it was put under the administration of the Council of Ambassadors...

). Regions conquered after the war's start include Eupen-Malmedy
Eupen-Malmedy
Eupen-Malmedy, or the East Cantons , is a group of cantons in Belgium, composed of the former Prussian districts of Malmedy and Eupen, together with the Neutral Moresnet...

, Alsace-Lorraine
Alsace-Lorraine
The Imperial Territory of Alsace-Lorraine was a territory created by the German Empire in 1871 after it annexed most of Alsace and the Moselle region of Lorraine following its victory in the Franco-Prussian War. The Alsatian part lay in the Rhine Valley on the west bank of the Rhine River and east...

, Danzig
Free City of Danzig
The Free City of Danzig was a semi-autonomous city-state that existed between 1920 and 1939, consisting of the Baltic Sea port of Danzig and surrounding areas....

, and territories of Poland
Second Polish Republic
The Second Polish Republic, Second Commonwealth of Poland or interwar Poland refers to Poland between the two world wars; a period in Polish history in which Poland was restored as an independent state. Officially known as the Republic of Poland or the Commonwealth of Poland , the Polish state was...

 (Second Polish Republic).

From 1939 to 1945, the Third Reich ruled the ethnically-Czech parts of Czechoslovakia as the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia
Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia
The Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia was the majority ethnic-Czech protectorate which Nazi Germany established in the central parts of Bohemia, Moravia and Czech Silesia in what is today the Czech Republic...

, with its own currency; Czech Silesia
Czech Silesia
Czech Silesia is an unofficial name of one of the three Czech lands and a section of the Silesian historical region. It is located in the north-east of the Czech Republic, predominantly in the Moravian-Silesian Region, with a section in the northern Olomouc Region...

 was incorporated into the province of Silesia
Province of Silesia
The Province of Silesia was a province of the Kingdom of Prussia from 1815 to 1919.-Geography:The territory comprised the bulk of the former Bohemian crown land of Silesia and the County of Kladsko, which King Frederick the Great had conquered from the Austrian Habsburg Monarchy in the 18th...

; and Luxembourg
Luxembourg
Luxembourg , officially the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg , is a landlocked country in western Europe, bordered by Belgium, France, and Germany. It has two principal regions: the Oesling in the North as part of the Ardennes massif, and the Gutland in the south...

 was a wartime annexation in 1940. Central Poland
Second Polish Republic
The Second Polish Republic, Second Commonwealth of Poland or interwar Poland refers to Poland between the two world wars; a period in Polish history in which Poland was restored as an independent state. Officially known as the Republic of Poland or the Commonwealth of Poland , the Polish state was...

 and Polish Galicia were governed by the German-administered General Government
General Government
The General Government was an area of Second Republic of Poland under Nazi German rule during World War II; designated as a separate region of the Third Reich between 1939–1945...

. Eventually, the Polish people
Poles
thumb|right|180px|The state flag of [[Poland]] as used by Polish government and diplomatic authoritiesThe Polish people, or Poles , are a nation indigenous to Poland. They are united by the Polish language, which belongs to the historical Lechitic subgroup of West Slavic languages of Central Europe...

 were to be removed, and Poland proper then re-populated with 5 million Germans. By late 1943, Nazi Germany had conquered South Tyrol
South Tyrol
South Tyrol , also known by its Italian name Alto Adige, is an autonomous province in northern Italy. It is one of the two autonomous provinces that make up the autonomous region of Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol. The province has an area of and a total population of more than 500,000 inhabitants...

 and Istria
Istria
Istria , formerly Histria , is the largest peninsula in the Adriatic Sea. The peninsula is located at the head of the Adriatic between the Gulf of Trieste and the Bay of Kvarner...

, which had been parts of Austria-Hungary
Austria-Hungary
Austria-Hungary , more formally known as the Kingdoms and Lands Represented in the Imperial Council and the Lands of the Holy Hungarian Crown of Saint Stephen, was a constitutional monarchic union between the crowns of the Austrian Empire and the Kingdom of Hungary in...

 before 1919, and seized Trieste
Trieste
Trieste is a city and seaport in northeastern Italy. It is situated towards the end of a narrow strip of land lying between the Adriatic Sea and Italy's border with Slovenia, which lies almost immediately south and east of the city...

 after the (erstwhile Axis Ally) Italian Fascist
Italian Fascism
Italian Fascism also known as Fascism with a capital "F" refers to the original fascist ideology in Italy. This ideology is associated with the National Fascist Party which under Benito Mussolini ruled the Kingdom of Italy from 1922 until 1943, the Republican Fascist Party which ruled the Italian...

 government capitulated to the Allies. Two puppet-districts were set up in their place, the Operational Zone of the Adriatic Littoral and the Operational Zone of the Alpine Foothills.

Reichskommissariate



Beyond the territories incorporated into Germany were the Reichskommissariat
Reichskommissariat
Reichskommissariat is the German designation for a type of administrative office headed by a government official known as a Reichskommissar...

e
(Reich Commissariats), quasi-colonial
Colony
In politics and history, a colony is a territory under the immediate political control of a state. For colonies in antiquity, city-states would often found their own colonies. Some colonies were historically countries, while others were territories without definite statehood from their inception....

 regimes established in a number of occupied countries and regions that were ruled by Nazi civilian administrators (Reichskommissar
Reichskommissar
Reichskommissar , in German history, was an official gubernatorial title used for various public offices during the period of the German Empire and the Nazi Third Reich....

s). Although "outside" of the Reich in a legal sense these were intended for eventual incorporation into it, most notably as sources for future Lebensraum
Lebensraum
was one of the major political ideas of Adolf Hitler, and an important component of Nazi ideology. It served as the motivation for the expansionist policies of Nazi Germany, aiming to provide extra space for the growth of the German population, for a Greater Germany...

. Nazi-occupied Soviet Russia included the Reichskommissariat Ostland
Reichskommissariat Ostland
Reichskommissariat Ostland, literally "Reich Commissariat Eastland", was the civilian occupation regime established by Nazi Germany in the Baltic states and much of Belarus during World War II. It was also known as Reichskommissariat Baltenland initially...

(encompassing the Baltic states
Baltic states
The term Baltic states refers to the Baltic territories which gained independence from the Russian Empire in the wake of World War I: primarily the contiguous trio of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania ; Finland also fell within the scope of the term after initially gaining independence in the 1920s.The...

, eastern parts
Kresy
The Polish term Kresy refers to a land considered by Poles as historical eastern provinces of their country. Today, it makes western Ukraine, western Belarus, as well as eastern Lithuania, with such major cities, as Lviv, Vilnius, and Hrodna. This territory belonged to the Polish-Lithuanian...

 of Poland
Second Polish Republic
The Second Polish Republic, Second Commonwealth of Poland or interwar Poland refers to Poland between the two world wars; a period in Polish history in which Poland was restored as an independent state. Officially known as the Republic of Poland or the Commonwealth of Poland , the Polish state was...

, and western parts of Belarus
Belarus
Belarus , officially the Republic of Belarus, is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe, bordered clockwise by Russia to the northeast, Ukraine to the south, Poland to the west, and Lithuania and Latvia to the northwest. Its capital is Minsk; other major cities include Brest, Grodno , Gomel ,...

) and a Reichskommissariat Ukraine
Reichskommissariat Ukraine
Reichskommissariat Ukraine , literally "Reich Commissariat of Ukraine", was the civilian occupation regime of much of German-occupied Ukraine during World War II. Between September 1941 and March 1944, the Reichskommissariat was administered by Reichskommissar Erich Koch as a colony...

. More such districts, the Reichskommissariat Moskowien for much of Western Russia, the Reichskommissariat Kaukasus
Reichskommissariat Kaukasus
Reichskommissariat Kaukasus , literally "Reich Commissariat of the Caucasus ", was the theoretical political division and planned civilian occupation regime of Nazi Germany in the conquered territories of the Caucasus during World War II...

for the Caucasus
Caucasus
The Caucasus, also Caucas or Caucasia , is a geopolitical region at the border of Europe and Asia, and situated between the Black and the Caspian sea...

, and the Reichskommissariat Turkestan
Reichskommissariat Turkestan
Reichskommissariat Turkestan , literally "Reich Commissariat of Turkestan " was the civilian occupation regime which the leadership of Nazi Germany proposed to create in the Central Asian Republics of the Soviet Union in its military conflict with that country during World War II.-Background:Prior...

for Central Asia
Central Asia
Central Asia is a core region of the Asian continent from the Caspian Sea in the west, China in the east, Afghanistan in the south, and Russia in the north...

 were also proposed in the event that they were brought under German rule.

In Northern and Western Europe, the Germans established a Reichskommissariat Norwegen
Reichskommissariat Norwegen
The Reichskommissariat Norwegen, literally "Reich Commissariat of Norway", was the civilian occupation regime set up by Nazi Germany in German-occupied Norway during World War II. Its full title in German was the Reichskommissariat für die besetzten norwegischen Gebiete...

(Norway
Norway
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

), and a Reichskommissariat Niederlande
Reichskommissariat Niederlande
The Reichskommissariat Niederlande, literally "Reich Commissariat of the Netherlands", was the civilian occupation regime set up by Nazi Germany in the German-occupied Netherlands during World War II. Its full title in German was the Reichskommissariat für die besetzten niederländischen Gebiete...

(the Netherlands
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

). In June 1944 a Franco–Belgian Reichskommissariat, derived from the previous Military Administration in Belgium and Northern France was also established to "facilitate" the area's intended annexation into Germany. This subsequently happened in December 1944, when it was split into three new Reichsgau
Reichsgau
A Reichsgau was an administrative subdivision created in a number of the areas annexed to Nazi Germany between 1938 and 1945...

e of the Greater German Reich: Flanders
Reichsgau Flandern
The Reichsgau Flanders was a short-lived Reichsgau of Nazi Germany established in 1944. It encompassed the present-day Flemish Region in its old provincial borders, so including Comines-Warneton but excluding Voeren...

, Wallonia
Reichsgau Wallonien
The Reichsgau Wallonia was a short-lived Reichsgau of Nazi Germany established in 1944. It encompassed present-day Wallonia in its old provincial borders, so excluding Comines-Warneton but including Voeren...

, and Brussels
District of Brussels
The District of Brussels was a short-lived administrative polity created by Nazi Germany in 1944...

. This meant little in reality however as the majority of Belgium had already been liberated by the Allied forces
Allies of World War II
The Allies of World War II were the countries that opposed the Axis powers during the Second World War . Former Axis states contributing to the Allied victory are not considered Allied states...

 at this point, although the Wehrmacht
Wehrmacht
The Wehrmacht – from , to defend and , the might/power) were the unified armed forces of Nazi Germany from 1935 to 1945. It consisted of the Heer , the Kriegsmarine and the Luftwaffe .-Origin and use of the term:...

 did make some small gains in retaking Wallonia during the Ardennes offensive.

Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

 and other leading Nazi politicians believed that the non-German Germanic peoples
Germanic peoples
The Germanic peoples are an Indo-European ethno-linguistic group of Northern European origin, identified by their use of the Indo-European Germanic languages which diversified out of Proto-Germanic during the Pre-Roman Iron Age.Originating about 1800 BCE from the Corded Ware Culture on the North...

 of Europe, such as the Scandinavians
Scandinavians
Scandinavians are a group of Germanic peoples, inhabiting Scandinavia and to a lesser extent countries associated with Scandinavia, and speaking Scandinavian languages. The group includes Danes, Norwegians and Swedes, and additionally the descendants of Scandinavian settlers such as the Icelandic...

, the Dutch
Dutch people
The Dutch people are an ethnic group native to the Netherlands. They share a common culture and speak the Dutch language. Dutch people and their descendants are found in migrant communities worldwide, notably in Suriname, Chile, Brazil, Canada, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, and the United...

, and the Flemish
Flemish people
The Flemings or Flemish are the Dutch-speaking inhabitants of Belgium, where they are mostly found in the northern region of Flanders. They are one of two principal cultural-linguistic groups in Belgium, the other being the French-speaking Walloons...

, were part of the "Aryan
Aryan race
The Aryan race is a concept historically influential in Western culture in the period of the late 19th century and early 20th century. It derives from the idea that the original speakers of the Indo-European languages and their descendants up to the present day constitute a distinctive race or...

 master race
Master race
Master race was a phrase and concept originating in the slave-holding Southern US. The later phrase Herrenvolk , interpreted as 'master race', was a concept in Nazi ideology in which the Nordic peoples, one of the branches of what in the late-19th and early-20th century was called the Aryan race,...

". Hitler stated that he wanted to undo the "unnatural division" of the Nordic race
Nordic theory
The Nordic race is one of the racial subcategories into which the Caucasian race was divided by anthropologists in the first half of the 20th century...

 into many different countries ("kleinstaatengerümpel"). This was expanded on by Nazi ideologists, who made the analogy that since the union with Austria
Anschluss
The Anschluss , also known as the ', was the occupation and annexation of Austria into Nazi Germany in 1938....

 had transformed the German Reich into a Greater German Reich (Grossdeutsches Reich), so too would its union with the rest of historically Germanic Europe create a Greater Germanic Reich
Greater Germanic Reich
The Greater Germanic Reich , fully styled the Greater Germanic Reich of the German Nation is the official state name of the political entity that Nazi Germany tried to establish in Europe during World War II...

 (Grossgermanisches Reich). The United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 however was expected to be accorded a somewhat higher status, as partners in the Nazis' New Order rather than subjects. Hitler professed an admiration for the British Empire
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

 and its people
British people
The British are citizens of the United Kingdom, of the Isle of Man, any of the Channel Islands, or of any of the British overseas territories, and their descendants...

 as proof of Aryan superiority
Supremacism
Supremacism is the belief that a particular race, species, ethnic group, religion, gender, sexual orientation, belief system or culture is superior to others and entitles those who identify with it to dominate, control or rule those who do not.- Sexual :...

 in Zweites Buch
Zweites Buch
The Zweites Buch is an unedited transcript of Adolf Hitler's thoughts on foreign policy written in 1928; it was written after Mein Kampf and was never published in his lifetime.-Composition:...

.

Post-war changes



The de facto borders of the Reich changed long before its vanquishment in May 1945; as the Red Army
Red Army
The Workers' and Peasants' Red Army started out as the Soviet Union's revolutionary communist combat groups during the Russian Civil War of 1918-1922. It grew into the national army of the Soviet Union. By the 1930s the Red Army was among the largest armies in history.The "Red Army" name refers to...

 progressed westwards, the colonist German populaces fled to Germany proper, as the Western Allies
Western Allies
The Western Allies were a political and geographic grouping among the Allied Powers of the Second World War. It generally includes the United Kingdom and British Commonwealth, the United States, France and various other European and Latin American countries, but excludes China, the Soviet Union,...

 advanced eastwards, from France. At war’s end, a small strip of land, from Austria to Bohemia and Moravia (and other isolated regions) was the only area not occupied by the Allies. Upon its defeat, some historians have proposed that the Reich was in debellation. France, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States, established occupation zones. The prewar German lands east of the Oder-Neisse line
Oder-Neisse line
The Oder–Neisse line is the border between Germany and Poland which was drawn in the aftermath of World War II. The line is formed primarily by the Oder and Lusatian Neisse rivers, and meets the Baltic Sea west of the seaport cities of Szczecin and Świnoujście...

 and Stettin, and environs (nearly 25 per cent of pre-war German territory) were under Polish and Soviet administration, sundered for Polish and Soviet annexation; the Allies expelled the German inhabitants
Expulsion of Germans after World War II
The later stages of World War II, and the period after the end of that war, saw the forced migration of millions of German nationals and ethnic Germans from various European states and territories, mostly into the areas which would become post-war Germany and post-war Austria...

