Nazi Germany

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"Drittes Reich" redirects here. Nazi Germany_sentence_0

For the 1923 book, see Das Dritte Reich. Nazi Germany_sentence_1

Nazi Germany_table_infobox_0

German Reich (1933–1943)

Deutsches ReichGreater German Reich (1943–1945) Großdeutsches ReichNazi Germany_header_cell_0_0_0

Capital

and largest cityNazi Germany_header_cell_0_1_0

BerlinNazi Germany_cell_0_1_1
Common languagesNazi Germany_header_cell_0_2_0 GermanNazi Germany_cell_0_2_1
ReligionNazi Germany_header_cell_0_3_0 Nazi Germany_cell_0_3_1
Demonym(s)Nazi Germany_header_cell_0_4_0 GermanNazi Germany_cell_0_4_1
GovernmentNazi Germany_header_cell_0_5_0 Nazi one-party totalitarian dictatorshipNazi Germany_cell_0_5_1
Head of StateNazi Germany_header_cell_0_6_0 Nazi Germany_cell_0_6_1
1933–1934Nazi Germany_header_cell_0_7_0 Paul von HindenburgNazi Germany_cell_0_7_1
1934–1945Nazi Germany_header_cell_0_8_0 Adolf HitlerNazi Germany_cell_0_8_1
1945Nazi Germany_header_cell_0_9_0 Karl DönitzNazi Germany_cell_0_9_1
ChancellorNazi Germany_header_cell_0_10_0 Nazi Germany_cell_0_10_1
1933–1945Nazi Germany_header_cell_0_11_0 Adolf HitlerNazi Germany_cell_0_11_1
1945Nazi Germany_header_cell_0_12_0 Joseph GoebbelsNazi Germany_cell_0_12_1
1945Nazi Germany_header_cell_0_13_0 L. G. S. von KrosigkNazi Germany_cell_0_13_1
LegislatureNazi Germany_header_cell_0_14_0 ReichstagNazi Germany_cell_0_14_1
State councilNazi Germany_header_cell_0_15_0 Reichsrat (until 1934)Nazi Germany_cell_0_15_1
Historical eraNazi Germany_header_cell_0_16_0 Interwar  World War IINazi Germany_cell_0_16_1
Seizure of PowerNazi Germany_header_cell_0_17_0 30 January 1933Nazi Germany_cell_0_17_1
Enabling ActNazi Germany_header_cell_0_18_0 23 March 1933Nazi Germany_cell_0_18_1
AnschlussNazi Germany_header_cell_0_19_0 12 March 1938Nazi Germany_cell_0_19_1
World War IINazi Germany_header_cell_0_20_0 1 September 1939Nazi Germany_cell_0_20_1
Death of HitlerNazi Germany_header_cell_0_21_0 30 April 1945Nazi Germany_cell_0_21_1
SurrenderNazi Germany_header_cell_0_22_0 8 May 1945Nazi Germany_cell_0_22_1
Final dissolutionNazi Germany_header_cell_0_23_0 23 May 1945Nazi Germany_cell_0_23_1
AreaNazi Germany_header_cell_0_24_0
1939Nazi Germany_header_cell_0_25_0 633,786 km (244,706 sq mi)Nazi Germany_cell_0_25_1
1940Nazi Germany_header_cell_0_26_0 823,505 km (317,957 sq mi)Nazi Germany_cell_0_26_1
PopulationNazi Germany_header_cell_0_27_0
1939Nazi Germany_header_cell_0_28_0 79,375,281Nazi Germany_cell_0_28_1
1940Nazi Germany_header_cell_0_29_0 109,518,183Nazi Germany_cell_0_29_1
CurrencyNazi Germany_header_cell_0_30_0 Reichsmark (ℛℳ)Nazi Germany_cell_0_30_1
Preceded by

Succeeded by




Weimar Republic



Saar Basin



Austria



Czechoslovakia



Lithuania



Danzig



Poland



Yugoslavia



France



Luxembourg




Occupied Germany



Occupied Austria



Poland



Czechoslovakia



Yugoslavia



France



Luxembourg



Soviet UnionNazi Germany_cell_0_31_0

Preceded byNazi Germany_cell_0_32_0 Succeeded byNazi Germany_cell_0_32_1
Weimar Republic



Saar Basin



Austria



Czechoslovakia



Lithuania



Danzig



Poland



Yugoslavia



France



LuxembourgNazi Germany_cell_0_33_0

Occupied Germany



Occupied Austria



Poland



Czechoslovakia



Yugoslavia



France



Luxembourg



Soviet UnionNazi Germany_cell_0_33_1

Nazi Germany_cell_0_34_0 Weimar RepublicNazi Germany_cell_0_34_1
Nazi Germany_cell_0_35_0 Saar BasinNazi Germany_cell_0_35_1
Nazi Germany_cell_0_36_0 AustriaNazi Germany_cell_0_36_1
Nazi Germany_cell_0_37_0 CzechoslovakiaNazi Germany_cell_0_37_1
Nazi Germany_cell_0_38_0 LithuaniaNazi Germany_cell_0_38_1
Nazi Germany_cell_0_39_0 DanzigNazi Germany_cell_0_39_1
Nazi Germany_cell_0_40_0 PolandNazi Germany_cell_0_40_1
Nazi Germany_cell_0_41_0 YugoslaviaNazi Germany_cell_0_41_1
Nazi Germany_cell_0_42_0 FranceNazi Germany_cell_0_42_1
Nazi Germany_cell_0_43_0 LuxembourgNazi Germany_cell_0_43_1
Occupied GermanyNazi Germany_cell_0_44_0 Nazi Germany_cell_0_44_1
Occupied AustriaNazi Germany_cell_0_45_0 Nazi Germany_cell_0_45_1
PolandNazi Germany_cell_0_46_0 Nazi Germany_cell_0_46_1
CzechoslovakiaNazi Germany_cell_0_47_0 Nazi Germany_cell_0_47_1
YugoslaviaNazi Germany_cell_0_48_0 Nazi Germany_cell_0_48_1
FranceNazi Germany_cell_0_49_0 Nazi Germany_cell_0_49_1
LuxembourgNazi Germany_cell_0_50_0 Nazi Germany_cell_0_50_1
Soviet UnionNazi Germany_cell_0_51_0 Nazi Germany_cell_0_51_1

Nazi Germany, officially known as the German Reich until 1943 and Greater German Reich in 1943–45, was the German state between 1933 and 1945, when Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party controlled the country which they transformed into a dictatorship. Nazi Germany_sentence_2

Under Hitler's rule, Germany quickly became a totalitarian state where nearly all aspects of life were controlled by the government. Nazi Germany_sentence_3

The Third Reich, meaning "Third Realm" or "Third Empire", alluded to the Nazis' conceit that Nazi Germany was the successor to the earlier Holy Roman Empire (800–1806) and German Empire (1871–1918). Nazi Germany_sentence_4

The Third Reich, which Hitler and the Nazis referred to as the Thousand Year Reich, ended in May 1945 after just 12 years, when the Allies defeated Germany, ending World War II in Europe. Nazi Germany_sentence_5

On 30 January 1933, Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany, the head of government, by the President of the Weimar Republic, Paul von Hindenburg, the head of State. Nazi Germany_sentence_6

The Nazi Party then began to eliminate all political opposition and consolidate its power. Nazi Germany_sentence_7

Hindenburg died on 2 August 1934 and Hitler became dictator of Germany by merging the offices and powers of the Chancellery and Presidency. Nazi Germany_sentence_8

A national referendum held 19 August 1934 confirmed Hitler as sole Führer (Leader) of Germany. Nazi Germany_sentence_9

All power was centralised in Hitler's person and his word became the highest law. Nazi Germany_sentence_10

The government was not a coordinated, co-operating body, but a collection of factions struggling for power and Hitler's favour. Nazi Germany_sentence_11

In the midst of the Great Depression, the Nazis restored economic stability and ended mass unemployment using heavy military spending and a mixed economy. Nazi Germany_sentence_12

Using deficit spending, the regime undertook a massive secret rearmament program and the construction of extensive public works projects, including the construction of Autobahnen (motorways). Nazi Germany_sentence_13

The return to economic stability boosted the regime's popularity. Nazi Germany_sentence_14

Racism, Nazi eugenics, and especially antisemitism, were central ideological features of the regime. Nazi Germany_sentence_15

The Germanic peoples were considered by the Nazis to be the master race, the purest branch of the Aryan race. Nazi Germany_sentence_16

Discrimination and the persecution of Jews and Romani people began in earnest after the seizure of power. Nazi Germany_sentence_17

The first concentration camps were established in March 1933. Nazi Germany_sentence_18

Jews and others deemed undesirable were imprisoned, and liberals, socialists, and communists were killed, imprisoned, or exiled. Nazi Germany_sentence_19

Christian churches and citizens that opposed Hitler's rule were oppressed and many leaders imprisoned. Nazi Germany_sentence_20

Education focused on racial biology, population policy, and fitness for military service. Nazi Germany_sentence_21

Career and educational opportunities for women were curtailed. Nazi Germany_sentence_22

Recreation and tourism were organised via the Strength Through Joy program, and the 1936 Summer Olympics showcased Germany on the international stage. Nazi Germany_sentence_23

Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels made effective use of film, mass rallies, and Hitler's hypnotic oratory to influence public opinion. Nazi Germany_sentence_24

The government controlled artistic expression, promoting specific art forms and banning or discouraging others. Nazi Germany_sentence_25

The Nazi regime dominated neighbours through military threats in the years leading up to war. Nazi Germany_sentence_26

Nazi Germany made increasingly aggressive territorial demands, threatening war if these were not met. Nazi Germany_sentence_27

It seized Austria and almost all of Czechoslovakia in 1938 and 1939. Nazi Germany_sentence_28

Germany signed a non-aggression pact with the Soviet Union and invaded Poland on 1 September 1939, launching World War II in Europe. Nazi Germany_sentence_29

By early 1941, Germany controlled much of Europe. Nazi Germany_sentence_30

Reichskommissariats took control of conquered areas and a German administration was established in the remainder of Poland. Nazi Germany_sentence_31

Germany exploited the raw materials and labour of both its occupied territories and its allies. Nazi Germany_sentence_32

Genocide and mass murder became hallmarks of the regime. Nazi Germany_sentence_33

Starting in 1939, hundreds of thousands of German citizens with mental or physical disabilities were murdered in hospitals and asylums. Nazi Germany_sentence_34

Einsatzgruppen paramilitary death squads accompanied the German armed forces inside the occupied territories and conducted the mass killings of millions of Jews and other Holocaust victims. Nazi Germany_sentence_35

After 1941, millions of others were imprisoned, worked to death, or murdered in Nazi concentration camps and extermination camps. Nazi Germany_sentence_36

This genocide is known as the Holocaust. Nazi Germany_sentence_37

While the German invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941 was initially successful, the Soviet resurgence and entry of the United States into the war meant that the Wehrmacht (German armed forces) lost the initiative on the Eastern Front in 1943 and by late 1944 had been pushed back to the pre-1939 border. Nazi Germany_sentence_38

Large-scale aerial bombing of Germany escalated in 1944 and the Axis powers were driven back in Eastern and Southern Europe. Nazi Germany_sentence_39

After the Allied invasion of France, Germany was conquered by the Soviet Union from the east and the other Allies from the west, and capitulated in May 1945. Nazi Germany_sentence_40

Hitler's refusal to admit defeat led to massive destruction of German infrastructure and additional war-related deaths in the closing months of the war. Nazi Germany_sentence_41

The victorious Allies initiated a policy of denazification and put many of the surviving Nazi leadership on trial for war crimes at the Nuremberg trials. Nazi Germany_sentence_42

Name Nazi Germany_section_0

Further information: Reich Nazi Germany_sentence_43

Common English terms for the German state in the Nazi era are "Nazi Germany" and "Third Reich". Nazi Germany_sentence_44

The latter, a translation of the Nazi propaganda term Drittes Reich, was first used in Das Dritte Reich, a 1923 book by Arthur Moeller van den Bruck. Nazi Germany_sentence_45

The book counted the Holy Roman Empire (962–1806) as the first Reich and the German Empire (1871–1918) as the second. Nazi Germany_sentence_46

Background Nazi Germany_section_1

Further information: Adolf Hitler's rise to power Nazi Germany_sentence_47

Germany was known as the Weimar Republic during the years 1919 to 1933. Nazi Germany_sentence_48

It was a republic with a semi-presidential system. Nazi Germany_sentence_49

The Weimar Republic faced numerous problems, including hyperinflation, political extremism (including violence from left- and right-wing paramilitaries), contentious relationships with the Allied victors of World War I, and a series of failed attempts at coalition government by divided political parties. Nazi Germany_sentence_50

Severe setbacks to the German economy began after World War I ended, partly because of reparations payments required under the 1919 Treaty of Versailles. Nazi Germany_sentence_51

The government printed money to make the payments and to repay the country's war debt, but the resulting hyperinflation led to inflated prices for consumer goods, economic chaos, and food riots. Nazi Germany_sentence_52

When the government defaulted on their reparations payments in January 1923, French troops occupied German industrial areas along the Ruhr and widespread civil unrest followed. Nazi Germany_sentence_53

The National Socialist German Workers' Party (Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei), commonly known as the Nazi Party, was founded in 1920. Nazi Germany_sentence_54

It was the renamed successor of the German Workers' Party (DAP) formed one year earlier, and one of several far-right political parties then active in Germany. Nazi Germany_sentence_55

The Nazi Party platform included destruction of the Weimar Republic, rejection of the terms of the Treaty of Versailles, radical antisemitism, and anti-Bolshevism. Nazi Germany_sentence_56

They promised a strong central government, increased Lebensraum ("living space") for Germanic peoples, formation of a national community based on race, and racial cleansing via the active suppression of Jews, who would be stripped of their citizenship and civil rights. Nazi Germany_sentence_57

The Nazis proposed national and cultural renewal based upon the Völkisch movement. Nazi Germany_sentence_58

The party, especially its paramilitary organisation Sturmabteilung (SA; Storm Detachment), or Brownshirts, used physical violence to advance their political position, disrupting the meetings of rival organisations and attacking their members as well as Jewish people on the streets. Nazi Germany_sentence_59

Such far-right armed groups were common in Bavaria, and were tolerated by the sympathetic far-right state government of Gustav Ritter von Kahr. Nazi Germany_sentence_60

When the stock market in the United States crashed on 24 October 1929, the effect in Germany was dire. Nazi Germany_sentence_61

