II. The 3rd Reich & the Holocaust Era, Jan 1933-May 1945
Murderous Racism and Antisemitism - Bureaucracy of Evil. You let us do it!
A. The prewar period, 1933-39: Nazism - A Monolithic Culture
B. World War II, 1939-45: New Order
Perpetrators, Collaborators, Victims, Bystanders, Resisters, Rescuers
EIGHT-a Legal Dictatorship under the 3rd Reich 1933-39
Domestic Policy. Obedience, authority, conformity versus conscience
Introduction: II. The 3rd Reich & the Holocaust Era, Jan 1933-May 1945
* National Socialist Germany (1933-1945)
*Once in power, Hitler built a Nazi totalitarian state, eliminated all opposition and
launched an ambitious program of world domination and elimination of the Jews,
paralleling ideas he advanced in his book, Mein Kampf.
*His "1,000 Year Reich" barely lasted 12 years.
The preparations for mass murder were made possible by Germanys military successes in the months following the invasion of Poland in 1939. But from the moment that Adolf Hitler had come to power in 1933, the devastating process had begun. It was a process which depended upon the rousing of historic hatreds and ancient prejudice, and upon the cooperation or acquiescence of many different forces: of industry, science and medicine, of the Civil Service and bureaucracy, and of the most modern mechanisms and channels of communication. It depended ... most of all, one survivor has remarked, upon the indifference of bystanders in every land.1
When Hitler came to power in January 1933, no one could ... have anticipated the outcome: that those political and economic forces which had propelled him into government, in the belief that he would be little more than a puppet, would be ... unable to contain him; that, after rebuilding Germanys economy and shattered national pride, he would plunge his country & ... much of the rest of the world into a war that would cost over 50 million lives and radically change the political shape of Europe.2
Objective. By the end of the 2nd part of the course, you should be able to
1. Describe and explain the processes which culminated in genocide, from discrimination, exclusion and isolation, to genocide and the "Final Solution," and the responses to the Holocaust, exploring the inter-relationships between the perpetrators, the victims, the rescuers, the bystanders and and the resisters.
2. Discuss how racism and antisemitism led to the debasement of modern society and to genocidal murder.
3. Examine how the rest of the world responded to the plight of the victims;
4. Discuss the question of what enabled some individuals, groups, or countries to actively become involved in resistance while others remained passive bystanders and others sympathizers or collaborators. (How could the great majority of Christians and Christian leaders either lend support to the Nazi effort or simply choose to do and say nothing?)
- to provide opportunities for students to raise questions about the world of the Third Reich
- to encourage students to feel both a responsibility & a right to assert themselves as critical citizens; promote diversity of beliefs & personal responsibility.
- to allow students to actively explore issues associated with freedom of belief and expression
A. The prewar period, 1933-39: Nazism - A Monolithic Culture
Domestic and foreign policy of National Socialist Germany. Creating the Nazi racial totalitarian state: terror; propaganda, culture and education in the Third Reich - mobilization of the mind. The different policies carried out by the Nazi regime toward various groups of people - Jews and non-Jews (Gentiles); a program of euthanasia was launched to remove "undesirables" . Reactions to the actions of National Socialism.
At the conclusion of this unit students will be able to discuss the social, political, economic and cultural developments, the legislation and the changes that transformed Germany into a racist dictatorship; they will be able to assess the impact of the onslaught on the Jews and on the undesirable others, and evaluate the different responses to the Nazi assault on democracy.
Legal Dictatorship under the 3rd Reich, 1933-39
Germany under National Socialism
Creating the Nazi Racial Totalitarian State - Perpetrators
Synopsis - Domestic Policy: Nazification (1933-1939).
Domestically, during the next six years, Hitler completely transformed Germany into a police state. Once Hitler became Chancellor and later Reichsführer -head of state- by legal means, the Nazi party quickly changed Germany's political, social, and economic structure. Hitler consolidated his power by neutralizing all political opponents & democratic institutions. An internal security apparatus was designed and refined to result in iron control of the lives of the citizens within Germany (material -economic- mobilization of the nation, using carrot and stick). Perfected, this systematic, internal reign of terror was spread as Hitlers forces were able to breach borders with relatively easy absorption of what had been Czechoslovakia.3
Hitler managed to maintain a posture of legality throughout the Nazification process.
Instructional Objectives - Students will learn:
1. About German domestic policy and the features of Nazi Germany as a fascist & racist totalitarian state
2. How a political leader was able to manipulate the political system in a democracy, & obtain autocratic power. Psychological aspects of authority and obedience.
3. That Hitler rose to power in a democracy which had a structure similar to that of modern democracies.
4. That historical events often trigger political responses and mold public opinion, and that extremist political movements do not suddenly rise to power in a vacuum but do so as a result of latent instability of the society in which they exist.
5. How the Nazis consolidated their power & control of the German government; Legislation that transformed German society.
Students will obtain a deeper understanding of the process of Nazification, in order to better understand how German society rallied behind the Third Reich.
Objective: Students will be able to
1. Discuss conditions in Germany that made it possible for the German people to accept Hitler as their leader (obedience to authority).
2. Assess and explain the methods by which the Nazi state attempted to control the thoughts and actions of ordinary Germans (propaganda; culture and education in the Third Reich - mobilization of the mind), to foster compliance.
3. Outline the steps taken by Hitler to eliminate all opposition in order to create a one-party racist dictatorship (how Hitler consolidated his power by neutralizing all political opponents & democratic institutions - terror; early stages of persecution; the first concentration camps).
How the perpetrators/Nazis under Hitler created a Nazi racial totalitarian police state, and changed Germanys political, social, & economic structure
1. Highlight some Nazi dominant ideologies.
2. How did Hitler become Head of State? How Hitler managed to take full control of Germany? How did the perpetrators, Hitler and the Nazi Party consolidate their power? Outline the steps taken by Hitler to eliminate all opposition (communist ... ) in order to create a one-party racist dictatorship (how did Hitler consolidate his power by neutralizing all political opponents & democratic institutions.
Discuss the many ways that Nazis used fear to control the masses
How did Hitler get dictatorial powers? What type of provisions were made to consolidate Nazi political power? Why did Hitler destroy the SA?
3. Identify the methods by which the Nazi state and the Gestapo attempted to control the thoughts and actions of ordinary Germans. What role did propaganda play in the dissemination of Nazi ideologies? How does a totalitarian regime control access to ideas? Discuss how the Nazis used the following as propaganda: schools, communication, culture, youth groups, rallies
How could the great majority of Germans either lend support to the Nazi effort or simply choose to do and say nothing? How did Hitler cure mass unemployment in Germany?
4. Describe the types of legislation enacted between 1933 and 1939 (the Nazi legal steps to consolidate their grip on the country and to create terror in their enemies), and the changes/events that transformed Germany.
