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December 8, 2015
Nazism in Germany A.D.1933 - A.D. 1945
Germany, a powerful empire in the early years of the 20th century, fought the First World War (1914-1918) against the Allies (England, France and Russia). Germany made initial gains by occupying France and Belgium. However the Allies, strengthened by the US entry in 1917, defeated Germany and the Central Powers in November 1918.
Defeat of Germany
The defeat of Imperial Germany and the abdication of the Emperor William II gave an opportunity to parliamentary parties to recast German policy. A National Assembly met at Weimar and established a democratic constitution with the federal structure. This republic, however, was not received well by its own people.
The Peace Treaty at Versailles with the Allies was a harsh and humiliating one. Germany lost its overseas colonies and one tenth of its population. The Allied Powers demilitarized Germany to weaken its power. Germany was forced to pay war compensation amounting to £6 billion. The allied armies also occupied the resources rich Rhine land. Many Germans held the new Weimar Republic was responsible for not only the defeat in the war but also the disgrace at Versailles.
The 1929 Great Economic Depression also affected the economy of Germany. The Germans were expecting a great leader to save Germany from this agony. At this juncture there emerged a great leader, Adolf Hitler.
Adolf Hitler was born in 1889 in Austria. His father was a custom officer. He lost his parents from his earlyhood. He went to Vienna for job.
He was a painter for sometime. He joined the army during the first world war and fought bravely for which he was awarded the Iron cross. After the war, he did not get any job, He turned a politician. He organized a group of men called the National Socialists in 1919, which became Nazjst Party, He gave his group a programme, a Symbol and Uniform. The followers of Hitler were called 'Srown Shirts' and he was called ’Fuhrer" (Leader). His party emblem was Swastika^) His secret police was Gestapo.
Hitler began his political career as an agitator. In 1923, he made an attempt to capture power. It was known as ’Beer Hall Revolution'. But he failed and was arrested for high treason and sentenced to 5 years imprisonment. While he was in prison he wrote a book called 'Mein Kampf (My Struggle), which became the bible of Nazis. Soon he was released.
Capture of Power
Under the inspiring leadership of Hitler, the Nazi Party grew in power and number. In the election of 1932, the Nazi party became the 2nd largest group in the German Parliament (Reichstag-Lower House). In 1933, the Nazists became the largest party in the German Parliament, and Hitler became the Chancellor and Hindenburg as President. On the death of President Hindenburg in August 1934, Hitler made himself President and Chancellor. He abolished the Weimar Republic and proclaimed Third Reich (Empire) with himself as dictator. Thus Hitler became the Fuhrer (Leader) of Germany.
Achievements of Hitler:
The Nazis glorified the German State, Hitler boasted about the superiority of the Nordic race which stood for the rise of all the great culture and had atmost contempt for the Semitic Jews. He wanted to maintain a German race with Nordic elements. He ordered the Jews to be persecuted.
Hitler believed in action, force and terrorism. There was no scope for public liberty. Nazism was an one party state and all other parties were outlawed. Parliamentary Institutions were suppressed and the fundamental rights of the people were denied. He gave a new status and position to Germany. Federal Nature of the Constitution was set aside. He created a strong, unified and highly centralized despotic state.
In the economic field, his work was commendable. The war had completely shattered the economic system of Germany. But Hitler put the country on the path of prosperity. He replaced Trade Unions by the Labour Front which consisted of the representatives from both the Employers and the Employees. It looked after the general welfare of the workers. Strikes and lock-outs were outlawed. He made Germany economically self-sufficient in foodstuffs, raw materials and industrial goods. More lands were brought under cultivation, Scientific methods were introduced.
Defence Industries and Rearmament programme of Hitler gave employment to many people. Many schools were opened and illiteracy was eradicated. The children were trained in the Nazi culture.
Nazi men alone appointed as teachers and Nazi books alone prescribed for study. Women occupied a degraded place and they were treated as child-bearing machines. All kinds of social organizations were dissolved.
Hitler's Aggressive Policy
Hitler followed a forward and aggressive foreign policy. His aggressive Imperialist policy brought danger and destruction to his country, sufferings and difficulties to the people all over the world. Hitler introduced conscription and rearmed Germany from toe to head. He followed the policy of aggression and conquered territories to accommodate the growing population and to accumulate resources. He pulled Germany out of the League of Nations in 1933. In 1936, he reoccupied Rhine land, the
demilitarized zone and violated the Locarno treaty of 1925.In November 1937 Hitler formed an Alliance with Italy and Japan known as Rome-Berlin-TokyoAxis. He annexed Austria in 1938. When he went on seeking Sudetenland from Czechoslovakia an agreement was signed between Germany and Neville chamberlain, the then Prime Minister of Great Britain at Munich in 1938. By the Munich pact Germany was allowed to annex the Sudetenland but not to conquer any more territories. In 1939, Hitler violated the Munich agreement by annexing the whole of Czechoslovakia. It greatly alarmed Britain and France.
Hitler demanded the right to construct a military road connecting
East Prussia with Germany through Poland and also the surrender of Danzig. Hitler sparked the Second World War by declaring war on Poland on 1st Sept. 1939 when Poland refused to consent to the demands of Hitler.
In 1941, Hitler invaded Russia, breaking the Non -aggression pact with Stalin. This invasion failed to achieve the quick triumph that Hitler wanted. In 1945 the allied forces entered Berlin, Hitler having lost all hopes of success had committed suicide in his Bunker.
After the death of Hitler, the second world war came to an end and the Nazi party was also fizzled away.