Millions were thrown out of work and several major banks collapsed. Nazi Germany_sentence_62

Hitler and the Nazis prepared to take advantage of the emergency to gain support for their party. Nazi Germany_sentence_63

They promised to strengthen the economy and provide jobs. Nazi Germany_sentence_64

Many voters decided the Nazi Party was capable of restoring order, quelling civil unrest, and improving Germany's international reputation. Nazi Germany_sentence_65

After the federal election of 1932, the party was the largest in the Reichstag, holding 230 seats with 37.4 percent of the popular vote. Nazi Germany_sentence_66

History Nazi Germany_section_2

Further information: History of Germany Nazi Germany_sentence_67

Nazi seizure of power Nazi Germany_section_3

Main article: Adolf Hitler's rise to power § Seizure of control (1931–1933) Nazi Germany_sentence_68

Although the Nazis won the greatest share of the popular vote in the two Reichstag general elections of 1932, they did not have a majority. Nazi Germany_sentence_69

Hitler therefore led a short-lived coalition government formed with the German National People's Party. Nazi Germany_sentence_70

Under pressure from politicians, industrialists, and the business community, President Paul von Hindenburg appointed Hitler as Chancellor of Germany on 30 January 1933. Nazi Germany_sentence_71

This event is known as the Machtergreifung ("seizure of power"). Nazi Germany_sentence_72

On the night of 27 February 1933, the Reichstag building was set afire. Nazi Germany_sentence_73

Marinus van der Lubbe, a Dutch communist, was found guilty of starting the blaze. Nazi Germany_sentence_74

Hitler proclaimed that the arson marked the start of a communist uprising. Nazi Germany_sentence_75

The Reichstag Fire Decree, imposed on 28 February 1933, rescinded most civil liberties, including rights of assembly and freedom of the press. Nazi Germany_sentence_76

The decree also allowed the police to detain people indefinitely without charges. Nazi Germany_sentence_77

The legislation was accompanied by a propaganda campaign that led to public support for the measure. Nazi Germany_sentence_78

Violent suppression of communists by the SA was undertaken nationwide and 4,000 members of the Communist Party of Germany were arrested. Nazi Germany_sentence_79

In March 1933, the Enabling Act, an amendment to the Weimar Constitution, passed in the Reichstag by a vote of 444 to 94. Nazi Germany_sentence_80

This amendment allowed Hitler and his cabinet to pass laws—even laws that violated the constitution—without the consent of the president or the Reichstag. Nazi Germany_sentence_81

As the bill required a two-thirds majority to pass, the Nazis used intimidation tactics as well as the provisions of the Reichstag Fire Decree to keep several Social Democratic deputies from attending, and the Communists had already been banned. Nazi Germany_sentence_82

On 10 May, the government seized the assets of the Social Democrats, and they were banned on 22 June. Nazi Germany_sentence_83

On 21 June, the SA raided the offices of the German National People's Party – their former coalition partners – which then disbanded on 29 June. Nazi Germany_sentence_84

The remaining major political parties followed suit. Nazi Germany_sentence_85

On 14 July 1933 Germany became a one-party state with the passage of a law decreeing the Nazi Party to be the sole legal party in Germany. Nazi Germany_sentence_86

The founding of new parties was also made illegal, and all remaining political parties which had not already been dissolved were banned. Nazi Germany_sentence_87

The Enabling Act would subsequently serve as the legal foundation for the dictatorship the Nazis established. Nazi Germany_sentence_88

Further elections in November 1933, 1936, and 1938 were Nazi-controlled, with only members of the Party and a small number of independents elected. Nazi Germany_sentence_89

Nazification of Germany Nazi Germany_section_4

Main article: Gleichschaltung Nazi Germany_sentence_90

The Hitler cabinet used the terms of the Reichstag Fire Decree and later the Enabling Act to initiate the process of Gleichschaltung ("co-ordination"), which brought all aspects of life under party control. Nazi Germany_sentence_91

Individual states not controlled by elected Nazi governments or Nazi-led coalitions were forced to agree to the appointment of Reich Commissars to bring the states in line with the policies of the central government. Nazi Germany_sentence_92

These Commissars had the power to appoint and remove local governments, state parliaments, officials, and judges. Nazi Germany_sentence_93

In this way Germany became a de facto unitary state, with all state governments controlled by the central government under the Nazis. Nazi Germany_sentence_94

The state parliaments and the Reichsrat (federal upper house) were abolished in January 1934, with all state powers being transferred to the central government. Nazi Germany_sentence_95

All civilian organisations, including agricultural groups, volunteer organisations, and sports clubs, had their leadership replaced with Nazi sympathisers or party members; these civic organisations either merged with the Nazi Party or faced dissolution. Nazi Germany_sentence_96

The Nazi government declared a "Day of National Labor" for May Day 1933, and invited many trade union delegates to Berlin for celebrations. Nazi Germany_sentence_97

The day after, SA stormtroopers demolished union offices around the country; all trade unions were forced to dissolve and their leaders were arrested. Nazi Germany_sentence_98

The Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service, passed in April, removed from their jobs all teachers, professors, judges, magistrates, and government officials who were Jewish or whose commitment to the party was suspect. Nazi Germany_sentence_99

This meant the only non-political institutions not under control of the Nazis were the churches. Nazi Germany_sentence_100

The Nazi regime abolished the symbols of the Weimar Republic—including the black, red, and gold tricolour flag—and adopted reworked symbolism. Nazi Germany_sentence_101

The previous imperial black, white, and red tricolour was restored as one of Germany's two official flags; the second was the swastika flag of the Nazi Party, which became the sole national flag in 1935. Nazi Germany_sentence_102

The Party anthem "Horst-Wessel-Lied" ("Horst Wessel Song") became a second national anthem. Nazi Germany_sentence_103

Germany was still in a dire economic situation, as six million people were unemployed and the balance of trade deficit was daunting. Nazi Germany_sentence_104

Using deficit spending, public works projects were undertaken beginning in 1934, creating 1.7 million new jobs by the end of that year alone. Nazi Germany_sentence_105

Average wages began to rise. Nazi Germany_sentence_106

Consolidation of power Nazi Germany_section_5

The SA leadership continued to apply pressure for greater political and military power. Nazi Germany_sentence_107

In response, Hitler used the Schutzstaffel (SS) and Gestapo to purge the entire SA leadership. Nazi Germany_sentence_108

Hitler targeted SA Stabschef (Chief of Staff) Ernst Röhm and other SA leaders who—along with a number of Hitler's political adversaries (such as Gregor Strasser and former chancellor Kurt von Schleicher)—were arrested and shot. Nazi Germany_sentence_109

Up to 200 people were killed from 30 June to 2 July 1934 in an event that became known as the Night of the Long Knives. Nazi Germany_sentence_110

On 2 August 1934, Hindenburg died. Nazi Germany_sentence_111

The previous day, the cabinet had enacted the "Law Concerning the Highest State Office of the Reich", which stated that upon Hindenburg's death the office of president would be abolished and its powers merged with those of the chancellor. Nazi Germany_sentence_112

Hitler thus became head of state as well as head of government and was formally named as Führer und Reichskanzler ("Leader and Chancellor"), although eventually Reichskanzler was dropped. Nazi Germany_sentence_113

Germany was now a totalitarian state with Hitler at its head. Nazi Germany_sentence_114

As head of state, Hitler became Supreme Commander of the armed forces. Nazi Germany_sentence_115

The new law provided an altered loyalty oath for servicemen so that they affirmed loyalty to Hitler personally rather than the office of supreme commander or the state. Nazi Germany_sentence_116

On 19 August, the merger of the presidency with the chancellorship was approved by 90 percent of the electorate in a plebiscite. Nazi Germany_sentence_117

Most Germans were relieved that the conflicts and street fighting of the Weimar era had ended. Nazi Germany_sentence_118

They were deluged with propaganda orchestrated by Minister of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda Joseph Goebbels, who promised peace and plenty for all in a united, Marxist-free country without the constraints of the Versailles Treaty. Nazi Germany_sentence_119

The Nazi Party obtained and legitimised power through its initial revolutionary activities, then through manipulation of legal mechanisms, the use of police powers, and by taking control of the state and federal institutions. Nazi Germany_sentence_120

The first major Nazi concentration camp, initially for political prisoners, was opened at Dachau in 1933. Nazi Germany_sentence_121

Hundreds of camps of varying size and function were created by the end of the war. Nazi Germany_sentence_122

Beginning in April 1933, scores of measures defining the status of Jews and their rights were instituted. Nazi Germany_sentence_123

These measures culminated in the establishment of the Nuremberg Laws of 1935, which stripped them of their basic rights. Nazi Germany_sentence_124

The Nazis would take from the Jews their wealth, their right to intermarry with non-Jews, and their right to occupy many fields of labour (such as law, medicine, or education). Nazi Germany_sentence_125

Eventually the Nazis declared the Jews as undesirable to remain among German citizens and society. Nazi Germany_sentence_126

Military build-up Nazi Germany_section_6

See also: International relations (1919–1939), Remilitarization of the Rhineland, and German involvement in the Spanish Civil War Nazi Germany_sentence_127

In the early years of the regime, Germany was without allies, and its military was drastically weakened by the Versailles Treaty. Nazi Germany_sentence_128

France, Poland, Italy, and the Soviet Union each had reasons to object to Hitler's rise to power. Nazi Germany_sentence_129

Poland suggested to France that the two nations engage in a preventive war against Germany in March 1933. Nazi Germany_sentence_130

Fascist Italy objected to German claims in the Balkans and on Austria, which Benito Mussolini considered to be in Italy's sphere of influence. Nazi Germany_sentence_131

As early as February 1933, Hitler announced that rearmament must begin, albeit clandestinely at first, as to do so was in violation of the Versailles Treaty. Nazi Germany_sentence_132

On 17 May 1933, Hitler gave a speech before the Reichstag outlining his desire for world peace and accepted an offer from American President Franklin D. Roosevelt for military disarmament, provided the other nations of Europe did the same. Nazi Germany_sentence_133

When the other European powers failed to accept this offer, Hitler pulled Germany out of the World Disarmament Conference and the League of Nations in October, claiming its disarmament clauses were unfair if they applied only to Germany. Nazi Germany_sentence_134

In a referendum held in November, 95 percent of voters supported Germany's withdrawal. Nazi Germany_sentence_135

In 1934, Hitler told his military leaders that a war in the east should begin in 1942. Nazi Germany_sentence_136

The Saarland, which had been placed under League of Nations supervision for 15 years at the end of World War I, voted in January 1935 to become part of Germany. Nazi Germany_sentence_137

In March 1935, Hitler announced the creation of an air force, and that the Reichswehr would be increased to 550,000 men. Nazi Germany_sentence_138

Britain agreed to Germany building a naval fleet with the signing of the Anglo-German Naval Agreement on 18 June 1935. Nazi Germany_sentence_139

When the Italian invasion of Ethiopia led to only mild protests by the British and French governments, on 7 March 1936 Hitler used the Franco-Soviet Treaty of Mutual Assistance as a pretext to order the army to march 3,000 troops into the demilitarised zone in the Rhineland in violation of the Versailles Treaty. Nazi Germany_sentence_140

As the territory was part of Germany, the British and French governments did not feel that attempting to enforce the treaty was worth the risk of war. Nazi Germany_sentence_141

In the one-party election held on 29 March, the Nazis received 98.9 percent support. Nazi Germany_sentence_142

In 1936, Hitler signed an Anti-Comintern Pact with Japan and a non-aggression agreement with Mussolini, who was soon referring to a "Rome-Berlin Axis". Nazi Germany_sentence_143

Hitler sent military supplies and assistance to the Nationalist forces of General Francisco Franco in the Spanish Civil War, which began in July 1936. Nazi Germany_sentence_144

The German Condor Legion included a range of aircraft and their crews, as well as a tank contingent. Nazi Germany_sentence_145

The aircraft of the Legion destroyed the city of Guernica in 1937. Nazi Germany_sentence_146

The Nationalists were victorious in 1939 and became an informal ally of Nazi Germany. Nazi Germany_sentence_147

Austria and Czechoslovakia Nazi Germany_section_7

Main articles: Anschluss and German occupation of Czechoslovakia Nazi Germany_sentence_148

Further information: Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia Nazi Germany_sentence_149

In February 1938, Hitler emphasised to Austrian Chancellor Kurt Schuschnigg the need for Germany to secure its frontiers. Nazi Germany_sentence_150

Schuschnigg scheduled a plebiscite regarding Austrian independence for 13 March, but Hitler sent an ultimatum to Schuschnigg on 11 March demanding that he hand over all power to the Austrian Nazi Party or face an invasion. Nazi Germany_sentence_151

German troops entered Austria the next day, to be greeted with enthusiasm by the populace. Nazi Germany_sentence_152

The Republic of Czechoslovakia was home to a substantial minority of Germans, who lived mostly in the Sudetenland. Nazi Germany_sentence_153

Under pressure from separatist groups within the Sudeten German Party, the Czechoslovak government offered economic concessions to the region. Nazi Germany_sentence_154

Hitler decided not just to incorporate the Sudetenland into the Reich, but to destroy the country of Czechoslovakia entirely. Nazi Germany_sentence_155

The Nazis undertook a propaganda campaign to try to generate support for an invasion. Nazi Germany_sentence_156

Top German military leaders opposed the plan, as Germany was not yet ready for war. Nazi Germany_sentence_157

The crisis led to war preparations by Britain, Czechoslovakia, and France (Czechoslovakia's ally). Nazi Germany_sentence_158

Attempting to avoid war, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain arranged a series of meetings, the result of which was the Munich Agreement, signed on 29 September 1938. Nazi Germany_sentence_159

The Czechoslovak government was forced to accept the Sudetenland's annexation into Germany. Nazi Germany_sentence_160

Chamberlain was greeted with cheers when he landed in London, saying the agreement brought "peace for our time". Nazi Germany_sentence_161

In addition to the German annexation, Poland seized a narrow strip of land near Cieszyn on 2 October, while as a consequence of the Munich Agreement, Hungary demanded and received 12,000 square kilometres (4,600 sq mi) along their northern border in the First Vienna Award on 2 November. Nazi Germany_sentence_162

Following negotiations with President Emil Hácha, Hitler seized the rest of the Czech half of the country on 15 March 1939 and created the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, one day after the proclamation of the Slovak Republic in the Slovak half. Nazi Germany_sentence_163

Also on 15 March, Hungary occupied and annexed the recently proclaimed and unrecognized Carpatho-Ukraine and an additional sliver of land disputed with Slovakia. Nazi Germany_sentence_164

