Controversy: How Popular was the Nazi Regime?

Flashcards by , created about 4 years ago

A2 History Revision for Germany 1900-1945 exam (Edexcel) - Controversy B notes - How popular was the Nazi regime?

Created by shann.w about 4 years ago
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Question Answer
What questions did historians debate over in regards to the popularity of the Nazi regime? How extensive was enthusiasm for Nazi rule? Which sections of society supported the Nazis? How is 'resistance' defined and how much resistance was there? How is acquiescence explained?
What were the results of a survey taken in the 1980s by a cross-section of society of 3000 people who had lived through Nazi rule? (Positive, mostly positive, neutral, mostly negative, negative) Postive - 18% Mostly positive - 31% Neutral - 9% Mostly negative - 18% Negative - 24%
Which groups in society were most likely to have been positive towards the Nazi regime? Middle-classes and upper-class Protestants
What did the middle classes and elites fear the most, which caused them to support the Nazis? Fear of communism Hitler destroyed the KPD
How did Hitler gain support from his 'battle for labour' policy? Brought unemployment down to 1 million by 1936 It had been 6 million when he became Chancellor
Why can the unemployment figure not be fully trusted? Jews and other minorities were not included in the statistics Women were not included as their role was to stay home and produce children
What foreign policies of the Nazi Party (i.e. occupations and seizures of land) was warmly received by the middle and upper class nationalists? Reoccupation of the Rhineland, 1936 Union with Austria, 1938 Seizure of Sudetenland from Czechoslovakia, 1938 Occupation of the remainder of Czechoslovakia, 1938
What hard-line youth policies were introduced? Emphasis on physical activity in Military-style training in schools (for boys!) Compulsory labour service in the RAD (also for boys) - National Labour Service League of German Girls - train them to become wives, mothers and home-makers
Why did opinions on youth policies begin to change? Academic standards fell drastically
What was the result of Goebbels' propaganda in promoting Hitler? Projected him as a leader of a national community - Volksgemeinschaft Ian Kershaw describes it as the 'Hitler Myth'
What did Hitler say were his aims for the youth in 1939? "A violently active, dominating, intrepid, brutal youth - that is what I am after. It must be indifferent to pain. There must be no weakness or tenderness in it."
Why was there a huge importance attached to winning over the youth? Needed people to fight and be willing to die for the Nazi regime He wanted to ensure the long-term survival of the regime
What 3 things were part of the Nationalist Socialist school curriculum? 1 - Radical science 2 - Physical education 3 - Nazis' interpretation of Germany's recent history
What did the German youth do on the weekends? Fed a diet of 'Wehrsport' (military athletics) Hitler Youth Movement Other Nazi youth groups
What 2 ways have historians defined 'resistance' as? How did Martin Broszat distinguish the types of resistance? 1 - (1950s-1960s) organised attempts to bring down the Nazi regime 2 - (1970s) grassroots resistance; everyday life 3 - Martin Broszat - 'Widerstand' = active resistance; 'Resistant' = passive resistance
Give an example of 'Widerstand' resistance Bomb plot of 1944 Acts of protest provoked by Nazi policies, e.g. the public attack on Nazis' T-4 Euthanasia programme
Give an example of 'Resistanz' Refusal to give 'Heil Hitler!' salute 'Inner retreat' - those who rejected Nazi values and withdrew into private and family life
What happened to the SPD and KPD in 1933? Organisations smashed and leaders were arrested or forced to flee; some executed
What did the SPD do in response? Maintained an underground information-gathering network Became the SPD in exile - SOPADE Illegal newspaper called 'Sozialistische Aktion' with an estimated circulation of 200,000
What did the KPD do in response? Distributed leaflets Spy network in 1937 at the behest of Soviet Russia's intelligence services, known as the 'Red Orchestra' - broken up by the SS after 5 years
Name 2 leading Protestant resistors and what they did in response to the Nazi takeover of Evangelical Churches Martin Niemoller and Dietrich Bonhoffer Set up Confessional Church
How many Protestant pastors were arrested by the Nazis? 800 out of 17,000
How did Catholic priests feel about the Nazi regime? What did the protest about in 1937? Condemned Nazism 1937 protest when Nazis attempted to remove crucifixes from school classrooms
How did the Pope's opinion of Hitler and the Nazis change from 1933 to 1937? 1933 - had a 'concordat' with Hitler in 1933 By 1937, had issued a statement titled 'with burning concern' in protest against Hitler's treatment of the Catholic Church