Introduction - the retreat from democracy
Within less than a decade after the Paris Peace Conference, democracy was in retreat across Europe. By 1929 authoritarian regimes had violated or eliminated the liberal constitutions of Hungary, Spain, Albania, Portugal, Lithuania, Poland, & Yugoslavia as well as Italy. By 1936 political liberty had also been suppressed in Rumania, Austria, Bulgaria, Estonia, latvia, & Greece as well as Germany. Their political difficulties illustrate the broad trend. Divided over issues of social reform, nationality, & religion, they suffered increased disruption with each economic crisis & foreign threat.
Authoritarian leaders flirted with fascism on the Italian model. They sought decisiveness & force to achieve stability. Totalitarianism in Soviet Union, Italy & Germany was different.
Nazification of Germany & Consolidating Nazi rule
Nazism/National Socialism http://motlc.wiesenthal.com/text/x32/xm3254.html
*Nazism: the racial ideology and policies of Adolf Hitler and his National Socialist German Workers Party from 1921 to 1945.
*National Socialism was the Nazi political movement in Germany, led by Adolf Hitler. It ruled Germany from 1933-45 and dominated Europe for most of World War II. Based on
- extreme nationalism,
- territorial expansion and racism, it promoted antisemitism - the persecution and "elimination" of Jewry.
Many events combined to pave the way from those radical ideas to Nazism: the defeat in World War I; the "dictate" of the peace conference, and the Treaty of Versailles; the social and economical crisis; the DOLCHSTOSSLEGENDE (stab in the back) myth; and the widespread opinion that the Weimar Republic was an inferior form of regime imposed on the Germans.
Germanys defeat in WWI left +Versailles Treaty+socioeconomic crisis, inflation+stab in the back+Weimar Republic - inferior regime imposed.
(Nazism; NS), German ideological and political movement led by Adolf HITLER. In combined form, the two concepts of "national" and "social" had become fashionable among Christian Socialist and Volkisch - antisemitic movements before 1914 in Germany and Austria. This was taken up by the Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (German Workers' Party) founded in Munich in 1919. A year later it added Nationalsozialistische to its name and thus became the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (NSDAP), the party that, under Hitler's leadership, was to pave the way for a "German dictatorship" and play a role of fateful consequence in world history (see NAZI PARTY).
Manifestations of Volkisch antisemitism and pan - Germanism - two basic elements of the ideology that the NSDAP proclaimed at its inception - had appeared in Germany long before World War I. The following ideas played a major role in Nazi ideology:
- the myth of blood and soil,
- the "master race" idea, and
- the utopian vision of Germany conquering LEBENSRAUM ("living space") in the east and "Germanizing" the conquered area.
*Nazism demonstrated a demonic radicalism, because of deeply rooted German traditions, absent in Italys Mussolini, were Prussian militarism, adoration of the power state, & belief in the special destiny of the German Volk. These traditions made the German peoples attachment to Hitler & Nazi ideology much stronger than the Italian peoples devotion to Mussolini & his fascist party. Hitlers Nazi Germany became a totalitarian state in which Nazis were the absolute masters of 66 million people - complete control over subjects; Hitler, charismatic leader.
Perpetrators, victims, collaborators, bystanders, rescuers
... In the view of many commentators, it was the interaction of these very elements -the implacable cruelty & irrationality of the Nazi perpetrator, the overwhelming passivity & compliance of the Jewish victim, and the inaction and indifference of much of the rest of the world, the bystander- that made possible this unthinkable episode in human history. ...4 History is vitally related to human actions and a sense of sequence & time. Therefore, it is important to follow the interaction Perpetrators - Victims - Bystanders - Collaborators -Resisters - Rescuers, in a chronological order.
Perpetrators are those who were participating in the persecution of the victims.
*The National Socialist German Workers' Party or NSDAP, known as the Nazi Party, controlled Germany from 1933 to 45. Nazis labeled and isolated Jews, Gypsies, Slavs, homosexuals, political prisoners, the Blacks, the mentally and physically disabled, and others. Some were passively killed by starvation and widespread disease. Millions were murdered in attacks by the Gestapo , the SA , and the SS , in mass killings of the Einsatzgruppen, in and around Nazi concentration, and later death camps.
*Although Adolf Hitler is often perceived as the chief perpetrator, there were others. Perpetrators were Nazi party leaders, bankers, professors, military officials, doctors, journalists, engineers, judges, authors, lawyers, salesmen, police, and civil servants. Perpetrators committed crimes against Jews and other undesirables for many reasons. They wanted power. They believed in an ideology of racial cleansing. They profited financially, displaced their anger from their own failures, or were perhaps "following orders."
They did not carry out the persecutions and/or exterminations, but helped the effort. They could be people who turned in a Jew or a business who supported the Nazis in some way.
Victims are those who were chosen for persecution and or/extermination. Approximately 11.5 million people were killed because of Nazi genocidal policy. It was the explicit aim of Hitler's regime to create a European world both dominated and populated by the "Aryan" race. The Nazi machinery was dedicated to eradicating millions of people it deemed undesirable. Some people were undesirable by Nazi standards because of who they were, their genetic or cultural origins or health conditions. These included Jews, Gypsies, Poles & other Slavs, & people with physical or mental disabilities. Others were Nazi victims because of what they did. These victims of the Nazi regime were Jehovah's Witnesses, homosexuals, the dissenting clergy, Communists, Socialists, asocials, & other political enemies.
Those believed by Hitler and the Nazis to be enemies of the state were banished to the camps. Inside the concentration camps, prisoners were forced to wear various colored triangles, each color denoting a different group. The letters on the triangular badges below designate the prisoners' countries of origin.
*Bystanders are those who were present in the midst of the nazi terror and the Holocaust, but did not participate in its execution. They did nothing to prevent or stop it either. Bystanders was the norm during the Holocaust. Bystanders were ordinary people who played it safe. As private citizens, they complied with the laws and tried to avoid the terrorizing activities of the Nazi regime. They wanted to get on with their daily lives. During the war, the collective world's response toward the murder of millions of people was minimal.
Bystanders may have remained unaware, or perhaps were aware of victimization going on around them, but, being fearful of the consequences, chose not to take risk to help Nazi victims. Cynthia Ozick writes,
Indifference is not so much a gesture of looking away--of choosing to be passive--as it is an active disinclination to feel. Indifference shuts down the humane, and does it deliberately, with all the strength deliberateness demands. Indifference is as determined--and as forcefully muscular--as any blow.
Indifference is, in most societies, a neutral force which can be harnessed either for good or ill by those who hold the reins of power. ... However, the indirect impact of the majority who, through their silence may condone or rubber-stamp the decisions and policies of others, should not be underestimated. Nor should it be overlooked that silence or indifference is a choice that individuals make. This, surely is one of the central lessons of the Nazi era.5
Claude Lanzmann's documentary, Shoah, provides another portrait of the bystander. At first, bystanders who were interviewed in this documentary engaged in self-deception about the murder of Jews. Only after lengthy questioning did they finally acknowledge that they chose their roles deliberately, even when they could have done otherwise.