Austrian and Czech foreign exchange reserves were seized by the Nazis, as were stockpiles of raw materials such as metals and completed goods such as weaponry and aircraft, which were shipped to Germany. Nazi Germany_sentence_165

The Reichswerke Hermann Göring industrial conglomerate took control of steel and coal production facilities in both countries. Nazi Germany_sentence_166

Poland Nazi Germany_section_8

In January 1934, Germany signed a non-aggression pact with Poland. Nazi Germany_sentence_167

In March 1939, Hitler demanded the return of the Free City of Danzig and the Polish Corridor, a strip of land that separated East Prussia from the rest of Germany. Nazi Germany_sentence_168

The British announced they would come to the aid of Poland if it was attacked. Nazi Germany_sentence_169

Hitler, believing the British would not actually take action, ordered an invasion plan should be readied for September 1939. Nazi Germany_sentence_170

On 23 May, Hitler described to his generals his overall plan of not only seizing the Polish Corridor but greatly expanding German territory eastward at the expense of Poland. Nazi Germany_sentence_171

He expected this time they would be met by force. Nazi Germany_sentence_172

The Germans reaffirmed their alliance with Italy and signed non-aggression pacts with Denmark, Estonia, and Latvia whilst trade links were formalised with Romania, Norway, and Sweden. Nazi Germany_sentence_173

Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop arranged in negotiations with the Soviet Union a non-aggression pact, the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, signed in August 1939. Nazi Germany_sentence_174

The treaty also contained secret protocols dividing Poland and the Baltic states into German and Soviet spheres of influence. Nazi Germany_sentence_175

World War II Nazi Germany_section_9

Foreign policy Nazi Germany_section_10

Further information: Diplomatic history of World War II § Germany Nazi Germany_sentence_176

Germany's wartime foreign policy involved the creation of allied governments controlled directly or indirectly from Berlin. Nazi Germany_sentence_177

They intended to obtain soldiers from allies such as Italy and Hungary and workers and food supplies from allies such as Vichy France. Nazi Germany_sentence_178

Hungary was the fourth nation to join the Axis, signing the Tripartite Pact on 27 September 1940. Nazi Germany_sentence_179

Bulgaria signed the pact on 17 November. Nazi Germany_sentence_180

German efforts to secure oil included negotiating a supply from their new ally, Romania, who signed the Pact on 23 November, alongside the Slovak Republic. Nazi Germany_sentence_181

By late 1942, there were 24 divisions from Romania on the Eastern Front, 10 from Italy, and 10 from Hungary. Nazi Germany_sentence_182

Germany assumed full control in France in 1942, Italy in 1943, and Hungary in 1944. Nazi Germany_sentence_183

Although Japan was a powerful ally, the relationship was distant, with little co-ordination or co-operation. Nazi Germany_sentence_184

For example, Germany refused to share their formula for synthetic oil from coal until late in the war. Nazi Germany_sentence_185

Outbreak of war Nazi Germany_section_11

Germany invaded Poland and captured the Free City of Danzig on 1 September 1939, beginning World War II in Europe. Nazi Germany_sentence_186

Honouring their treaty obligations, Britain and France declared war on Germany two days later. Nazi Germany_sentence_187

Poland fell quickly, as the Soviet Union attacked from the east on 17 September. Nazi Germany_sentence_188

Reinhard Heydrich, chief of the Sicherheitspolizei (SiPo; Security Police) and Sicherheitsdienst (SD; Security Service), ordered on 21 September that Polish Jews should be rounded up and concentrated into cities with good rail links. Nazi Germany_sentence_189

Initially the intention was to deport them further east, or possibly to Madagascar. Nazi Germany_sentence_190

Using lists prepared in advance, some 65,000 Polish intelligentsia, noblemen, clergy, and teachers were killed by the end of 1939 in an attempt to destroy Poland's identity as a nation. Nazi Germany_sentence_191

Soviet forces advanced into Finland in the Winter War, and German forces saw action at sea. Nazi Germany_sentence_192

But little other activity occurred until May, so the period became known as the "Phoney War". Nazi Germany_sentence_193

From the start of the war, a British blockade on shipments to Germany affected its economy. Nazi Germany_sentence_194

Germany was particularly dependent on foreign supplies of oil, coal, and grain. Nazi Germany_sentence_195

Thanks to trade embargoes and the blockade, imports into Germany declined by 80 per cent. Nazi Germany_sentence_196

To safeguard Swedish iron ore shipments to Germany, Hitler ordered the invasion of Denmark and Norway, which began on 9 April. Nazi Germany_sentence_197

Denmark fell after less than a day, while most of Norway followed by the end of the month. Nazi Germany_sentence_198

By early June, Germany occupied all of Norway. Nazi Germany_sentence_199

Conquest of Europe Nazi Germany_section_12

Against the advice of many of his senior military officers, in May 1940 Hitler ordered an attack on France and the Low Countries. Nazi Germany_sentence_200

They quickly conquered Luxembourg and the Netherlands and outmanoeuvred the Allies in Belgium, forcing the evacuation of many British and French troops at Dunkirk. Nazi Germany_sentence_201

France fell as well, surrendering to Germany on 22 June. Nazi Germany_sentence_202

The victory in France resulted in an upswing in Hitler's popularity and an upsurge in war fever in Germany. Nazi Germany_sentence_203

In violation of the provisions of the Hague Convention, industrial firms in the Netherlands, France, and Belgium were put to work producing war materiel for Germany. Nazi Germany_sentence_204

The Nazis seized from the French thousands of locomotives and rolling stock, stockpiles of weapons, and raw materials such as copper, tin, oil, and nickel. Nazi Germany_sentence_205

Payments for occupation costs were levied upon France, Belgium, and Norway. Nazi Germany_sentence_206

Barriers to trade led to hoarding, black markets, and uncertainty about the future. Nazi Germany_sentence_207

Food supplies were precarious; production dropped in most of Europe. Nazi Germany_sentence_208

Famine was experienced in many occupied countries. Nazi Germany_sentence_209

Hitler's peace overtures to the new British Prime Minister Winston Churchill were rejected in July 1940. Nazi Germany_sentence_210

Grand Admiral Erich Raeder had advised Hitler in June that air superiority was a pre-condition for a successful invasion of Britain, so Hitler ordered a series of aerial attacks on Royal Air Force (RAF) airbases and radar stations, as well as nightly air raids on British cities, including London, Plymouth, and Coventry. Nazi Germany_sentence_211

The German Luftwaffe failed to defeat the RAF in what became known as the Battle of Britain, and by the end of October, Hitler realised that air superiority would not be achieved. Nazi Germany_sentence_212

He permanently postponed the invasion, a plan which the commanders of the German army had never taken entirely seriously. Nazi Germany_sentence_213

Several historians, including Andrew Gordon, believe the primary reason for the failure of the invasion plan was the superiority of the Royal Navy, not the actions of the RAF. Nazi Germany_sentence_214

In February 1941, the German Afrika Korps arrived in Libya to aid the Italians in the North African Campaign. Nazi Germany_sentence_215

On 6 April, Germany launched an invasion of Yugoslavia and Greece. Nazi Germany_sentence_216

All of Yugoslavia and parts of Greece were subsequently divided between Germany, Hungary, Italy, and Bulgaria. Nazi Germany_sentence_217

Invasion of the Soviet Union Nazi Germany_section_13

Main article: Operation Barbarossa Nazi Germany_sentence_218

On 22 June 1941, contravening the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, about 3.8 million Axis troops attacked the Soviet Union. Nazi Germany_sentence_219

In addition to Hitler's stated purpose of acquiring Lebensraum, this large-scale offensive—codenamed Operation Barbarossa—was intended to destroy the Soviet Union and seize its natural resources for subsequent aggression against the Western powers. Nazi Germany_sentence_220

The reaction among Germans was one of surprise and trepidation as many were concerned about how much longer the war would continue or suspected that Germany could not win a war fought on two fronts. Nazi Germany_sentence_221

The invasion conquered a huge area, including the Baltic states, Belarus, and west Ukraine. Nazi Germany_sentence_222

After the successful Battle of Smolensk in September 1941, Hitler ordered Army Group Centre to halt its advance to Moscow and temporarily divert its Panzer groups to aid in the encirclement of Leningrad and Kyiv. Nazi Germany_sentence_223

This pause provided the Red Army with an opportunity to mobilise fresh reserves. Nazi Germany_sentence_224

The Moscow offensive, which resumed in October 1941, ended disastrously in December. Nazi Germany_sentence_225

On 7 December 1941, Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Nazi Germany_sentence_226

Four days later, Germany declared war on the United States. Nazi Germany_sentence_227

Food was in short supply in the conquered areas of the Soviet Union and Poland, as the retreating armies had burned the crops in some areas, and much of the remainder was sent back to the Reich. Nazi Germany_sentence_228

In Germany, rations were cut in 1942. Nazi Germany_sentence_229

In his role as Plenipotentiary of the Four Year Plan, Hermann Göring demanded increased shipments of grain from France and fish from Norway. Nazi Germany_sentence_230

The 1942 harvest was good, and food supplies remained adequate in Western Europe. Nazi Germany_sentence_231

Germany and Europe as a whole were almost totally dependent on foreign oil imports. Nazi Germany_sentence_232

In an attempt to resolve the shortage, in June 1942 Germany launched Fall Blau ("Case Blue"), an offensive against the Caucasian oilfields. Nazi Germany_sentence_233

The Red Army launched a counter-offensive on 19 November and encircled the Axis forces, who were trapped in Stalingrad on 23 November. Nazi Germany_sentence_234

Göring assured Hitler that the 6th Army could be supplied by air, but this turned out to be infeasible. Nazi Germany_sentence_235

Hitler's refusal to allow a retreat led to the deaths of 200,000 German and Romanian soldiers; of the 91,000 men who surrendered in the city on 31 January 1943, only 6,000 survivors returned to Germany after the war. Nazi Germany_sentence_236

Turning point and collapse Nazi Germany_section_14

Main article: Mass suicides in 1945 Nazi Germany Nazi Germany_sentence_237

Losses continued to mount after Stalingrad, leading to a sharp reduction in the popularity of the Nazi Party and deteriorating morale. Nazi Germany_sentence_238

Soviet forces continued to push westward after the failed German offensive at the Battle of Kursk in the summer of 1943. Nazi Germany_sentence_239

By the end of 1943, the Germans had lost most of their eastern territorial gains. Nazi Germany_sentence_240

In Egypt, Field Marshal Erwin Rommel's Afrika Korps were defeated by British forces under Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery in October 1942. Nazi Germany_sentence_241

The Allies landed in Sicily in July 1943 and in Italy in September. Nazi Germany_sentence_242

Meanwhile, American and British bomber fleets based in Britain began operations against Germany. Nazi Germany_sentence_243

Many sorties were intentionally given civilian targets in an effort to destroy German morale. Nazi Germany_sentence_244

German aircraft production could not keep pace with losses, and without air cover the Allied bombing campaign became even more devastating. Nazi Germany_sentence_245

By targeting oil refineries and factories, they crippled the German war effort by late 1944. Nazi Germany_sentence_246

On 6 June 1944, American, British, and Canadian forces established a front in France with the D-Day landings in Normandy. Nazi Germany_sentence_247

On 20 July 1944, Hitler survived an assassination attempt. Nazi Germany_sentence_248

He ordered brutal reprisals, resulting in 7,000 arrests and the execution of more than 4,900 people. Nazi Germany_sentence_249

The failed Ardennes Offensive (16 December 1944 – 25 January 1945) was the last major German offensive on the western front, and Soviet forces entered Germany on 27 January. Nazi Germany_sentence_250

Hitler's refusal to admit defeat and his insistence that the war be fought to the last man led to unnecessary death and destruction in the war's closing months. Nazi Germany_sentence_251

Through his Justice Minister Otto Georg Thierack, Hitler ordered that anyone who was not prepared to fight should be court-martialed, and thousands of people were put to death. Nazi Germany_sentence_252

In many areas, people surrendered to the approaching Allies in spite of exhortations of local leaders to continue to fight. Nazi Germany_sentence_253

Hitler ordered the destruction of transport, bridges, industries, and other infrastructure—a scorched earth decree—but Armaments Minister Albert Speer prevented this order from being fully carried out. Nazi Germany_sentence_254

During the Battle of Berlin (16 April 1945 – 2 May 1945), Hitler and his staff lived in the underground Führerbunker while the Red Army approached. Nazi Germany_sentence_255

On 30 April, when Soviet troops were within two blocks of the Reich Chancellery, Hitler, along with his girlfriend and by then wife Eva Braun committed suicide. Nazi Germany_sentence_256

On 2 May, General Helmuth Weidling unconditionally surrendered Berlin to Soviet General Vasily Chuikov. Nazi Germany_sentence_257

Hitler was succeeded by Grand Admiral Karl Dönitz as Reich President and Goebbels as Reich Chancellor. Nazi Germany_sentence_258

Goebbels and his wife Magda committed suicide the next day after murdering their six children. Nazi Germany_sentence_259

Between 4 and 8 May 1945, most of the remaining German armed forces unconditionally surrendered. Nazi Germany_sentence_260

The German Instrument of Surrender was signed 8 May, marking the end of the Nazi regime and the end of World War II in Europe. Nazi Germany_sentence_261

Popular support for Hitler almost completely disappeared as the war drew to a close. Nazi Germany_sentence_262

Suicide rates in Germany increased, particularly in areas where the Red Army was advancing. Nazi Germany_sentence_263

Among soldiers and party personnel, suicide was often deemed an honourable and heroic alternative to surrender. Nazi Germany_sentence_264

First-hand accounts and propaganda about the uncivilised behaviour of the advancing Soviet troops caused panic among civilians on the Eastern Front, especially women, who feared being raped. Nazi Germany_sentence_265

More than a thousand people (out of a population of around 16,000) committed suicide in Demmin on and around 1 May 1945 as the 65th Army of 2nd Belorussian Front first broke into a distillery and then rampaged through the town, committing mass rapes, arbitrarily executing civilians, and setting fire to buildings. Nazi Germany_sentence_266

High numbers of suicides took place in many other locations, including Neubrandenburg (600 dead), Stolp in Pommern (1,000 dead), and Berlin, where at least 7,057 people committed suicide in 1945. Nazi Germany_sentence_267

German casualties Nazi Germany_section_15

Main article: German casualties in World War II Nazi Germany_sentence_268

Further information: World War II casualties Nazi Germany_sentence_269

Estimates of the total German war dead range from 5.5 to 6.9 million persons. Nazi Germany_sentence_270