What limits were there to Christian resistance of the Nazi regime? It was centred on the defence of their interests Did not involve the wholesale rejection of Nazi values E.g. in 1936, Bishop von Galen of Munster asked for God's blessing on Hitler's endeavours after the reoccupation of the Rhineland
Who were the 'Swing Kids' and 'Edelweiss Pirates'? Describe what they did in resistance to the regime. Nazi youth resistance groups Swing Kids - resented being regimented in Hitler Youth; wore their hair long and listened to jazz Edelweiss Pirates - Gangs from working classes in industrial parts of western Germany who had the slogan 'Eternal War on the Hitler Youth'. They ambushed HY patrols and beat up members; Nazi officials responded by arresting, detaining and executing some of the ringleaders
How did the policy of Gleichschaltung limit the amount of resistance in Germany? Helped to depoliticise everyday life, so people were more focused on other aspects rather than what the Nazi party was doing Neutralised potential dissidents
How did the Nazi security forces limit the amount of resistance to the Nazi regime? -Operations run by Himmler and Heydrich were highly efficient -Penalties known to be severe, so people were deterred from open resistance
What is the different between 'consent' and 'conformity'? Consent = openly agreeing/giving permission for something to happen Conformity = compliance; following everyone else
Historians agree that the Nazis secured acceptance and conformity. Where do the historians disagree? They disagree on how conformity was obtained Was propaganda or terrorism more important in securing it?
'Gleichschaltung' means the process of 'bringing into line' (i.e. depoliticising everyday life and neutralising dissidents) How did this affect the institutions in Germany? Some institutions destroyed Some reformed Some largely left alone
Which institutions were completely abolished? 1) Political parties - Law Against the Formation of New Parties passed in July 1933 2) Trade unions - workers had to join German Labour Front (DAF) 3) The Lander - Nazis took control of the individual states in 1933 and appointed Reich Commissioners to run them (state parliaments officially abolished through the Law for the Reconstruction of the State
What institutions were reformed to 'Nazify' them? 1) The press - left-wing papers banned; national press controlled by Goebbels' Propaganda Ministry 2) Education - new curriculum 3) Protestant Churches - organised into German Evangelical Church (dissidents broke away and formed Confessional Church in 1934) 4) Political undesirables - purged from civil service (Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service)
What institutions were largely left alone? 1) Roman Catholic Church - 'concordat' with the Vatican (Church to abstain from politics - rights upheld in return) 2) Big business - relations were mostly cordial; employers' associations were merged to form the Reich Estate of German Industry (not controlled by Nazis) 3) Army - experienced little political interference until the later 1930s; soldiers took an oath of loyalty to Hitler in 1934
What famous event happened in 1934 to SA members? Night of the Long Knives
What happened on this night? 50+ SA leaders murdered, including Rohm Also had some revenge on old enemies - Gustav von Kahr (Munich Putsch), Gregor Strasser and Kurt von Schleicher Killings carried out by Himmler's SS
Why did Hitler call for the murder of SA leaders and members? -SA not a Nazi organisation - began to call for a 'Second Revolution' which worried Hitler and threatened his hold on power (SA members loyal to Rohm, not Hitler) -Wanted to merge with the German army, but Hitler feared this would undermine the effectiveness of the armed forces as the SA were just street brawlers
How did Karl Dietrich Bracher describe the totalitarianism of Nazi Germany? It was a police state that operated on 'a system of terror'
During the 1930s, in which ways did the SS become a principal instrument of Nazi oppression? -Kept watch on German people -Neutralised suspected enemies (took them to 'protective custody' -Controlled an elaborate system of concentration camps
How do some people describe the large growth of the SS? It became a state within a state
The SS was founded in 1925 as Hitler's personal bodyguard. Which service was created as part of the SS in 1931, and who headed it? Security Service which spied on enemies Headed by Heydrich
When was Himmler given control of the Gestapo? 1934
What happened to the policing services in Nazi Germany in 1936? After the power-struggle over policing, Himmler was appointed Chief of German Police and was given overall control of all policing forces in Germany
What happened to the ordinary police, Security Service (SD) and Gestapo in 1939? They were incorporated into the Reich Main Security Office
Between 1933 and 1938, how did the number of detainees in concentration camps by the SS change? 1933 - 26,000 1935 - 5000 1938 - 60,000
