JAC Board Class 9th Social Science Notes History Chapter 3 Nazism and the Rise of Hitler
- Nazism was a political ideology which flourished in Germany and influenced politics all over the world.
- In May 1945, Germany surrendered to the Allies. Anticipating what was coming, Hitler, his propaganda minister Goebbels and his entire family committed suicide collectively in his Berlin bunker in April.
- When genocidal war started in Germany under the shadow of the Second World War, it caused killings of millions of people in different inhuman ways.
→ Birth of the Weimar Republic
- Germany was a powerful empire in the early 20th century.
- Germany fought the First World War (1914-18) alongside the Austrian empire and against the Allies (England, France and Russia).
- Germany made initial gains in the war by occupying France and Belgium. The Allies were strengthened by the entry of the United States of America (US) in 1917. They defeated Germany and the central powers in November, 1918.
- The defeat of imperial Germany and the resignation of the emperor gave an opportunity to Parliamentary Parties to recast German polity.
- A National Assembly met at Weimar and established a democratic constitution with a federal structure.
- Deputies were elected to the German Parliament or Reichstag on the basis of equal and universal votes cast by all adults including women.
- The peace treaty at Versailles with the Allies was a harsh and humiliating peace for Germany. So, the Weimar Republic had to face too many difficulties since its beginning.
→ The Effect of the War
- The First World War had a devastating impact on the entire continent, both psychologically and financially. The Weimar Republic carried the burden of war guilt and national humiliation and was financially crippled by being forced to pay compensation.
- Socialists, Catholics and democrats who supported the Weimar Republic were criticised and came to be known as ‘November Criminals’ by the conservative nationalists.
- After the First World War, soldiers were placed above civilians and the media glorified their trench life. However, the truth was just the opposite. They lived a miserable life in the trenches.
- Aggressive war propaganda, national honour and support grew for conservative dictatorship.
- At that time in Europe, democracy was a young and fragile idea which could not survive the in stabilities of inter war.
→ Political Radicalism and Economic Crises
- The birth of the Weimar Republic coincided with the revolutionary uprising of the Spartacist League.
- Spartacist League was based on the pattern of the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia.
- The Weimar Republic crushed the uprising of the Spartacist League with the help of the war veterans organisation called the Free Corps.
- The Spartacists later founded the Communist Party of Germany.
- Germany had fought the war largely on loans and had to pay the war reparations in gold.
- With too much printed money in circulation, the value of the German mark fell, which brought hyperinflation in Germany.
- At last, the Americans introduced the Dawes Plan. It helped Germany to overcome the crisis.
→ The Year of Depression
- During the years of Depression (1924-1928), fearing a fall in prices, people made frantic efforts to sell their shares. On one single day, i.e., 24 October, 13 million shares were sold. This was the start of the Great Economic Depression. Over the next three years, between 1929 and 1932 the national income of the USA fell by half.
- The German economy was the worst hit by the economic crisis. The number of unemployed touched an unprecedented 6 million. The economic crisis created deep anxiety and fear in people.
- The Government failed to control the crisis and people lost confidence in the democratic parliamentary system.
→ Hitler’s Rise to Power
- This crisis in the economy, polity and society, formed the background to Hitler’s rise to power. The German defeat horrified him and the Versailles Treaty made him furious. In 1919, he joined a small group called the German Workers Party. Later’ he took over the organisation and the party came to be known as the Nazi Party.
- In 1928, the Nazi Party got only 26 percent votes in the elections to the Reichstag, the German parliament. By 1932, it had become the largest party with 37 percent votes.
- Hitler was a powerful speaker. His passionate speeches about the fatherland and prom¬ises inspired German people.
- Nazi propaganda skillfully projected Hitler as a messiah, a saviour, as someone who had arrived to help German people in a time of acute economic and political crisis.
→ The Destruction of Democracy
- On 30 January, 1933, President Hindenburg offered the Chancellorship to Hitler. Hav¬ing acquired power, Hitler set out to dismantle the structure of democratic rule.
