Nazi control and Dictatorship (Opposition, resistance and conformity…
Nazi control and Dictatorship
Opposition, resistance and conformity
Opposition from the young including the Swing Youth and the Edelweiss Pirates
They wore relaxed clothing, listened to banned music but were more political than the Swing Youth as they beat up Hitler Youth memebers and distributed anti-Nazi leaflets.
The Edelweiss Pirates were actually made up of a number of small groups of working class boys aged 14-17. There were approximately 2000 of them in 1939 but in 1945 their numbers grew.
Their numbers were never large.
The Swing Youth were mainly upper/middle class children so had the wealth to frequent nightclubs. They mainly created their own alternative identities and listened to banned music eg, jazz.
Opposition of the Churches including Martin Niemoller
Martin Niemoller disliked 'German Christians' and with other protestant ministers formed a 'confessional church'. He was put into a concentration camp in 1938.
Local priests often clashed with Nazi school teachers and leaders of Nazi youth group leaders.
Paul Schneider was a pastor in a small town who criticized the Nazis especially Josef Goebbels, he was sent to Buchenwald concentration camp and was kept there for 2 years.
Cardinal Galen was Catholic who publicly attacked Nazi policies since as early as 1934. In 1941 he revealed that the Nazis were secretly killing mentally and physically handicapped pope and led a campaign to stop the euthanasia programme. He succeeded in his attempt as the Nazis didn't want to make him into a martyr.
The extent of the support for the Nazi regime
It isn't possible to tell how much private grumbling went on but even this was a crime, a woman who had just had a baby told the woman in the bed next to her 'more cannon fodder' and was soon arrested after for treason.
There was rarely open resistance or underground resistance against them. The most frequent type of opposition was passive resistance eg, an organisation in Northeim didn't want to hand any money over to the Nazis so they held a drinking party the night before they were supposed to pay them so they had nothing to give.
It is hard to tell how much real support there was as there was opposition but none of it was organised and in large numbers.
Controlling and influencing attitudes
Nazi control of the arts and architecture and film
Goebbels was in charge of films and anyone who wanted to release a film had to send it to him for approval.
Hitler hated jazz as he thought it to be 'black' music and he banned it. Instead, traditional German folk music was encouraged together with classical music like Brahms, Beethoven and Wagner.
Hitler had earned a living as an artist during his life and so thought himself an expert in the area, he hated modern art as he thought it to be weak, unpatriotic and 'Jewish'. He said that those who liked abstract art should be sterilized. he wanted art that highlighted Germany's greatness and the power of the Third Reich.
Hitler took particular interest in architecture and believed that the 'monumental' style of the Ancient Romans and Greeks was superior and it displayed wealth and strength. He preferred these styles because Jewish people had not 'contaminated' it.
Censorship, use of media and rallies and sport
Hitler was upset by the success of Jesse Owens the black US athlete who won 4 gold medals and broke 11 world records as he outperformed the Aryan athletes who were meant to be superior.
For the 1936 Olympics they built a new stadium to ensure that international visitors were impressed with them, however many were appalled and uncomfortable with the devotion of the German people to Hitler
Posters were their most effective type of propaganda as they were cheap, simple and reached every person in every class.
All publications other than Nazi newspapers were banned
The Nazis used all sorts of media for example, their People's Recievers which played Hitler's speeches and information about them all day and it became compulsory for every household to have one.
They used colour film to excite and intrigue people in films and were played at the Nuremberg rallies.
They often displayed their expert indoctrination techniques through special events eg, the Nuremberg rallies. These were the annual rallies of the Nazi Party. Films produced by the Nazis and other such media was displayed at these.
There was censorship of the media which meant that all the public were seeing was their propaganda which made them believe lies.
Goebbels and the ministry of Propaganda
He took inspiration from soviet Propaganda using the colour red often as it was thought to incite emotion from people. He was especially good at boiling down big issues into very catchy and memorable slogans that over-simplified the issue into an easy agreement in the person's mind
He was the centre of the Hitler Myth which was the idea that Hitler was a kind of mystical figure guiding the nation's destiny.
Goebbels was, himself, indoctrinated, he was fanatical about Hitler and wasn't adverse to telling people complete fabrications- 'if you tell a lie, tell a big one'.
It was incredibly important to the Nazis, they used it to brainwash the population. They had a whole section of their government devoted to it: The ministry of Enlightenment and Propaganda.
The purpose of the propaganda was to indoctrinate the public and make them believe the lies
The police state
Nazi policies towards the Catholic and Protestant churches including the Reich Church and the Concordat
When the Reich Church was formed, Mein Kampf was placed on the altar, replacing the bible, and only Nazis were invited to give sermons
In 1933, he signed the Concordat with the Catholic Church which stated that Catholics could carry on their religious work and all churches would be left alone.
