Life in Nazi Germany (The persecution of minorities (The persecution of…
Life in Nazi Germany
The persecution of minorities
The persecution of the Jews
Kristallnacht was ordered by Hitler by persuasion of Goebbels. It was triggered by the murder of a German diplomat by a Jewish student in Paris
On 21st February 1939, the Decree concerning the Surrender of Precious Metals and Stones in Jewish Ownership required Jews to turn in all gold, silver, diamonds and other valuable items to the state with no compensation
Knistallnacht or Night of the Broken Glass on November 9th 1938 was arguably the most 'hands on' act of persecution against the Jews. 8000 Jewish homes and shops were attacked and synagogues were burned to the ground. Over 100 Jews were killed and 30,000 were sent to the concentration camps. The Jewish community was required to pay for the damages to the area.
In 1938, there were attempts to remove Jews from the economy and Aryanisation was employed- this meant that Jewish workers were dismissed and Jewish owned businesses could be taken over/ bought by non-Jewish Germans or Nazi Party officials at bargain prices.
1938 was when Jewish persecution got really bad, on November 15th, Jewish children were expelled from public schools and on November 12th all Jewish owned businesses were ordered to close.
In 1936 there was a lull in anti-antisemitism as Germany hosted the Olympics. Anti-Jewish posters were taken down and a Jewish athlete was added to their team after pressure from USA
The Nuremberg Laws were passed in September 1935 and these banned marriages between Jews and Aryans and forbade them to have sexual relations outside of marriage. They made Jews 'subjects' rather than citizens and this ensured they lost certain rights.
Within days of being in power, the Nazis called for a boycott of Jewish businesses and there were a few attempts to remove Jews from public life, there was not a lot of organised attempt to persecute the Jews
The Nazis often used the idea of 'Social Darwinism' to justify their racial prejudice as it was the idea that there was a social hierarchy of races- Jews at the bottom.
In order to persecute the Jews there had to be a root, and there had been for the whole of history, dating back to 321 AD where Christianity was named the official religion of the Roman empire and Jews became second class.
Nazi racial beliefs and policies for the treatment of minorties
Alcoholics, beggars and tramps were sterilized often, many people didn't speak out for few of being sterilized or sent to concentration camps or camps for 're-education'
Mentally and physically disabled were either killed by the euthanasia program before it was stopped in 1941 or sent to concentration camps. Homosexuals were sent to concentration camps as well as tramps, beggars and alcoholics and the work shy.
'Undesirables' generally included: Slavs, homosexuals, 'gypsies', Jewish people, unemployed, prostitutes and tramps/ beggars/alcoholics and the physically and mentally disabled
As volksgemeinschaft was essential, all those who were not racially pure were undesirable and had to be eradicated.
Employment and living standards
Changes in standards of Living
Due to less funding for farmers, there was less innovation on the land and poorer diets prevailed because of it. Over a decade from 1827, the sales of tropical fruit was down 37.1% and beer was down 58.7%.
Although banks were less likely to loan money to bankers due to the Reich Entailed Farm Law, prices were set in favour of farmers and they were praised by society- '
German blood, German soil'
Fixed prices meant that small businesses were forced to compete with big businesses and many went under.
Workers could no longer strike as there were no more trade unions- this was good for big businesses.
There was a 25% increase in the cost of living despite the decline of real wages. Wages were frozen and working hours increased, 50 a week by 1939
Beauty of Labour improved working conditions in factories
Many young men found jobs through the RAD (Reich Labour Service) but it was unpopular with many men.
Schemes like KDF or Strength Through Joy were set up to encourage workers. KDF gave workers leisure activities like days out or even holidays. It didn't give as much as promised but many people weren't bothered.
Nazi policies to reduce unemployment
Although employment was restored, at what cost: longer hours, no trade unions, real wages were reduced and many workers were discontented with their jobs.
They did this through programs like DAF (German Labour Front) which was a compulsory labour service. Conscription into the army in 1935. Dismissing Jewish people from certain jobs and replacing them with unemployed people.They also reduced unemployment by projects like rebuilding German cities and building the new autobahns (motorways)
They restored full employment from 7 million to 0 by 1939, this is actually bad as there is no competition for jobs.
Nazi policies towards the young
Nazi control of the young through education
Girls had a different curriculum to boys and studied domestic science and eugenics.
R.E became a less important subject and by 1937, students could drop it.
Geography taught about lebensraum and colonies that Germany has before the Treaty of Versailles
German was an important subject as it taught them German pride
Biology explained ideas of race and population control. They were taught about Aryanism.
History focused on the rise of the Nazi Party, the unfairness of the Treaty of Versailles and the evils of communism and the Jews
P.E was given 15% of school time and sports like boxing became compulsory for boys. Unsatisfactory performance was grounds for expulsion.
Nazi aims for the young
The Youth groups were used to help the War effort: boys were sent behind allied lines as spies or saboteurs as the allies advanced. The girls cared for wounded soldiers in hospitals and worked as air-raid wardens and anti-war craft assistants.
In 1939, Youth groups became compulsory after 1936 where all other youth groups than ones set up by Nazis were banned.
Boys, when 13, transferred to the Hitler youth where they stayed until 18 and girls, when 14, transferred to the League of German Maidens.
There were multiple Youth groups set up like 'Deutsches Jungvolk' or German Young People or 'Jungmadelbund' or League of Young Girls. These two groups were for children at the age of 10 until 13/14.
To achieve Volksgemeinschaft, the Nazis spent a lot of time brainwashing the youth of Germany so they would grow up to be Nazis and not know any different.
Nazi policies towards women
Nazi policies towards marriage, employment and appearance
They were supposed to emulate peasant fashion, plain clothes, flat shoes and hair in plaits or buns. they were expected not to smoke, dye their hair, wear trousers or makeup.
Girls kept fit to be ready or prime for childbirth but were discouraged from being slim as it was thought it made it hard for childbirth
When Hitler came into power he introduced a 'Law for the Encouragement of Marriage' which gave newly married couples a loan of 1000 marks. when their first child was born they could keep a quarter of the money, they could keep a quarter of the money for each child. This encouraged couples to have more children.
15% of all teachers, all women doctors and civil servants were sacked from their jobs. women employement fell by 6% from 1932 and 37
Nazi views on women and the family
They set up a programme called lebensborn where unmarried Aryan women could have children with 'racially pure' SS men
In 1938 the Nazis changed the law that divorce was legal if a husband and wife couldn't have children.
He didn't believe in the idea of female emancipation
They believed strongly in Traditional family values, that women should have lots of children and should focus on being wives and mothers.
Hitler believed in the ides of volksgemeinschaft or people's community which needed women to succeed.