Bystanders have the ability to possibly prevent a genocide early on in the path of oppression towards atrocity. Usually, small steps are taken to test the waters -to test for reprisals, outrage, intervention in the face of these minor incidences. If nothing happens, the perpetrators are free to escalate to the next level. By the time a full-scale genocide breaks out, bystanders have much less ability to step in & stop the killing. The bystander's indifference has also become more solidified as policy, thus, making action more difficult on their end as well.
Rescuers are those who helped save the lives of those who were persecuted. They are unique because of the possibility that a member of any one of the other categories could become a rescuer.
The 3rd Reich - Creation of a Terror Totalitarian State. The SS Police State
The Nazi rise to power brought an end to the Weimar Republic, a parliamentary democracy established in Germany after World War I.6
Hitler & the Nazis http://motlc.wiesenthal.com/resources/courage/p05.html
In 1932, the German people who voted for the Nazis hoped for decisive leadership, economic revival, and a new national sense of pride and purpose. Most assumed Nazi extremism would be tempered by the responsibility and compromise necessary to govern.
On January 30, 1933, Adolf Hitler was named Chancellor, the most powerful position in the German government, by the aged President Paul von Hindenburg who hoped Hitler could lead the nation out of its grave political and economic crisis. Hitler was the leader of the right-wing National Socialist German Workers Party (called the Nazi Party for short); it was, by 1933, one of the strongest parties in Germany, even though * reflecting the country's multi-party system * the Nazis had only won a plurality of 33 percent of the votes in the 1932 elections to the German parliament (Reichstag) http//www.ushmm.org/education/history.html
The Legal Dictatorship. Collapse of German democracy
Once Hitler became Chancellor & later Reichsfuhrer, the Nazi party quickly changed Germanys political, social, & economic structure. Hitlers Nazi Party would establish its iron, mesmeric grip on the German people by combining totalitarian elements found in Stalins Soviet system with the Fascist dictatorial model provided by Mussolinis Italy. When these ingredients were added to the Nazis racial theory the result was a potent and apparently irresistible brew.7
In the first months of Hitlers chancellorship, the Nazis instituted a policy of coordination--the alignment of individuals and institutions with Nazi goals. Culture, the economy, education and institutions under Nazi control.
The Nazis pursued the creation of a totalitarian state in a variety of ways. The Nazi state (also referred to as the Third Reich) quickly became a regime in which Germans enjoyed no guaranteed basic rights. (ushmm.org)
Hitler's war against Germany's domestic enemies was waged with court decrees, a continuous flow of propaganda, and ever present violence.
Nazi Takeover. Legalization of terror in Germany.
Once in power, Hitler moved quickly to end German democracy.
*Among the first actions of the new Chancellor was enactment of an Emergency Decree directed at eliminating political opposition from the Communists:
*February, 27, 1933: Reichstag Fire
*A fire destroyed the Reichstag Building on February 27, 1933. Hitler blamed the fire on the Communists. The fire symbolically destroyed the only remaining institution capable of placing reins on Hitler's grab for dictatorial power. Although the case is still somewhat disputed, the fire was very likely instigated by the Nazis & blamed on a Dutch Communist who had committed arson, Marinus van der Lubbe. There was no sign whatsoever of a revolution, but van der Lubbe gave the Nazis the excuse they needed & the pretext for new emergency measures.
*"For the Protection of the People and State" to eliminate Communists opposition
On February 28, 1933, Hitler convinced his cabinet to invoke emergency clauses of the Constitution which permitted the suspension of individual freedoms of the press, speech, & assembly: He induced a confused and frightened President Hindenburg to sign Article 48, an emergency decree - decree euphemistically called, "For the Protection of the People and State", which granted the Nazis sweeping power to deal with the so-called emergency; it authorized Hitler to suspend the constitutional civil rights and created a state of emergency in which official decrees could be enacted without parliamentary confirmation (ending all the basic civil rights, including freedom of the press & assembly, to arrest (& execute) any suspicious person, and to impose the death sentence for arson, sabotage, resistance to the decree, and disturbances to public order. Arrests could be made on suspicion, and people could be sentenced to prison without trial or the right of counsel.
This decree was passed just 6 days into the Hitler Administration, & it called for the dismantling of leftist organizations; all Communist party buildings were expropriated. Communist threat official. A reign of terror ensued in which 1000s (communists, socialists, labor union leaders) were arrested and sent to prison. Nazi Brown Terror: arrest many Jews. To maximize Nazi influence, the non-Nazi press was outlawed.
The suspension was never lifted throughout the entire period of Nazi rule, and the decree of February 28th destroyed fundamental guarantees under the Weimar democracy. This can be viewed as a major milestone in the countrys transition from a parliamentary democracy to a dictatorship subordinate to one party and its leader - Hitler turned Germany into a one-party dictatorship and organized the police power necessary to enforce Nazi policies. This laid the foundation for a police state.
The Terror Regime. Instruments of Nazi Terror & Nazi Leadership
Violence--terror and death. http://fcit.coedu.usf.edu/holocaust/people/perps.htm
The Nazis succeeded in ending democracy and turning Germany into a one-party dictatorship. A unified centralized administration replaced the previously federal system of government. Hitler appointed Nazi ministers to govern each of Germanys federal states. Hitlers important cohorts, Herman Goring (1893-1946), became minister of the interior and head of the police of the Prussian state, the largest of the federal states in Germany. Goring purged police of non-Nazis & establish an auxiliary police force composed of SA members. This legitimized Nazi terror. Hitler also relied on terror to achieve his goals.
*For those who needed coercion, the Nazi totalitarian state had its 4 instruments of terror & repression in the Nazi hierarchy to foster compliance. Special security forces, the Special State Police (the Gestapo), the Storm Troopers (S.A.), & the Security Police (S.S.; S.D., Sicherheitsdiest, the intelligence branch of the SS) murdered or arrested leaders of opposition political parties (communists, socialists, and liberals).8
These organizations overlapped & often feuded with one another over power and booty.
1. SA - (Sturmabteilung or storm troops)
*The SA was founded in 1921 as the Nazi Party militia. It lured new recruits with promises of adventure: participating in parades and secret meetings, painting slogans on buildings, fighting with opponents, and wearing the Brown Shirt uniforms. *Lured by the wages, a feeling of comradeship, & the striking uniforms, tens of 1000s of young jobless men put on the brown shirts and high leather boots of the Nazi Storm Troopers (Sturmabteilungen) - the SA, these auxiliary policemen took to the streets to beat up and kill some left-wing opponents of the Nazi regime. Mere fear of the SA pressured into silence other Germans who did not support the Nazis.* The SA recruited 15,000 members by 1923, and by the end of 1933, the SA was four-and-a-half million men strong.