A study by German historian Rüdiger Overmans puts the number of German military dead and missing at 5.3 million, including 900,000 men conscripted from outside of Germany's 1937 borders. Nazi Germany_sentence_271

Richard Overy estimated in 2014 that about 353,000 civilians were killed in Allied air raids. Nazi Germany_sentence_272

Other civilian deaths include 300,000 Germans (including Jews) who were victims of Nazi political, racial, and religious persecution and 200,000 who were murdered in the Nazi euthanasia program. Nazi Germany_sentence_273

Political courts called Sondergerichte sentenced some 12,000 members of the German resistance to death, and civil courts sentenced an additional 40,000 Germans. Nazi Germany_sentence_274

Mass rapes of German women also took place. Nazi Germany_sentence_275

Geography Nazi Germany_section_16

Territorial changes Nazi Germany_section_17

Main article: Territorial evolution of Germany Nazi Germany_sentence_276

As a result of their defeat in World War I and the resulting Treaty of Versailles, Germany lost Alsace-Lorraine, Northern Schleswig, and Memel. Nazi Germany_sentence_277

The Saarland became a protectorate of France under the condition that its residents would later decide by referendum which country to join, and Poland became a separate nation and was given access to the sea by the creation of the Polish Corridor, which separated Prussia from the rest of Germany, while Danzig was made a free city. Nazi Germany_sentence_278

Germany regained control of the Saarland through a referendum held in 1935 and annexed Austria in the Anschluss of 1938. Nazi Germany_sentence_279

The Munich Agreement of 1938 gave Germany control of the Sudetenland, and they seized the remainder of Czechoslovakia six months later. Nazi Germany_sentence_280

Under threat of invasion by sea, Lithuania surrendered the Memel district in March 1939. Nazi Germany_sentence_281

Between 1939 and 1941, German forces invaded Poland, Denmark, Norway, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Belgium, Yugoslavia, Greece, and the Soviet Union. Nazi Germany_sentence_282

Germany annexed parts of northern Yugoslavia in April 1941, while Mussolini ceded Trieste, South Tyrol, and Istria to Germany in 1943. Nazi Germany_sentence_283

Occupied territories Nazi Germany_section_18

Some of the conquered territories were incorporated into Germany as part of Hitler's long-term goal of creating a Greater Germanic Reich. Nazi Germany_sentence_284

Several areas, such as Alsace-Lorraine, were placed under the authority of an adjacent Gau (regional district). Nazi Germany_sentence_285

The Reichskommissariate (Reich Commissariats), quasi-colonial regimes, were established in some occupied countries. Nazi Germany_sentence_286

Areas placed under German administration included the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, Reichskommissariat Ostland (encompassing the Baltic states and Belarus), and Reichskommissariat Ukraine. Nazi Germany_sentence_287

Conquered areas of Belgium and France were placed under control of the Military Administration in Belgium and Northern France. Nazi Germany_sentence_288

Belgian Eupen-Malmedy, which had been part of Germany until 1919, was annexed. Nazi Germany_sentence_289

Part of Poland was incorporated into the Reich, and the General Government was established in occupied central Poland. Nazi Germany_sentence_290

The governments of Denmark, Norway (Reichskommissariat Norwegen), and the Netherlands (Reichskommissariat Niederlande) were placed under civilian administrations staffed largely by natives. Nazi Germany_sentence_291

Hitler intended to eventually incorporate many of these areas into the Reich. Nazi Germany_sentence_292

Germany occupied the Italian protectorate of Albania and the Italian governorate of Montenegro in 1943 and installed a puppet government in occupied Serbia in 1941. Nazi Germany_sentence_293

Politics Nazi Germany_section_19

Ideology Nazi Germany_section_20

Main article: Nazism Nazi Germany_sentence_294

The Nazis were a far-right fascist political party which arose during the social and financial upheavals that occurred following the end of World War I. Nazi Germany_sentence_295

The Party remained small and marginalised, receiving 2.6% of the federal vote in 1928, prior to the onset of the Great Depression in 1929. Nazi Germany_sentence_296

By 1930 the Party won 18.3% of the federal vote, making it the Reichstag's second largest political party. Nazi Germany_sentence_297

While in prison after the failed Beer Hall Putsch of 1923, Hitler wrote Mein Kampf, which laid out his plan for transforming German society into one based on race. Nazi Germany_sentence_298

Nazi ideology brought together elements of antisemitism, racial hygiene, and eugenics, and combined them with pan-Germanism and territorial expansionism with the goal of obtaining more Lebensraum for the Germanic people. Nazi Germany_sentence_299

The regime attempted to obtain this new territory by attacking Poland and the Soviet Union, intending to deport or kill the Jews and Slavs living there, who were viewed as being inferior to the Aryan master race and part of a Jewish-Bolshevik conspiracy. Nazi Germany_sentence_300

The Nazi regime believed that only Germany could defeat the forces of Bolshevism and save humanity from world domination by International Jewry. Nazi Germany_sentence_301

Other people deemed life unworthy of life by the Nazis included the mentally and physically disabled, Romani people, homosexuals, Jehovah's Witnesses, and social misfits. Nazi Germany_sentence_302

Influenced by the Völkisch movement, the regime was against cultural modernism and supported the development of an extensive military at the expense of intellectualism. Nazi Germany_sentence_303

Creativity and art were stifled, except where they could serve as propaganda media. Nazi Germany_sentence_304

The party used symbols such as the Blood Flag and rituals such as the Nazi Party rallies to foster unity and bolster the regime's popularity. Nazi Germany_sentence_305

Government Nazi Germany_section_21

See also: Government of Nazi Germany Nazi Germany_sentence_306

Hitler ruled Germany autocratically by asserting the Führerprinzip ("leader principle"), which called for absolute obedience of all subordinates. Nazi Germany_sentence_307

He viewed the government structure as a pyramid, with himself—the infallible leader—at the apex. Nazi Germany_sentence_308

Party rank was not determined by elections, and positions were filled through appointment by those of higher rank. Nazi Germany_sentence_309

The party used propaganda to develop a cult of personality around Hitler. Nazi Germany_sentence_310

Historians such as Kershaw emphasise the psychological impact of Hitler's skill as an orator. Nazi Germany_sentence_311

Roger Gill states: "His moving speeches captured the minds and hearts of a vast number of the German people: he virtually hypnotized his audiences". Nazi Germany_sentence_312

While top officials reported to Hitler and followed his policies, they had considerable autonomy. Nazi Germany_sentence_313

He expected officials to "work towards the Führer" – to take the initiative in promoting policies and actions in line with party goals and Hitler's wishes, without his involvement in day-to-day decision-making. Nazi Germany_sentence_314

The government was a disorganised collection of factions led by the party elite, who struggled to amass power and gain the Führer's favour. Nazi Germany_sentence_315

Hitler's leadership style was to give contradictory orders to his subordinates and to place them in positions where their duties and responsibilities overlapped. Nazi Germany_sentence_316

In this way he fostered distrust, competition, and infighting among his subordinates to consolidate and maximise his own power. Nazi Germany_sentence_317

Successive Reichsstatthalter decrees between 1933 and 1935 abolished the existing Länder (constituent states) of Germany and replaced them with new administrative divisions, the Gaue, governed by Nazi leaders (Gauleiters). Nazi Germany_sentence_318

The change was never fully implemented, as the Länder were still used as administrative divisions for some government departments such as education. Nazi Germany_sentence_319

This led to a bureaucratic tangle of overlapping jurisdictions and responsibilities typical of the administrative style of the Nazi regime. Nazi Germany_sentence_320

Jewish civil servants lost their jobs in 1933, except for those who had seen military service in World War I. Nazi Germany_sentence_321

Members of the Party or party supporters were appointed in their place. Nazi Germany_sentence_322

As part of the process of Gleichschaltung, the Reich Local Government Law of 1935 abolished local elections, and mayors were appointed by the Ministry of the Interior. Nazi Germany_sentence_323

Law Nazi Germany_section_22

Main article: Law in Nazi Germany Nazi Germany_sentence_324

In August 1934, civil servants and members of the military were required to swear an oath of unconditional obedience to Hitler. Nazi Germany_sentence_325

These laws became the basis of the Führerprinzip, the concept that Hitler's word overrode all existing laws. Nazi Germany_sentence_326

Any acts that were sanctioned by Hitler—even murder—thus became legal. Nazi Germany_sentence_327

All legislation proposed by cabinet ministers had to be approved by the office of Deputy Führer Rudolf Hess, who could also veto top civil service appointments. Nazi Germany_sentence_328

Most of the judicial system and legal codes of the Weimar Republic remained in place to deal with non-political crimes. Nazi Germany_sentence_329

The courts issued and carried out far more death sentences than before the Nazis took power. Nazi Germany_sentence_330

People who were convicted of three or more offences—even petty ones—could be deemed habitual offenders and jailed indefinitely. Nazi Germany_sentence_331

People such as prostitutes and pickpockets were judged to be inherently criminal and a threat to the community. Nazi Germany_sentence_332

Thousands were arrested and confined indefinitely without trial. Nazi Germany_sentence_333

A new type of court, the Volksgerichtshof ("People's Court"), was established in 1934 to deal with political cases. Nazi Germany_sentence_334

This court handed out over 5,000 death sentences until its dissolution in 1945. Nazi Germany_sentence_335

The death penalty could be issued for offences such as being a communist, printing seditious leaflets, or even making jokes about Hitler or other officials. Nazi Germany_sentence_336

The Gestapo was in charge of investigative policing to enforce Nazi ideology as they located and confined political offenders, Jews, and others deemed undesirable. Nazi Germany_sentence_337

Political offenders who were released from prison were often immediately re-arrested by the Gestapo and confined in a concentration camp. Nazi Germany_sentence_338

The Nazis used propaganda to promulgate the concept of Rassenschande ("race defilement") to justify the need for racial laws. Nazi Germany_sentence_339

In September 1935, the Nuremberg Laws were enacted. Nazi Germany_sentence_340

These laws initially prohibited sexual relations and marriages between Aryans and Jews and were later extended to include "Gypsies, Negroes or their bastard offspring". Nazi Germany_sentence_341

The law also forbade the employment of German women under the age of 45 as domestic servants in Jewish households. Nazi Germany_sentence_342

The Reich Citizenship Law stated that only those of "German or related blood" could be citizens. Nazi Germany_sentence_343

Thus Jews and other non-Aryans were stripped of their German citizenship. Nazi Germany_sentence_344

The law also permitted the Nazis to deny citizenship to anyone who was not supportive enough of the regime. Nazi Germany_sentence_345

A supplementary decree issued in November defined as Jewish anyone with three Jewish grandparents, or two grandparents if the Jewish faith was followed. Nazi Germany_sentence_346

Military and paramilitary Nazi Germany_section_23

Wehrmacht Nazi Germany_section_24

See also: Myth of the clean Wehrmacht Nazi Germany_sentence_347

The unified armed forces of Germany from 1935 to 1945 were called the Wehrmacht (defence force). Nazi Germany_sentence_348

This included the Heer (army), Kriegsmarine (navy), and the Luftwaffe (air force). Nazi Germany_sentence_349

From 2 August 1934, members of the armed forces were required to pledge an oath of unconditional obedience to Hitler personally. Nazi Germany_sentence_350

In contrast to the previous oath, which required allegiance to the constitution of the country and its lawful establishments, this new oath required members of the military to obey Hitler even if they were being ordered to do something illegal. Nazi Germany_sentence_351

Hitler decreed that the army would have to tolerate and even offer logistical support to the Einsatzgruppen—the mobile death squads responsible for millions of deaths in Eastern Europe—when it was tactically possible to do so. Nazi Germany_sentence_352

Wehrmacht troops also participated directly in the Holocaust by shooting civilians or committing genocide under the guise of anti-partisan operations. Nazi Germany_sentence_353

The party line was that the Jews were the instigators of the partisan struggle and therefore needed to be eliminated. Nazi Germany_sentence_354

On 8 July 1941, Heydrich announced that all Jews in the eastern conquered territories were to be regarded as partisans and gave the order for all male Jews between the ages of 15 and 45 to be shot. Nazi Germany_sentence_355

By August, this was extended to include the entire Jewish population. Nazi Germany_sentence_356

In spite of efforts to prepare the country militarily, the economy could not sustain a lengthy war of attrition. Nazi Germany_sentence_357

A strategy was developed based on the tactic of Blitzkrieg ("lightning war"), which involved using quick coordinated assaults that avoided enemy strong points. Nazi Germany_sentence_358

Attacks began with artillery bombardment, followed by bombing and strafing runs. Nazi Germany_sentence_359

Next the tanks would attack and finally the infantry would move in to secure the captured area. Nazi Germany_sentence_360

Victories continued through mid-1940, but the failure to defeat Britain was the first major turning point in the war. Nazi Germany_sentence_361

The decision to attack the Soviet Union and the decisive defeat at Stalingrad led to the retreat of the German armies and the eventual loss of the war. Nazi Germany_sentence_362

The total number of soldiers who served in the Wehrmacht from 1935 to 1945 was around 18.2 million, of whom 5.3 million died. Nazi Germany_sentence_363

The SA and SS Nazi Germany_section_25

The Sturmabteilung (SA; Storm Detachment), or Brownshirts, founded in 1921, was the first paramilitary wing of the Nazi Party; their initial assignment was to protect Nazi leaders at rallies and assemblies. Nazi Germany_sentence_364

They also took part in street battles against the forces of rival political parties and violent actions against Jews and others. Nazi Germany_sentence_365

Under Ernst Röhm's leadership the SA grew by 1934 to over half a million members—4.5 million including reserves—at a time when the regular army was still limited to 100,000 men by the Versailles Treaty. Nazi Germany_sentence_366

Röhm hoped to assume command of the army and absorb it into the ranks of the SA. Nazi Germany_sentence_367

Hindenburg and Defence Minister Werner von Blomberg threatened to impose martial law if the activities of the SA were not curtailed. Nazi Germany_sentence_368

Therefore, less than a year and a half after seizing power, Hitler ordered the deaths of the SA leadership, including Rohm. Nazi Germany_sentence_369

After the purge of 1934, the SA was no longer a major force. Nazi Germany_sentence_370

Initially a small bodyguard unit under the auspices of the SA, the Schutzstaffel (SS; Protection Squadron) grew to become one of the largest and most powerful groups in Nazi Germany. Nazi Germany_sentence_371