. In 1947, the Allied Control Council disestablished Prussia with Law No. 46 (20 May 1947); per the Potsdam Conference
Potsdam Conference
The Potsdam Conference was held at Cecilienhof, the home of Crown Prince Wilhelm Hohenzollern, in Potsdam, occupied Germany, from 16 July to 2 August 1945. Participants were the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States...

 (6 July–2 August 1945), the Prussian lands east of the Oder-Neisse Line were divided and administered by Poland and the Kaliningrad Oblast
Kaliningrad Oblast
Kaliningrad Oblast is a federal subject of Russia situated on the Baltic coast. It has a population of The oblast forms the westernmost part of the Russian Federation, but it has no land connection to the rest of Russia. Since its creation it has been an exclave of the Russian SFSR and then the...

, pending the final peace treaty Later, by signing the Treaty of Warsaw
Treaty of Warsaw (1970)
The Treaty of Warsaw was a treaty between West Germany and the People's Republic of Poland. It was signed by Chancellor Willy Brandt and Prime Minister Józef Cyrankiewicz at the Presidential Palace on 7 December 1970, and it was ratified by the German Bundestag on 17 May 1972.In the treaty, both...

 (1970) and the Treaty on the Final Settlement with Respect to Germany
Treaty on the Final Settlement with Respect to Germany
The Treaty on the Final Settlement With Respect to Germany, was negotiated in 1990 between the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic , and the Four Powers which occupied Germany at the end of World War II in Europe: France, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and the...

 (1990), Germany renounced claims to territories lost during World War II (1939–45).

Economy



In keeping with the political syncretism
Syncretic politics
Syncretic politics or spectral-syncretic refers to a form of politics outside of the conventional left-right political spectrum, this term is especially used by some scholars to describe the political nature of fascism...

 of fascism
Fascism
Fascism is a radical authoritarian nationalist political ideology. Fascists seek to rejuvenate their nation based on commitment to the national community as an organic entity, in which individuals are bound together in national identity by suprapersonal connections of ancestry, culture, and blood...

, the Nazi war economy was a mixed economy
Mixed economy
Mixed economy is an economic system in which both the state and private sector direct the economy, reflecting characteristics of both market economies and planned economies. Most mixed economies can be described as market economies with strong regulatory oversight, in addition to having a variety...

 of free-market and central-planning practices; historian Richard Overy
Richard Overy
Richard Overy is a British historian who has published extensively on the history of World War II and the Third Reich. In 2007 as The Times editor of Complete History of the World he chose the 50 key dates of world history....

 reports: “The German economy fell between two stools. It was not enough of a command economy to do what the Soviet system could do; yet it was not capitalist enough to rely, as America did, on the recruitment of private enterprise.”

When the Nazis assumed German government, their most pressing economic matter was a national unemployment rate of approximately 30 per cent; at the start, Third Reich economic policies were the brainchildren of the economist
Economics
Economics is the social science that analyzes the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services. The term economics comes from the Ancient Greek from + , hence "rules of the house"...

 Dr. Hjalmar Schacht
Hjalmar Schacht
Dr. Hjalmar Horace Greeley Schacht was a German economist, banker, liberal politician, and co-founder of the German Democratic Party. He served as the Currency Commissioner and President of the Reichsbank under the Weimar Republic...

, President of the Reichsbank
Reichsbank
The Reichsbank was the central bank of Germany from 1876 until 1945. It was founded on 1 January 1876 . The Reichsbank was a privately owned central bank of Prussia, under close control by the Reich government. Its first president was Hermann von Dechend...

(1933) and Minister of Economics (1934), who helped Reichskanzler
Chancellor of Germany
The Chancellor of Germany is, under the German 1949 constitution, the head of government of Germany...

Adolf Hitler implement Nazi redevelopment, reindustrialization, and rearmament
German re-armament
The German re-armament was a massive effort led by the NSDAP in the early 1930s in violation of the Treaty of Versailles.During its struggle for power the National Socialist party promised to recover Germany's lost national pride...

 of Germany; formerly, he had been Weimar Republic currency commissioner and Reichsbank president. As Economics Minister, Schacht was one of few ministers who took advantage of the administrative freedom allowed by the removal of the Reichsmark from the gold standard
Gold standard
The gold standard is a monetary system in which the standard economic unit of account is a fixed mass of gold. There are distinct kinds of gold standard...

—to maintain low interest rates, and high government deficits; the extensive, national public works, reducing the unemployment, were deficit-funded policy. The consequence of Economics Minister Schacht’s administration was the extremely rapid unemployment-rate decline, the greatest of any country during the Great Depression
Great Depression
The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression in the decade preceding World War II. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations, but in most countries it started in about 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s or early 1940s...

. Eventually, this Keynesian economic policy was supplemented by the increased production demands of warfare, inflating
Inflation
In economics, inflation is a rise in the general level of prices of goods and services in an economy over a period of time.When the general price level rises, each unit of currency buys fewer goods and services. Consequently, inflation also reflects an erosion in the purchasing power of money – a...

 military budgets, and increasing government spending; the 100,000-soldier Reichswehr
German Army (German Empire)
The German Army was the name given the combined land forces of the German Empire, also known as the National Army , Imperial Army or Imperial German Army. The term "Deutsches Heer" is also used for the modern German Army, the land component of the German Bundeswehr...

expanded to millions, and renamed as the Wehrmacht
Wehrmacht
The Wehrmacht – from , to defend and , the might/power) were the unified armed forces of Nazi Germany from 1935 to 1945. It consisted of the Heer , the Kriegsmarine and the Luftwaffe .-Origin and use of the term:...

in 1935.


While the strict state intervention into the economy, and the massive rearmament policy, almost led to full employment during the 1930s (statistics didn't include non-citizens or women), real wages in Germany dropped by roughly 25% between 1933 and 1938. Trade union
Trade union
A trade union, trades union or labor union is an organization of workers that have banded together to achieve common goals such as better working conditions. The trade union, through its leadership, bargains with the employer on behalf of union members and negotiates labour contracts with...

s were abolished, as well as collective bargaining
Collective bargaining
Collective bargaining is a process of negotiations between employers and the representatives of a unit of employees aimed at reaching agreements that regulate working conditions...

 and the right to strike
Strike action
Strike action, also called labour strike, on strike, greve , or simply strike, is a work stoppage caused by the mass refusal of employees to work. A strike usually takes place in response to employee grievances. Strikes became important during the industrial revolution, when mass labour became...

. The right to quit also disappeared: Labour books were introduced in 1935, and required the consent of the previous employer in order to be hired for another job.

Nazi control of business retained a diminished investment profit-incentive, controlled with economic regulation concording a company’s functioning with the Reich’s national production requirements. Government financing eventually dominated private investment; in the 1933–34 biennium, the proportion of private securities issued diminished from more than 50 per cent of the total, to approximately 10 per cent in the 1935–38 quadrennium. Heavy profit taxes limited self-financing companies, and the largest companies (usually government contractors) mostly were exempted from paying taxes on profits—in practice. Peter Temin writes that government control allowed “only the shell of private ownership” in the Third Reich economy. By contrast, Christoph Buchheim and Jonas Scherner counter that despite state control, business had much production and investment planning freedom — while the economy was still to a larger degree politically controlled it "does not necessarily mean that private property of enterprises was not of any significance [...] For despite extensive regulatory activity by an interventionist public administration, firms preserved a good deal of their autonomy even under the Nazi regime".

In 1937, Hermann Göring replaced Schacht
Hjalmar Schacht
Dr. Hjalmar Horace Greeley Schacht was a German economist, banker, liberal politician, and co-founder of the German Democratic Party. He served as the Currency Commissioner and President of the Reichsbank under the Weimar Republic...

 as Minister of Economics, and introduced the Four Year Plan
Four year plan
The Four Year Plan was a series of economic reforms created by the Nazi Party. The main aim of the four year plan was to prepare Germany for war in four years...

 that would establish German self-sufficiency for war—within four years—by curtailing foreign importations; fixing wages and prices (violators merited concentration-camp internment); stock dividends were restricted to six per cent on book capital, et cetera. Strategic goals were to be achieved regardless of cost (as in Soviet economics): thus the rapid construction of synthetic-rubber
Synthetic rubber
Synthetic rubber is is any type of artificial elastomer, invariably a polymer. An elastomer is a material with the mechanical property that it can undergo much more elastic deformation under stress than most materials and still return to its previous size without permanent deformation...

 factories, steel mills, automatic textile mills, et cetera.

The Four-Year Plan is discussed in the German-expansion Hossbach Memorandum
Hossbach Memorandum
The Hossbach Memorandum was the summary of a meeting on November 5, 1937 between German dictator Adolf Hitler and his military and foreign policy leadership where Hitler's future expansionist policies were outlined. The meeting marked a turning point in Hitler's foreign policies, which then began...

 (5 November 1937) meeting-summary of Hitler and his military and foreign policy leaders planning aggressive war. Nevertheless, when Nazi Germany started World War II, in September 1939, the Four Year Plan’s expiry was not until 1940; to control the Reich economy, Economics Minister Göring had established the Office of the Four Year Plan. In 1942, the increased burdens of the war, and the accidental aeroplane-crash death of Reichsminister Fritz Todt
Fritz Todt
Fritz Todt was a German engineer and senior Nazi figure, the founder of Organisation Todt. He died in a plane crash during World War II.- Life :Todt was born in Pforzheim to a father who owned a small factory...

, placed Albert Speer
Albert Speer
Albert Speer, born Berthold Konrad Hermann Albert Speer, was a German architect who was, for a part of World War II, Minister of Armaments and War Production for the Third Reich. Speer was Adolf Hitler's chief architect before assuming ministerial office...

 in economics ministry command; he then established a war economy
War economy
War economy is the term used to describe the contingencies undertaken by the modern state to mobilise its economy for war production. Philippe Le Billon describes a war economy as a "system of producing, mobilising and allocating resources to sustain the violence".Many states increase the degree of...

 in Nazi Germany, which required the large-scale employment of forced labourers
Forced labor in Germany during World War II
The use of forced labour in Nazi Germany and throughout German-occupied Europe during World War II took place on an unprecedented scale. It was a vital part of the German economic exploitation of conquered territories. It also contributed to the mass extermination of populations in German-occupied...

. To supply the Third Reich economy with slaves, the Nazis abducted some 12 million people, from some 20 European countries; approximately 75 per cent were Eastern European.

Politics


Through staffing of most government positions with Nazi Party members, by 1935 the German national government and the Nazi Party had become virtually one and the same. By 1938, through the policy of Gleichschaltung
Gleichschaltung
Gleichschaltung , meaning "coordination", "making the same", "bringing into line", is a Nazi term for the process by which the Nazi regime successively established a system of totalitarian control and tight coordination over all aspects of society. The historian Richard J...

, local and state governments lost all legislative power and answered administratively to Nazi Party leaders, known as Gauleiter
Gauleiter
A Gauleiter was the party leader of a regional branch of the NSDAP or the head of a Gau or of a Reichsgau.-Creation and Early Usage:...

s, who governed Gau
Gau (German)
Gau is a German term for a region within a country, often a former or actual province. It was used in medieval times, when it can be seen as roughly corresponding to an English shire...

e
and Reichsgau
Reichsgau
A Reichsgau was an administrative subdivision created in a number of the areas annexed to Nazi Germany between 1938 and 1945...

e
.

Government


Nazi Germany was made up of various competing power structures, all trying to gain favor with the Führer
Führer
Führer , alternatively spelled Fuehrer in both English and German when the umlaut is not available, is a German title meaning leader or guide now most associated with Adolf Hitler, who modelled it on Benito Mussolini's title il Duce, as well as with Georg von Schönerer, whose followers also...

, Adolf Hitler. Thus many existing laws were stricken and replaced with interpretations of what Hitler wanted. Any high party/government official could take one of Hitler's comments and turn it into a new law, of which Hitler would casually either approve or disapprove. This became known as "working towards the Führer", as the government was not a coordinated, co-operating body, but a collection of individuals each trying to gain more power and influence through the Führer. This often made government very convoluted and divided, especially with Hitler's vague policy of creating similar posts with overlapping powers and authority. The process allowed the more unscrupulous and ambitious Nazis to get away with implementing the more radical and extreme elements of Hitler's ideology, such as anti-Semitism, and in doing so win political favor. Protected by Goebbels' extremely effective propaganda machine, which portrayed the government as a dedicated, dutiful and efficient outfit, the dog-eat-dog competition and chaotic legislation was allowed to escalate. Historical opinion is divided between "intentionalists", who believe that Hitler created this system as the only means of ensuring both the total loyalty and dedication of his supporters and the impossibility of a conspiracy; and "structuralists", who believe that the system evolved by itself and was a limitation on Hitler's supposedly totalitarian power.

National authorities

  • Office of the Reich Chancellery
    Reich Chancellery
    The Reich Chancellery was the traditional name of the office of the Chancellor of Germany in the period of the German Reich from 1871 to 1945...

     (Hans Lammers
    Hans Lammers
    Dr.jur. Hans Heinrich Lammers was a German jurist and prominent Nazi politician. From 1933 until 1945 he served as head of the Reich Chancellery under Adolf Hitler....

    )
  • Office of the Party Chancellery
    Party Chancellery
    Party Chancellery , until 1941 Staff of the Deputy Führer , was the name of the head office of the German Nazi Party .-Organization:...

     (Martin Bormann
    Martin Bormann
    Martin Ludwig Bormann was a prominent Nazi official. He became head of the Party Chancellery and private secretary to Adolf Hitler...

    )
  • Office of the Presidential Chancellery (Otto Meißner
    Otto Meißner
    Otto Meißner was head of the Office of the President of Germany during the entire period of the Weimar Republic under Friedrich Ebert and Paul von Hindenburg and, finally, at the beginning of the Nazi era under Adolf Hitler.-Life:The son of a postal official, Meißner studied law in Strasbourg from...

    )
  • Privy Cabinet Council (Konstantin von Neurath
    Konstantin von Neurath
    Konstantin Freiherr von Neurath was a German diplomat remembered mostly for having served as Foreign minister of Germany between 1932 and 1938...

    )
  • Chancellery of the Führer
    Hitler's Chancellery (Kanzlei des Führers)
    Die Kanzlei des Führers , also known as Privatkanzlei des Führers, was the Chancellery responsible for the Nazi Party and associated organizations and their dealings directly with Hitler...

     (Philip Bouhler)

Reich offices

  • Office of the Four-Year Plan
    Four year plan
    The Four Year Plan was a series of economic reforms created by the Nazi Party. The main aim of the four year plan was to prepare Germany for war in four years...

     (Hermann Göring
    Hermann Göring
    Hermann Wilhelm Göring, was a German politician, military leader, and a leading member of the Nazi Party. He was a veteran of World War I as an ace fighter pilot, and a recipient of the coveted Pour le Mérite, also known as "The Blue Max"...

    )
  • Office of the Reich Master Forester (Hermann Göring
    Hermann Göring
    Hermann Wilhelm Göring, was a German politician, military leader, and a leading member of the Nazi Party. He was a veteran of World War I as an ace fighter pilot, and a recipient of the coveted Pour le Mérite, also known as "The Blue Max"...

    )
  • Office of the Inspector for Highways
  • Office of the President of the Reich Bank
  • Reich Main Security Office (Reinhard Heydrich
    Reinhard Heydrich
    Reinhard Tristan Eugen Heydrich , also known as The Hangman, was a high-ranking German Nazi official.He was SS-Obergruppenführer and General der Polizei, chief of the Reich Main Security Office and Stellvertretender Reichsprotektor of Bohemia and Moravia...