2. The Gestapo - (Geheime Staatpolizei or the Secret State Police)
*Gestapo, the German internal security police - secret police; it was formed on April 26, 1933, to protect the regime from political opposition.
*It was organized by Hermann Goering, who, as Minister of the Interior of German state of Prussia, administered two-thirds of Germany and controlled the Prussian police - Commissar of Prussian Police. After purging the regular police and replacing them with Nazis, he added a small unit of his own the Secret State Police 4/1933, or Gestapo. The Gestapo was first used against Goering's political opponents, but was then aimed at any so-called enemies of the regime and could seize and arrest anyone at will without regard for court or law.
He helped forge the powerful Secret State Police (Geheime Staatspolizei), or Gestapo; these non-uniformed police used ruthless and cruel methods throughout Germany to identify and arrest political opponents and others who refused to obey laws and policies of the Nazi regime. In the months after Hitler took power, the SA and Gestapo agents went from door to door looking for Hitler's enemies. Socialists, Communists, trade union leaders, and others who had spoken out against the Nazi party were arrested, and some were killed.
*After 1936, under Heinrich Himmlers command (1900-1945), a fanatical believer in H.s racial theories, it quickly expanded as an arm of the dreaded "black-shirts," S.S. -absorbed into SS by 1936.
Himmler had been a chicken farmer & fertilizer salesman before the war. In 1923, he participated in the 1923 attempted putsch, and for a time worked in the party office in Landshut. In this job, he began to collect confidential reports on Party members made by his spies, building up secret files later used by Reinhard Heydrich in the Security Service (S.D.). Himmler also turned the regular (nonparty) police forces into an instrument of terror.
3) S.S. - (Schutzstaffeln or guard squadrons)
*An important tool of Nazi terror was the Protective Squad (Schutzstaffel), or SS, which began as a special guard for Adolf Hitler and other party leaders. The black-shirted SS members formed a smaller, elite group whose members also served as auxiliary policemen.
Elite Guard of disciplined, dedicated, & utterly ruthless men -Defense Corps -black-shirts.
*The S.S. was originally set up under Himmler in 1929 as a protective guard for Hitler and other leading Nazis, but Himmler ultimately developed it into the elite corps, the Black Shirts, a vast empire of terror. There were about 100,000 members in 1933.
*Himmler & the SS functioned on the basis of 2 principles: terror & ideology. Terror included the instrument of repression & murder: the secret police, criminal police, concentration camps, & later executions squads & death camps. For Himmler, the SS was a crusading order whose primary goal was to further the Aryan master race (he had helped to secure Bavaria for the Nazis and fell under the spell of those who wanted to breed a future race of blond Nordic leaders as world overlords). SS members, who constituted a carefully chosen elite, were thoroughly indoctrinated in racial ideology.
For a few years, the S.S. was subordinate to the S.A. (Stormtroopers), but Himmler steadily built up his force into a combination private army and police force, enlisting only the most loyal followers of Hitler and racial fanatics like himself. The open membership of the S.S. reached 52,000 by 1933. In addition to this complement, Himmler recruited a shadow corps of S.S. officers who kept their affiliation secret until Hitler fully controlled the state as well as the party, but who then filled huge parts of the government machinery.
*A power struggle occurred in 1934, called the "Night of the Long Knives," between the SA and the SS. The SS won. Himmler was made chief of the German police as well as the head of the SS, able to act within the law as head of the police and outside the law as head of the SS.* (As a reward for carrying out the executions on June 30th, Himmler advanced in rank and prestige. Goering named him chief deputy of the Prussian Gestapo, and he immediately began to build a police empire of his own the terrible machine of terror that was to become the scourge of the continent and the annihilator of Jews.) *Germany was truly a police state in which almost any act of terror could now be interpreted as legal.
*After the Roehm purge, the concentration camps were turned over to S.S. control.
*Guard duty was given in 1934, to the S.S. Death Head units, whose members were recruited from the toughest, most sadistic Nazi elements; through terror & torture, SS deprived inmates of their human dignity. the SS became, after 1934, the private army of the Nazi party. By 1936, the Gestapo was absorbed into the S.S. and in the same year, Himmler gained control of the entire police force in Germany, which he pushed into the framework of the Nazi party; Himmler, Reichsfuhrer of SS & the Police. Later, Himmler created an S.S. Supreme Command, consisting of 12 departments which duplicated many of the departments of the government, including a huge army & a department that organized huge population upheavals after the war started. Himmler, laid foundation of SS state.
4) S.D. - (Sicherheitsdienst des Reichsführers-SS or security service of the SS)
*S.D. the intelligence branch of the SS - the Security Service, was established in 1934 with Reinhard Heydrich at its head; another system of terror during 3rd Reich. This sub-structure was also within the SS, & did not number more than 3,000, but its intelligence & counterintelligence systems pried into the lives of all Germans through the use of 1000s of part-time informers. Under Reinhard Heydrich, head of the SD, security & terror were brought to murderous effectiveness. After the purge of the SA, Heydrich began to penetrate the political police with personnel, build up dossiers on powerful as well as inconsequential Nazis, including Hitler himself, for blackmail purposes. Many of his recruits were bright, university-trained men who were unable to find jobs, but their civilized backgrounds were no barrier to later assignments carrying out orders in the murderous Einsatzgruppen -mobile killing squads, that accompanied German army into Russia.
By 1936, Himmler turned over the administration of the Gestapo to Heydrich, and the line between the Gestapo and S.D. became extremely blurred after that time.
March, 24, 33 The Enabling Act
Hitler called for a quick election on March 5, 1933. During the next few days, up to elections on March 5th, the Nazi Brown Terror broke loose. By making the trumped-up Communist threat "official", Hitler threw millions of Germans into panic. Arbitrary arrests multiplied while truckloads of Stormtroopers rampaged through the streets, broke into homes, rounded up victims including many Jews and took them to the S.A. barracks where they were beaten and tortured. Frightened by the new communist revolt over 17.25 million Germans voted for the Nazis.
3/5/33 election: Hitler receives support of German voters in Reichstag elections - the Nazis received 44 percent of the seats, 288, barely a majority. The nationalist party delegates joined rank with Hitlers men, giving the Hitlerites 52% of the vote in Reichstag. Calling them enemies of the state, H. ordered the arrest of the 81 communist delegates & dozens of Social Democrat representatives from the Reichstag. Nazis had absolute majority.