- On 3 March, 1933, the famous Enabling Act was passed. This Act established dictatorship in Germany. It gave Hitler all powers to sideline the Parliament and rule by decree.
- Hitler assigned the responsibility of economic recovery to the economist Hjalmar Schacht who aimed at full production and full employment through a state funded work creation programme.
- This project produced the famous German super highways and the people’s car, the Volkswagen.
- In foreign policy, Hitler acquired quick successes.
- Hitler pulled out of the League of Nations in 1933 and reoccupied the Rhineland in 1936.
- In 1938, under the slogan “one people, one empire and one leader”, Austria and Germany were integrated by Hitler.
- Hitler chose war as the way out of the approaching economic crisis.
- In September 1939, Germany invaded Poland and this started a war with France and England.
- In September 1940, a Tripartite Pact was signed between Germany, Italy and Japan.
- Hitler attacked the Soviet Union in June 1941. It was a historic mistake made by Hitler.
- The Soviet Red army defeated Germany at Stalingrad.
- In the beginning, the US remained neutral in the Second World War. When Japan extended its support to Hitler and bombed the US base at Pearl Harbour, the US entered the Second World War.
- The Second World War ended in May 1945 with Hitler’s defeat.
- Japan surrendered in August 1945, after the US dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
→ The Nazi World View
- According to Nazi ideology, there was no equality between people but only a racial hierarchy.
- In this view, blond, blue-eyed, Nordic German Aryans were at the top, while Jews were located at the lowest rung. All other coloured people were placed in between, depending upon their external features.
- The other aspect of Hitler’s ideology related to the geo-political concept of Lebensraum, or living space.
- Hitler intended to extended the German boundaries by moving eastwards, to concentrate all the Germans geographically in one place. Poland became the laboratory for this experimentation.
Establishment of the Racial State
→ Establishment of the Racial State
- To implement their plan, the Nazis wanted to eliminate all those who were seen as ‘undesirable’. Nordic Aryans alone were considered ‘desirable’.Only they were seen as worth of prospering and multiplying against all others who .were classed as ‘undesirable’.
- Jews remained the worst sufferers in nazi Germany. They were often persecuted through periodic organised violence, and expulsion from the land.
→ The Racial Utopia
- Under the shadow of war, the Nazis proceeded to realise their murderous, racial ideal. Genocide and war became two sides of the same coin.
- With some of the largest ghettos and gas chambers, the general government also served as the killing fields for the Jews.
→ Youth in Nazi Germany
- Hitler felt that a strong Nazi society could be established only by teaching children, Nazi ideology. All schools were ‘cleansed’ and ‘purified’. This meant, that teachers who were Jews or seen as ‘politically unreliable’ were dismissed. All undesirable children are thrown out of schools, and finally in 1940, all undesirables were taken to the gas chambers.
- The youth league of the Nazis was founded in 1922. Four years later, it was renamed as Hitler Youth.
→ The Nazi Cult of Motherhood
- In Nazi Germany, girls had to maintain the purity of the race. They had to distance themselves from Jews, look after homes and teach their children Nazi values.
- Those mothers who produced racially desirable children were awarded.
- Women who maintained contacts with Jews, Poles or Russians were punished or imprisoned.
The Art of Propaganda
→ The Art of Propaganda
- The Nazi regime used language and media with care, and often to great effect. Nazis never used the words ‘kill’ or ‘murder’ in their official communication.
- Mass killings were termed as special treatment, final solution, euthanasia, selection and disinfection.
- Media was carefully used to win support for thejregime and popularise its worldview.
→ Ordinary People and the Crimes Against Humanity
- Many ordinary people genuinely believed Nazism would bring prosperity and improve general well-being.
- But not every German was a Nazi, many organised active resistance to Nazism, braving police repression and death.
→ Knowledge about the Holocaust
- Some of the horrible practices followed by Nazis.
- It was only after the war ended and Germany was defeated, that the world came to realise the horror of what had happened. The Jews wanted the world to remember the killings and sufferings they had endured during the Nazi killing operations, also called the ‘Holocaust’.