    )
  • Reich Youth Office
  • Reich Treasury Office
  • General Inspector of the Reich Capital
  • Office of the Councilor for the Capital of the Movement (Munich, Bavaria)

NSDAP offices

  • NSDAP Office of Racial Policy
    Office of Racial Policy
    The NSDAP Office of Racial Policy was a Nazi Party office created in 1933 for "unifying and supervising all indoctrination and propaganda work in the field of population and racial politics"...

  • NSDAP Office of Colonial Policy
  • NSDAP Office of Foreign Affairs
  • Amt Rosenberg
    Amt Rosenberg
    Amt Rosenberg was an official body for cultural policy and surveillance within the Nazi party, headed by Alfred Rosenberg.It was established in 1934 under the name of Dienststelle Rosenberg , with offices at Margarethenstraße 17 in Berlin, to the west of Potsdamer Platz.Due to the long official...


Reich ministries

  • Reich Foreign Ministry (Joachim von Ribbentrop
    Joachim von Ribbentrop
    Ulrich Friedrich Wilhelm Joachim von Ribbentrop was Foreign Minister of Germany from 1938 until 1945. He was later hanged for war crimes after the Nuremberg Trials.-Early life:...

    )
  • Reich Interior Ministry (Wilhelm Frick
    Wilhelm Frick
    Wilhelm Frick was a prominent German Nazi official serving as Minister of the Interior of the Third Reich. After the end of World War II, he was tried for war crimes at the Nuremberg Trials and executed...

    , Heinrich Himmler
    Heinrich Himmler
    Heinrich Luitpold Himmler was Reichsführer of the SS, a military commander, and a leading member of the Nazi Party. As Chief of the German Police and the Minister of the Interior from 1943, Himmler oversaw all internal and external police and security forces, including the Gestapo...

    )
  • Reich Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda
    Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda
    The Reich Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda was Nazi Germany's ministry that enforced Nazi Party ideology in Germany and regulated its culture and society. Founded on March 13, 1933, by Adolf Hitler's new National Socialist government, the Ministry was headed by Dr...

     (Joseph Goebbels
    Joseph Goebbels
    Paul Joseph Goebbels was a German politician and Reich Minister of Propaganda in Nazi Germany from 1933 to 1945. As one of Adolf Hitler's closest associates and most devout followers, he was known for his zealous oratory and anti-Semitism...

    )
  • Reich Ministry of Aviation
    Reich Air Ministry
    thumb|300px|The Ministry of Aviation, December 1938The Ministry of Aviation was a government department during the period of Nazi Germany...

     (Hermann Göring
    Hermann Göring
    Hermann Wilhelm Göring, was a German politician, military leader, and a leading member of the Nazi Party. He was a veteran of World War I as an ace fighter pilot, and a recipient of the coveted Pour le Mérite, also known as "The Blue Max"...

    )
  • Reich Ministry of Finance (Lutz Schwerin von Krosigk)
  • Reich Ministry of Justice (Franz Gürtner
    Franz Gürtner
    Franz Gürtner was a German Minister of Justice in Adolf Hitler's cabinet, responsible for coordinating jurisprudence in the Third Reich. Detesting the cruel ways of the Gestapo and SA in dealing with prisoners of war, he protested unsuccessfully to Hitler, nevertheless staying on in the cabinet,...

    , Otto Thierack)
  • Reich Economics Ministry (Alfred Hugenberg
    Alfred Hugenberg
    Alfred Ernst Christian Alexander Hugenberg was an influential German businessman and politician. Hugenberg, a leading figure within nationalist politics in Germany for the first few decades of the twentieth century, became the country's leading media proprietor within the inter-war period...

    , Kurt Schmitt
    Kurt Schmitt
    Kurt Paul Schmitt was a German economic leader and the Reich Economy Minister....

    , Hjalmar Schacht
    Hjalmar Schacht
    Dr. Hjalmar Horace Greeley Schacht was a German economist, banker, liberal politician, and co-founder of the German Democratic Party. He served as the Currency Commissioner and President of the Reichsbank under the Weimar Republic...

    , Hermann Göring
    Hermann Göring
    Hermann Wilhelm Göring, was a German politician, military leader, and a leading member of the Nazi Party. He was a veteran of World War I as an ace fighter pilot, and a recipient of the coveted Pour le Mérite, also known as "The Blue Max"...

    , Walther Funk
    Walther Funk
    Walther Funk was a prominent Nazi official. He served as Reich Minister for Economic Affairs in Nazi Germany from 1937 to 1945, tried as a major war criminal by the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg.-Early life:...

    )
  • Reich Ministry for Nutrition and Agriculture (Richard Walther Darré, Herbert Backe
    Herbert Backe
    Herbert Backe was a German Nazi politician and Obergruppenführer in the SS.Backe was born in Batumi, Georgia, the son of a trader. He studied at the Tbilisi Gymnasium from 1905 and was interned on the outbreak of World War I as an enemy alien...

    )
  • Reich Labour Ministry (Franz Seldte
    Franz Seldte
    Franz Seldte was cofounder of the German Stahlhelm paramilitary organization, a Nazi politician, and Minister for Labour of the German Reich from 1933 to 1945.-Life:...

    )
  • Reich Ministry for Science, Education, and Public Instruction (Bernhard Rust
    Bernhard Rust
    Dr. Bernhard Rust was Minister of Science, Education and National Culture in Nazi Germany. A combination of school administrator and zealous Nazi, he issued decrees, often bizarre, at every level of the German educational system to immerse German youth in the National Socialist philosophy...

    )
  • Reich Ministry for Ecclesiastical Affairs (Hanns Kerrl
    Hanns Kerrl
    Hanns Kerrl was a German Nazi politician. His most prominent position, from July 1935, was that of Reichsminister of Church Affairs...

    )
  • Reich Transportation Ministry (Julius Dorpmüller
    Julius Dorpmüller
    Julius Heinrich Dorpmueller was general manager of Deutsche Reichsbahn-Gesellschaft from 1926-45 and the German Reich Transport Minister from 1937-45.- Life :...

    )
  • Reich Postal Ministry (Wilhelm Ohnesorge
    Wilhelm Ohnesorge
    Karl Wilhelm Ohnesorge was a German politician in the Third Reich who sat in Hitler's cabinet. From 1937 to 1945, he also acted as the minister and official of the Reichspost, the German postal service, having succeeded Paul Freiherr von Eltz-Rübenach as minister...

    )
  • Reich Ministry for Weapons, Munitions, and Armament (Fritz Todt
    Fritz Todt
    Fritz Todt was a German engineer and senior Nazi figure, the founder of Organisation Todt. He died in a plane crash during World War II.- Life :Todt was born in Pforzheim to a father who owned a small factory...

    , Albert Speer
    Albert Speer
    Albert Speer, born Berthold Konrad Hermann Albert Speer, was a German architect who was, for a part of World War II, Minister of Armaments and War Production for the Third Reich. Speer was Adolf Hitler's chief architect before assuming ministerial office...

    )
  • Reich Ministry for the Occupied Eastern Territories
    Reich Ministry for the Occupied Eastern Territories
    The Reich Ministry for the Occupied Eastern Territories was created by Adolf Hitler on July 1941 and headed by the Nazi theoretical expert and Baltic German, Alfred Rosenberg. Alfred Meyer was Rosenberg's deputy. This ministry was created to control the vast areas captured by the Germans in...

     (Alfred Rosenberg
    Alfred Rosenberg
    ' was an early and intellectually influential member of the Nazi Party. Rosenberg was first introduced to Adolf Hitler by Dietrich Eckart; he later held several important posts in the Nazi government...

    )
  • Reich Ministers without Portfolio (Konstantin von Neurath
    Konstantin von Neurath
    Konstantin Freiherr von Neurath was a German diplomat remembered mostly for having served as Foreign minister of Germany between 1932 and 1938...

    , Hans Frank
    Hans Frank
    Hans Michael Frank was a German lawyer who worked for the Nazi party during the 1920s and 1930s and later became a high-ranking official in Nazi Germany...

    , Hjalmar Schacht
    Hjalmar Schacht
    Dr. Hjalmar Horace Greeley Schacht was a German economist, banker, liberal politician, and co-founder of the German Democratic Party. He served as the Currency Commissioner and President of the Reichsbank under the Weimar Republic...

    , Arthur Seyss-Inquart
    Arthur Seyss-Inquart
    Arthur Seyss-Inquart was a Chancellor of Austria, lawyer and later Nazi official in pre-Anschluss Austria, the Third Reich and for wartime Germany in Poland and the Netherlands...

    )

State ideology


National Socialism had some of the key ideological elements of fascism
Fascism
Fascism is a radical authoritarian nationalist political ideology. Fascists seek to rejuvenate their nation based on commitment to the national community as an organic entity, in which individuals are bound together in national identity by suprapersonal connections of ancestry, culture, and blood...

 which originally developed in Italy under Benito Mussolini
Benito Mussolini
Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini was an Italian politician who led the National Fascist Party and is credited with being one of the key figures in the creation of Fascism....

; however, the Nazis never officially declared themselves fascists. Both ideologies involved the political use of militarism
Militarism
Militarism is defined as: the belief or desire of a government or people that a country should maintain a strong military capability and be prepared to use it aggressively to defend or promote national interests....

, nationalism
Nationalism
Nationalism is a political ideology that involves a strong identification of a group of individuals with a political entity defined in national terms, i.e. a nation. In the 'modernist' image of the nation, it is nationalism that creates national identity. There are various definitions for what...

, anti-communism
Anti-communism
Anti-communism is opposition to communism. Organized anti-communism developed in reaction to the rise of communism, especially after the 1917 October Revolution in Russia and the beginning of the Cold War in 1947.-Objections to communist theory:...

 and paramilitary forces, and both intended to create a dictatorial
Dictatorship
A dictatorship is defined as an autocratic form of government in which the government is ruled by an individual, the dictator. It has three possible meanings:...

 state. The Nazis, however, were far more racially oriented than the fascists in Italy, Portugal
Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

, and Spain. The Nazis were also intent on creating a completely totalitarian state, unlike Italian fascists who while promoting a totalitarian state, allowed a larger degree of private liberties for their citizens. These differences allowed the Italian monarchy
Kingdom of Italy (1861–1946)
The Kingdom of Italy was a state forged in 1861 by the unification of Italy under the influence of the Kingdom of Sardinia, which was its legal predecessor state...

 to continue to exist and have some official powers. However the Nazis copied much of their symbolism from the Fascists in Italy, such as copying the Roman salute
Roman salute
The Roman salute is a gesture in which the arm is held out forward straight, with palm down, and fingers touching. In some versions, the arm is raised upward at an angle; in others, it is held out parallel to the ground. The former is a well known symbol of fascism that is commonly perceived to be...

 as the Nazi salute, use of mass rallies, both made use of uniformed paramilitaries devoted to the party (the SA in Germany and the Blackshirts in Italy), both Hitler and Mussolini were called the "Leader" (Führer in German, Duce in Italian), both were anti-Communist, both wanted an ideologically driven state, and both advocated a middle-way between capitalism and communism, commonly known as corporatism
Corporatism
Corporatism, also known as corporativism, is a system of economic, political, or social organization that involves association of the people of society into corporate groups, such as agricultural, business, ethnic, labor, military, patronage, or scientific affiliations, on the basis of common...

. The party itself rejected the fascist label, claiming National Socialism was an ideology unique to Germany.

The totalitarian nature of the Nazi party was one of its principal tenets. The Nazis contended that all the great achievements in the past of the German nation and its people were associated with the ideals of National Socialism, even before the ideology officially existed. Propaganda
Propaganda
Propaganda is a form of communication that is aimed at influencing the attitude of a community toward some cause or position so as to benefit oneself or one's group....

 accredited the consolidation of Nazi ideals and successes of the regime to the regime's Führer
Führer
Führer , alternatively spelled Fuehrer in both English and German when the umlaut is not available, is a German title meaning leader or guide now most associated with Adolf Hitler, who modelled it on Benito Mussolini's title il Duce, as well as with Georg von Schönerer, whose followers also...

("Leader"), Adolf Hitler, who was portrayed as the genius behind the Nazi party's success and Germany's saviour.

To secure their ability to create a totalitarian state, the Nazi party's paramilitary force, the Sturmabteilung
Sturmabteilung
The Sturmabteilung functioned as a paramilitary organization of the National Socialist German Workers' Party . It played a key role in Adolf Hitler's rise to power in the 1920s and 1930s...

(SA) or "Storm Detachment" used acts of violence against leftists, communists, democrats, Jews and other opposition or minority groups. The SA "storm troopers" violently clashed with the Communist Party of Germany (German Kommunistische Partei Deutschlands – KPD) which created a climate of lawlessness and fear. In the cities, people were anxious over punishment or even death, if they displayed opposition to the Nazis. Given the frustrations of the people (after World War I and during the Great Depression) it was easy for the SA to attract large numbers of alienated (and unemployed) youth and working class people for the party.

The "German problem", as it is often referred to in English scholarship, focuses on the issue of administration of Germanic regions in Northern and Central Europe, an important theme throughout German history. The "logic" of keeping Germany small worked in the favor of its principal economic rivals, and had been a driving force in the recreation of a Polish state. The goal was to create numerous counterweights in order to "balance out Germany's power".

The Nazis endorsed the concept of Großdeutschland, or Greater Germany, and believed that the incorporation of the Germanic people into one nation was a vital step towards their national success. It was the Nazis' passionate support of the Volk concept of Greater Germany that led to Germany's expansion, that gave legitimacy and the support needed for the Third Reich to proceed to conquer long-lost territories with overwhelmingly non-German population like former Prussian gains in Poland that it lost to Russia in the 19th century, or to acquire territories with German population like parts of Austria. The German concept of Lebensraum
Lebensraum
was one of the major political ideas of Adolf Hitler, and an important component of Nazi ideology. It served as the motivation for the expansionist policies of Nazi Germany, aiming to provide extra space for the growth of the German population, for a Greater Germany...

("living space") or more specifically its need for an expanding German population was also claimed by the Nazi regime for territorial expansion.

Two important issues were administration of the Polish corridor
Polish Corridor
The Polish Corridor , also known as Danzig Corridor, Corridor to the Sea or Gdańsk Corridor, was a territory located in the region of Pomerelia , which provided the Second Republic of Poland with access to the Baltic Sea, thus dividing the bulk of Germany from the province of East...

 and Danzig's incorporation into the Reich. As a further extension of racial policy, the Lebensraum program pertained to similar interests; the Nazis determined that Eastern Europe would be settled with ethnic Germans, and the Slavic
Slavic peoples
The Slavic people are an Indo-European panethnicity living in Eastern Europe, Southeast Europe, North Asia and Central Asia. The term Slavic represents a broad ethno-linguistic group of people, who speak languages belonging to the Slavic language family and share, to varying degrees, certain...

 population who met the Nazi racial standard would be absorbed into the Reich. Those not fitting the racial standard were to be used as cheap labour force or deported eastward.

Racialism
Racialism
Racialism is an emphasis on race or racial considerations. Currently, racialism entails a belief in the existence and significance of racial categories, but not necessarily that any absolute hierarchy between the races has been demonstrated by a rigorous and comprehensive scientific process...

 and racism
Racism
Racism is the belief that inherent different traits in human racial groups justify discrimination. In the modern English language, the term "racism" is used predominantly as a pejorative epithet. It is applied especially to the practice or advocacy of racial discrimination of a pernicious nature...

 were important aspects of society within the Third Reich. The Nazis combined anti-Semitism
Anti-Semitism
Antisemitism is suspicion of, hatred toward, or discrimination against Jews for reasons connected to their Jewish heritage. According to a 2005 U.S...

 with anti-Communist ideology, regarding the leftist-internationalist movement—as well as international market capitalism—as the work of "Conspiratorial Jewry". They referred to this so-called movement with terminology such as the "Jewish-Bolshevistic revolution of subhumans". This platform manifested itself in the displacement, internment, and systematic extermination of an estimated 11 million to 12 million people in the midst of World War II, roughly half of them being Jews targeted in what is historically remembered as the Holocaust
The Holocaust
The Holocaust , also known as the Shoah , was the genocide of approximately six million European Jews and millions of others during World War II, a programme of systematic state-sponsored murder by Nazi...