March 9, Hitler appoints Heinrich Himmler police president of Munich
* On March 23rd, the last Reichstag met in opera house, surrounded by S.S. forces & filled with Stormtroopers inside. Most of Communist and a number of Socialist deputies had already been arrested. Votes of Center Party were crucial for Hitler in getting the necessary two-thirds majority to pass an Enabling Act, & this they supplied, giving him the arbitrary power he craved: Nazi-controlled Reichstag passed The Law for Removing the Distress of the People & Reich, the so-called Enabling Act, removing the power of legislation from the Reichstag & gave Hitler, as Chancellor, the right to issue emergency decrees at will. He could now use this power without consent of the Reichstag, and ignore the Constitution; Hitler, by this act, had legislative power for the next 4 years, and his decrees became law =Hs coup detat. The Enabling Act of March 23, 1933, forced through a Reichstag already purged of many political opponents, gave dictatorial powers to Hitler.9
The Weimar democracy was dead. Hitler became dictator appointed by the Parliament. He could now use this power without the Reichstag, & ignore the Constitution; used instrument of democracy to destroy the republic & create a dictatorship. The 3rd Reich begun.
Hitlers war on Jews was about to start; on March 26, H. gave Goebbels instructions to organize a boycott of Jewish businesses.
The civil service was purged of Jews & democratic element.
April 7 Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service enacted. All Jews removed from civil service. Jews denied admission to the bar
April 11, - Nazis issue a decree defining a non-Aryan as "anyone descended from non-Aryan, especially Jewish, parents or grandparents. One parent or grandparent classifies the descendant as non-Aryan...especially if one parent or grandparent was of the Jewish faith."
Hitler incarcerated political opponents in concentration camps, March 1933.
Nazi Concentration Camps http://motlc.wiesenthal.com/resources/courage/p08.html
"Tolerance is a sign of weakness. Let any political agitators, whatever their leanings. pay heed: take care that you are not caught or you will be seized by the throat and silenced." Theodor Eicke, SS Oberfuehrer Dachau, October 1, 1933
One of the distinctive features of the Nazi state was its use of institutionalized violence (mean of ensuring compliance & obedience). Its highly organized and well planned system of terrorizing the population culminated in the creation of the concentration camps.10
From the beginning, concentration camps were an integral feature of Nazi rule. The Germans established a series of detention facilities to imprison and eliminate enemies of the state.
Those believed by Hitler and the Nazis to be enemies of the state were banished to camps.
*Within months of Hitler's appointment as Chancellor, the 1st of these camps was set up on 3.20, 1933, at Dachau, in an abandoned munitions factory from World War I (located near Munich in southwestern Germany; Dachau housed opponents of the Nazi regime including communists, socialists, liberals, some clergy and anyone considered disloyal to the Reich. - 200 Communists, and then for specific victims, such as Jews, Socialists, Social Democrats, Roma (gypsies), Jehovahs Witnesses, homosexuals, and persons accused of asocial or socially deviant behavior.11
Inside the concentration camps, prisoners were forced to wear various colored triangles, each color denoting a different group. The letters on the triangular badges below designate the prisoners' countries of origin.
This photo shows a chart of the prison badges used in concentration camps.
Photo credit: KZ Gedenkstätte Dachau, courtesy of USHMM Photo Archives
Beginning in 1938, Jews were targeted for internment solely because they were Jews. Before then, only Jews who fit one of the earlier categories were interned in camps. The first three concentration camps established were Dachau (near Munich), Buchenwald (near Weimar) and Sachsenhausen (near Berlin).
Dachau became the model for the entire concentration camp system. Theodor Eicke, the second commandant at Dachau, introduced a system of brutal disciplinary regulations and punishments for prisoners. Dachau became a training center for concentration camp guards & later commandants who were taught terror tactics to dehumanize their prisoners - a place where a whole generation of SS camp officials were trained, including Rudolf Hoess.
Many groups, including SA & SS, set up 100s of makeshift camps in empty warehouses, factories, & other locations all over Germany where they held political opponents without trial & under conditions of great cruelty.
In 1933, 10 concentration camps were set up. The concentration camps were intended not only to break the prisoners as individuals and to spread terror among the rest of the population, but also to provide the Gestapo with a training ground, a way of conditioning them so that they would lose all familiar human emotions and attitudes. In talks with a Nazi leader even before he became chancellor, Hitler had said:
"We must be ruthless...Only thus shall we purge our people of their softness...and their degenerate delight in beer-swilling...I don't want the concentration camps transformed into penitentiaries. Terror is the most effective political instrument...It is my duty to make use of every means of training the German people to cruelty, and to prepare them for war...There must be no weakness or tenderness." Hitler's philosophy about terror was clear-cut.
Concentration Camps http://www.mtsu.edu/~baustin/lautmann.html
As a sociologist, I would like to take a more modest starting point: Is what the Nazis did to their internal enemies unique or totally surprising? ...
Understanding the preconditions of a terror means studying its construction, development, and operation in detail. In this essay, I would like to consider the aims of the terror and concentrate on the non-Jewish categories of prisoners ...
Aim of the Camps - Extermination or Reeducation?
The concentration camp was one weapon in the campaign to bring state and society into conformity with fascism. If physical extermination formed the most frightful instrument of that policy, it was not the only one. A range of attempts were made to isolate people and to use fear to inhibit "undesirable" behavior. Whatever the reasons for imprisonment, all incarcerations were the result of Nazi ideology and posed a danger to the prisoner's life. The categories of prisoners differed from one another in how they were selected and treated. Those groups whom the Nazis deemed inimical but not racially undesirable were not completely rounded up, but taken only in random samples They also fared differently within the camps. ...
The green triangle
The green triangle was reserved for the common criminal: thieves, rapists, murderers, child abusers, etc. In most of the camps, it was those who wore the green triangle who were put in charge of the other prisoners and who spared no effort to make living & working conditions as miserable as was possible, under already horrifying conditions, for all the rest of the prisoners. Jews, Gypsies, & Homosexuals most often bore the brunt of their sadism & cruelty.12
By 1939, major SS camps existed at Buchenwald (near Weimar), Flossenbuerg, Mauthausen (near Berlin), Ravensbrueck, and Sachsenhausen.
Once in power, Nazis quickly gained overwhelming support of the people. Economic depression reached its lowest point jut before Nazis came to power, & new regime latched on to the beginning of the economic revival; to masses, regime seemed cause of the upswing -most importantly, of the progressive reduction of the unemployment rate. But without enthusiastic support of the intelligentsia, neither war nor Holocaust would have ensued.
Intelligentsia, like working class, peasantry & middle classes, supported regime not because of its antisemitism, but because of its success. What attracted the intelligentsia, working class, peasantry, & middle classes, beyond the immediate economic programs & concerns for their social status, was the utopia that the regime promised ALL Germans: the humiliated German people would become the center of a European & perhaps global empire based on their racial qualities, which made them superior to all Aryans of a lower status (Latins) & to mixed races (Slavs) & non-Aryan, & colored peoples.
Implied in this racist ideology, which penetrated the minds of academically trained people, was the notion that pure Aryans had not only the right but the duty to rule the others & to destroy those who were harmful, even Germans, in name of racial purity ... Unemployed intelligentsia of defeated nations would look for & found a pseudo messianic regime & a leader who absolved them from moral responsibility.13
Mass demonstrations & spectacles were employed to integrate the German nation into a collective fellowship & to mobilize it as an instrument for Hitlers policies.