- Yet the history and the memory of the Holocaust live on in memoirs, fiction, documen¬taries, poetry, memorials and museums in many parts of the world today.
→ Important Dates and Related Events
- August 1,1914: Beginning of the First World War.
- November 9,1918: Germany and the Central Powers defeated in First World War, Weimar Republic establised.
- June 28, 1919: Treaty of Versailles.
- 1922: Nazi youth league founded (later renamed as Hitler Youth).
- 1923: Germany goes through economic crisis and hyperinflation; France, occupies the Ruhr, Germany’s coal mines area.
- 1929: I all Street Exchange in USA crashes.
- 1932: Nazi party becomes the largest party in Reichstag-the German Par. ‘ment.
- 1929-1932: Great Depression, National Income of USA fell by half.
- January 30, 1933: Hitler bec.’me Chancellor of Gtrmany.
- February 28: Fire Decree declared in Germany:
- March 3, 1933:Enabling Act passed, establishing Hitler’s dictatorship.
- 1933: Germany pulls out of the league of Nations.
- 1938: Germany and Austria integrated.
- September 1, 1939: Germany invaded Poland. Beginning of the Second World War.
- September, 1940: Tripartite pact between Germany, Italy and Japan signed.
- June 22,1941: Germany invaded the USSR.
- June 23, 1941: Beginning of mass murder of the Jews.
- December 8,1941: The USA joined Second World War.
- 1940-1944: Ghettoisation of Jews and their killing in gas chambers.
- January 27, 1945: Soviet troops liberated Auschwitz.
- May 8, 1945: Allied victory in Europe.
→ Allies: The Allied Powers were initially led by the UK and France. In 1941, they were joined by the USSR and USA. They fought in the Second World War against the Axis Powers, namely-Germany, Italy and Japan.
→ Genocidal: Killing on large scale leading to destruction of large sections of people.
→ Reichstag: Name of the German Parliament.
→ Free Corps: A war veterans organisation.
→ Reparation: Make up for a wrong done.
→ Deplete: Reduce, empty out.
→ Hyper Inflation: A very high rise in prices.
→ Wall Street Exchange: The name of the world’s biggest stock exchange located in the USA.
→ Proletarianisation: To become impoverished to the level of working classes.
→ Propaganda: Specific type of message directly aimed at influencing the opinion of people (through the use of posters, films, speeches, etc.)
→ Decree: An official order forced by law.
→ Nazis: Short form of National Socialist German Worker Party members.
→ Swastika: Symbol of Nazis.
→ Concentration Camp: A camp where people were isolated and detained without due process of law. Typically, it was surrounded by electrified barbed wire fences.
→ Gestapo: Secret state police of Germany.
→ Lebensraum: A living space.
→ Persecution: Systematic, organised punishment of those belonging to a group or religion.
→ Usurers: Moneylenders charging excessive rate of interest; often used as a term of abuse.
→ Ghettos: A separately marked area for the Jews where they could live.
→ Pauperised: Reduce to absolute poverty.
→ Synagogues: Place of worship for people of Jewish faith.
→ Jungvolk: Nazi youth groups for children below 14 years of age.’
→ Holocaust: Sufferings and atrocities that people had to bear during the Nazi killing operations.
→ Security Device: Secret state policy.
→ Nuremberg: The place where an International Military tribunal was set up at the end of the Second World War to prosecute Nazi criminals.
→ Jew: A person whose religion is Judaism.
→ Gypsy: The groups that were classified as ‘Gypsy’ had their own community identity. Sinti and Roma were two such communities.
→ Nordic German Aryans: One branch of those classified as Aryans. They lived in north European countries and had German or related origin.
→ Adolf Hitler: The central figure in post First World War Germany, set up the most dreaded military rule.
→ Goebbles: Propaganda minister of Hitler.
→ Hjalmar Schacht: Economist who was assigned the responsibility of making a plan for economic recovery of Germany.
→ Charles Darwin: A natural scientist who tried to explain the creation of plants and animals through the concept of evolution and natural selection.
→ Charlotte Beradt: Author of the Third Reich of Dreams.