 (Shoah), 3 million ethnic Poles
Poles
thumb|right|180px|The state flag of [[Poland]] as used by Polish government and diplomatic authoritiesThe Polish people, or Poles , are a nation indigenous to Poland. They are united by the Polish language, which belongs to the historical Lechitic subgroup of West Slavic languages of Central Europe...

 that died as a result of warfare, genocide, reprisals, forced labor or famine, and another 100,000–1,000,000 being Roma, who were murdered in the Porajmos
Porajmos
The Porajmos was the attempt made by Nazi Germany, the Independent State of Croatia, Horthy's Hungary and their allies to exterminate the Romani people of Europe during World War II...

. Other victims of Nazi persecution included communists, various political opponents, social outcasts, homosexuals, freethinkers, religious dissidents such as Jehovah's Witnesses
Persecution of Jehovah's Witnesses in Nazi Germany
Jehovah's Witnesses were persecuted in Nazi Germany between 1933 and 1945. Members of the religious group refused to serve in the German military or give allegiance to the Nazi government, for which hundreds were executed. An estimated 10,000 were sent to concentration camps where approximately...

, Christadelphians, the Confessing Church
Confessing Church
The Confessing Church was a Protestant schismatic church in Nazi Germany that arose in opposition to government-sponsored efforts to nazify the German Protestant church.-Demographics:...

 and Freemasons
Freemasonry
Freemasonry is a fraternal organisation that arose from obscure origins in the late 16th to early 17th century. Freemasonry now exists in various forms all over the world, with a membership estimated at around six million, including approximately 150,000 under the jurisdictions of the Grand Lodge...

.

Foreign relations


Foreign relations between Germany and the rest of Europe were riddled with political maneuvers and opportunistic decisions. Fearing a second world war, Britain and France sought a policy of appeasement towards Germany, and refused aggressive foreign policies to satisfy the newly empowered Nazis. Hitler's aims upon coming to power was threefold; destroy Versailles, re-unite lost German territories under the decrees of Versailles, and Lebensraum. It is said that Hitler wanted Britain as an ally with wars with the USSR, and eventually the USA. Hitler used the Appeasement policies of Britain and France to his opportunistic advantage when he announced in March 1935 that he would conscript men into his army and create the Luftwaffe
Luftwaffe
Luftwaffe is a generic German term for an air force. It is also the official name for two of the four historic German air forces, the Wehrmacht air arm founded in 1935 and disbanded in 1946; and the current Bundeswehr air arm founded in 1956....

; both a direct violation of Versailles. His foreign policies were designed to test the nerve of Britain and France so he could see what else he was able to get away with. His other concern was Italy, whom under Mussolini had become a similarly fascist country, but had so much internal civil disruption Hitler wanted a more stable and powerful ally.

Although Germany's relations with Italy improved with creation of the Rome-Berlin Axis, tensions remained high because the Nazis wanted Austria to be incorporated into Germany. Italy was opposed to this, as were France and Britain. In 1938, an Austrian-led Nazi coup took place in Austria and Germany sent in its troops, annexing the country. Italy and Britain no longer had common interests and, as Germany had stopped supporting the German speaking population under Italy's control in South Tyrol
South Tyrol
South Tyrol , also known by its Italian name Alto Adige, is an autonomous province in northern Italy. It is one of the two autonomous provinces that make up the autonomous region of Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol. The province has an area of and a total population of more than 500,000 inhabitants...

, Italy began to gravitate towards Germany.

Germany's annexation of the Sudetenland
Sudetenland
Sudetenland is the German name used in English in the first half of the 20th century for the northern, southwest and western regions of Czechoslovakia inhabited mostly by ethnic Germans, specifically the border areas of Bohemia, Moravia, and those parts of Silesia being within Czechoslovakia.The...

 from Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia or Czecho-Slovakia was a sovereign state in Central Europe which existed from October 1918, when it declared its independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, until 1992...

 in September 1938 came about during talks with British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain
Neville Chamberlain
Arthur Neville Chamberlain FRS was a British Conservative politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from May 1937 to May 1940. Chamberlain is best known for his appeasement foreign policy, and in particular for his signing of the Munich Agreement in 1938, conceding the...

, in which Hitler, backed by Italian dictator Benito Mussolini
Benito Mussolini
Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini was an Italian politician who led the National Fascist Party and is credited with being one of the key figures in the creation of Fascism....

, demanded that the German territories be ceded. Chamberlain and Hitler came to an agreement when Hitler signed a piece of paper which said that with the annexation of the Sudetenland, Germany would proceed with no further territorial aims. Chamberlain took this to be a success in that it avoided a potential war with Germany. However, the Nazis helped to promote Slovakian dissention and declaring that the country was no more, seized control of the Czech part.

For quite some time, Germany had engaged in informal negotiations with Poland regarding the issue of territorial revision, but after the Munich Agreement and the reacquisition of Memel, the Nazis became increasingly vocal. Poland refused to allow the annexation of the Free City of Danzig
Free City of Danzig
The Free City of Danzig was a semi-autonomous city-state that existed between 1920 and 1939, consisting of the Baltic Sea port of Danzig and surrounding areas....

.

Germany and the Soviet Union began talks over planning an invasion of Poland. In August 1939, the Molotov Pact was signed and Germany and the Soviet Union agreed to divide Poland along a mutually agreed set boundary. The invasion was put into effect on 1 September 1939. Last-minute Polish-German diplomatic proceedings failed, and Germany invaded Poland as scheduled. Germany alleged that Polish operatives had attacked German positions, but the result was the outbreak of World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, as Allied forces refused to accept Germany's claims on Poland and blamed Germany for the conflict.

From 1939–1940, the so-called "Phoney War" occurred, as German forces made no further advances but instead, both the Axis and Allies engaged in a propaganda campaign. However in early 1940, Germany began to concern that the British intended to stop trade between Sweden and Germany by bringing Norway into an alliance against Germany, with Norway in Allied hands, the Allies would be dangerously close to German territory. In response, Germany invaded Denmark and Norway ending the Phoney War (leapfrogging the British invasion troops bound towards Norway by just 24 hours). After sweeping through the Low Countries and occupying northern France, Germany allowed French nationalist and war hero Philippe Petain
Philippe Pétain
Henri Philippe Benoni Omer Joseph Pétain , generally known as Philippe Pétain or Marshal Pétain , was a French general who reached the distinction of Marshal of France, and was later Chief of State of Vichy France , from 1940 to 1944...

 to form a fascist regime in southern France known as the "French State" but more commonly referred to as Vichy France
Vichy France
Vichy France, Vichy Regime, or Vichy Government, are common terms used to describe the government of France that collaborated with the Axis powers from July 1940 to August 1944. This government succeeded the Third Republic and preceded the Provisional Government of the French Republic...

 named after its capital in Vichy
Vichy
Vichy is a commune in the department of Allier in Auvergne in central France. It belongs to the historic province of Bourbonnais.It is known as a spa and resort town and was the de facto capital of Vichy France during the World War II Nazi German occupation from 1940 to 1944.The town's inhabitants...

.

On October 23, 1940 Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

 and Francisco Franco
Francisco Franco
Francisco Franco y Bahamonde was a Spanish general, dictator and head of state of Spain from October 1936 , and de facto regent of the nominally restored Kingdom of Spain from 1947 until his death in November, 1975...

, the dictator of Spain, met in Hendaye to discuss Spain entering the war. Franco asked too much from Hitler. Even though Spain would remain neutral during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 Spain and Nazi Germany would remain allies during the war. Spain would send Volunteer soldiers to fight for Germany but only against the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

. Spain was subsequently isolated following the war until re-aligning towards economic liberalism
Economic liberalism
Economic liberalism is the ideological belief in giving all people economic freedom, and as such granting people with more basis to control their own lives and make their own mistakes. It is an economic philosophy that supports and promotes individual liberty and choice in economic matters and...

 and a pro-Western foreign policy in the 1950s.

In 1941, Germany's invasion of Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia refers to three political entities that existed successively on the western part of the Balkans during most of the 20th century....

 resulted in that state's splintering. In spite of Hitler's earlier view of inferiority of all Slavs, he supported Mussolini's agenda of creating a fascist puppet state of Croatia
Croatia
Croatia , officially the Republic of Croatia , is a unitary democratic parliamentary republic in Europe at the crossroads of the Mitteleuropa, the Balkans, and the Mediterranean. Its capital and largest city is Zagreb. The country is divided into 20 counties and the city of Zagreb. Croatia covers ...

, called the Independent State of Croatia
Independent State of Croatia
The Independent State of Croatia was a World War II puppet state of Nazi Germany, established on a part of Axis-occupied Yugoslavia. The NDH was founded on 10 April 1941, after the invasion of Yugoslavia by the Axis powers. All of Bosnia and Herzegovina was annexed to NDH, together with some parts...

. Croatia was led by the extreme nationalist Ante Pavelić
Ante Pavelic
Ante Pavelić was a Croatian fascist leader, revolutionary, and politician. He ruled as Poglavnik or head, of the Independent State of Croatia , a World War II puppet state of Nazi Germany in Axis-occupied Yugoslavia...

 a long-time Croatian exile in Rome, whose Ustashe movement formed a government in modern-day Croatia
Croatia
Croatia , officially the Republic of Croatia , is a unitary democratic parliamentary republic in Europe at the crossroads of the Mitteleuropa, the Balkans, and the Mediterranean. Its capital and largest city is Zagreb. The country is divided into 20 counties and the city of Zagreb. Croatia covers ...

 and Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina , sometimes called Bosnia-Herzegovina or simply Bosnia, is a country in Southern Europe, on the Balkan Peninsula. Bordered by Croatia to the north, west and south, Serbia to the east, and Montenegro to the southeast, Bosnia and Herzegovina is almost landlocked, except for the...

. The Ustashe were allowed to persecute Serbs, while Germany contributed to that goal in German-occupied Serbia.

From 1941 to the end of the war, Germany engaged in war with the Soviet Union in its attempt to create the Nazi colonial goal of Lebensraum
Lebensraum
was one of the major political ideas of Adolf Hitler, and an important component of Nazi ideology. It served as the motivation for the expansionist policies of Nazi Germany, aiming to provide extra space for the growth of the German population, for a Greater Germany...

"living space" for German citizens. The German occupation authorities set up occupation and colonial authorities called Reichskommissariat
Reichskommissariat
Reichskommissariat is the German designation for a type of administrative office headed by a government official known as a Reichskommissar...

s
such as Reichskommissariat Ostland
Reichskommissariat Ostland
Reichskommissariat Ostland, literally "Reich Commissariat Eastland", was the civilian occupation regime established by Nazi Germany in the Baltic states and much of Belarus during World War II. It was also known as Reichskommissariat Baltenland initially...

and Reichskommissariat Ukraine
Reichskommissariat Ukraine
Reichskommissariat Ukraine , literally "Reich Commissariat of Ukraine", was the civilian occupation regime of much of German-occupied Ukraine during World War II. Between September 1941 and March 1944, the Reichskommissariat was administered by Reichskommissar Erich Koch as a colony...

. The Slavic populations were to be destroyed along with Jews there to make way for German colonists.

As the fortunes of war changed, Germany was forced to occupy Italy when Mussolini was thrown out as Prime Minister by Italy's king in 1943. German forces rescued Mussolini and instructed him to establish a fascist regime in Italy called the Italian Social Republic
Italian Social Republic
The Italian Social Republic was a puppet state of Nazi Germany led by the "Duce of the Nation" and "Minister of Foreign Affairs" Benito Mussolini and his Republican Fascist Party. The RSI exercised nominal sovereignty in northern Italy but was largely dependent on the Wehrmacht to maintain control...

. This was the last major foreign policy delivered. The remainder of the war saw the decline of German power and desperate attempts by Nazi officials such as Heinrich Himmler
Heinrich Himmler
Heinrich Luitpold Himmler was Reichsführer of the SS, a military commander, and a leading member of the Nazi Party. As Chief of the German Police and the Minister of the Interior from 1943, Himmler oversaw all internal and external police and security forces, including the Gestapo...

 to negotiate a peace with the western Allies against the wishes of Hitler.

Law


Most of the judicial structures and legal codes of the Weimar Republic
Weimar Republic
The Weimar Republic is the name given by historians to the parliamentary republic established in 1919 in Germany to replace the imperial form of government...

 remained in use during and after the Third Reich, but significant changes within the judicial codes occurred, as well as significant changes in court rulings. The Nazi party was the only legal political party in Germany and all other political parties were banned. Most human rights
Human rights
Human rights are "commonly understood as inalienable fundamental rights to which a person is inherently entitled simply because she or he is a human being." Human rights are thus conceived as universal and egalitarian . These rights may exist as natural rights or as legal rights, in both national...

 of the constitution of the Weimar Republic were disabled by several Reichsgesetze ("Reich's laws"). Several minorities such as the Jews, opposition politicians and prisoners of war were deprived of most of their rights and responsibilities. The Plan to pass a Volksstrafgesetzbuch ("people's code of criminal justice") arose soon after 1933, but didn't come into reality until the end of World War II.

As a new type of court, the Volksgerichtshof ("people's court") was established in 1934, only dealing with cases of political importance. From 1934 – September 1944, a total of 5,375 death sentences were spoken by the court. Not included in this numbers are the death sentences from 20 July 1944 – April 1945, which are estimated at 2,000. Its most prominent jurist was Roland Freisler
Roland Freisler
Roland Freisler was a prominent and notorious Nazi lawyer and judge. He was State Secretary of the Reich Ministry of Justice and President of the People's Court , which was set up outside constitutional authority...

, who headed the court from August 1942 – February 1945.

Military


The military of the Third Reich – the Wehrmacht – was the name of the unified armed forces
Armed forces
The armed forces of a country are its government-sponsored defense, fighting forces, and organizations. They exist to further the foreign and domestic policies of their governing body, and to defend that body and the nation it represents from external aggressors. In some countries paramilitary...

 of Germany from 1935–1945 with Heer
German Army
The German Army is the land component of the armed forces of the Federal Republic of Germany. Following the disbanding of the Wehrmacht after World War II, it was re-established in 1955 as the Bundesheer, part of the newly formed West German Bundeswehr along with the Navy and the Air Force...

(Army), Kriegsmarine
Kriegsmarine
The Kriegsmarine was the name of the German Navy during the Nazi regime . It superseded the Kaiserliche Marine of World War I and the post-war Reichsmarine. The Kriegsmarine was one of three official branches of the Wehrmacht, the unified armed forces of Nazi Germany.The Kriegsmarine grew rapidly...

(Navy), Luftwaffe
Luftwaffe
Luftwaffe is a generic German term for an air force. It is also the official name for two of the four historic German air forces, the Wehrmacht air arm founded in 1935 and disbanded in 1946; and the current Bundeswehr air arm founded in 1956....

(Air Force) and a military organization Waffen-SS
Waffen-SS
The Waffen-SS was a multi-ethnic and multi-national military force of the Third Reich. It constituted the armed wing of the Schutzstaffel or SS, an organ of the Nazi Party. The Waffen-SS saw action throughout World War II and grew from three regiments to over 38 divisions, and served alongside...