Led by Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler from 1929, the SS had over a quarter million members by 1938. Nazi Germany_sentence_372

Himmler initially envisioned the SS as being an elite group of guards, Hitler's last line of defence. Nazi Germany_sentence_373

The Waffen-SS, the military branch of the SS, evolved into a second army. Nazi Germany_sentence_374

It was dependent on the regular army for heavy weaponry and equipment, and most units were under tactical control of the High Command of the Armed Forces (OKW). Nazi Germany_sentence_375

By the end of 1942, the stringent selection and racial requirements that had initially been in place were no longer followed. Nazi Germany_sentence_376

With recruitment and conscription based only on expansion, by 1943 the Waffen-SS could not longer claim to be an elite fighting force. Nazi Germany_sentence_377

SS formations committed many war crimes against civilians and allied servicemen. Nazi Germany_sentence_378

From 1935 onward, the SS spearheaded the persecution of Jews, who were rounded up into ghettos and concentration camps. Nazi Germany_sentence_379

With the outbreak of World War II, the SS Einsatzgruppen units followed the army into Poland and the Soviet Union, where from 1941 to 1945 they killed more than two million people, including 1.3 million Jews. Nazi Germany_sentence_380

A third of the Einsatzgruppen members were recruited from Waffen-SS personnel. Nazi Germany_sentence_381

The SS-Totenkopfverbände (death's head units) ran the concentration camps and extermination camps, where millions more were killed. Nazi Germany_sentence_382

Up to 60,000 Waffen-SS men served in the camps. Nazi Germany_sentence_383

In 1931, Himmler organised an SS intelligence service which became known as the Sicherheitsdienst (SD; Security Service) under his deputy, Heydrich. Nazi Germany_sentence_384

This organisation was tasked with locating and arresting communists and other political opponents. Nazi Germany_sentence_385

Himmler established the beginnings of a parallel economy under the auspices of the SS Economy and Administration Head Office. Nazi Germany_sentence_386

This holding company owned housing corporations, factories, and publishing houses. Nazi Germany_sentence_387

Economy Nazi Germany_section_26

Main article: Economy of Nazi Germany Nazi Germany_sentence_388

Reich economics Nazi Germany_section_27

The most pressing economic matter the Nazis initially faced was the 30 percent national unemployment rate. Nazi Germany_sentence_389

Economist Dr. Hjalmar Schacht, President of the Reichsbank and Minister of Economics, created a scheme for deficit financing in May 1933. Nazi Germany_sentence_390

Capital projects were paid for with the issuance of promissory notes called Mefo bills. Nazi Germany_sentence_391

When the notes were presented for payment, the Reichsbank printed money. Nazi Germany_sentence_392

Hitler and his economic team expected that the upcoming territorial expansion would provide the means of repaying the soaring national debt. Nazi Germany_sentence_393

Schacht's administration achieved a rapid decline in the unemployment rate, the largest of any country during the Great Depression. Nazi Germany_sentence_394

Economic recovery was uneven, with reduced hours of work and erratic availability of necessities, leading to disenchantment with the regime as early as 1934. Nazi Germany_sentence_395

In October 1933, the Junkers Aircraft Works was expropriated. Nazi Germany_sentence_396

In concert with other aircraft manufacturers and under the direction of Aviation Minister Göring, production was ramped up. Nazi Germany_sentence_397

From a workforce of 3,200 people producing 100 units per year in 1932, the industry grew to employ a quarter of a million workers manufacturing over 10,000 technically advanced aircraft annually less than ten years later. Nazi Germany_sentence_398

An elaborate bureaucracy was created to regulate imports of raw materials and finished goods with the intention of eliminating foreign competition in the German marketplace and improving the nation's balance of payments. Nazi Germany_sentence_399

The Nazis encouraged the development of synthetic replacements for materials such as oil and textiles. Nazi Germany_sentence_400

As the market was experiencing a glut and prices for petroleum were low, in 1933 the Nazi government made a profit-sharing agreement with IG Farben, guaranteeing them a 5 percent return on capital invested in their synthetic oil plant at Leuna. Nazi Germany_sentence_401

Any profits in excess of that amount would be turned over to the Reich. Nazi Germany_sentence_402

By 1936, Farben regretted making the deal, as excess profits were by then being generated. Nazi Germany_sentence_403

In another attempt to secure an adequate wartime supply of petroleum, Germany intimidated Romania into signing a trade agreement in March 1939. Nazi Germany_sentence_404

Major public works projects financed with deficit spending included the construction of a network of Autobahnen and providing funding for programmes initiated by the previous government for housing and agricultural improvements. Nazi Germany_sentence_405

To stimulate the construction industry, credit was offered to private businesses and subsidies were made available for home purchases and repairs. Nazi Germany_sentence_406

On the condition that the wife would leave the workforce, a loan of up to 1,000 Reichsmarks could be accessed by young couples of Aryan descent who intended to marry, and the amount that had to be repaid was reduced by 25 percent for each child born. Nazi Germany_sentence_407

The caveat that the woman had to remain unemployed outside the home was dropped by 1937 due to a shortage of skilled labourers. Nazi Germany_sentence_408

Envisioning widespread car ownership as part of the new Germany, Hitler arranged for designer Ferdinand Porsche to draw up plans for the KdF-wagen (Strength Through Joy car), intended to be an automobile that everyone could afford. Nazi Germany_sentence_409

A prototype was displayed at the International Motor Show in Berlin on 17 February 1939. Nazi Germany_sentence_410

With the outbreak of World War II, the factory was converted to produce military vehicles. Nazi Germany_sentence_411

None were sold until after the war, when the vehicle was renamed the Volkswagen (people's car). Nazi Germany_sentence_412

Six million people were unemployed when the Nazis took power in 1933 and by 1937 there were fewer than a million. Nazi Germany_sentence_413

This was in part due to the removal of women from the workforce. Nazi Germany_sentence_414

Real wages dropped by 25 percent between 1933 and 1938. Nazi Germany_sentence_415

After the dissolution of the trade unions in May 1933, their funds were seized and their leadership arrested, including those who attempted to co-operate with the Nazis. Nazi Germany_sentence_416

A new organisation, the German Labour Front, was created and placed under Nazi Party functionary Robert Ley. Nazi Germany_sentence_417

The average work week was 43 hours in 1933; by 1939 this increased to 47 hours. Nazi Germany_sentence_418

By early 1934, the focus shifted towards rearmament. Nazi Germany_sentence_419

By 1935, military expenditures accounted for 73 percent of the government's purchases of goods and services. Nazi Germany_sentence_420

On 18 October 1936, Hitler named Göring as Plenipotentiary of the Four Year Plan, intended to speed up rearmament. Nazi Germany_sentence_421

In addition to calling for the rapid construction of steel mills, synthetic rubber plants, and other factories, Göring instituted wage and price controls and restricted the issuance of stock dividends. Nazi Germany_sentence_422

Large expenditures were made on rearmament in spite of growing deficits. Nazi Germany_sentence_423

Plans unveiled in late 1938 for massive increases to the navy and air force were impossible to fulfil, as Germany lacked the finances and material resources to build the planned units, as well as the necessary fuel required to keep them running. Nazi Germany_sentence_424

With the introduction of compulsory military service in 1935, the Reichswehr, which had been limited to 100,000 by the terms of the Versailles Treaty, expanded to 750,000 on active service at the start of World War II, with a million more in the reserve. Nazi Germany_sentence_425

By January 1939, unemployment was down to 301,800 and it dropped to only 77,500 by September. Nazi Germany_sentence_426

Wartime economy and forced labour Nazi Germany_section_28

Further information: Forced labour under German rule during World War II Nazi Germany_sentence_427

See also: List of companies involved in the Holocaust Nazi Germany_sentence_428

The Nazi war economy was a mixed economy that combined a free market with central planning. Nazi Germany_sentence_429

Historian Richard Overy describes it as being somewhere in between the command economy of the Soviet Union and the capitalist system of the United States. Nazi Germany_sentence_430

In 1942, after the death of Armaments Minister Fritz Todt, Hitler appointed Albert Speer as his replacement. Nazi Germany_sentence_431

Wartime rationing of consumer goods led to an increase in personal savings, funds which were in turn lent to the government to support the war effort. Nazi Germany_sentence_432

By 1944, the war was consuming 75 percent of Germany's gross domestic product, compared to 60 percent in the Soviet Union and 55 percent in Britain. Nazi Germany_sentence_433

Speer improved production by centralising planning and control, reducing production of consumer goods, and using forced labour and slavery. Nazi Germany_sentence_434

The wartime economy eventually relied heavily upon the large-scale employment of slave labour. Nazi Germany_sentence_435

Germany imported and enslaved some 12 million people from 20 European countries to work in factories and on farms. Nazi Germany_sentence_436

Approximately 75 percent were Eastern European. Nazi Germany_sentence_437

Many were casualties of Allied bombing, as they received poor air raid protection. Nazi Germany_sentence_438

Poor living conditions led to high rates of sickness, injury, and death, as well as sabotage and criminal activity. Nazi Germany_sentence_439

The wartime economy also relied upon large-scale robbery, initially through the state seizing the property of Jewish citizens and later by plundering the resources of occupied territories. Nazi Germany_sentence_440

Foreign workers brought into Germany were put into four classifications: guest workers, military internees, civilian workers, and Eastern workers. Nazi Germany_sentence_441

Each group was subject to different regulations. Nazi Germany_sentence_442

The Nazis issued a ban on sexual relations between Germans and foreign workers. Nazi Germany_sentence_443

By 1944, over a half million women served as auxiliaries in the German armed forces. Nazi Germany_sentence_444

The number of women in paid employment only increased by 271,000 (1.8 percent) from 1939 to 1944. Nazi Germany_sentence_445

As the production of consumer goods had been cut back, women left those industries for employment in the war economy. Nazi Germany_sentence_446

They also took jobs formerly held by men, especially on farms and in family-owned shops. Nazi Germany_sentence_447

Very heavy strategic bombing by the Allies targeted refineries producing synthetic oil and gasoline, as well as the German transportation system, especially rail yards and canals. Nazi Germany_sentence_448

The armaments industry began to break down by September 1944. Nazi Germany_sentence_449

By November, fuel coal was no longer reaching its destinations and the production of new armaments was no longer possible. Nazi Germany_sentence_450

Overy argues that the bombing strained the German war economy and forced it to divert up to one-fourth of its manpower and industry into anti-aircraft resources, which very likely shortened the war. Nazi Germany_sentence_451

Financial exploitation of conquered territories Nazi Germany_section_29

Main article: Nazi plunder Nazi Germany_sentence_452

During the course of the war, the Nazis extracted considerable plunder from occupied Europe. Nazi Germany_sentence_453

Historian and war correspondent William L. Shirer writes: "The total amount of [Nazi] loot will never be known; it has proved beyond man's capacity to accurately compute." Nazi Germany_sentence_454

Gold reserves and other foreign holdings were seized from the national banks of occupied nations, while large "occupation costs" were usually imposed. Nazi Germany_sentence_455

By the end of the war, occupation costs were calculated by the Nazis at 60 billion Reichsmarks, with France alone paying 31.5 billion. Nazi Germany_sentence_456

The Bank of France was forced to provide 4.5 billion Reichsmarks in "credits" to Germany, while a further 500,000 Reichsmarks were assessed against Vichy France by the Nazis in the form of "fees" and other miscellaneous charges. Nazi Germany_sentence_457

The Nazis exploited other conquered nations in a similar way. Nazi Germany_sentence_458

After the war, the United States Strategic Bombing Survey concluded Germany had obtained 104 billion Reichsmarks in the form of occupation costs and other wealth transfers from occupied Europe, including two-thirds of the gross domestic product of Belgium and the Netherlands. Nazi Germany_sentence_459

Nazi plunder included private and public art collections, artefacts, precious metals, books, and personal possessions. Nazi Germany_sentence_460

Hitler and Göring in particular were interested in acquiring looted art treasures from occupied Europe, the former planning to use the stolen art to fill the galleries of the planned Führermuseum (Leader's Museum), and the latter for his personal collection. Nazi Germany_sentence_461

Göring, having stripped almost all of occupied Poland of its artworks within six months of Germany's invasion, ultimately grew a collection valued at over 50 million Reichsmarks. Nazi Germany_sentence_462

In 1940, the Reichsleiter Rosenberg Taskforce was established to loot artwork and cultural material from public and private collections, libraries, and museums throughout Europe. Nazi Germany_sentence_463

France saw the greatest extent of Nazi plunder. Nazi Germany_sentence_464

Some 26,000 railroad cars of art treasures, furniture, and other looted items were sent to Germany from France. Nazi Germany_sentence_465

By January 1941, Rosenberg estimated the looted treasures from France to be valued at over one billion Reichsmarks. Nazi Germany_sentence_466

In addition, soldiers looted or purchased goods such as produce and clothing—items, which were becoming harder to obtain in Germany—for shipment home. Nazi Germany_sentence_467

Goods and raw materials were also taken. Nazi Germany_sentence_468

In France, an estimated 9,000,000 tonnes (8,900,000 long tons; 9,900,000 short tons) of cereals were seized during the course of the war, including 75 percent of its oats. Nazi Germany_sentence_469

In addition, 80 percent of the country's oil and 74 percent of its steel production were taken. Nazi Germany_sentence_470

The valuation of this loot is estimated to be 184.5 billion francs. Nazi Germany_sentence_471

In Poland, Nazi plunder of raw materials began even before the German invasion had concluded. Nazi Germany_sentence_472

Following Operation Barbarossa, the Soviet Union was also plundered. Nazi Germany_sentence_473

In 1943 alone, 9,000,000 tons of cereals, 2,000,000 tonnes (2,000,000 long tons; 2,200,000 short tons) of fodder, 3,000,000 tonnes (3,000,000 long tons; 3,300,000 short tons) of potatoes, and 662,000 tonnes (652,000 long tons; 730,000 short tons) of meats were sent back to Germany. Nazi Germany_sentence_474

During the course of the German occupation, some 12 million pigs and 13 million sheep were taken. Nazi Germany_sentence_475

The value of this plunder is estimated at 4 billion Reichsmarks. Nazi Germany_sentence_476

This relatively low number in comparison to the occupied nations of Western Europe can be attributed to the devastating fighting on the Eastern Front. Nazi Germany_sentence_477

Racial policy and eugenics Nazi Germany_section_30

Racism and antisemitism Nazi Germany_section_31

Main articles: Nazism and race, Racial policy of Nazi Germany, and Nazi eugenics Nazi Germany_sentence_478