K.D. Bracher suggests that Germans were subdued by a 'gigantic apparatus of terror'. How has this statement been challenged by other historians? a) Terror only used against perceived enemies b) Gestapo relatively small - 32,000 staff nationally compared to 250,000 SS in the late 1930s (reached 800,000 by 1944) c) Importance of propaganda
What Ministry was Goebbels in charge of? The Ministry of Propaganda and National Enlightenment
The Reich Chamber of Culture was part of the Ministry of Propaganda and National Enlightenment. How many Chambers was this split into? Name some of them Reich Chamber of Culture was split into 7 further Chambers Reich Press Reich Radio Reich Film Reich Literature Reich Theatre Reich Music Reich Fine Arts
What was Goebbels' goal for the German community? Policy of Volksgemeinschaft - integrate all 'national comrades' into a single 'national community'
What did Volksgemeinschaft intend to do with social classes and religion? Break down the divisions created by social classes and religion - create one united community
Was the Reich Chamber of Film political? No Half the films produced were romances and comedies Quarter of films were thrillers Only a small number described as crude Nationalist Socialist propaganda
Why did the RC of Film not produce many political films? It was to depoliticise everyday life and divert people's attention away from politics To ensure conformity with the regime - if people were not concerned with politics, then the Nazi Regime could operate however it wanted
How is the same emphasis on depoliticising everyday life shown by the entertainment produced by the Reich Chamber of Radio? Light music was played consistently Nazis attached a particular importance to the radio as a form of communication In the 1930s, the 'People's Receiver' became available at a low cost, giving Germany the highest rate of radio ownership in the world
What is the 'Hitler Myth' and why would have the working classes been influenced by this? Ian Kershaw Goebbels' effort to build a personality cult around Hitler to make him seem god-like Working classes would have been impressed by the claims that Hitler had solved unemployment problems, and the process of overthrowing the Versailles 'Diktat'
The extent to which unemployment was solved is open to debate. Why? A public works programme was launched under Economics Minister Schacht and put some people back to work; so did rearmament programmes HOWEVER Economic slump bottomed out in 1932 and was followed by 'natural' economic recovery Also, groups excluded from employment statistics included women, Jews, disabled, etc.
What was the 'KdF'? The 'Strength through Joy' movement Used as well as propaganda to neutralise potential opposition It was part of the German Labour Front established in 1933 to replace trade unions
What gap did the KdF fill in (for the working class)? Gap left by liquidation of SPD and KPD, which had previously offered leisure opportunities e.g. sports competitions, choirs and evening classes KdF made similar provisions from 1933
What else was the KdF heavily involved in? Tourism industry - sponsored cheap travel within Germany and travel abroad on KdF cruises e.g. Norway's fjords 1938 - launched 'Volkswagen', the 'People's Car'; buyers invited to pre-order their car and pay 5 marks a week for it (300,000 signed up, but no cars delivered; project scrapped when war broke out)
Did propaganda and cultural provision achieve its aim of creating a cohesive 'national community'? No Evidence shows Nazis secured measure of acceptance within working-class and Catholic camps Working-class especially appreciated leisure opportunities
Who is a prominent critic of the idea of 'dictatorship by consent'? British historian, Richard Evans
What does Richard Evans say about the use of Nazi terror to control the state? "Nazis did not rule by terror at all...terror was highly selective" "...only one of the Third Reich's techniques of rule"
How does Richard Evans support his argument? 1) Number of concentration camp detainees was relatively small in the earlier 1930s - Nazis did not rely on terror. The existence of Gestapo and camps create a climate of fear and warned the population not to step out of line 2) Although Gestapo was relatively small, the Nazis had other instruments of coercion (e.g. courts and Blockleiters)
How did the courts deal with political dissidents? Special Courts set up in 1933 to try political offences People's Court set up in 1934 to try treason and other important 'political cases' 1932-37, prison population nearly doubled, most inmates for political offences Death sentences also rose dramatically
What was SiPo and OrPo? SiPo - Security Police OrPo - Ordinary Police
Why is it difficult to study popular opinion in Nazi Germany? No public opinion polls or election results to look at Sources that we do have are subjective so need to be treated with caution, e.g. secret police reports and SOPADE files