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History UNIT 2 Notes Balveer Boodoo

WEIMAR GERMANY (1918 - 1923)

Early threats to the Republic
The Creation of the Weimar Republic:

On 9 November 1918 the Kaiser abdicated and fled to Holland.

On 11 November 1918 Germany signed an armistice ending WW1.
Friedrich Ebert, leader of the Social Democratic Party, declares Germany a
On 5 January 1919 The Spartacist Uprising erupts and is defeated by the army.
On 19 January 1919 Ebert is elected President of the German Republic.
The new democratic government meets in the town of Weimar because Berlin
is too dangerous.

The Problems of the Weimar Republic (1918 - 1923) included:

It had to accept the terms of the Treaty of Versailles.

The Weaknesses of its Constitution.
Leftwing Revolts like the Spartacist Uprising, Berlin and Bavaria Revolts.
Rightwing Revolts like the Kapp Putsch and Munich Putsch.
The French Occupation of the Ruhr.

The Treaty of Versailles.

The terms of the Treaty of Versailles included:

Germany had to accept War Guilt (sole responsibility for starting the war).
Germany had to pay 6600 million in reparations (fines for the war damage).
Germany had to give up large amounts of its territory.
Germany had to agree to the disarmament of its armed forces.
Germany was forbidden from uniting with Austria.
Germany had to give up all of its overseas colonies.

German reaction to the Treaty of Versailles included:

They were enraged when they saw the extremely harsh terms of the treaty.
They were not allowed to negotiate over its terms and were forced to accept it.
They felt that the terms of the treaty were extremely unfair and humiliating.
They felt that they should not have to accept sole responsibility for the war.
Many Germans started calling for revenge to reverse the effects of the treaty.

Many Germans attacked the new Weimar democratic government for signing
Many labelled the politicians who signed the treaty November Criminals
who had stabbed in the back the army, which still controlled most of Europe
in 1918.
The treaty undermined the new democratic government, led to the rise of the
Nazi party and the Second World War.

Leftwing attacks against the Weimar Republic

The Causes of the Spartacist Uprising (1919) were:

The Spartacist League led by Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht wanted a
Communist Revolution in Germany inspired by the Communist Revolution in
The Spartacist League renamed itself the German Communist Party.
On 5 January 1919 the Spartacists seized government buildings and
organised a general strike.

The Consequences of the Spartacist Uprising (1919) were:

The army quickly crushed the Spartacist Uprising and its leaders were shot.
Ebert did a deal with the army whereby in return for crushing the Spartacist
Uprising he promised not to create a new army sympathetic to the new
Weimar Republic.

The Berlin and Bavaria Communist Revolts (1919):

The new Weimar government faced further uprisings by Communists.

In March 1919 the Communists organised strikes in Berlin but were
crushed by the Freikorps (Free Corps).
In April 1919 the German province of Bavaria declared itself an
independent Communist Republic but again was crushed by the Freikorps.

Rightwing attacks against the Weimar Republic

The Kapp Putsch (1920):

The Treaty of Versailles had restricted Germanys army to 100,000 men and
many of the demobilised soldiers joined the Freikorps (Free Corps).
The Allies demanded that Ebert disband the Freikorps.
Wolfgang Kapp, leader of Freikorps, marched into Berlin to seize power.
Ebert called upon the workers of Berlin to support the Weimar
The workers organised general strikes and the Kapp Putsch failed.

Nationalist terror groups assassinated 356 government politicians.

The Munich Putsch (1923):