Racism and antisemitism were basic tenets of the Nazi Party and the Nazi regime. Nazi Germany_sentence_479

Nazi Germany's racial policy was based on their belief in the existence of a superior master race. Nazi Germany_sentence_480

The Nazis postulated the existence of a racial conflict between the Aryan master race and inferior races, particularly Jews, who were viewed as a mixed race that had infiltrated society and were responsible for the exploitation and repression of the Aryan race. Nazi Germany_sentence_481

Persecution of Jews Nazi Germany_section_32

Further information: Anti-Jewish legislation in prewar Nazi Germany Nazi Germany_sentence_482

Discrimination against Jews began immediately after the seizure of power. Nazi Germany_sentence_483

Following a month-long series of attacks by members of the SA on Jewish businesses and synagogues, on 1 April 1933 Hitler declared a national boycott of Jewish businesses. Nazi Germany_sentence_484

The Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service passed on 7 April forced all non-Aryan civil servants to retire from the legal profession and civil service. Nazi Germany_sentence_485

Similar legislation soon deprived other Jewish professionals of their right to practise, and on 11 April a decree was promulgated that stated anyone who had even one Jewish parent or grandparent was considered non-Aryan. Nazi Germany_sentence_486

As part of the drive to remove Jewish influence from cultural life, members of the National Socialist German Students' League removed from libraries any books considered un-German, and a nationwide book burning was held on 10 May. Nazi Germany_sentence_487

The regime used violence and economic pressure to encourage Jews to voluntarily leave the country. Nazi Germany_sentence_488

Jewish businesses were denied access to markets, forbidden to advertise, and deprived of access to government contracts. Nazi Germany_sentence_489

Citizens were harassed and subjected to violent attacks. Nazi Germany_sentence_490

Many towns posted signs forbidding entry to Jews. Nazi Germany_sentence_491

In November 1938 a young Jewish man requested an interview with the German ambassador in Paris and met with a legation secretary, whom he shot and killed to protest his family's treatment in Germany. Nazi Germany_sentence_492

This incident provided the pretext for a pogrom the Nazis incited against the Jews on 9 November 1938. Nazi Germany_sentence_493

Members of the SA damaged or destroyed synagogues and Jewish property throughout Germany. Nazi Germany_sentence_494

At least 91 German Jews were killed during this pogrom, later called Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass. Nazi Germany_sentence_495

Further restrictions were imposed on Jews in the coming months – they were forbidden to own businesses or work in retail shops, drive cars, go to the cinema, visit the library, or own weapons, and Jewish pupils were removed from schools. Nazi Germany_sentence_496

The Jewish community was fined one billion marks to pay for the damage caused by Kristallnacht and told that any insurance settlements would be confiscated. Nazi Germany_sentence_497

By 1939, around 250,000 of Germany's 437,000 Jews had emigrated to the United States, Argentina, Great Britain, Palestine, and other countries. Nazi Germany_sentence_498

Many chose to stay in continental Europe. Nazi Germany_sentence_499

Emigrants to Palestine were allowed to transfer property there under the terms of the Haavara Agreement, but those moving to other countries had to leave virtually all their property behind, and it was seized by the government. Nazi Germany_sentence_500

Persecution of Roma Nazi Germany_section_33

Further information: Porajmos Nazi Germany_sentence_501

Like the Jews, the Romani people were subjected to persecution from the early days of the regime. Nazi Germany_sentence_502

The Romani were forbidden to marry people of German extraction. Nazi Germany_sentence_503

They were shipped to concentration camps starting in 1935 and many were killed. Nazi Germany_sentence_504

Following the invasion of Poland, 2,500 Roma and Sinti people were deported from Germany to the General Government, where they were imprisoned in labour camps. Nazi Germany_sentence_505

The survivors were likely exterminated at Bełżec, Sobibor, or Treblinka. Nazi Germany_sentence_506

A further 5,000 Sinti and Austrian Lalleri people were deported to the Łódź Ghetto in late 1941, where half were estimated to have died. Nazi Germany_sentence_507

The Romani survivors of the ghetto were subsequently moved to the Chełmno extermination camp in early 1942. Nazi Germany_sentence_508

The Nazis intended on deporting all Romani people from Germany, and confined them to Zigeunerlager (Gypsy camps) for this purpose. Nazi Germany_sentence_509

Himmler ordered their deportation from Germany in December 1942, with few exceptions. Nazi Germany_sentence_510

A total of 23,000 Romani were deported to Auschwitz concentration camp, of whom 19,000 died. Nazi Germany_sentence_511

Outside of Germany, the Romani people were regularly used for forced labour, though many were killed. Nazi Germany_sentence_512

In the Baltic states and the Soviet Union, 30,000 Romani were killed by the SS, the German Army, and Einsatzgruppen. Nazi Germany_sentence_513

In occupied Serbia, 1,000 to 12,000 Romani were killed, while nearly all 25,000 Romani living in the Independent State of Croatia were killed. Nazi Germany_sentence_514

The estimates at end of the war put the total death toll at around 220,000, which equalled approximately 25 percent of the Romani population in Europe. Nazi Germany_sentence_515

Other persecuted groups Nazi Germany_section_34

Main article: Aktion T4 Nazi Germany_sentence_516

Action T4 was a programme of systematic murder of the physically and mentally handicapped and patients in psychiatric hospitals that took place mainly from 1939 to 1941, and continued until the end of the war. Nazi Germany_sentence_517

Initially the victims were shot by the Einsatzgruppen and others; gas chambers and gas vans using carbon monoxide were used by early 1940. Nazi Germany_sentence_518

Under the Law for the Prevention of Hereditarily Diseased Offspring, enacted on 14 July 1933, over 400,000 individuals underwent compulsory sterilisation. Nazi Germany_sentence_519

Over half were those considered mentally deficient, which included not only people who scored poorly on intelligence tests, but those who deviated from expected standards of behaviour regarding thrift, sexual behaviour, and cleanliness. Nazi Germany_sentence_520

Most of the victims came from disadvantaged groups such as prostitutes, the poor, the homeless, and criminals. Nazi Germany_sentence_521

Other groups persecuted and killed included Jehovah's Witnesses, homosexuals, social misfits, and members of the political and religious opposition. Nazi Germany_sentence_522

Generalplan Ost Nazi Germany_section_35

Main article: Generalplan Ost Nazi Germany_sentence_523

Germany's war in the East was based on Hitler's long-standing view that Jews were the great enemy of the German people and that Lebensraum was needed for Germany's expansion. Nazi Germany_sentence_524

Hitler focused his attention on Eastern Europe, aiming to conquer Poland and the Soviet Union. Nazi Germany_sentence_525

After the occupation of Poland in 1939, all Jews living in the General Government were confined to ghettos, and those who were physically fit were required to perform compulsory labour. Nazi Germany_sentence_526

In 1941 Hitler decided to destroy the Polish nation completely; within 15 to 20 years the General Government was to be cleared of ethnic Poles and resettled by German colonists. Nazi Germany_sentence_527

About 3.8 to 4 million Poles would remain as slaves, part of a slave labour force of 14 million the Nazis intended to create using citizens of conquered nations. Nazi Germany_sentence_528

The Generalplan Ost ("General Plan for the East") called for deporting the population of occupied Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union to Siberia, for use as slave labour or to be murdered. Nazi Germany_sentence_529

To determine who should be killed, Himmler created the Volksliste, a system of classification of people deemed to be of German blood. Nazi Germany_sentence_530

He ordered that those of Germanic descent who refused to be classified as ethnic Germans should be deported to concentration camps, have their children taken away, or be assigned to forced labour. Nazi Germany_sentence_531

The plan also included the kidnapping of children deemed to have Aryan-Nordic traits, who were presumed to be of German descent. Nazi Germany_sentence_532

The goal was to implement Generalplan Ost after the conquest of the Soviet Union, but when the invasion failed Hitler had to consider other options. Nazi Germany_sentence_533

One suggestion was a mass forced deportation of Jews to Poland, Palestine, or Madagascar. Nazi Germany_sentence_534

In addition to eliminating Jews, the Nazis planned to reduce the population of the conquered territories by 30 million people through starvation in an action called the Hunger Plan. Nazi Germany_sentence_535

Food supplies would be diverted to the German army and German civilians. Nazi Germany_sentence_536

Cities would be razed and the land allowed to return to forest or resettled by German colonists. Nazi Germany_sentence_537

Together, the Hunger Plan and Generalplan Ost would have led to the starvation of 80 million people in the Soviet Union. Nazi Germany_sentence_538

These partially fulfilled plans resulted in the democidal deaths of an estimated 19.3 million civilians and prisoners of war (POWs) throughout the USSR and elsewhere in Europe. Nazi Germany_sentence_539

During the course of the war, the Soviet Union lost a total of 27 million people; less than nine million of these were combat deaths. Nazi Germany_sentence_540

One in four of the Soviet population were killed or wounded. Nazi Germany_sentence_541

The Holocaust and Final Solution Nazi Germany_section_36

Main articles: The Holocaust and Final Solution Nazi Germany_sentence_542

Around the time of the failed offensive against Moscow in December 1941, Hitler resolved that the Jews of Europe were to be exterminated immediately. Nazi Germany_sentence_543

While the murder of Jewish civilians had been ongoing in the occupied territories of Poland and the Soviet Union, plans for the total eradication of the Jewish population of Europe—eleven million people—were formalised at the Wannsee Conference on 20 January 1942. Nazi Germany_sentence_544

Some would be worked to death and the rest would be killed in the implementation of the Final Solution to the Jewish Question. Nazi Germany_sentence_545

Initially the victims were killed by Einsatzgruppen firing squads, then by stationary gas chambers or by gas vans, but these methods proved impractical for an operation of this scale. Nazi Germany_sentence_546

By 1942 extermination camps equipped with gas chambers were established at Auschwitz, Chełmno, Sobibor, Treblinka, and elsewhere. Nazi Germany_sentence_547

The total number of Jews murdered is estimated at 5.5 to six million, including over a million children. Nazi Germany_sentence_548

The Allies received information about the murders from the Polish government-in-exile and Polish leadership in Warsaw, based mostly on intelligence from the Polish underground. Nazi Germany_sentence_549

German citizens had access to information about what was happening, as soldiers returning from the occupied territories reported on what they had seen and done. Nazi Germany_sentence_550

Historian Richard J. Evans states that most German citizens disapproved of the genocide. Nazi Germany_sentence_551

Oppression of ethnic Poles Nazi Germany_section_37

Further information: Occupation of Poland (1939–1945) Nazi Germany_sentence_552

Main article: Nazi crimes against the Polish nation Nazi Germany_sentence_553

Poles were viewed by Nazis as subhuman non-Aryans, and during the German occupation of Poland 2.7 million ethnic Poles were killed. Nazi Germany_sentence_554

Polish civilians were subject to forced labour in German industry, internment, wholesale expulsions to make way for German colonists, and mass executions. Nazi Germany_sentence_555

The German authorities engaged in a systematic effort to destroy Polish culture and national identity. Nazi Germany_sentence_556

During operation AB-Aktion, many university professors and members of the Polish intelligentsia were arrested, transported to concentration camps, or executed. Nazi Germany_sentence_557

During the war, Poland lost an estimated 39 to 45 percent of its physicians and dentists, 26 to 57 percent of its lawyers, 15 to 30 percent of its teachers, 30 to 40 percent of its scientists and university professors, and 18 to 28 percent of its clergy. Nazi Germany_sentence_558

Mistreatment of Soviet POWs Nazi Germany_section_38

Main article: German mistreatment of Soviet prisoners of war Nazi Germany_sentence_559

The Nazis captured 5.75 million Soviet prisoners of war, more than they took from all the other Allied powers combined. Nazi Germany_sentence_560

Of these, they killed an estimated 3.3 million, with 2.8 million of them being killed between June 1941 and January 1942. Nazi Germany_sentence_561

Many POWs starved to death or resorted to cannibalism while being held in open-air pens at Auschwitz and elsewhere. Nazi Germany_sentence_562

From 1942 onward, Soviet POWs were viewed as a source of forced labour, and received better treatment so they could work. Nazi Germany_sentence_563

By December 1944, 750,000 Soviet POWs were working, including in German armaments factories (in violation of the Hague and Geneva conventions), mines, and farms. Nazi Germany_sentence_564

Society Nazi Germany_section_39

Education Nazi Germany_section_40

Further information: University education in Nazi Germany Nazi Germany_sentence_565

Antisemitic legislation passed in 1933 led to the removal of all Jewish teachers, professors, and officials from the education system. Nazi Germany_sentence_566

Most teachers were required to belong to the Nationalsozialistischer Lehrerbund (NSLB; National Socialist Teachers League) and university professors were required to join the National Socialist German Lecturers. Nazi Germany_sentence_567

Teachers had to take an oath of loyalty and obedience to Hitler, and those who failed to show sufficient conformity to party ideals were often reported by students or fellow teachers and dismissed. Nazi Germany_sentence_568

Lack of funding for salaries led to many teachers leaving the profession. Nazi Germany_sentence_569

The average class size increased from 37 in 1927 to 43 in 1938 due to the resulting teacher shortage. Nazi Germany_sentence_570

Frequent and often contradictory directives were issued by Interior Minister Wilhelm Frick, Bernhard Rust of the Reich Ministry of Science, Education and Culture, and other agencies regarding content of lessons and acceptable textbooks for use in primary and secondary schools. Nazi Germany_sentence_571

Books deemed unacceptable to the regime were removed from school libraries. Nazi Germany_sentence_572

Indoctrination in Nazi ideology was made compulsory in January 1934. Nazi Germany_sentence_573

Students selected as future members of the party elite were indoctrinated from the age of 12 at Adolf Hitler Schools for primary education and National Political Institutes of Education for secondary education. Nazi Germany_sentence_574

Detailed indoctrination of future holders of elite military rank was undertaken at Order Castles. Nazi Germany_sentence_575

Primary and secondary education focused on racial biology, population policy, culture, geography, and physical fitness. Nazi Germany_sentence_576

The curriculum in most subjects, including biology, geography, and even arithmetic, was altered to change the focus to race. Nazi Germany_sentence_577

Military education became the central component of physical education, and education in physics was oriented toward subjects with military applications, such as ballistics and aerodynamics. Nazi Germany_sentence_578

Students were required to watch all films prepared by the school division of the Reich Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda. Nazi Germany_sentence_579

At universities, appointments to top posts were the subject of power struggles between the education ministry, the university boards, and the National Socialist German Students' League. Nazi Germany_sentence_580

