Key Terms for Germany 1918 - 1945

Keziah Bunyan
Flashcards by Keziah Bunyan, updated more than 1 year ago More Less
Keziah Bunyan
Created by Keziah Bunyan almost 3 years ago


A list of key terms, mostly taken from the Democracy and Nazism: Germany 1918-1945 Textbook.

Resource summary

Question Answer
Aryan Race The term used by racial theorists, including the Nazis, to describe the race to which non- Jewish Germans belonged.
Anschluss (The union) the takeover of Austria by Germany in March 1938.
Autarky Economic independence or self-sufficiency.
Bund Deutscher Mädel (BDM) League of German Girls - The female equivalent of Hitler Youth. Membership became compulsory in 1939.
Diktat An order or decree imposed by someone in power without popular consent.
Einsatgruppen 'Special Groups' - temporary units comprised of the police and regular troops commanded by the Gestapo, the SD and the Criminal Police.
Eugenics The theory that a race or group of people could be genetically improved through selective breeding.
Freikorps A volunteer force setup at the end of 1918 consisting of demobilised junior army officers and NCOs as well as students, adventurers and drifters.
Gauleiter A Nazi party leader at regional or state level.
Gestapo Secret State Police established by Herman Goering; depended on information supplied by informants.
Gleichschaltung 'Forcing into line', the process through which the Nazis attempted to control or 'coordinate' all aspects of German society.
Hitler Jugend (HJ) Hitler Youth - created in 1926 for boys aged 14-18 years; compulsory membership introduced in 1939.
Jungvolk The section of the Hitler Youth that was for boys aged 10-14 years.
Kdf (Kraft durch Freude) Means 'strength through joy' - a movement set up by Robert Ley and the DAF to organise workers' leisure times.
Lebensraum Means 'Living space', a concept by which Hitler justified his plans to take over territory to the east of Germany.
Lock out An action taken by an employer to stop workers doing their jobs until they agree to the employer's terms and conditions.
Mittelstand Means 'middle rank'; a large but diverse social group including small farmers, small shopkeepers and artisans.
Plebiscite A direct vote on an important political or constitutional issue, similar to a referendum.
Pogrom An organised massacre of an ethnic group.
Putsch A coup or violent attempt to overthrow a government (aka Munich Putsch).
Red-Front Fighters' League The paramilitary arm of the KPD party; established in 1924, under the leadership of Ernst Thälmann, and engaged in street battles with the SA, the police and the other right-wing paramilitary groups.
Reichkristallnacht 'Night of the Long Knives', occurred on 9-10 Nov 1938, when Jewish homes and businesses were looted and vandalised, synagogues set ablaze and thousands of Jews were arrested, beaten and killed.
Reichstag Elected lower house of the German Government.
Reichswehr German Army.
Slav Peoples A very diverse ethnic group that includes Czechs, Slovaks, Poles, Russians, Ukrainians, Croats, Serbs and Slovenes, living mainly in Central and Eastern Europe.
Sopade Reports produced by agents of the banned SPD to inform the exiled party leadership about the situation in Germany.
Schutztaffel The SS, Hitler's personal bodyguard - created 1926.
Stahlhelm (Steel Helmets) - a paramilitary organisation of ex-servicemen dedicated to the restoration of the monarchy and the revival of Germany as a military power, which took its name from the steel helmets issued to German Soldiers in WW1.
Stormtroopers Called the SA, the paramilitary wing of the Nazi party, led by Ernst Röhm.
Third Reich This term (Third Empire) is used to describe the their regime from 1933 to 1945, the Nazis were asserting that it was the successor to the First Reich.
Total War A term used to describe a conflict in which a combatant state mobilises its entire population and all of its material resources to participate in the war effort.
Untermenschen Means 'sub-humans', and was used by the Nazis to describe those whom they considered to be racially inferior. This included Jews, Gypsies and people of the Slav race.
Volksgemeinschaft The concept of a 'people's community'; it was a key element in Nazi ideology.
Volkssturm Founded on Hitler's orders, the Volkssturm was intended to be a force of six million members, although this was never achieved.
Waffen SS The military wing of the SS.
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