*Symbolic of the Nazi regime were the monster rallies staged at Nuremberg, held every September, combined the symbolism of a religious service with the merriment of a popular amusement. They had great appeal & evoked mass enthusiasm & excitement. 1000s roared, marched, & worshiped at their leaders feet, celebrating
Hitlers achievements, & demonstrating their loyalty to their savior; to impress with the determination & unity of the Nazi movement & greatness of the Fuehrer. Armies of youths waving flags, storm troopers bearing weapons, & workers shouldering long-handled spades paraded past Hitler, who stood at attention, his arm extended in the Nazi salute. Columns of marchers, stirring martial music played by huge bands, forest of flags, chanting & cheering of spectators, burning torches united the participants into a racial community. The Nuremberg rallies were among the greatest theatrical performances of the 20th c.
Consolidating Nazi rule
May 2nd, 1933, free trade unions liquidated - The Nazis seized control of the German labor unions, arrested their leaders, confiscated union property and established a Nazi-controlled labor union, The German labor Front. German workers lost the right to strike. Under slogan Joy through Work, workers treated to state-organized pastimes.14
The Nazi Party - the only legal political party
June 22, The Social Democrat Party is outlawed. All opposition political parties were outlawed in July 1933, destroyed or dissolved themselves:
*July 14, 1933: Hitler enacted a law proclaiming the Nazi Party (NSDAP) the only legal political party in Germany; Nazi party became the state; exploited democratic political mechanisms for non-democratic ends; nearly all organized opposition to the regime had been eliminated. December 1, 1933, the unity of Party and the State was officially decreed. All authority emanated from the Fuhrer (Leader), Adolf Hitler and the ministers became his executive officers.
- Hitler is empowered to revoke German citizenship for those considered a threat to the government or undesirable to the government. Democracy was dead in Germany.
By the end of summer 1933, within 7 months of being appointed chancellor, Hitler & the Nazis had established the foundations for a totalitarian state.
Why had this seizure of power been so quick & easy? Nazis ruthless in use of force, but also ready to seize power. The depression had weakened Germans faith in democratic state. Positively, the Nazis offered a national awakening. Germany Awake, one of the many Nazi slogans, had a powerful appeal to a people psychologically crushed by their defeat in WWI. The Nazis presented a strong image of a dynamic new Germany that was above parties and above classes.
On Oct. 14, Hitler announces Germanys withdrawal from the League of Nations and the Versailles disarmament pact. At the same time, Hitler announces the dissolution of the Reichstag.
Nazi Propaganda and Censorship http://fcit.coedu.usf.edu/holocaust/people/perps.htm
Propaganda employs techniques which assume that the masses are not individuals capable of forming their own opinions. Propaganda relies on emotion rather than on logic, concentrates on a few points which are presented in simple terms, & then hammers those points repeatedly.
Adolf Hitler helped establish the Nazi party in 1920 and was the propaganda director of the Party before becoming its leader. ... Propaganda was used throughout the Nazi Party's lifetime, in its rise to power and while Hitler was Führer .
*As soon as they came to power, the Nazis launched a program of conditioning & indoctrination of their own people to spread the regime goals and ideals - a massive propaganda campaign to win the loyalty and cooperation of Germans.
The Nazis used the mass media extensively to disseminate their ideology through a special government ministry for propaganda. Several weeks after Hitler was named Chancellor, Joseph Goebbels was appointed the Minister of People's Enlightenment and Propaganda. He had total control of radio, press, publishing, cinema, and the other arts. Viewpoints in any way threatening to Nazi beliefs or to the regime were censored or eliminated from all media.
Nazi propaganda systematically sought to manipulate mass opinion and eliminate opposition. This propaganda promoted local hatred and encouraged violations of human, civil and political rights. Hitler and the Nazis transformed the fears, impulses, and dissatisfaction of the prewar German masses into a subservient political machine, capable of systematic persecution and murder. *
*May 10, 1933, Book Burnings
*The Nazis denigrated much of the Western cultural heritage of Europe and liberal, humanistic values. During spring of 1933, Nazi student organizations, professors, & librarians made up long lists of books they thought should not be read by Germans. Under orders from Goebbels, Hitlers Minister of Propaganda and Popular Enlightenment, nazi gangs raided the Berlin Library & burned truckloads of Germanys best literary work.
*On the night of May 10, 1933, Nazis raided libraries and bookstores across Germany. They marched by torchlight in nighttime parades, sang chants, and threw books into huge bonfires. On that night more than 25,000 books were burned. The works of world-class authors such as Thomas Mann, Erich Maria Remarque, Jack London, H. G. Wells, Emile Zola, Ernest Hemingway, and Sinclair Lewis, whose ideas the Nazis viewed as different from their own and therefore not to be read, as well as those of Jewish writers, including Albert Einstein and Sigmund Freud, were burned in huge bonfires under the approving eye of Joseph Goebbels, the Propaganda Minister. Book burnings became commonplace.
*The Nazi censors also burned the books of Helen Keller, who had overcome her deafness and blindness to become a respected writer; told of the book burnings, she responded: "Tyranny cannot defeat the power of ideas." Hundreds of thousands of people in the United States protested the book burnings, a clear violation of freedom of speech, in public rallies in New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, and St. Louis.
While the books burned, Goebbels declared: The soul of the German people can again express itself. These flames not only illuminate the final end of an old era; they also light up the new. Goebbels henceforth nazified German culture, forcing all of the arts to serve the new regime. Many great writers, musicians, artists, actors fled Germany or were silenced.
Nazification of the education. Nazi antisemitism & racism
This also coincided with the beginning of the Nazification of the educational system.
*Schools were also brought under control of the Nazi totalitarian state; played an important role in spreading Nazi ideas -indoctrination of the youth. New teaching appointments confined to Nazi Party members -Teaching staff required to enroll in the party & obliged to swear an oath of obedience to the Fuehrer. All academic associations became valuable & dangerous extensions of Goebbels propaganda network.
While some books were removed from classrooms by censors, other textbooks, newly written, were brought in to teach students blind obedience to the party, love for Hitler, and antisemitism.
*Hitler & other Nazi leaders viewed the Jews not as a religious group, but as a poisonous race, which lived off the other races & weakened them.
*After Hitler took power, Nazi teachers in school classrooms began to apply the principles of racial science -a new course. They measured skull size & nose length, & recorded the color of their pupils' hair & eyes to determine whether students belonged to the true "Aryan race." Jewish & Romani (Gypsy) students were often humiliated in the process.
*Stories call the Jews devils, scum, poison mushroom. Antisemitic book for children compares the German & the Jew.