In spite of pressure from the League and various government ministries, most university professors did not make changes to their lectures or syllabus during the Nazi period. Nazi Germany_sentence_581

This was especially true of universities located in predominantly Catholic regions. Nazi Germany_sentence_582

Enrolment at German universities declined from 104,000 students in 1931 to 41,000 in 1939, but enrolment in medical schools rose sharply as Jewish doctors had been forced to leave the profession, so medical graduates had good job prospects. Nazi Germany_sentence_583

From 1934, university students were required to attend frequent and time-consuming military training sessions run by the SA. Nazi Germany_sentence_584

First-year students also had to serve six months in a labour camp for the Reich Labour Service; an additional ten weeks service were required of second-year students. Nazi Germany_sentence_585

Role of women and family Nazi Germany_section_41

Further information: Women in Nazi Germany Nazi Germany_sentence_586

Women were a cornerstone of Nazi social policy. Nazi Germany_sentence_587

The Nazis opposed the feminist movement, claiming that it was the creation of Jewish intellectuals, instead advocating a patriarchal society in which the German woman would recognise that her "world is her husband, her family, her children, and her home". Nazi Germany_sentence_588

Feminist groups were shut down or incorporated into the National Socialist Women's League, which coordinated groups throughout the country to promote motherhood and household activities. Nazi Germany_sentence_589

Courses were offered on childrearing, sewing, and cooking. Nazi Germany_sentence_590

Prominent feminists, including Anita Augspurg, Lida Gustava Heymann, and Helene Stöcker, felt forced to live in exile. Nazi Germany_sentence_591

The League published the NS-Frauen-Warte, the only Nazi-approved women's magazine in Nazi Germany; despite some propaganda aspects, it was predominantly an ordinary woman's magazine. Nazi Germany_sentence_592

Women were encouraged to leave the workforce, and the creation of large families by racially suitable women was promoted through a propaganda campaign. Nazi Germany_sentence_593

Women received a bronze award—known as the Ehrenkreuz der Deutschen Mutter (Cross of Honour of the German Mother)—for giving birth to four children, silver for six, and gold for eight or more. Nazi Germany_sentence_594

Large families received subsidies to help with expenses. Nazi Germany_sentence_595

Though the measures led to increases in the birth rate, the number of families having four or more children declined by five percent between 1935 and 1940. Nazi Germany_sentence_596

Removing women from the workforce did not have the intended effect of freeing up jobs for men, as women were for the most part employed as domestic servants, weavers, or in the food and drink industries—jobs that were not of interest to men. Nazi Germany_sentence_597

Nazi philosophy prevented large numbers of women from being hired to work in munitions factories in the build-up to the war, so foreign labourers were brought in. Nazi Germany_sentence_598

After the war started, slave labourers were extensively used. Nazi Germany_sentence_599

In January 1943, Hitler signed a decree requiring all women under the age of fifty to report for work assignments to help the war effort. Nazi Germany_sentence_600

Thereafter women were funnelled into agricultural and industrial jobs, and by September 1944 14.9 million women were working in munitions production. Nazi Germany_sentence_601

Nazi leaders endorsed the idea that rational and theoretical work was alien to a woman's nature, and as such discouraged women from seeking higher education. Nazi Germany_sentence_602

A law passed in April 1933 limited the number of females admitted to university to ten percent of the number of male attendees. Nazi Germany_sentence_603

This resulted in female enrolment in secondary schools dropping from 437,000 in 1926 to 205,000 in 1937. Nazi Germany_sentence_604

The number of women enrolled in post-secondary schools dropped from 128,000 in 1933 to 51,000 in 1938. Nazi Germany_sentence_605

However, with the requirement that men be enlisted into the armed forces during the war, women comprised half of the enrolment in the post-secondary system by 1944. Nazi Germany_sentence_606

Women were expected to be strong, healthy, and vital. Nazi Germany_sentence_607

The sturdy peasant woman who worked the land and bore strong children was considered ideal, and women were praised for being athletic and tanned from working outdoors. Nazi Germany_sentence_608

Organisations were created for the indoctrination of Nazi values. Nazi Germany_sentence_609

From 25 March 1939 membership in the Hitler Youth was made compulsory for all children over the age of ten. Nazi Germany_sentence_610

The Jungmädelbund (Young Girls League) section of the Hitler Youth was for girls age 10 to 14 and the Bund Deutscher Mädel (BDM; League of German Girls) was for young women age 14 to 18. Nazi Germany_sentence_611

The BDM's activities focused on physical education, with activities such as running, long jumping, somersaulting, tightrope walking, marching, and swimming. Nazi Germany_sentence_612

The Nazi regime promoted a liberal code of conduct regarding sexual matters and was sympathetic to women who bore children out of wedlock. Nazi Germany_sentence_613

Promiscuity increased as the war progressed, with unmarried soldiers often intimately involved with several women simultaneously. Nazi Germany_sentence_614

Soldier's wives were frequently involved in extramarital relationships. Nazi Germany_sentence_615

Sex was sometimes used as a commodity to obtain better work from a foreign labourer. Nazi Germany_sentence_616

Pamphlets enjoined German women to avoid sexual relations with foreign workers as a danger to their blood. Nazi Germany_sentence_617

With Hitler's approval, Himmler intended that the new society of the Nazi regime should destigmatise illegitimate births, particularly of children fathered by members of the SS, who were vetted for racial purity. Nazi Germany_sentence_618

His hope was that each SS family would have between four and six children. Nazi Germany_sentence_619

The Lebensborn (Fountain of Life) association, founded by Himmler in 1935, created a series of maternity homes to accommodate single mothers during their pregnancies. Nazi Germany_sentence_620

Both parents were examined for racial suitability before acceptance. Nazi Germany_sentence_621

The resulting children were often adopted into SS families. Nazi Germany_sentence_622

The homes were also made available to the wives of SS and Nazi Party members, who quickly filled over half the available spots. Nazi Germany_sentence_623

Existing laws banning abortion except for medical reasons were strictly enforced by the Nazi regime. Nazi Germany_sentence_624

The number of abortions declined from 35,000 per year at the start of the 1930s to fewer than 2,000 per year at the end of the decade, though in 1935 a law was passed allowing abortions for eugenics reasons. Nazi Germany_sentence_625

Health Nazi Germany_section_42

Nazi Germany had a strong anti-tobacco movement, as pioneering research by Franz H. Müller in 1939 demonstrated a causal link between smoking and lung cancer. Nazi Germany_sentence_626

The Reich Health Office took measures to try to limit smoking, including producing lectures and pamphlets. Nazi Germany_sentence_627

Smoking was banned in many workplaces, on trains, and among on-duty members of the military. Nazi Germany_sentence_628

Government agencies also worked to control other carcinogenic substances such as asbestos and pesticides. Nazi Germany_sentence_629

As part of a general public health campaign, water supplies were cleaned up, lead and mercury were removed from consumer products, and women were urged to undergo regular screenings for breast cancer. Nazi Germany_sentence_630

Government-run health care insurance plans were available, but Jews were denied coverage starting in 1933. Nazi Germany_sentence_631

That same year, Jewish doctors were forbidden to treat government-insured patients. Nazi Germany_sentence_632

In 1937, Jewish doctors were forbidden to treat non-Jewish patients, and in 1938 their right to practice medicine was removed entirely. Nazi Germany_sentence_633

Medical experiments, many of them pseudoscientific, were performed on concentration camp inmates beginning in 1941. Nazi Germany_sentence_634

The most notorious doctor to perform medical experiments was SS-Hauptsturmführer Dr. Josef Mengele, camp doctor at Auschwitz. Nazi Germany_sentence_635

Many of his victims died or were intentionally killed. Nazi Germany_sentence_636

Concentration camp inmates were made available for purchase by pharmaceutical companies for drug testing and other experiments. Nazi Germany_sentence_637

Environmentalism Nazi Germany_section_43

Further information: Animal welfare in Nazi Germany Nazi Germany_sentence_638

Nazi society had elements supportive of animal rights and many people were fond of zoos and wildlife. Nazi Germany_sentence_639

The government took several measures to ensure the protection of animals and the environment. Nazi Germany_sentence_640

In 1933, the Nazis enacted a stringent animal-protection law that affected what was allowed for medical research. Nazi Germany_sentence_641

The law was only loosely enforced, and in spite of a ban on vivisection, the Ministry of the Interior readily handed out permits for experiments on animals. Nazi Germany_sentence_642

The Reich Forestry Office under Göring enforced regulations that required foresters to plant a variety of trees to ensure suitable habitat for wildlife, and a new Reich Animal Protection Act became law in 1933. Nazi Germany_sentence_643

The regime enacted the Reich Nature Protection Act in 1935 to protect the natural landscape from excessive economic development. Nazi Germany_sentence_644

It allowed for the expropriation of privately owned land to create nature preserves and aided in long-range planning. Nazi Germany_sentence_645

Perfunctory efforts were made to curb air pollution, but little enforcement of existing legislation was undertaken once the war began. Nazi Germany_sentence_646

Oppression of churches Nazi Germany_section_44

Main article: Kirchenkampf Nazi Germany_sentence_647

See also: Religion in Nazi Germany Nazi Germany_sentence_648

When the Nazis seized power in 1933, roughly 67 percent of the population of Germany was Protestant, 33 percent was Roman Catholic, while Jews made up less than 1 percent. Nazi Germany_sentence_649

According to 1939 census, 54 percent considered themselves Protestant, 40 percent Roman Catholic, 3.5 percent Gottgläubig (God-believing; a Nazi religious movement) and 1.5 percent nonreligious. Nazi Germany_sentence_650

Under the Gleichschaltung process, Hitler attempted to create a unified Protestant Reich Church from Germany's 28 existing Protestant state churches, with the ultimate goal of eradication of the churches in Germany. Nazi Germany_sentence_651

Pro-Nazi Ludwig Müller was installed as Reich Bishop and the pro-Nazi pressure group German Christians gained control of the new church. Nazi Germany_sentence_652

They objected to the Old Testament because of its Jewish origins and demanded that converted Jews be barred from their church. Nazi Germany_sentence_653

Pastor Martin Niemöller responded with the formation of the Confessing Church, from which some clergymen opposed the Nazi regime. Nazi Germany_sentence_654

When in 1935 the Confessing Church synod protested the Nazi policy on religion, 700 of their pastors were arrested. Nazi Germany_sentence_655

Müller resigned and Hitler appointed Hanns Kerrl as Minister for Church Affairs to continue efforts to control Protestantism. Nazi Germany_sentence_656

In 1936, a Confessing Church envoy protested to Hitler against the religious persecutions and human rights abuses. Nazi Germany_sentence_657

Hundreds more pastors were arrested. Nazi Germany_sentence_658

The church continued to resist and by early 1937 Hitler abandoned his hope of uniting the Protestant churches. Nazi Germany_sentence_659

Niemöller was arrested on 1 July 1937 and spent most of the next seven years in Sachsenhausen concentration camp and Dachau. Nazi Germany_sentence_660

Theological universities were closed and pastors and theologians of other Protestant denominations were also arrested. Nazi Germany_sentence_661

Persecution of the Catholic Church in Germany followed the Nazi takeover. Nazi Germany_sentence_662

Hitler moved quickly to eliminate political Catholicism, rounding up functionaries of the Catholic-aligned Bavarian People's Party and Catholic Centre Party, which along with all other non-Nazi political parties ceased to exist by July. Nazi Germany_sentence_663

The Reichskonkordat (Reich Concordat) treaty with the Vatican was signed in 1933, amid continuing harassment of the church in Germany. Nazi Germany_sentence_664

The treaty required the regime to honour the independence of Catholic institutions and prohibited clergy from involvement in politics. Nazi Germany_sentence_665

Hitler routinely disregarded the Concordat, closing all Catholic institutions whose functions were not strictly religious. Nazi Germany_sentence_666

Clergy, nuns and lay leaders were targeted, with thousands of arrests over the ensuing years, often on trumped-up charges of currency smuggling or immorality. Nazi Germany_sentence_667

Several Catholic leaders were targeted in the 1934 Night of the Long Knives assassinations. Nazi Germany_sentence_668

Most Catholic youth groups refused to dissolve themselves and Hitler Youth leader Baldur von Schirach encouraged members to attack Catholic boys in the streets. Nazi Germany_sentence_669

Propaganda campaigns claimed the church was corrupt, restrictions were placed on public meetings and Catholic publications faced censorship. Nazi Germany_sentence_670

Catholic schools were required to reduce religious instruction and crucifixes were removed from state buildings. Nazi Germany_sentence_671

Pope Pius XI had the "Mit brennender Sorge" ("With Burning Concern") encyclical smuggled into Germany for Passion Sunday 1937 and read from every pulpit as it denounced the systematic hostility of the regime toward the church. Nazi Germany_sentence_672

In response, Goebbels renewed the regime's crackdown and propaganda against Catholics. Nazi Germany_sentence_673

Enrolment in denominational schools dropped sharply and by 1939 all such schools were disbanded or converted to public facilities. Nazi Germany_sentence_674

Later Catholic protests included the 22 March 1942 pastoral letter by the German bishops on "The Struggle against Christianity and the Church". Nazi Germany_sentence_675

About 30 percent of Catholic priests were disciplined by police during the Nazi era. Nazi Germany_sentence_676

A vast security network spied on the activities of clergy and priests were frequently denounced, arrested or sent to concentration camps – many to the dedicated clergy barracks at Dachau. Nazi Germany_sentence_677

In the areas of Poland annexed in 1939, the Nazis instigated a brutal suppression and systematic dismantling of the Catholic Church. Nazi Germany_sentence_678

Alfred Rosenberg, head of the Nazi Party Office of Foreign Affairs and Hitler's appointed cultural and educational leader for Nazi Germany, considered Catholicism to be among the Nazis' chief enemies. Nazi Germany_sentence_679

He planned the "extermination of the foreign Christian faiths imported into Germany", and for the Bible and Christian cross to be replaced in all churches, cathedrals, and chapels with copies of Mein Kampf and the swastika. Nazi Germany_sentence_680

Other sects of Christianity were also targeted, with Chief of the Nazi Party Chancellery Martin Bormann publicly proclaiming in 1941, "National Socialism and Christianity are irreconcilable." Nazi Germany_sentence_681

Shirer writes that opposition to Christianity within Party leadership was so pronounced that, "the Nazi regime intended to eventually destroy Christianity in Germany, if it could, and substitute the old paganism of the early tribal Germanic gods and the new paganism of the Nazi extremists." Nazi Germany_sentence_682