There was never a total movement to eradicate or restrict Catholicism in Germany as it was a worldwide movement with lots of support abroad.
Hitler united protestant churches under a Pro-Nazi Reich bishop: Muller and they became known as the Reich Church.
He had to remain in their support because they had more followers than he did, 2/3s of Germany were protestant but he never had more than 50% of the vote.
He was pro-Christianity in public because he didn't know how the church would have reacted to him and he had to tread carefully as they had the power of the pulpit.
Hitler put on a christian front in public in order to keep the Church on his side but really had plans to destroy them like other groups.
Nazi control of the legal system, judges and law courts
The people's courts became instrumental in trying thousands of people for treason as 'Volk vermin'
The Nazis protected the police from criticism by censoring the press, the police were allowed to make 'preventative actions' and arrest with no evidence.
He established people's courts to try treason and other political crimes, the amount of crimes punishable by death rose from 2 to 46 by 1945.
Judges and civil servants were made to take an oath of loyalty to Hitler
Hitler didn't destroy pre existing courts, he took over them instead
Role of the gestapo, the SS and the concentration camps
If someone was killed in a concentration camp, the family received a message saying they died of disease or had been shot while trying to escape
Opponents of the regime were sent there for 're-education', torture and hard labour in the early years of the Nazi regime.
Some held people like 'overflow prisons'
It created fear by having one person who was exempt from work who overlooked everyone else. This created a hierarchy of workers, this person was called a capo. There was no one to answer to if a capo killed one of their in-subordinates.
By 1939 they had built big business by using prisoners for slave labour
Some were set up as temporary prisons
Himmler was in overall control of the concentration camps in Germany
It was gradually enlarged so it could deal with 'political police tasks' but in 1934 Himmler decide that the mass recruiting was damaging to the elite status and the SS and 200,000 SS men were discharged on moral, racial and physical grounds
After 1934 they had a new role which was terrorizing and intimidating Germans into compliance
They were formed in 1925 as Hitler's personal bodyguard after previously being an elite unit of the SA.
The culture of denunciation soon formed, which was when ordinary people would tell on each other to the Gestapo from the smallest wrong doing to treason. People would use it to get back at those that they didn't like
Had an extensive web of informers that linked back to a Gestapo agent
They had the power to arrest and detain suspects without trial
They were designed to discover enemies of the state and render them harmless
Taken over by Himmler who put Heydrich in charge
They were a state police force set up by Goering in 1933
The creation of a dictatorship 1933-34
Becoming Fuhrer and the oath of allegiance
The army swore an oath of allegiance to Hitler and the constitution. as well as all civil servants eg, judges and policemen, this ensure complete obedience to Hitler with legal consequences if not adhered to.
"Trumped up little corporeal"- Hindenburg about Hitler
"Moth-eaten eagle"- Hitler about Hindenburg
Night of the Long Knives and death of Hindenburg
The Night of the Long Knives occurred 30th June-2nd July 1934
Hindenburg died on 2nd august 1934
When Hindenburg died Hitler merged the Chancellor and President position together to create the Fuhrer position
Gustav Von Kahr and Von Schleicher were killed and during the afternoon Hitler gave the orders for Rohm to be killed
In the next 24 hours 200 SA senior leaders were rounded up and shot or sent to Munich prison. Over 400 were actually killed that night although merely 77 were recorded
The Night of the Long Knives was the night when Hitler forged evidence for Rohm to be arrested for 'high treason'. He supposedly received millions of marks from France to overthrow Hitler.
The Reichstag Fire and Enabling Act
He uses the enabling act as a chance to ban all other parties, trade unions and the like.
He couldn't ban then before the elections because then they would vote for another party he didn't have a reason to ban
He gets the support of the Nationalists as well as some social democrats as they were scared they would be put in concentration camps
If it was passed it would be the foundation of a legal dictatorship but he needed 2/3s of the Reichstag's support.
Hitler really wanted to get the enabling act passed because it gave full power over to Hitler and his party for 4 years, they wouldn't have to consult the Reichstag over anything.
Hitler claimed that the Communists were plotting against them and persuaded Hindenburg to pass the Reichstag fire decree which was an emergency decree of Article 48 that allowed for the arrest of KPD leader and 4000 leaders and members of the KPD shortly before the election.
Marinus Van Der Lubbe was found to be starting fires at the scene but the Nazis arrived before the police and fire service.It is speculated that they started the fire and framed the dutch communist.
The event of the Reichstag fire occurred on 27th February 1933. Which was 1 week before the March elections of 1933 and had very sketchy circumstances.