Subjects revamped in accordance with Nazi ideology, particularly its racial component; growing emphasis on glorification of militarism & strengthening of Germany. Function of education to create Nazis -to transform German youth into chauvinistic, antisemitic, obedient Nazis. Physical education given top priority. Strong body was valued above brilliant mind, obedience above critical thinking, patriotism above family loyalty, & conformity above individualism. Curricula conformed with national ideology. Aryan racial theories scientific; to demonstrate the biological inferiority of Jews, racial superiority of Germans.
Creating the perfect Nazi after-school
*Intense ideological indoctrination of German youth took place within the Nazi Youth movement - Hitler Youth organization for boys from 6 to 18; and the League of German Maidens for girls from 10 to 18; membership compulsory. After-school meetings of the Hitler Youth & the League of German Girls trained children to be faithful to the Nazi party. In school & out, youngsters celebrated such occasions as Hitler's birthday & the anniversary of his taking power. A dagger engraved with Blood & Honor, was the graduation diploma for Hitlers Youth. In 1936 all other youth organizations were outlawed.
Programs of camping, hiking, sports competitions, singing contests, & camaraderie drew many; strength, courage, & ability to follow orders. Between 19 & 25, obligation to give 6 months of national service, Nazi Labor Service, working on farms or in factories; then army.
*Schooling the leaders of the future: believe, obey, fight. Common flags, uniforms, meeting, & indoctrination gave a sense of identity to individuals, a sense of belonging, human warmth, but one that was cultivated to produce inhumane brutality.
6.30.1934 Night of the Long Knives - Rohm Blood Purge =massacre of Stormtroopers
By the end of 1933, only 2 sources of potential danger to Hitlers authority: the armed forces & the SA within his own party. And to become absolute dictator of Germany, Chancellor H. needed to be named president. H. knew he could not gain this office without the support of the Junker army aristocrat generals, well-trained Prussian soldiers, who despised the S.A. -Stormtroopers, streetfighters, Brown-shirts, & wont have them in the official Whermacht -German army. Hitler made a bargain with the army high command. He asked them to support him for president after Hinderburgs death (in July 1934, he was 86 yrs-old). In return, he promised to destroy his S.A & to give the old generals the same privilege they had enjoyed under the kaiser - a share in government power. The generals thought they could tame Hitler, ex-corporal.
In 1933, Ernst Roehm's -leader of SA Stormtroopers- troops numbered over four million men, arousing fears among army leaders that they might replace the regular army (Wehrmacht). Roehm also wanted radical social and economic changes which were unacceptable to industrialists and other conservative groups whose support Hitler needed. A power struggle brought Himmler and Goering together against Roehm. They told Hitler that Roehm was plotting against him and urged drastic action.
*It came on June 30, 1934, the "Night of the Long Knives", when Roehm and several hundred men in the S.A. and a number of marked men, branded as traitors, were murdered.
Hitler made much of the depraved morals of the men who were killed and the danger they posed to the state. The cabinet legalized this slaughter as a necessary measure for the defense of the state, and Hitler and Goering were thanked by Hindenburg. The army, of course, was pleased with the elimination of the S.A. as its rival, but showed itself unwilling or incapable of challenging the gangster-like powers under Hitler's control.
*In the economic sphere, the Nazis also established control. The regime pursued the use of public works projects (the autobahns -freeways) to foster employment & end the depression. Unemployment dropped to 2,6 million in 1934, from 6 million in 1932. By late 1930s, when Germany was rapidly rearming, unemployment disappeared. Nothing did more to enhance Hitlers popularity than this spectacular economic recovery. With an improving economy, Hitler claimed credit & consolidated his position as a dictator, having succeeded in eliminating challenges from other political parties & government institutions.
*August, 2, 1934: Hitler - Fuehrer
With death of President Hindenburg on Aug. 2, 1934, Hitler was the consensus successor & became Head of State; proclaims himself Führer und Reichskanzler: issued a new law combining offices of Chancellor & president - became commander-in-chief of the armed forces as well as President & Fuhrer of the German Reich & people to whom every officer and individual in the armed forces pledged unconditional obedience. H. pronounced himself Reichsführer (Leader of the Reich); H. became sole ruler of Germany - dictator. Army members were required to swear a new oath of obedience, not to the fatherland but to the Fuehrer.
*Aug. 19, 34, H. held a plebiscite in which 85% of the German people indicated their approval of the new order. The Nazi seizure was complete.
*The 3rd Reich had begun; it refers to Hitler's name for his German Empire as a successor to the Empire of the Roman Emperors, and the Empire of Bismarck in 19th century Germany.
Feb. 10, 1936, the Gestapo is placed above the law.
Aug. 19, 36, Olympic Games
The XI Olympic Games were held in Berlin. Hitler used the Olympic Games as a propaganda showpiece -Hitler viewed this as a perfect opportunity to promote a favorable image of the the new Germany & Nazism to the world. Monumental stadiums and other Olympic facilities were constructed as Nazi showpieces. Leni Riefenstahl was commissioned to create a film, Olympia, for the purpose of Nazi propaganda. Some have called her previous film in 1935, Triumph of the Will, one of the great propaganda pieces of the century. In it, she portrayed Hitler as a god.
International political unrest preceded the games. It was questioned whether the Nazi regime could really accept the terms of the Olympic Charter of participation unrestricted by class, creed, or race. There were calls for a U.S. boycott of the games. The Nazis guaranteed that they would allow German Jews to participate. The boycott did not occur. While two Germans with some Jewish ancestry were invited to be on the German Olympic team, the German Jewish athlete Gretel Bergman, one of the world's most accomplished high jumpers, was not.
*The great irony of these Olympics was that, in the land of "Aryan superiority," it was Jesse Owens, the African-American track star, Ohio State University athlete, who was the undisputed hero of the games. Jesse Owens won four gold medals, including one in the 100 meter dash, the most prestigious race of the Games. The victories of Owens tarnished Hitler's showcase of athletes of "pure" German blood, who he believed would demonstrate their genetic superiority to non-Aryans. Hitler made a hasty departure from the stadium to avoid offering congratulations. - Jews no longer have the right to vote.
Control of the Army
By 1938, Hitler had nazified all public institutions, except the army. In a quick & bloodless fashion, the Gestapo arranged several embarrassing scandals to force the generals -monarchist old aristocrat- to resign. Loyal Nazis filled their posts. Hs clamp on Germany was now complete.
I. Provide the correct date to make the sentence true (1934, 1933, 1928, 1929, 1930, 1932)
1. Hitler was named chancellor on Jan. ______
2. In March_________ Nazi representatives gained the majority of votes in the Reichstag
3. On June _______ Hitler & his SS executed the Stormtrooper leaders
4. Hitler became president & absolute dictator of Germany on Aug. 2, ____
II. From the beginning, concentration camps were an integral feature of Nazi rule. Name the camp which was established in Germany, March of 1933, _________________. In addition to the Jews, list 5 other groups of people who were imprisoned in this camp, which became the model for other camps. _____________________________
Book burning - An activity, usually by a mob, in which books which express views or ideas not tolerated by a group are ritually burned.