Resistance to the regime Nazi Germany_section_45

Main articles: German resistance to Nazism and Resistance during World War II Nazi Germany_sentence_683

While no unified resistance movement opposing the Nazi regime existed, acts of defiance such as sabotage and labour slowdowns took place, as well as attempts to overthrow the regime or assassinate Hitler. Nazi Germany_sentence_684

The banned Communist and Social Democratic parties set up resistance networks in the mid-1930s. Nazi Germany_sentence_685

These networks achieved little beyond fomenting unrest and initiating short-lived strikes. Nazi Germany_sentence_686

Carl Friedrich Goerdeler, who initially supported Hitler, changed his mind in 1936 and was later a participant in the July 20 plot. Nazi Germany_sentence_687

The Red Orchestra spy ring provided information to the Allies about Nazi war crimes, helped orchestrate escapes from Germany, and distributed leaflets. Nazi Germany_sentence_688

The group was detected by the Gestapo and more than 50 members were tried and executed in 1942. Nazi Germany_sentence_689

Communist and Social Democratic resistance groups resumed activity in late 1942, but were unable to achieve much beyond distributing leaflets. Nazi Germany_sentence_690

The two groups saw themselves as potential rival parties in post-war Germany, and for the most part did not co-ordinate their activities. Nazi Germany_sentence_691

The White Rose resistance group was primarily active in 1942–43, and many of its members were arrested or executed, with the final arrests taking place in 1944. Nazi Germany_sentence_692

Another civilian resistance group, the Kreisau Circle, had some connections with the military conspirators, and many of its members were arrested after the failed 20 July plot. Nazi Germany_sentence_693

While civilian efforts had an impact on public opinion, the army was the only organisation with the capacity to overthrow the government. Nazi Germany_sentence_694

A major plot by men in the upper echelons of the military originated in 1938. Nazi Germany_sentence_695

They believed Britain would go to war over Hitler's planned invasion of Czechoslovakia, and Germany would lose. Nazi Germany_sentence_696

The plan was to overthrow Hitler or possibly assassinate him. Nazi Germany_sentence_697

Participants included Generaloberst Ludwig Beck, Generaloberst Walther von Brauchitsch, Generaloberst Franz Halder, Admiral Wilhelm Canaris, and Generalleutnant Erwin von Witzleben, who joined a conspiracy headed by Oberstleutnant Hans Oster and Major Helmuth Groscurth of the Abwehr. Nazi Germany_sentence_698

The planned coup was cancelled after the signing of the Munich Agreement in September 1938. Nazi Germany_sentence_699

Many of the same people were involved in a coup planned for 1940, but again the participants changed their minds and backed down, partly because of the popularity of the regime after the early victories in the war. Nazi Germany_sentence_700

Attempts to assassinate Hitler resumed in earnest in 1943, with Henning von Tresckow joining Oster's group and attempting to blow up Hitler's plane in 1943. Nazi Germany_sentence_701

Several more attempts followed before the failed 20 July 1944 plot, which was at least partly motivated by the increasing prospect of a German defeat in the war. Nazi Germany_sentence_702

The plot, part of Operation Valkyrie, involved Claus von Stauffenberg planting a bomb in the conference room at Wolf's Lair at Rastenburg. Nazi Germany_sentence_703

Hitler, who narrowly survived, later ordered savage reprisals resulting in the execution of more than 4,900 people. Nazi Germany_sentence_704

Culture Nazi Germany_section_46

The regime promoted the concept of Volksgemeinschaft, a national German ethnic community. Nazi Germany_sentence_705

The goal was to build a classless society based on racial purity and the perceived need to prepare for warfare, conquest and a struggle against Marxism. Nazi Germany_sentence_706

The German Labour Front founded the Kraft durch Freude (KdF; Strength Through Joy) organisation in 1933. Nazi Germany_sentence_707

As well as taking control of tens of thousands of privately run recreational clubs, it offered highly regimented holidays and entertainment such as cruises, vacation destinations and concerts. Nazi Germany_sentence_708

The Reichskulturkammer (Reich Chamber of Culture) was organised under the control of the Propaganda Ministry in September 1933. Nazi Germany_sentence_709

Sub-chambers were set up to control aspects of cultural life such as film, radio, newspapers, fine arts, music, theatre and literature. Nazi Germany_sentence_710

Members of these professions were required to join their respective organisation. Nazi Germany_sentence_711

Jews and people considered politically unreliable were prevented from working in the arts, and many emigrated. Nazi Germany_sentence_712

Books and scripts had to be approved by the Propaganda Ministry prior to publication. Nazi Germany_sentence_713

Standards deteriorated as the regime sought to use cultural outlets exclusively as propaganda media. Nazi Germany_sentence_714

Radio became popular in Germany during the 1930s; over 70 percent of households owned a receiver by 1939, more than any other country. Nazi Germany_sentence_715

By July 1933, radio station staffs were purged of leftists and others deemed undesirable. Nazi Germany_sentence_716

Propaganda and speeches were typical radio fare immediately after the seizure of power, but as time went on Goebbels insisted that more music be played so that listeners would not turn to foreign broadcasters for entertainment. Nazi Germany_sentence_717

Censorship Nazi Germany_section_47

See also: List of authors banned in Nazi Germany Nazi Germany_sentence_718

Newspapers, like other media, were controlled by the state; the Reich Press Chamber shut down or bought newspapers and publishing houses. Nazi Germany_sentence_719

By 1939, over two-thirds of the newspapers and magazines were directly owned by the Propaganda Ministry. Nazi Germany_sentence_720

The Nazi Party daily newspaper, the Völkischer Beobachter ("Ethnic Observer"), was edited by Rosenberg, who also wrote The Myth of the Twentieth Century, a book of racial theories espousing Nordic superiority. Nazi Germany_sentence_721

Goebbels controlled the wire services and insisted that all newspapers in Germany only publish content favourable to the regime. Nazi Germany_sentence_722

Under Goebbels, the Propaganda Ministry issued two dozen directives every week on exactly what news should be published and what angles to use; the typical newspaper followed the directives closely, especially regarding what to omit. Nazi Germany_sentence_723

Newspaper readership plummeted, partly because of the decreased quality of the content and partly because of the surge in popularity of radio. Nazi Germany_sentence_724

Propaganda became less effective towards the end of the war, as people were able to obtain information outside of official channels. Nazi Germany_sentence_725

Authors of books left the country in droves and some wrote material critical of the regime while in exile. Nazi Germany_sentence_726

Goebbels recommended that the remaining authors concentrate on books themed on Germanic myths and the concept of blood and soil. Nazi Germany_sentence_727

By the end of 1933, over a thousand books—most of them by Jewish authors or featuring Jewish characters—had been banned by the Nazi regime. Nazi Germany_sentence_728

Nazi book burnings took place; nineteen such events were held on the night of 10 May 1933. Nazi Germany_sentence_729

Tens of thousands of books from dozens of figures, including Albert Einstein, Sigmund Freud, Helen Keller, Alfred Kerr, Marcel Proust, Erich Maria Remarque, Upton Sinclair, Jakob Wassermann, H. Nazi Germany_sentence_730 G. Wells, and Émile Zola were publicly burned. Nazi Germany_sentence_731

Pacifist works, and literature espousing liberal, democratic values were targeted for destruction, as well as any writings supporting the Weimar Republic or those written by Jewish authors. Nazi Germany_sentence_732

Architecture and art Nazi Germany_section_48

Main articles: Nazi architecture, Art of the Third Reich, and Music in Nazi Germany Nazi Germany_sentence_733

Hitler took a personal interest in architecture and worked closely with state architects Paul Troost and Albert Speer to create public buildings in a neoclassical style based on Roman architecture. Nazi Germany_sentence_734

Speer constructed imposing structures such as the Nazi party rally grounds in Nuremberg and a new Reich Chancellery building in Berlin. Nazi Germany_sentence_735

Hitler's plans for rebuilding Berlin included a gigantic dome based on the Pantheon in Rome and a triumphal arch more than double the height of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. Nazi Germany_sentence_736

Neither structure was built. Nazi Germany_sentence_737

Hitler's belief that abstract, Dadaist, expressionist and modern art were decadent became the basis for policy. Nazi Germany_sentence_738

Many art museum directors lost their posts in 1933 and were replaced by party members. Nazi Germany_sentence_739

Some 6,500 modern works of art were removed from museums and replaced with works chosen by a Nazi jury. Nazi Germany_sentence_740

Exhibitions of the rejected pieces, under titles such as "Decadence in Art", were launched in sixteen different cities by 1935. Nazi Germany_sentence_741

The Degenerate Art Exhibition, organised by Goebbels, ran in Munich from July to November 1937. Nazi Germany_sentence_742

The exhibition proved wildly popular, attracting over two million visitors. Nazi Germany_sentence_743

Composer Richard Strauss was appointed president of the Reichsmusikkammer (Reich Music Chamber) on its founding in November 1933. Nazi Germany_sentence_744

As was the case with other art forms, the Nazis ostracised musicians who were deemed racially unacceptable and for the most part disapproved of music that was too modern or atonal. Nazi Germany_sentence_745

Jazz was considered especially inappropriate and foreign jazz musicians left the country or were expelled. Nazi Germany_sentence_746

Hitler favoured the music of Richard Wagner, especially pieces based on Germanic myths and heroic stories, and attended the Bayreuth Festival each year from 1933 to 1942. Nazi Germany_sentence_747

Film Nazi Germany_section_49

Main article: Nazism and cinema Nazi Germany_sentence_748

Movies were popular in Germany in the 1930s and 1940s, with admissions of over a billion people in 1942, 1943 and 1944. Nazi Germany_sentence_749

By 1934, German regulations restricting currency exports made it impossible for US film makers to take their profits back to America, so the major film studios closed their German branches. Nazi Germany_sentence_750

Exports of German films plummeted, as their antisemitic content made them impossible to show in other countries. Nazi Germany_sentence_751

The two largest film companies, Universum Film AG and Tobis, were purchased by the Propaganda Ministry, which by 1939 was producing most German films. Nazi Germany_sentence_752

The productions were not always overtly propagandistic, but generally had a political subtext and followed party lines regarding themes and content. Nazi Germany_sentence_753

Scripts were pre-censored. Nazi Germany_sentence_754

Leni Riefenstahl's Triumph of the Will (1935)—documenting the 1934 Nuremberg Rally—and Olympia (1938)—covering the 1936 Summer Olympics—pioneered techniques of camera movement and editing that influenced later films. Nazi Germany_sentence_755

New techniques such as telephoto lenses and cameras mounted on tracks were employed. Nazi Germany_sentence_756

Both films remain controversial, as their aesthetic merit is inseparable from their propagandising of Nazi ideals. Nazi Germany_sentence_757

Legacy Nazi Germany_section_50

Main article: Consequences of Nazism Nazi Germany_sentence_758

See also: Denazification Nazi Germany_sentence_759

The Allied powers organised war crimes trials, beginning with the Nuremberg trials, held from November 1945 to October 1946, of 23 top Nazi officials. Nazi Germany_sentence_760

They were charged with four counts—conspiracy to commit crimes, crimes against peace, war crimes and crimes against humanity—in violation of international laws governing warfare. Nazi Germany_sentence_761

All but three of the defendants were found guilty and twelve were sentenced to death. Nazi Germany_sentence_762

Twelve Subsequent Nuremberg trials of 184 defendants were held between 1946 and 1949. Nazi Germany_sentence_763

Between 1946 and 1949, the Allies investigated 3,887 cases, of which 489 were brought to trial. Nazi Germany_sentence_764

The result was convictions of 1,426 people; 297 of these were sentenced to death and 279 to life in prison, with the remainder receiving lesser sentences. Nazi Germany_sentence_765

About 65 percent of the death sentences were carried out. Nazi Germany_sentence_766

Poland was more active than other nations in investigating war crimes, for example prosecuting 673 of the total 789 Auschwitz staff brought to trial. Nazi Germany_sentence_767

The political programme espoused by Hitler and the Nazis brought about a world war, leaving behind a devastated and impoverished Europe. Nazi Germany_sentence_768

Germany itself suffered wholesale destruction, characterised as Stunde Null (Zero Hour). Nazi Germany_sentence_769

The number of civilians killed during the Second World War was unprecedented in the history of warfare. Nazi Germany_sentence_770

As a result, Nazi ideology and the actions taken by the regime are almost universally regarded as gravely immoral. Nazi Germany_sentence_771

Historians, philosophers, and politicians often use the word "evil" to describe Hitler and the Nazi regime. Nazi Germany_sentence_772

Interest in Nazi Germany continues in the media and the academic world. Nazi Germany_sentence_773

While Evans remarks that the era "exerts an almost universal appeal because its murderous racism stands as a warning to the whole of humanity", young neo-Nazis enjoy the shock value that Nazi symbols or slogans provide. Nazi Germany_sentence_774

The display or use of Nazi symbolism such as flags, swastikas, or greetings is illegal in Germany and Austria. Nazi Germany_sentence_775

The process of denazification, which was initiated by the Allies as a way to remove Nazi Party members was only partially successful, as the need for experts in such fields as medicine and engineering was too great. Nazi Germany_sentence_776

However, expression of Nazi views was frowned upon, and those who expressed such views were frequently dismissed from their jobs. Nazi Germany_sentence_777

From the immediate post-war period through the 1950s, people avoided talking about the Nazi regime or their own wartime experiences. Nazi Germany_sentence_778

While virtually every family suffered losses during the war has a story to tell, Germans kept quiet about their experiences and felt a sense of communal guilt, even if they were not directly involved in war crimes. Nazi Germany_sentence_779

The trial of Adolf Eichmann in 1961 and the broadcast of the television miniseries Holocaust in 1979 brought the process of Vergangenheitsbewältigung (coping with the past) to the forefront for many Germans. Nazi Germany_sentence_780

Once study of Nazi Germany was introduced into the school curriculum starting in the 1970s, people began researching the experiences of their family members. Nazi Germany_sentence_781

Study of the era and a willingness to critically examine its mistakes has led to the development of a strong democracy in Germany, but with lingering undercurrents of antisemitism and neo-Nazi thought. Nazi Germany_sentence_782

In 2017 a Körber Foundation survey found that 40 percent of 14-year-olds in Germany did not know what Auschwitz was. Nazi Germany_sentence_783

The journalist Alan Posener attributed the country's "growing historical amnesia" in part to a failure by the German film and television industry to reflect the country's history accurately. Nazi Germany_sentence_784

See also Nazi Germany_section_51

Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nazi Germany.