(military branch of the Schutzstaffel, which was, de facto, a fourth branch of the Wehrmacht
Wehrmacht
The Wehrmacht – from , to defend and , the might/power) were the unified armed forces of Nazi Germany from 1935 to 1945. It consisted of the Heer , the Kriegsmarine and the Luftwaffe .-Origin and use of the term:...

).

The German Army
German Army
The German Army is the land component of the armed forces of the Federal Republic of Germany. Following the disbanding of the Wehrmacht after World War II, it was re-established in 1955 as the Bundesheer, part of the newly formed West German Bundeswehr along with the Navy and the Air Force...

 furthered concepts pioneered during World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, combining Ground and Air Force assets into combined arms teams. Coupled with traditional war fighting methods such as encirclements and the "battle of annihilation", the German military managed many lightning quick victories in the first year of World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, prompting foreign journalists to create a new word for what they witnessed: Blitzkrieg
Blitzkrieg
For other uses of the word, see: Blitzkrieg Blitzkrieg is an anglicized word describing all-motorised force concentration of tanks, infantry, artillery, combat engineers and air power, concentrating overwhelming force at high speed to break through enemy lines, and, once the lines are broken,...

. The total number of soldiers who served in the Wehrmacht during its existence from 1935–1945 is believed to approach 18.2 million.

Racial policy


The effects of Nazi social policy in Germany was divided between those considered to be "Aryan" and those considered "non-Aryan", Jewish, or part of other minority groups. For "Aryan" Germans, a number of social policies put through by the regime to benefit them were advanced for the time, including state opposition to the use of tobacco, an end to official stigmatization toward Aryan children who were born from parents outside of marriage, as well as giving financial assistance to Aryan German families who bore children.

The Nazi Party pursued its racial and social policies through persecution and killing of those considered social undesirables or "enemies of the Reich".




Especially targeted were minority groups such as Jews, Romani
Porajmos
The Porajmos was the attempt made by Nazi Germany, the Independent State of Croatia, Horthy's Hungary and their allies to exterminate the Romani people of Europe during World War II...

 (also known as Gypsies), Jehovah's Witnesses, people with mental or physical disabilities
Nazi eugenics
Nazi eugenics were Nazi Germany's racially-based social policies that placed the improvement of the Aryan race through eugenics at the center of their concerns...

 and homosexuals.

In the 1930s, plans to isolate and eventually eliminate Jews completely in Germany began with the construction of ghettos, concentration camps, and labour camps which began with the 1933 construction of the Dachau concentration camp, which Heinrich Himmler
Heinrich Himmler
Heinrich Luitpold Himmler was Reichsführer of the SS, a military commander, and a leading member of the Nazi Party. As Chief of the German Police and the Minister of the Interior from 1943, Himmler oversaw all internal and external police and security forces, including the Gestapo...

 officially described as "the first concentration camp for political prisoner
Political prisoner
According to the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English, a political prisoner is ‘someone who is in prison because they have opposed or criticized the government of their own country’....

s."

In the years following the Nazi rise to power, many Jews were encouraged to leave the country and did so. By the time the Nuremberg Laws
Nuremberg Laws
The Nuremberg Laws of 1935 were antisemitic laws in Nazi Germany introduced at the annual Nuremberg Rally of the Nazi Party. After the takeover of power in 1933 by Hitler, Nazism became an official ideology incorporating scientific racism and antisemitism...

 were passed in 1935, Jews were stripped of their German citizenship and denied government employment. Most Jews employed by Germans lost their jobs at this time, which were being taken by unemployed Germans. Notably, the government attempted to send 17,000 German Jews of Polish descent back to Poland, a decision which led to the assassination of Ernst vom Rath
Ernst vom Rath
Ernst Eduard vom Rath was a German diplomat, remembered for his assassination in Paris in 1938 by a Jewish youth, Herschel Grynszpan. The assassination triggered Kristallnacht, the "Night of Broken Glass"....

 by Herschel Grynszpan
Herschel Grynszpan
Herschel Feibel Grynszpan was a Polish Jew and political assassin. Grynszpan's assassination of the German diplomat Ernst vom Rath on November 7, 1938, after the deportation of his family, provided the excuse for the Nazi Kristallnacht, the antisemitic pogrom of November 9–10, 1938...

, a German Jew living in France. This provided the pretext for a pogrom
Pogrom
A pogrom is a form of violent riot, a mob attack directed against a minority group, and characterized by killings and destruction of their homes and properties, businesses, and religious centres...

 the Nazi Party incited against the Jews on 9 November 1938, which specifically targeted Jewish businesses. The event was called Kristallnacht
Kristallnacht
Kristallnacht, also referred to as the Night of Broken Glass, and also Reichskristallnacht, Pogromnacht, and Novemberpogrome, was a pogrom or series of attacks against Jews throughout Nazi Germany and parts of Austria on 9–10 November 1938.Jewish homes were ransacked, as were shops, towns and...

(Night of Broken Glass, literally "Crystal Night"); the euphemism
Euphemism
A euphemism is the substitution of a mild, inoffensive, relatively uncontroversial phrase for another more frank expression that might offend or otherwise suggest something unpleasant to the audience...

 was used because the numerous broken windows made the streets look as if covered with crystals. By September 1939, more than 200,000 Jews had left Germany, with the government seizing any property they left behind.

The Nazis also undertook programs targeting "weak" or "unfit" people, such as the T-4 Euthanasia Program, killing tens of thousands of disabled and sick Germans in an effort to "maintain the purity of the German Master race
Master race
Master race was a phrase and concept originating in the slave-holding Southern US. The later phrase Herrenvolk , interpreted as 'master race', was a concept in Nazi ideology in which the Nordic peoples, one of the branches of what in the late-19th and early-20th century was called the Aryan race,...

" (German: Herrenvolk) as described by Nazi propagandists
Nazi propaganda
Propaganda, the coordinated attempt to influence public opinion through the use of media, was skillfully used by the NSDAP in the years leading up to and during Adolf Hitler's leadership of Germany...

. The techniques of mass killing developed in these efforts would later be used in the Holocaust
The Holocaust
The Holocaust , also known as the Shoah , was the genocide of approximately six million European Jews and millions of others during World War II, a programme of systematic state-sponsored murder by Nazi...

. Under a law passed in 1933, the Nazi regime carried out the compulsory sterilization
Compulsory sterilization
Compulsory sterilization also known as forced sterilization programs are government policies which attempt to force people to undergo surgical sterilization...

 of over 400,000 individuals labeled as having hereditary defects, ranging from mental illness
Mental illness
A mental disorder or mental illness is a psychological or behavioral pattern generally associated with subjective distress or disability that occurs in an individual, and which is not a part of normal development or culture. Such a disorder may consist of a combination of affective, behavioural,...

 to alcoholism
Alcoholism
Alcoholism is a broad term for problems with alcohol, and is generally used to mean compulsive and uncontrolled consumption of alcoholic beverages, usually to the detriment of the drinker's health, personal relationships, and social standing...

.

Another component of the Nazi programme of creating racial purity was the Lebensborn
Lebensborn
Lebensborn was a Nazi programme set up by SS leader Heinrich Himmler that provided maternity homes and financial assistance to the wives of SS members and to unmarried mothers, and also ran orphanages and relocation programmes for children.Initially set up in Germany in 1935, Lebensborn expanded...

, or "Fountain of Life" programme founded in 1935. The programme was aimed at encouraging German soldiers—mainly SS—to reproduce. This included offering SS families support services (including the adoption of racially pure children into suitable SS families) and accommodating racially valuable women, pregnant with mainly SS men's children, in care homes in Germany and throughout Occupied Europe. Lebensborn also expanded to encompass the placing of racially pure children forcibly seized from occupied countries—such as Poland—with German families.

In 1941 it was decided to destroy the Polish nation
Poles
thumb|right|180px|The state flag of [[Poland]] as used by Polish government and diplomatic authoritiesThe Polish people, or Poles , are a nation indigenous to Poland. They are united by the Polish language, which belongs to the historical Lechitic subgroup of West Slavic languages of Central Europe...

 completely and the German leadership decided that in 10 to 20 years the Polish state under German occupation was to be fully cleared of any ethnic Poles and settled by German colonists. The Nazis considered Jews, Romani people, Poles along with other Slavic people like the Russians
Russians
The Russian people are an East Slavic ethnic group native to Russia, speaking the Russian language and primarily living in Russia and neighboring countries....

, Ukrainians
Ukrainians
Ukrainians are an East Slavic ethnic group native to Ukraine, which is the sixth-largest nation in Europe. The Constitution of Ukraine applies the term 'Ukrainians' to all its citizens...

, Czechs and anyone else who was not an "Aryan
Aryan race
The Aryan race is a concept historically influential in Western culture in the period of the late 19th century and early 20th century. It derives from the idea that the original speakers of the Indo-European languages and their descendants up to the present day constitute a distinctive race or...

" according to the contemporary Nazi race terminology to be Untermensch
Untermensch
Untermensch is a term that became infamous when the Nazi racial ideology used it to describe "inferior people", especially "the masses from the East," that is Jews, Gypsies, Poles along with other Slavic people like the Russians, Serbs, Belarussians and Ukrainians...

en
("subhumans"). The Nazis rationalized that the (Aryan) Germans had a biological right to displace, eliminate and enslave inferiors. After the war, under the "Big Plan", Generalplan Ost
Generalplan Ost
Generalplan Ost was a secret Nazi German plan for the colonization of Eastern Europe. Implementing it would have necessitated genocide and ethnic cleansing to be undertaken in the Eastern European territories occupied by Germany during World War II...

foresaw the deportation of 45 million non-Germanizable
Germanisation
Germanisation is both the spread of the German language, people and culture either by force or assimilation, and the adaptation of a foreign word to the German language in linguistics, much like the Romanisation of many languages which do not use the Latin alphabet...

 people from Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe is the eastern part of Europe. The term has widely disparate geopolitical, geographical, cultural and socioeconomic readings, which makes it highly context-dependent and even volatile, and there are "almost as many definitions of Eastern Europe as there are scholars of the region"...

, 85% of Poles, Belorussians (75%) and Ukrainians (65%), to West Siberia
West Siberian Plain
The West Siberian Plain is a large plain that occupies the western portion of Siberia, between the Ural Mountains in the west and the Yenisei River in the east, and by the Altay Mountains on the South-East. Much of the plain is poorly drained and consists of some of the world's largest swamps and...

, and about 14 millions were to remain, but were to be treated as slaves. In their place, Germans would be settled in an extended "living space"
Lebensraum
was one of the major political ideas of Adolf Hitler, and an important component of Nazi ideology. It served as the motivation for the expansionist policies of Nazi Germany, aiming to provide extra space for the growth of the German population, for a Greater Germany...

of the 1000-Year Empire.

Herbert Backe
Herbert Backe
Herbert Backe was a German Nazi politician and Obergruppenführer in the SS.Backe was born in Batumi, Georgia, the son of a trader. He studied at the Tbilisi Gymnasium from 1905 and was interned on the outbreak of World War I as an enemy alien...

 was one of the orchestrators of the Hunger Plan
Hunger Plan
The Hunger Plan was an economic management scheme that was put in place to ensure that Germans were given priority over food supplies, at the expense of everyone else. This plan was featured as part of the planning phase of the Wehrmacht invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941...

 – the plan to starve tens of millions of Slavs in order to ensure steady food supplies for the German people and troops. In the longer term, the Nazis wanted to exterminate some 30–45 million Slavs. According to Michael Dorland, "As Yale historian Timothy Snyder
Timothy Snyder
Timothy D. Snyder is an American professor of history at Yale University, specializing in the history of Central and Eastern Europe, as well as the Holocaust...

 reminds us, had the Nazis succeeded in their war on Russia, the implementation of two further dimensions of the Holocaust, the Hunger Plan and Generalplan Ost, would have led to the elimination through starvation of an additional 80 million people in Belarus, northern Russia and the USSR."

At the outset of World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, the German authority in the General Government
General Government
The General Government was an area of Second Republic of Poland under Nazi German rule during World War II; designated as a separate region of the Third Reich between 1939–1945...

 in occupied Poland ordered that all Jews face compulsory labour and that those who were physically incapable such as women and children were to be confined to ghettos.

To the Nazis, a number of ideas appeared on how to answer the "Jewish Question"
Jewish Question
The Jewish question encompasses the issues and resolutions surrounding the historically unequal civil, legal and national statuses between minority Ashkenazi Jews and non-Jews, particularly in Europe. The first issues discussed and debated by societies, politicians and writers in western and...

. One method was a mass forced deportation of Jews. Adolf Eichmann
Adolf Eichmann
Adolf Otto Eichmann was a German Nazi and SS-Obersturmbannführer and one of the major organizers of the Holocaust...

 suggested that Jews be forced to emigrate to Palestine
Palestine
Palestine is a conventional name, among others, used to describe the geographic region between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, and various adjoining lands....

. Franz Rademacher
Franz Rademacher
Franz Rademacher was an official in the Nazi government of the Third Reich during World War II, known for initiating action on the Madagascar Plan.-Nazi Beginnings:...

 made the proposal that Jews be deported to Madagascar; this proposal was supported by Himmler and was discussed by Hitler and Italian dictator Benito Mussolini
Benito Mussolini
Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini was an Italian politician who led the National Fascist Party and is credited with being one of the key figures in the creation of Fascism....

 but was later dismissed as impractical in 1942. The idea of continuing deportations to occupied Poland was rejected by the governor, Hans Frank
Hans Frank
Hans Michael Frank was a German lawyer who worked for the Nazi party during the 1920s and 1930s and later became a high-ranking official in Nazi Germany...

, of the General Government
General Government
The General Government was an area of Second Republic of Poland under Nazi German rule during World War II; designated as a separate region of the Third Reich between 1939–1945...

 of occupied Poland as Frank refused to accept any more deportations of Jews to the territory which already had large numbers of Jews. In 1942, at the Wannsee Conference
Wannsee Conference
The Wannsee Conference was a meeting of senior officials of the Nazi German regime, held in the Berlin suburb of Wannsee on 20 January 1942. The purpose of the conference was to inform administrative leaders of Departments responsible for various policies relating to Jews, that Reinhard Heydrich...

, Nazi officials decided to eliminate the Jews altogether, as discussed the "Final Solution
Final Solution
The Final Solution was Nazi Germany's plan and execution of the systematic genocide of European Jews during World War II, resulting in the most deadly phase of the Holocaust...

 of the Jewish Question". Concentration camps like Auschwitz were converted and used gas chambers to kill as many Jews as possible. By 1945, a number of concentration camps had been liberated by Allied forces and they found the survivors to be severely malnourished. The Allies also found evidence that the Nazis were profiteering from the mass murder of Jews not only by confiscating their property and personal valuables but also by extracting gold fillings from the bodies of some Jews held in concentration camps.

Education


Education under the Nazi regime focused on racial biology, population policy, culture, geography and especially physical fitness. Military education (Wehrerziehung) became the central component of physical education in order to prepare the Germans mentally, spiritually and physically for warfare.. science textbooks presented natural selection in terms meant to underline the concept of racial purity.

Anti-Semitic policy led to the expulsion in 1933 all of Jewish teachers, professors and officials from the education system. Likewise, politically undesirable teachers, such as socialists, were expelled as part of the “Law for the Restoration of the Civil Service” (Gesetz zur Wiederherstellung des Berufbeamtentums). Most teachers were required to belong to the National Socialist Teachers' Association (Nationalsozialistischer Lehrerbund , NSLB). All university professors were required to be a member in good standing of the National Socialist Association of University Lecturers.