Hitler and the Nazi party tried to seize power in the city of Munich, capital of
the German province of Bavaria to spark the overthrow of the Weimar
As the Nazis marched in the city centre armed police and army soldiers who
fired upon them in support of the Weimar government.
The confrontation with the police in the street led to deaths of 16 Nazis and 3
policemen, Hitler being injured
Hitler plotted with two nationalist politicians - Kahr and Lossow
Kahr and Lossow called off the rebellion. This was an impossible situation
for Hitler, who had 3,000 troops ready to fight
Hitler had to barge into a beer hall with 600 men to force Kahr to fight.
Kahr called in police reinforcements. Police and army came.
Hitler and the other Nazis leaders were arrested and imprisoned.
Hitler used his trial to gain maximum publicity to portray himself as a national
He used his time in prison to write his book Mein Kampf that outlined his
He decided to seize power legally by fighting and winning elections rather
than by trying another Putsch
Why did Hitler attempt the Munich Putsch in 1923?
By 1923, the Nazi party had 55,000 members and was stronger than ever
The Weimar Republic was in crisis and about to collapse.
In September 1923, the Weimar government had called off the general
strike, and every German nationalist was furious with the government.
Hitler thought he would be helped by important nationalist politicians in
Hitler had a huge army of storm troopers, but he knew he would lose control
of them if he did not give them something to do.
Hitler hoped to copy Mussolini - the Italian fascist leader - who had come to
power in Italy in 1922 by marching on Rome.

Economic Problems of the Weimar Republic

The Occupation of the Ruhr (1923):

The Treaty of Versailles ordered Germany to pay 6600 million in reparations.

In 1922 the German government announced it could not pay reparations any
The French invaded the Ruhr industrial region to get reparations by force.
The French took control of the Ruhrs factories, steelworks, mines and
The Weimar Government could not defend itself because Versailles had
limited the size of the German armed forces.

The French shot 132 Germans and expelled 150,000 Germans from the
region for refusing to obey the orders of the French military controlling the
As a result of the occupation of the Ruhr and the resistance against it industrial
production in Germany ground to a halt.

Hyperinflation (1923):

To pay for reparations the German started printing money but this caused
hyperinflation because the more money it printed the more worthless it
As a result of hyperinflation prices would rise, which led to the demand for
wages to rise, which led more money being printed, which led to prices to rise
The price of goods always tended to rise faster than workers wages.
Workers were seen carrying their wages home in wheelbarrows.
The rise in prices meant that incomes were too small to live on.
People struggled to buy food, clothes and to heat their homes.
People with savings in banks now found that their savings were worthless.
People on fixed incomes like pensioners suffered the most.
Only people who had debts or had taken out loans benefited from
Hyperinflation increased the unpopularity of the Weimar government.

The Weimar Constitution

The Weimar Constitution:

The Weimar Constitution made Germany a democracy.

The President was to be elected by the people every 7 years.
The Chancellor (Prime Minister) had to have the support of a majority of the
Reichstag (Parliament).
All man and women over 20 years old could vote for members of the
The voting system was based on Proportional Representation whereby if a
party won 5% of the vote it would get 5% of the seats in the Reichstag.
It made Germany a Federal Republic where each state had its own
It guaranteed personal freedoms like freedom of speech and freedom of

The Weaknesses of the Weimar Constitution:

The President had the power to appoint and dismiss the Chancellor.
The President, under Article 48 of the Constitution, could suspend democracy.
Proportional Representation meant that no party ever had an overall majority
in the Reichstag and this lead to a series of weak coalition governments.

Proportional Representation gave a voice in the Reichstag to small extremist

parties like the Nazi Party.

WEIMAR GERMANY (1923 - 1929)

The Stresemann Years
The role of Stresemann includes:

Between 1923 and 1929 the Weimar Republic became stable and prospered.
Gustav Stresemann, leader of the German Peoples Party (DVP) became
Chancellor in 1923 and was Germanys Foreign Minister between 1923 to
He brought about economic recovery in Germany.
He brought improved international relations for Germany.

Economic recovery (1923 - 1929):

Stresemann introduced a new currency, the Rentenmark, to replace the old

worthless currency to help stop hyperinflation.
He ordered striking workers in the Ruhr to go back to work and agreed to start
repaying reparations to the allies leading to the French withdrawal in 1925.
. 1924 Germany agreed to the Dawes Plan with the US, Britain and France.
The USA lent Germany 800 gold million marks to build new factories to
increase German prosperity to raise the standard of living and ability to pay
back reparations.
The Dawes Plan spread the load of reparations according to Germanys ability
to pay based on the prosperity of the German economy.
The Dawes Plan restored confidence in the German economy and
investments poured into Germany from abroad.
The Young Plan of 1929 extended the deadline for the payment of
German reparations further 59 years.
The USA lends
Germany money.

The Allies pay back war

debts to the USA.