Chancellor - The second ranking government official in Germany, next to the President.
Concentration camp - A prison with barracks rather than cells, used by the Nazis to house thousands of inmates en masse under intolerably inhuman conditions.
Coup d'etat - The takeover of a government from within by force or by coercion.
Dachau - The first concentration camp established by the Nazis near Munich in 1933.
Enabling Act - The laws which granted Hitler dictatorial power.
*Fuhrer - A leader, especially one exercising the absolute power of a tyrant. Hitler's title as leader of the Nazi party, and Chief of the German state.
Gestapo - (Geheime Staatspolizei) or Secret State Police, was formed in April 1933. It was not accountable to any other civil authority, and was permitted to surveil, question, and imprison "suspects" without due process.
Nazi - The abbreviation for National Socialist German Worker's Party.
*Nazism: The fascist and racist dictatorship under Adolf Hitler in Germany from 1933-1945.
Reichsführer - The title Adolf Hitler took after he combined the duties of President and Chancellor of Germany.
Reichstag - The parliamentary body of the Weimar Republic.
S.A. In German, Sturmabteilung. Nazi Storm Troopers. Also called "Brownshirts." Members of a special armed and uniformed branch of the Nazi party.
S.D. (Sicherheitsdienst) - The elite security service of the Nazi government under the direction of Heinhard Heydrich.
S.S. (Schutzstaffel) - In German, Schutzstaffel. Protection Squad, Defense Corps (black shirts) which was the paramilitary organization of the Nazi government which evolved out of the S.A. Units formed in 1925 as Hitler's personal bodyguard. The SS was later built into a giant organization by Heinrich Himmler. It provided staff for police, camp guards, and military units (Waffen-SS) serving with the German army.
*Third Reich, Nazi Germany from the end of the Weimar Republic to the end of WW II; the Third Empire. It refers to Hitler's name for his German Empire as a successor to the 1st Empire of the Roman Emperors (First Reich) and the Empire of Bismarck in 19th century Germany (Second Reich).
Third Reich (Drittes Reich, 3rd kingdom) - Nazi designation for Germany during the Nazi regime, 1933-45; Reich=kingdom, realm; equivalent to Latin word imperium. Reich: coined in 1923 by writer Arthur Moeller van den Bruck; secular and historical meaning.
The Nazi assumed that the medieval Holy Roman Empire in 800, which lasted until 1806=1st Reich; the German Empire, 1871-1918= the 2nd Reich; and the Nazi regime 1933- = the 3rd Reich; Hitler forecast it would last a 1000 years.
January 30 Hitler is appointed Reich Chancellor of Germany by Hindenburg
January 30 Sterilization (of inferiors) Laws enacted; implemented three weeks later
February 27 Reichstag fire by Nazis to create crisis atmosphere.
February 28 Leading communists arrested. Hindenburg signed emergency Article 48
Constitutional rights "temporarily" suspended (until 1945)
March 5, Hitler receives support of German voters in Reichstag elections
March 9, Hitler appoints Heinrich Himmler police president of Munich, who subsequently, on
March 20, established the 1st concentration camp at Dachau, near Munich
(originally a concentration camp for opponents of the Nazis), to be followed by
Buchenwald near Weimar in central Germany,
March 20 Dachau concentration camp established
March 23 Enabling Act passed by the Reichstag, Hitler dictator
March 31, Hitler initiates the Gleichschaltung, or coordination, process, which forms a
vital part of his consolidation of power.
April 1 General boycott of all Jewish businesses - One day
April 26, : formation of the Gestapo by Hermann Göring in the German state of Prussia
May 2 Trade unions dissolved
May 10 Burning of books written by Jews & political opponents in Berlin and Germany.
June Hitler outlaws all political parties other than the Nazi Party
July 14, 1933 - Decree declares Nazi Party to be the sole political party within Germany
Nazis pass Law to strip Jewish immigrants from Poland of their German citizenship.
June 29-30, - The Night of Long Knives - Himmlers SS purge the rival SA
(storm trooper) leadership in a bloodbath, under Hitler's orders, by Göring and Himmler
July 13, Himmler assumes command of all Nazi concentration camps; policed Germany
July 20, 1934 - The SS (Schutzstaffel) is made an independent organization from the SA.
Aug 2, 1934 - German President von Hindenburg dies.
August 3 Hitler becomes Head of State and Commander-in-Chief
-both President & Chancellor - Hitler becomes Führer.
Aug 19, Hitler receives a 90 % 'Yes' vote from German voters approving his new powers
Sachsenhausen concentration camp established
March 7 German army marches into the Rhineland
June 17 Hitler names Himmler chief of all German police
August 1 Olympic Games in Berlin opened.
October 25 Hitler and Mussolini form Rome-Berlin Axis
November 25 Military pact signed between Germany and Japan
Jan 30 Hitler predicts that Jews will be "exterminated" in the event of another war - Hitler in
Reichstag speech: if war erupts it will mean the Vernichtung (extermination) of
Ravensbruck concentration camp established
Nazification of Germany. http://fcit.coedu.usf.edu/holocaust/timeline/nazifica.htm
Holocaust Timeline. http://www.historyplace.com/worldwar2/holocaust/timeline.html
Explore: Index to Courage to Remember
CONCENTRATION CAMPS 1933-1938
1933: German Jewish Life Before The Nazis
The Jewish Question: Nazi Policy, 1933-1939
The Nightmare Begins
NAZI POLICY: RACISM AND TERROR
IN FLIGHT: 1933-1938
Flight Without Escape: The Jewish Homeless
* The Third Reich. http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/index.php?ModuleId=10005141
German Jews. http://www.us-israel.org/jsource/vjw/germany.html
Anti-Jewish Legislation in prewar Germany, photographs:
American Jewish Congress, photographs:
The United States and the Holocaust:
Nazi Olympics, Berlin 1936, photographs:
Voyage of the St. Louis http://www.ushmm.org/stlouis/
Copyright Fall 1999, November 2003, January 2004 Edith Shaked
Credit/source: Gary M. Grobman, The Holocaust - A guide for Teachers, 1990
1 Martin Gilbert, The Holocaust, 1985, p. 18
2 Landau, Ronnie S. The Nazi Holocaust. London-New York: I.B. Tauris & Co Ltd Publishers,1992, p. 115.
3 Mark E. Talisman, The Holocaust, Shoah, US Holocaust Council & museum, Aug. 1995
4 Landau, The Nazi Holocaust, p. 183
5 Landau, Ronnie S. The Nazi Holocaust. London-New York: I.B. Tauris & Co Ltd Publishers,1992, 62-63
7 Landau, The Nazi Holocaust, p. 120
12 Beth Dutton, Holocaust & Resistance Studies, Vermont, 1997, p. 21
13 Bauer: Rethinking the Holocaust, p. 33-35.
14 Bauer, p. 103