The teaching methods promoted under National Socialism were experiential and active in their orientation. This was largely an extension of the anti-intellectual attitude of the Nazi leadership, however, and not primarily an attempt to experiment with new didactic methods. As Henrich Hansen, the head of the NS-Teachers' Association, put it:
"The youth of Germany will no longer be 'objectively' posed with the choice between an upbringing that is materialistic or idealistic, ethnic [völkish] or international, religious or godless, rather it will be consciously formed according to principles that have shown themselves to be true: the principles of the national socialist worldview.


In seeking a way to make education less abstract, less intellectual and less distant from children, educators called for a much-expanded role for film. Reichsfilmintendant and Head of the Film Section in the Propaganda Ministry Fritz Hippler
Fritz Hippler
Fritz Hippler was a German filmmaker who ran the film department in the Propaganda Ministry of the Third Reich, under Joseph Goebbels. He is most famous as director of the propaganda film Der ewige Jude ....

 wrote that film affects people “primarily on the optical and emotional, that is to say, non-intellectual” level,.Film also appealed to the Nazi leadership as a medium through which they could speak directly to children without the mediation of teachers. Dr. Bernhard Rust
Bernhard Rust
Dr. Bernhard Rust was Minister of Science, Education and National Culture in Nazi Germany. A combination of school administrator and zealous Nazi, he issued decrees, often bizarre, at every level of the German educational system to immerse German youth in the National Socialist philosophy...

 saw film as an essential tool, saying "The National Socialist State definitely and deliberately makes the film the transmitter of its ideology."

Social welfare



Recent research by academics such as Götz Aly
Götz Aly
Götz Aly is a German journalist, historian and social scientist.-Biography:After attending the German School of Journalists, Aly studied history and political science in Berlin...

 has emphasized the role of the extensive Nazi social welfare programs that focused on providing employment for German citizens and insuring a minimal living standard for German citizens. Heavily focused on was the idea of a national German community or Volksgemeinschaft
Volksgemeinschaft
Volksgemeinschaft is a German expression meaning "people's community". Originally appearing during World War I as Germans rallied behind the war, it derived its popularity as a means to break down elitism and class divides...

.

To aid the fostering of a feeling of community, the German people's labour and entertainment experiences—from festivals, to vacation trips and traveling cinemas—were all made a part of the "Strength through Joy" (Kraft durch Freude, KdF) program. Also crucial to the building of loyalty and comradeship was the implementation of the National Labour Service and the Hitler Youth
Hitler Youth
The Hitler Youth was a paramilitary organization of the Nazi Party. It existed from 1922 to 1945. The HJ was the second oldest paramilitary Nazi group, founded one year after its adult counterpart, the Sturmabteilung...

 Organization, with compulsory membership. In addition to this, a number of architectural projects were undertaken. KdF created the KdF-wagen, later known as the Volkswagen
Volkswagen
Volkswagen is a German automobile manufacturer and is the original and biggest-selling marque of the Volkswagen Group, which now also owns the Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, SEAT, and Škoda marques and the truck manufacturer Scania.Volkswagen means "people's car" in German, where it is...

("People's Car"), which was designed to be an automobile that every German citizen would be able to afford. With the outbreak of World War II the car was converted into a military vehicle and civilian production was stopped. Another national project undertaken was the construction of the Autobahn, which made it the first freeway system in the world.

The Winter Relief campaigns not only collected charity for the unfortunate, but acted as a ritual to generate public feeling. As part of the centralization of Nazi Germany, posters urged people to donate rather to give directly to beggars.

Health


According to the research of Robert N. Proctor
Robert N. Proctor
Robert Neel Proctor is an American historian of science and Professor of the History of Science at Stanford University. While a professor of the history of science at Pennsylvania State University in 1999, he became the first historian to testify against the tobacco industry.At Pennsylvania State...

 for his book The Nazi War on Cancer, Nazi Germany had arguably the most powerful anti-tobacco movement
Anti-tobacco movement in Nazi Germany
After German doctors became the first to identify the link between smoking and lung cancer, Nazi Germany initiated a strong anti-tobacco movement and led the first public anti-smoking campaign in modern history...

 in the world. Anti-tobacco research received a strong backing from the government, and German scientists proved that cigarette smoke could cause cancer. German pioneering research on experimental epidemiology
Epidemiology
Epidemiology is the study of health-event, health-characteristic, or health-determinant patterns in a population. It is the cornerstone method of public health research, and helps inform policy decisions and evidence-based medicine by identifying risk factors for disease and targets for preventive...

 led to the 1939 paper by Franz H. Müller, and the 1943 paper by Eberhard Schairer and Erich Schöniger which convincingly demonstrated that tobacco smoking was a main culprit in lung cancer
Lung cancer
Lung cancer is a disease characterized by uncontrolled cell growth in tissues of the lung. If left untreated, this growth can spread beyond the lung in a process called metastasis into nearby tissue and, eventually, into other parts of the body. Most cancers that start in lung, known as primary...

. The government urged German doctors to counsel patients against tobacco use.

German research on the dangers of tobacco was silenced after the war, and the dangers of tobacco had to be rediscovered by American and English scientists in the early 1950s, with a medical consensus arising in the early 1960s. German scientists also proved that asbestos
Asbestos
Asbestos is a set of six naturally occurring silicate minerals used commercially for their desirable physical properties. They all have in common their eponymous, asbestiform habit: long, thin fibrous crystals...

 was a health hazard, and in 1943—as the first nation in the world to offer such a benefit—Germany recognized the diseases caused by asbestos, e.g., lung cancer, as occupational illnesses eligible for compensation. The German asbestos-cancer research was later used by American lawyers doing battle against the Johns-Manville
Johns-Manville
Johns Manville is an American corporation based in Denver, Colorado that manufactures insulation, roofing materials, and engineered products. The stock was included in the Dow Jones Industrial Average from January 29, 1930 to August 27, 1982 when it was replaced by American Express. Berkshire...

 Corporation.

As part of the general public-health campaign in Nazi Germany, water supplies were cleaned up, lead
Lead
Lead is a main-group element in the carbon group with the symbol Pb and atomic number 82. Lead is a soft, malleable poor metal. It is also counted as one of the heavy metals. Metallic lead has a bluish-white color after being freshly cut, but it soon tarnishes to a dull grayish color when exposed...

 and mercury
Mercury (element)
Mercury is a chemical element with the symbol Hg and atomic number 80. It is also known as quicksilver or hydrargyrum...

 were removed from consumer products, and women were urged to undergo regular screenings for breast cancer
Breast cancer
Breast cancer is cancer originating from breast tissue, most commonly from the inner lining of milk ducts or the lobules that supply the ducts with milk. Cancers originating from ducts are known as ductal carcinomas; those originating from lobules are known as lobular carcinomas...

.

The Nazi health care system also held as a central idea the concept of Eugenics
Nazi eugenics
Nazi eugenics were Nazi Germany's racially-based social policies that placed the improvement of the Aryan race through eugenics at the center of their concerns...

. Certain people were deemed 'genetically inferior' and were targeted for elimination from the gene pool through sterilization (Hereditary Health Court
Hereditary Health Court
The Hereditary Health Court , also known as, the Genetic Health Court, were courts that decided whether people should be forcibly sterilized in Nazi Germany....

s) or wholesale murder (Action T4
Action T4
Action T4 was the name used after World War II for Nazi Germany's eugenics-based "euthanasia" program during which physicians killed thousands of people who were "judged incurably sick, by critical medical examination"...

). Medical information
Health informatics
.Health informatics is a discipline at the intersection of information science, computer science, and health care...

 professionals used new processes and technology, like punch card systems
IBM and the Holocaust
IBM and the Holocaust is a book by investigative journalist Edwin Black which details the business dealings of the American-based multinational corporation International Business Machines and its German and other European subsidiaries with the government of Adolf Hitler during the 1930s and the...

, and cost analysis, to aid in the process and calculate the 'benefit' to society of these killings.

Women's rights


Women in the Third Reich
Women in the Third Reich
Women in the Third Reich lived within a regime characterized by a policy of confining women in the roles of mother and spouse and excluding them from all positions of responsibility, notably in the political and academic spheres...

 were a cornerstone of Nazi social policy; however, this meant a sharp curtailment of women's rights. The Nazis opposed the feminist movement, claiming that it had a left-wing agenda (comparable to Communism) and was bad for both women and men. The Nazi regime advocated a patriarchal society in which German women would recognize the "world is her husband, her family, her children, and her home." Hitler claimed that women taking vital jobs away from men during the Great Depression
Great Depression
The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression in the decade preceding World War II. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations, but in most countries it started in about 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s or early 1940s...

 was economically bad for families in that women were paid only 66 percent of what men earned. Simultaneously with calling for women to leave work outside the home, the regime called for women to be actively supportive of the state regarding women's affairs. In 1933, Hitler appointed Gertrud Scholtz-Klink
Gertrud Scholtz-Klink
Gertrud Scholtz-Klink née Treusch was a fervent Nazi Party member and leader of the National Socialist Women's League in Nazi Germany.- Nazi activities :...

 as the Reich Women's Leader, who instructed women that their primary role in society was to bear children and that women should be subservient to men, once saying "the mission of woman is to minister in the home and in her profession to the needs of life from the first to last moment of man's existence.". The expectation even applied to Aryan women married to Jewish men—a necessary ingredient in the 1943 Rosenstrasse protest
Rosenstrasse protest
The Rosenstrasse protest was a nonviolent protest in Rosenstraße in Berlin in February and March 1943, carried out by the non-Jewish wives and relatives of Jewish men who had been arrested for deportation. The protests escalated until the men were released...

 in which 1800 German women (joined by 4200 relatives) obliged the Nazi state to release their Jewish husbands. This position was so strongly held as to make it extremely difficult to recruit women for war jobs during World War II.

The Nazi regime discouraged women from seeking higher education in secondary schools, universities and colleges. The number of women allowed to enroll in universities dropped drastically under the Nazi regime, which shrank from approximately 128,000 women being enrolled in 1933 to 51,000 in 1938. Female enrollment in secondary schools dropped from 437,000 in 1926 to 205,000 in 1937. However with the requirement of men to be enlisted into the German armed forces during the war, women made up half of the enrollment in the education system by 1944.

On the other hand, the women were expected to be strong, healthy, and vital; a photograph subtitled "Future Mothers" showed teenage girls dressed for sport and bearing javelins. A sturdy peasant woman, who worked the land
Blood and soil
Blood and Soil refers to an ideology that focuses on ethnicity based on two factors, descent and homeland/Heimat...

 and bore strong children, was an ideal, contributing to praise for athletic women tanned by outdoor work.

Organizations were made for the indoctrination of Nazi values to German women. Such organizations included the Jungmädel ("Young Girls") section of the Hitler Youth for girls from the age 10 to 14, the Bund Deutscher Mädel (BDM, "German Girls' League") for young women from 14 to 18, and the NS-Frauenschaft, a woman's organization.

The NS-Frauenschaft put out the NS-Frauen-Warte
NS-Frauen-Warte
NS-Frauen-Warte was the Nazi magazine for women. Put out by the NS-Frauenschaft, it had the status of the only party approved magazine for women and served propaganda purposes, particularly supporting the role of housewife and mother as exemplary....

, the only approved women's magazine in Nazi Germany. Despite its propaganda aspects, it was predominantly a woman's magazine, even including sewing patterns.

The BDM's activities encompassed physical education, including running, the long jump, somersaulting, tightrope walking, rout-marching, and swimming. Das deutsche Mädel
Das deutsche Mädel
Das deutsche Mädel was the Nazi magazine aimed at German girls, particularly members of League of German Girls....

was less adventure-oriented than the boy's Der Pimpf
Der Pimpf
Der Pimpf was the Nazi magazine for boys, particularly those in the Deutsches Jungvolk, with adventure and propaganda. It first appeared in 1935 as Morgen, changing its name to Der Pimpf in 1937; its frequency went down with the war....

, but far more emphasis was laid on strong and active German women than in NS-Frauen-Warte. Also, before entering any occupation or advanced studies, the girls, like the boys in Hitler Youth, had to complete a year of land service.

Despite the somewhat official restrictions, some women forged highly visible, as well as officially praised, achievements, such as the aviatrix Hanna Reitsch
Hanna Reitsch
Hanna Reitsch was a German aviator and the only woman awarded the Iron Cross First Class and the Luftwaffe Combined Pilots-Observation Badge in Gold with Diamonds during World War II...

 and film director Leni Riefenstahl
Leni Riefenstahl
Helene Bertha Amalie "Leni" Riefenstahl was a German film director, actress and dancer widely noted for her aesthetics and innovations as a filmmaker. Her most famous film was Triumph des Willens , a propaganda film made at the 1934 Nuremberg congress of the Nazi Party...

.

On the issue of sexual affairs regarding women, the Nazis differed greatly from the restrictive stances on women's role in society. The Nazi regime promoted a liberal code of conduct as regards sexual matters, and were sympathetic to women bearing children out of wedlock. The collapse of 19th century morals in Germany accelerated during the Third Reich, partly due to the Nazis, and greatly due to the effects of the war. Promiscuity increased greatly as the war progressed, with unmarried soldiers often involved intimately with several women simultaneously. Married women were often involved in multiple affairs simultaneously, with soldiers, civilians or slave labourers. "Some farm wives in Württemberg
Württemberg
Württemberg , formerly known as Wirtemberg or Wurtemberg, is an area and a former state in southwestern Germany, including parts of the regions Swabia and Franconia....

 had already begun using sex as a commodity, employing carnal favours as a means of getting a full day's work from foreign labourers." Nevertheless, publically, Nazi propaganda opposed adultery and upheld the sancticity of marriage. Several films shot in this era altered their source material so that the woman, rather than the man, would suffer death for sexual transgressions, reflecting whose fault it was held to be. When attempts were made to destigmatize illegitimate births, Lebensborn
Lebensborn
Lebensborn was a Nazi programme set up by SS leader Heinrich Himmler that provided maternity homes and financial assistance to the wives of SS members and to unmarried mothers, and also ran orphanages and relocation programmes for children.Initially set up in Germany in 1935, Lebensborn expanded...

 homes were presented the public as for married women. Overtly anti-marriage statements, such as Himmler's statements regarding the care of the illegimate children of dead soldiers, were greeted with protests.

An example of the way in which Nazi doctrines differed from practice is that, whilst sexual relationships among campers was explicitly forbidden, boys' and girls' camps of the Hitlerjugend associations were needlessly placed close together as if to make it happen. Pregnancy (including repercussions on established marriages) often resulted when fetching members of the Bund Deutscher Mädel were assigned to duties which juxtaposed them with tempted men. Ilsa McKee noted that the lectures of Hitler Youth
Hitler Youth
The Hitler Youth was a paramilitary organization of the Nazi Party. It existed from 1922 to 1945. The HJ was the second oldest paramilitary Nazi group, founded one year after its adult counterpart, the Sturmabteilung...

 and the BDM on the need to produce more children produced several illegitimate children, which neither the mothers nor the possible fathers regarded as problematic.

Marriage or sexual relations between a person considered “Aryan” and one that was not were classified as Rassenschande
Rassenschande
Rassenschande or Blutschande was the Nazi term for sexual relations between Aryans and non-Aryans, which was punishable by law...

 and were forbidden and under penalty (Aryans found guilty could face incarceration in a concentration camp, while non-Aryans could face the death penalty). Pamphlets enjoined all German women to avoid sexual intercourse with all foreign workers brought to Germany as a danger to their blood.

Abortion was heavily penalized in Nazi Germany unless on the grounds of "racial health": from 1943 abortionists faced the death penalty. Display of contraceptives was not allowed, and Hitler himself described contraception as "violation of nature, as degradation of womanhood, motherhood and love."

Environmentalism


In 1935, the regime enacted the "Reich Nature Protection Act". While not a purely Nazi piece of legislation, as parts of its influences pre-dated the Nazi rise to power, it nevertheless reflected Nazi ideology. The concept of the Dauerwald (best translated as the "perpetual forest") which included concepts such as forest management
Forest management
200px|thumb|right|[[Sustainable development|Sustainable]] forest management carried out by [[Complejo Forestal y Maderero Panguipulli|Complejo Panguipulli]] has contributed to the preservation of the forested landscape around [[Neltume]], a sawmill town in Chile...

 and protection was promoted and efforts were also made to curb air pollution
Air pollution
Air pollution is the introduction of chemicals, particulate matter, or biological materials that cause harm or discomfort to humans or other living organisms, or cause damage to the natural environment or built environment, into the atmosphere....

.

In practice, the enacted laws and policies met resistance from various ministries that sought to undermine them, and from the priority that the war-effort took to environmental protection.

Animal protection policy


The Nazis had elements which were supportive of animal rights, zoos and wildlife, and took several measures to ensure their protection. In 1933 the government enacted a stringent animal-protection law.
Many NSDAP leaders including Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

 and Hermann Göring
Hermann Göring
Hermann Wilhelm Göring, was a German politician, military leader, and a leading member of the Nazi Party. He was a veteran of World War I as an ace fighter pilot, and a recipient of the coveted Pour le Mérite, also known as "The Blue Max"...

 were supporters of animal protection. Several Nazis were environmentalists (notably Rudolf Hess
Rudolf Hess
Rudolf Walter Richard Hess was a prominent Nazi politician who was Adolf Hitler's deputy in the Nazi Party during the 1930s and early 1940s...

), and species protection and animal welfare
Animal welfare
Animal welfare is the physical and psychological well-being of animals.The term animal welfare can also mean human concern for animal welfare or a position in a debate on animal ethics and animal rights...

 were significant issues in the regime. Heinrich Himmler
Heinrich Himmler
Heinrich Luitpold Himmler was Reichsführer of the SS, a military commander, and a leading member of the Nazi Party. As Chief of the German Police and the Minister of the Interior from 1943, Himmler oversaw all internal and external police and security forces, including the Gestapo...

 made efforts to ban the hunting of animals. Göring was an animal lover and conservationist
Conservation movement
The conservation movement, also known as nature conservation, is a political, environmental and a social movement that seeks to protect natural resources including animal, fungus and plant species as well as their habitat for the future....

. The current animal welfare laws in Germany are adapted from laws introduced by the National Socialist regime.

Although enacting various laws for animal protection, there was a lack of enforcement. According to Pfugers Archiv für die Gesamte Physiologie (Pfugers Archive for the Total Physiology), a science journal at that time, there were many animal experiments during the Nazi regime. The Nazi regime disbanded several unofficial organizations advocating environmentalism and animal protection, such as the Friends of Nature
Friends of Nature
Friends of Nature is an international movement with a background in the Social Democratic movement, which aims to make nature accessible to the wider community by providing appropriate recreational and travel facilities.-Background:It is a non-profit organisation which, in addition to encouraging...

.

Culture


The regime sought to restore traditional values in German culture. The art and culture that came to define the Weimar Republic years was repressed. The visual arts were strictly monitored and traditional, focusing on exemplifying Germanic themes, racial purity, militarism
Militarism
Militarism is defined as: the belief or desire of a government or people that a country should maintain a strong military capability and be prepared to use it aggressively to defend or promote national interests....

, heroism, power, strength, and obedience. Modern abstract art
Abstract art
Abstract art uses a visual language of form, color and line to create a composition which may exist with a degree of independence from visual references in the world. Western art had been, from the Renaissance up to the middle of the 19th century, underpinned by the logic of perspective and an...

 and avant-garde art
Avant-garde
Avant-garde means "advance guard" or "vanguard". The adjective form is used in English to refer to people or works that are experimental or innovative, particularly with respect to art, culture, and politics....

 was removed from museums and put on special display as "degenerate art
Degenerate art
Degenerate art is the English translation of the German entartete Kunst, a term adopted by the Nazi regime in Germany to describe virtually all modern art. Such art was banned on the grounds that it was un-German or Jewish Bolshevist in nature, and those identified as degenerate artists were...

", where it was to be ridiculed. In one notable example, on 31 March 1937, huge crowds stood in line to view a special display of "degenerate art" in Munich. Art forms considered to be degenerate included Dada
Dada
Dada or Dadaism is a cultural movement that began in Zurich, Switzerland, during World War I and peaked from 1916 to 1922. The movement primarily involved visual arts, literature—poetry, art manifestoes, art theory—theatre, and graphic design, and concentrated its anti-war politics through a...

, Cubism
Cubism
Cubism was a 20th century avant-garde art movement, pioneered by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque, that revolutionized European painting and sculpture, and inspired related movements in music, literature and architecture...

, Expressionism
Expressionism
Expressionism was a modernist movement, initially in poetry and painting, originating in Germany at the beginning of the 20th century. Its typical trait is to present the world solely from a subjective perspective, distorting it radically for emotional effect in order to evoke moods or ideas...

, Fauvism
Fauvism
Fauvism is the style of les Fauves , a short-lived and loose group of early twentieth-century Modern artists whose works emphasized painterly qualities and strong colour over the representational or realistic values retained by Impressionism...

, Impressionism
Impressionism
Impressionism was a 19th-century art movement that originated with a group of Paris-based artists whose independent exhibitions brought them to prominence during the 1870s and 1880s...

, New Objectivity
New Objectivity
The New Objectivity is a term used to characterize the attitude of public life in Weimar Germany as well as the art, literature, music, and architecture created to adapt to it...

, and Surrealism
Surrealism
Surrealism is a cultural movement that began in the early 1920s, and is best known for the visual artworks and writings of the group members....

. Literature written by Jewish, other non-Aryans, homosexual or authors opposed to the Nazis was destroyed by the regime. The most infamous destruction of literature was the book burnings by German students in 1933.



Despite the official attempt to forge a pure Germanic culture, one major area of the arts, architecture, under Hitler's personal guidance, was neoclassical
Neoclassical architecture
Neoclassical architecture was an architectural style produced by the neoclassical movement that began in the mid-18th century, manifested both in its details as a reaction against the Rococo style of naturalistic ornament, and in its architectural formulas as an outgrowth of some classicizing...

, a style based on architecture of ancient Rome
Roman architecture
Ancient Roman architecture adopted certain aspects of Ancient Greek architecture, creating a new architectural style. The Romans were indebted to their Etruscan neighbors and forefathers who supplied them with a wealth of knowledge essential for future architectural solutions, such as hydraulics...

. This style stood out in stark contrast and opposition to newer, more liberal, and more popular architecture styles of the time such as Art Deco
Art Deco
Art deco , or deco, is an eclectic artistic and design style that began in Paris in the 1920s and flourished internationally throughout the 1930s, into the World War II era. The style influenced all areas of design, including architecture and interior design, industrial design, fashion and...

. Various Roman buildings were examined by state architect Albert Speer
Albert Speer
Albert Speer, born Berthold Konrad Hermann Albert Speer, was a German architect who was, for a part of World War II, Minister of Armaments and War Production for the Third Reich. Speer was Adolf Hitler's chief architect before assuming ministerial office...

 for architectural designs for state buildings. Speer constructed huge and imposing structures such as in the Nazi party rally grounds in Nuremberg
Nuremberg
Nuremberg[p] is a city in the German state of Bavaria, in the administrative region of Middle Franconia. Situated on the Pegnitz river and the Rhine–Main–Danube Canal, it is located about north of Munich and is Franconia's largest city. The population is 505,664...

 and the new Reich Chancellery
Reich Chancellery
The Reich Chancellery was the traditional name of the office of the Chancellor of Germany in the period of the German Reich from 1871 to 1945...

 building in Berlin
Berlin
Berlin is the capital city of Germany and is one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.45 million people, Berlin is Germany's largest city. It is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union...

. One design that was pursued, but never built, was a gigantic version of the Pantheon
Pantheon, Rome
The Pantheon ,Rarely Pantheum. This appears in Pliny's Natural History in describing this edifice: Agrippae Pantheum decoravit Diogenes Atheniensis; in columnis templi eius Caryatides probantur inter pauca operum, sicut in fastigio posita signa, sed propter altitudinem loci minus celebrata.from ,...

 in Rome
Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

, called the Volkshalle
Volkshalle
The ' , also called ' or ' , was a huge domed monumental building planned by Adolf Hitler and his architect Albert Speer for Germania. The project was never accomplished....

to be the semi-religious centre of Nazism in a renamed Berlin called Germania
Welthauptstadt Germania
Welthauptstadt Germania refers to the projected renewal of the German capital Berlin during the Nazi period, part of Adolf Hitler's vision for the future of Germany after the planned victory in World War II...

, which was to be the "world capital" (Welthauptstadt). Also to be constructed was a Triumphal arch
Triumphal arch
A triumphal arch is a monumental structure in the shape of an archway with one or more arched passageways, often designed to span a road. In its simplest form a triumphal arch consists of two massive piers connected by an arch, crowned with a flat entablature or attic on which a statue might be...

, several times larger than that found in Paris, which was also based upon a classical styling. Many of the designs for Germania were impractical to construct because of their size and the marshy soil underneath Berlin; later the materials that were to be used for construction were diverted to the war effort.

Cinema and media


The majority of German films of the period were intended principally as works of entertainment. The import of foreign films was legally restricted after 1936, and the German industry, which was effectively nationalised in 1937, had to make up for the missing foreign films (above all American productions). Entertainment also became increasingly important in the later years of World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 when the cinema provided a distraction from Allied bombing and a string of German defeats. In both 1943 and 1944 cinema admissions in Germany exceeded a billion, and the biggest box office
Box office
A box office is a place where tickets are sold to the public for admission to an event. Patrons may perform the transaction at a countertop, through an unblocked hole through a wall or window, or at a wicket....

 hits of the war years were Die große Liebe
Die Große Liebe
Die grosse Liebe or Die große Liebe is a German drama film of the National Socialist period, made by Rolf Hansen, starring Zarah Leander and Viktor Staal...

(1942) and Wunschkonzert
Wunschkonzert
Wunschkonzert is a 1940 German drama propaganda film by Eduard von Borsody. After Die grosse Liebe, it was the most popular film of wartime Germany, reaching the second highest gross.-Background:...

(1941), which both combine elements of the musical
Musical film
The musical film is a film genre in which songs sung by the characters are interwoven into the narrative, sometimes accompanied by dancing. The songs usually advance the plot or develop the film's characters, though in some cases they serve merely as breaks in the storyline, often as elaborate...

, wartime romance and patriotic propaganda, Frauen sind doch bessere Diplomaten (1941), a comic musical which was one of the earliest German films in colour, and Wiener Blut
Wiener Blut (operetta)
Wiener Blut is an operetta named after the "Wiener Blut" waltz, supposedly with music by the composer Johann Strauss the Younger, who did not live to witness the première. Such was the popularity of the original "Wiener Blut" Op...

(1942), the adaptation of a Johann Strauß comic operetta
Operetta
Operetta is a genre of light opera, light in terms both of music and subject matter. It is also closely related, in English-language works, to forms of musical theatre.-Origins:...

. The importance of the cinema as a tool of the state, both for its propaganda value and its ability to keep the populace entertained, can be seen in the filming history of Veit Harlan
Veit Harlan
Veit Harlan was a German film director and actor.-Life and career:Harlan was born in Berlin. After studying under Max Reinhardt, he first appeared on the stage in 1915 and, after World War I, worked in the Berlin stage. In 1922 he married Jewish actress and cabaret singer Dora Gerson; the couple...

's Kolberg
Kolberg (film)
Kolberg is a 1945 German propaganda film directed by Veit Harlan and Wolfgang Liebeneiner. It opened on January 30, 1945 simultaneously in Berlin and to the crew of the naval base at La Rochelle. It was also screened in the Reich chancellery after the broadcast of Hitler's last radio address on...

(1945), the most expensive film of the era, for the shooting of which tens of thousands of soldiers were diverted from their military positions to appear as extras.

Despite the emigration of many film-makers and the political restrictions, the German film industry
Film industry
The film industry consists of the technological and commercial institutions of filmmaking: i.e. film production companies, film studios, cinematography, film production, screenwriting, pre-production, post production, film festivals, distribution; and actors, film directors and other film crew...

 was not without technical and aesthetic innovations, the introduction of Agfacolor
Agfacolor
thumb|An Agfacolor slide dating from the early 1940s. While the colors themselves hold up well after 60 years, damages visible include dust and [[Newton's rings]].Agfacolor is a series of color photographic products produced by Agfa of Germany...

 film production being a notable example. Technical and aesthetic achievement could also be turned to the specific ends of the Greater German Reich, most spectacularly in the work of Leni Riefenstahl
Leni Riefenstahl
Helene Bertha Amalie "Leni" Riefenstahl was a German film director, actress and dancer widely noted for her aesthetics and innovations as a filmmaker. Her most famous film was Triumph des Willens , a propaganda film made at the 1934 Nuremberg congress of the Nazi Party...

. Riefenstahl's Triumph of the Will
Triumph of the Will
Triumph of the Will is a propaganda film made by Leni Riefenstahl. It chronicles the 1934 Nazi Party Congress in Nuremberg, which was attended by more than 700,000 Nazi supporters. The film contains excerpts from speeches given by various Nazi leaders at the Congress, including portions of...

(1935), documenting the Nuremberg Rally
Nuremberg Rally
The Nuremberg Rally was the annual rally of the NSDAP in Germany, held from 1923 to 1938. Especially after Hitler's rise to power in 1933, they were large Nazi propaganda events...

 (1934), and Olympia
Olympia (1938 film)
Olympia is a 1938 Nazi propaganda film by Leni Riefenstahl documenting the 1936 Summer Olympics, held in the Olympic Stadium in Berlin, Germany. The film was released in two parts: Olympia 1. Teil — Fest der Völker and Olympia 2. Teil — Fest der Schönheit . It was the first documentary feature...

(1938), documenting the 1936 Summer Olympics
1936 Summer Olympics
The 1936 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XI Olympiad, was an international multi-sport event which was held in 1936 in Berlin, Germany. Berlin won the bid to host the Games over Barcelona, Spain on April 26, 1931, at the 29th IOC Session in Barcelona...

, pioneered techniques of camera movement and editing that have influenced many later films. Both films, particularly Triumph of the Will, remain highly controversial, as their aesthetic merit is inseparable from their propagandizing of Nationalsocialism ideals.
Irreplacable artists deemed fitting the National socialist ideals such as Marika Rokk
Marika Rökk
Marika Rökk was an Austrian-German singer, dancer and actress of Hungarian descent, who became famous in German films, notably in the Nazi era.- Life and work :...

 and Johannes Heesters
Johannes Heesters
Johan Marius Nicolaas "Johannes" Heesters is a Dutch actor, singer and entertainer with a -year career, almost exclusively in the German-speaking world. In Germany and Austria, Heesters is mainly known for his acting career...

 where placed on the Gottbegnadeten list
Gottbegnadeten list
The Gottbegnadeten list was a 36-page list of artists considered crucial to Nazi culture. The list was assembled in September 1944 by Joseph Goebbels, the head of the Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda, and Germany's dictator Adolf Hitler.The list exempted the designated artists from...

 by Joseph Goebbels
Joseph Goebbels
Paul Joseph Goebbels was a German politician and Reich Minister of Propaganda in Nazi Germany from 1933 to 1945. As one of Adolf Hitler's closest associates and most devout followers, he was known for his zealous oratory and anti-Semitism...

 during the war.

Sports


Sports played a central role in the Nazi goal of building strong young athletes to create the "perfect" race and help build Germany into a sports power. The political symbolism of masses of virile near-naked bodies occupying public spaces fit easily into the propaganda system, as typified by the 1938 film about the 1936 Berlin Olympics, "Olympia"
Olympia (1938 film)
Olympia is a 1938 Nazi propaganda film by Leni Riefenstahl documenting the 1936 Summer Olympics, held in the Olympic Stadium in Berlin, Germany. The film was released in two parts: Olympia 1. Teil — Fest der Völker and Olympia 2. Teil — Fest der Schönheit . It was the first documentary feature...

.

Established in 1934, the Nationalsozialistischer Reichsbund für Leibesübungen (NSRL), (sometimes also known under the acronym NSRBL) was the umbrella organization for sports during the Third Reich. Two major displays of Nazi German art and culture were at the 1936 Summer Olympics
1936 Summer Olympics
The 1936 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XI Olympiad, was an international multi-sport event which was held in 1936 in Berlin, Germany. Berlin won the bid to host the Games over Barcelona, Spain on April 26, 1931, at the 29th IOC Session in Barcelona...

 and at the German pavilion at the 1937 International Exposition
Exposition Internationale des Arts et Techniques dans la Vie Moderne (1937)
The Exposition Internationale des Arts et Techniques dans la Vie Moderne was held from May 25 to November 25, 1937 in Paris, France...

 in Paris. The 1936 Olympics was meant to display to the world the Aryan superiority of Germany to other nations. German athletes were carefully chosen not only for strength but for Aryan appearance.

See also



  • Collaboration with the Axis Powers during World War II
  • German resistance
    German Resistance
    The German resistance was the opposition by individuals and groups in Germany to Adolf Hitler or the National Socialist regime between 1933 and 1945. Some of these engaged in active plans to remove Adolf Hitler from power and overthrow his regime...

  • Glossary of German military terms
  • Glossary of Nazi Germany
  • List of Nazi Party leaders and officials
  • Nazi architecture
    Nazi architecture
    Nazi architecture was an architectural plan which played a role in the Nazi party's plans to create a cultural and spiritual rebirth in Germany as part of the Third Reich....

  • Nazi rule over the Danube River
    Nazi rule over the Danube River
    Nazi rule over the Danube River was brought about by force of arms, through annexation of Austria, invasion of Yugoslavia and of the Soviet Union and treaties with the Kingdom of Romania and Hungary, but a legal cover was provided through moves that resulted in a new international order on the...

  • Nazi songs
    Nazi songs
    Nazi songs deals with songs that were written for the Nazi Party in Germany.Some songs which are much older than the post-World War I Nazi movement, and which were used by the Nazis, are often confused with Nazi songs; this observation applies above all to Das Lied der Deutschen, which was written...

  • Orders, decorations, and medals of Nazi Germany
  • Sino-German cooperation (1911–1941)
  • Vergangenheitsbewältigung
    Vergangenheitsbewältigung
    Vergangenheitsbewältigung is a composite German word that describes processes of dealing with the past , which is perhaps best rendered in English as "struggle to come to terms with the past"...

  • Women in the Third Reich
    Women in the Third Reich
    Women in the Third Reich lived within a regime characterized by a policy of confining women in the roles of mother and spouse and excluding them from all positions of responsibility, notably in the political and academic spheres...



Surveys and reference

  • Karl Dietrich Bracher
    Karl Dietrich Bracher
    Karl Dietrich Bracher is a German political scientist and historian of the Weimar Republic and Nazi Germany. Born in Stuttgart, Bracher was awarded a Ph.D. in the Classics by the University of Tübingen in 1948 and subsequently studied at Harvard University from 1949 to 1950...

    . The German Dictatorship; The Origins, Structure, and Effects of National Socialism; New York, Praeger 1970.
  • Michael Burleigh. The Third Reich: A New History, 2002. ISBN 0-8090-9326-X. Standard scholarly history, 1918–1945.
  • Richard J. Evans
    Richard J. Evans
    Richard John Evans is a British academic and historian, prominently known for his history of Germany.-Life:Evans was born in London, of Welsh parentage, and is now Regius Professor of Modern History at the University of Cambridge and President of Wolfson College...

    . The Coming of the Third Reich. ISBN 0-14-100975-6, standard scholarly history; The Third Reich in Power 2005 ISBN 1-59420-074-2; The Third Reich at war 1939–1945 (2009)
  • Christian Leitz, ed. The Third Reich: The Essential Readings. Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishers, 1999. ISBN 0-631-20700-7.
  • Mommsen, Hans. The Third Reich between Vision and Reality: New Perspectives on German History, 1918–1945 (2001) online edition
  • Overy, Richard. The Dictators: Hitler's Germany and Stalin's Russia (2004)
  • Roderick, Stacke. Hitler's Germany: Origins, Interpretations, Legacies (1999)
  • Scheck, Raffael. “Lecture Notes, Germany and Europe, 1871–1945” (2008) full text online, a brief textbook by a leading scholar
  • William L. Shirer
    William L. Shirer
    William Lawrence Shirer was an American journalist, war correspondent, and historian, who wrote The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, a history of Nazi Germany read and cited in scholarly works for more than 50 years...

    . The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich
    The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich
    The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich is a 1960 non-fiction book by William L. Shirer chronicling the general history of Nazi Germany from 1933 to 1945...

    . ISBN 0-671-72868-7
  • Zentner, Christian and Bedürftig, Friedemann, eds. The Encyclopedia of the Third Reich. 2 vol. Macmillan, 1991. 1120 pp.

Economics

  • Overy, R. J. The Nazi Economic Recovery 1932–1938 (1996)
  • Adam Tooze
    Adam Tooze
    Adam Tooze is a British historian and was Reader in Modern European Economic History at the University of Cambridge. In 2002, he was awarded a Philip Leverhulme Prize for Modern History. As of Summer 2010, he is a professor of history at Yale University.He is currently best known for his economic...

    . The Wages of Destruction: The Making and the Breaking of the Nazi Economy. New York: Viking, 2006. ISBN 978-0-670-03826-8.
  • Henry Ashby Turner
    Henry Ashby Turner
    Henry Ashby Turner, Jr. was an American historian of Germany who was a professor at Yale University for over forty years...

    . German Big Business and the Rise of Hitler. New York: Oxford University Press, 1985. ISBN 0-19-503492-9.
  • Alfred Sohn-Rethel
    Alfred Sohn-Rethel
    Alfred Sohn-Rethel was a Marxist economist and philosopher especially interested in epistemology. He also wrote about the relationship of German industry with national socialism.-Life:...

    . Economy and Class Structure of German Fascism. London, CSE Bks, 1978. ISBN 0-906336-00-7

Hitler

  • Bullock, Alan. Hitler: A Study in Tyranny, (1962) online edition
  • Geary, Dick. Hitler and Nazism, (2000) 97 pages
  • Kershaw, Ian. Hitler, 1889–1936: Hubris. vol. 1. 1999. 700 pp. ; vol 2: Hitler, 1936–1945: Nemesis. 2000. 832 pp.; the leading scholarly biography.
  • Kershaw, Ian. The "Hitler Myth": Image and Reality in the Third Reich. (1987). 297 pp.
  • Nicholls, David. Adolf Hitler: A Biographical Companion. ABC-CLIO, 2000. 344 pp.

Holocaust, ideology and racism

  • Gisela Bock
    Gisela Bock
    Gisela Bock is a German feminist historian. She studied in Freiburg, Berlin, Paris and Rome. She took her doctorate at the Free University Berlin in 1971 and her Habilitation at the Technical University Berlin in 1984...

     "Racism and Sexism in Nazi Germany: Motherhood, Compulsory Sterilization, and the State" from When Biology Became Destiny: Women in Weimar and Nazi Germany edited by Renate Bridenthal, Atina Grossmann, and Marion Kaplan, New York: Monthly Review Press, 1984.
  • Friedlander, Saul. Nazi Germany and the Jews: Volume 1: The Years of Persecution 1933–1939 (1998); The Years of Extermination: Nazi Germany and the Jews, 1939–1945 (2007), the standard history
  • Gilbert, Martin. The Routledge Atlas of the Holocaust (2002)
  • Heinz Höhne
    Heinz Höhne
    Heinz Höhne was a German journalist and historian who specialized in Nazi and intelligence history....

    . The Order of the Death's Head: The Story of Hitler's SS. Translated by Richard Barry. London: Penguin Books, 1971.
  • Claudia Koonz
    Claudia Koonz
    Claudia Ann Koonz is an American feminist historian of Nazi Germany. Her principal area of interest is the experience of women during the Nazi era.-Career overview:...

    . The Nazi Conscience. Cambridge, Mass.: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2003.
  • Niewyk, Donald, and Francis Nicosia. The Columbia Guide to the Holocaust. (2000) online edition
  • Detlev Peukert
    Detlev Peukert
    Detlev Peukert was a German historian, noted for his studies of the relationship between what he called the "spirit of science" and the Holocaust and in social history and the Weimar Republic. Peukert taught modern history at the University of Essen and served as director of the Research Institute...

    . Inside Nazi Germany: Conformity, Opposition and Racism in Everyday Life. London: Batsford, 1987. ISBN 0-7134-5217-X.
  • Florian Ruhs: Foreign Workers in the Second World War. The Ordeal of Slovenians in Germany., in: aventinus nova Nr. 32 [29.05.2011].

Leadership

  • Martin Broszat
    Martin Broszat
    Martin Broszat was a German historian specializing in modern German social history whose work has been described by The Encyclopedia of Historians as indispensable for any serious study of the Third Reich. Broszat was born in Leipzig, Germany and studied history at the University of Leipzig and...

    . The Hitler State: The Foundation and Development Of The Internal Structure Of The Third Reich. Translated by John W. Hiden. London: Longman, 1981. ISBN 0-582-49200-9.
  • Guido Knopp
    Guido Knopp
    Guido Knopp is a German journalist and author. He is well known in Germany, mainly because he has produced a great number of TV documentaries, predominantly about the "Third Reich" and National Socialism, but also about other topics, such as Stalinism.- Life and work :After gaining his doctorate...

    . Hitler's Henchmen. 1998. Sutton Publishing, 2005. ISBN 0-7509-3781-5.
  • Frank McDonough, Hitler and the Rise of The Nazi Party, Pearson Longman, 2003.
  • Anthony Read. The Devils Disciples: The Devil's Disciples: Hitler's Inner Circle. W. W. Norton & Co., 2003. ISBN 0-393-04800-4.
  • Ronald Smelser and Rainer Zitelmann
    Rainer Zitelmann
    Rainer Zitelmann is a German historian, journalist and management consultant.- Life :Zitelmann studied history and political sciences at the Darmstadt University of Applied Sciences and completed his doctorate in 1986 under Prof. Dr...

    , The Nazi Elite New York University Press, 1993, ISBN 0-8147-7950-6.

Local and regional

  • William Sheridan Allen
    William Sheridan Allen
    William Sheridan Allen was born in Evanston, Illinois, and studied at the universities of Michigan, Connecticut, and Minnesota, and in Germany at the Free University of Berlin and the University of Göttingen. The Nazi Seizure of Power was his first book...

    . The Nazi Seizure of Power : the Experience Of A Single German Town, 1922–1945 New York: F. Watts, 1984. ISBN 0-531-09935-0.
  • Paul Garson
    Paul Garson
    Paul Garson is an American writer and photographer. He has contributed to many magazines and periodicals, and has published both fiction and nonfiction books as well as written two screenplays that have been produced. He served as a university instructor of composition and writing, as well as a...

    . Album of the Damned: Snapshots from the Third Reich 2008 ISBN 978-0-89733-576-8, Academy Chicago Publishers

Military and foreign policy

  • Sir John Wheeler-Bennett
    John Wheeler-Bennett
    Sir John Wheeler Wheeler-Bennett , GCVO, CMG, OBE, FBA, FRSL was a conservative English historian of German and diplomatic history, and the official biographer of King George VI.-Early career:...

    . The Nemesis of Power: The German Army in Politics 1918–1945, Palgrave Macmillan: London: 1953, 1964, 2005 ISBN 1-4039-1812-0.
  • Andreas Hillgruber
    Andreas Hillgruber
    Andreas Fritz Hillgruber was a conservative German historian. Hillgruber was influential as a military and diplomatic historian.At his death in 1989, the American historian Francis L...

     Germany and the two World Wars, Cambridge, Mass. : Harvard University Press, 1981 ISBN 0-674-35321-8.
  • David Irving
    David Irving
    David John Cawdell Irving is an English writer,best known for his denial of the Holocaust, who specialises in the military and political history of World War II, with a focus on Nazi Germany...

    . Hitler's War. London: Focal Point Publications. ISBN 1-872197-10-8.
  • Norman Rich. Hitler's War Aims: Ideology, the Nazi State, and the Course of Expansion. vol. 1. 1972. 352 pp.; vol. 2: Hitler's War Aims: The Establishment of the New Order. 1974. 548 pp.; definitive analysis of Nazi German war aims in World War II.

Resistance

  • Hamerow, Theodore S. On the Road to the Wolf's Lair: German Resistance to Hitler (1997) 454 pages
  • R. P. Heller. The Flame of Freedom: The German Struggle against Hitler. (1994) focus on Army online edition
  • Roger Moorhouse
    Roger Moorhouse
    Roger Moorhouse is a British historian and author. Born in Stockport, Cheshire, he was raised in Hertfordshire and attended Berkhamsted School. Inspired to return to education by the East European Revolutions of 1989, Moorhouse enrolled in the School of Slavonic and East European Studies of the...

    . Killing Hitler. London: Jonathan Cape, 2006. ISBN 0-224-07121-1.
  • Thomsett, Michael C. The German Opposition to Hitler: The Resistance, the Underground, and Assassination Plots, 1938–1945 (2nd ed 2007) 278 pages

Society and culture

  • Cosner, Shaaron and Cosner, Victoria. Women under the Third Reich: A Biographical Dictionary. Greenwood, 1998. 203 pp.
  • Richard Grunberger
    Richard Grunberger
    Richard Grunberger was a British historian, who specialised in study of the Third Reich.He was born in Austria to Jewish parents. After the 1938 Anschluss with Hitler's Germany, he was put on the first Kindertransport train to leave Vienna. He was initially housed in a refugee camp at Lowestoft in...

    . A Social History of the Third Reich 1974 ISBN 0-14-013675-4.
  • Claudia Koonz
    Claudia Koonz
    Claudia Ann Koonz is an American feminist historian of Nazi Germany. Her principal area of interest is the experience of women during the Nazi era.-Career overview:...

    . Mothers In The Fatherland: Women, the Family, and Nazi Politics. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1987. ISBN 0-312-54933-4.
  • Eric Michaud, The Cult of Art in Nazi Germany, translated by Janet Lloyd, Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2004. ISBN 0-8047-4327-4.
  • Rempel, Gerhard. Hitler's Children: The Hitler Youth and the SS, (1989) online edition
  • David Schoenbaum
    David Schoenbaum
    David Schoenbaum is an American social scientist and historian.He was teaching as a professor of History at the University of Iowa until 2008. Schoenbaum received his BA at the University of Wisconsin–Madison...

    Hitler’s Social Revolution; Class and Status in Nazi Germany, 1933–1939, Garden City, N.Y. Doubleday, 1966.
  • Stibbe, Matthew. Women in the Third Reich, 2003, 208 pp.


External links