Germany pays
reparations to the Allies.

The Germany
economy prospers.

Germanys International Relations (1923 - 1929):

The international community accepted Germany back on the world stage.

In 1925 French troops ended their occupation of the Ruhr.
In 1925 Germany and France sign the Locarno Pact in which they agreed
never to change the border between them again.
In 1926 Germany was allowed to join the League of Nations.
In 1928 Germany signed the Kellogg-Briand Pact with over 60 countries
promising never to go to war against one another.

The successes of the Stresemann Era were:

The Weimar Republic was its most stable and prosperous between 1923 to
There was a fall in the support for leftwing and rightwing extremists.
The German economy stabilised and hyperinflation was brought under control.
Germany was welcomed back on to the world stage.
Germany experienced a huge cultural revival.

The Failures of the Stresemann Era were:

Germany was now dependent on US loans that would prove disastrous in

The weaknesses of the Weimar constitution remained.
There continued to be resentment against the Treaty of Versailles.
Rightwing movements attacked decadent and unpatriotic new culture that
spread across Germany.
Finally the stability and prosperity of the Stresemann Era collapsed following
the 1929 Wall Street Crash and start of the Depression.

WEIMAR GERMANY (1929 - 1933)

The Impact of the Depression
The impact of the Depression on Germany 1929 1933 was:

The US demanded its loans back but Germany could not pay.
By 1932 over six million Germans were unemployed.
Millions became homeless and dependent on charity to survive.
There was a growth in support for both leftwing and rightwing extremist
parties like the Communist and Nazi Party.
The Weimar Republic became extremely unpopular and seemed incapable of
pulling Germany out of the Depression.
Hitler and Nazi Party did not change their political message but more people
were willing to listen to their message now that times were bad.

In 1933 Hitler seized power in Germany bringing an end to the Weimar


Hitlers Germany 1929-1939

Why were more people voting Nazi?
o Rose from under 2 million in 1929 to 6 million by
1932 (1/3 of workforce) created a climate that
made Hitlers messages relevant
o Nazis talked about national revival under one
strong leader (back to work with Hitler)
The democratic parties of the Reichstag
o their lack of solutions led to economic
problems/petty squabbles and the German
peoples lack of trust in democracy
o Heinrich Brunning (leader after Stresemann)
couldnt solve unemployment economic
policies very unpopular (raised taxes, cut
unemployment benefit, reduced salaries of
government employees)
o Too many political parties in Reichstag (8) and
needed overall majority so there were many
coalitions which fell out (weak) so there were
frequent elections
o People didnt like the T.O.V
o Some (right-wing) people didnt like the new
culture movements because they were
Nazi Posters and the work of Josef Goebbels
(who was in charge of Nazi propaganda)
o Back to work with Hitler posters
o Brainwashed people (promised higher wages to
workers, high profits to industry, well paid jobs
to the employed, land to farm hands, high
income and tax exemption to farm owners,
promised to outlaw strikes but supported them)
The SA storm troopers (Jekyll and Hyde role)
o At rallies, they provided a disciplined well
dressed and well organised guard of honour
made Hitler look like a leader who would restore

o Marched and paraded through towns to impress

people who were unemployed
o Used by Hitler to wreck meetings of opponents,
particularly the Communists
o Unemployed people joined the SA
Nazi party Rallies
o People manipulated with music patriotic
o Convinced people in bars that Hitler could fix all
of problems with Weimar government even
o Used lies to brainwash people
o Hitlers great oratory (speaking) skills helped
him convince people
25 Point Programme
In the 1920s, the Nazis tried to be all things to all
people. The 25-Point Programme had policies that were:

Socialist - eg farmers should be given their land;

pensions should improve; and public industries such
as electricity and water should be owned by the
Nationalist - all German-speaking people should be
united in one country; the Treaty of Versailles should
be abolished; and there should be special laws for
Racist - Jews should not be German citizens and
immigration should be stopped.
Fascist - a strong central government and control of
the newspapers.

The Nazis did not appeal to:

working men who voted Communist

intellectuals such as students and university

They were popular with:

nationalists and racists


lower middle-class people such as plumbers and

shopkeepers who were worried about the chaos
Germany was in
rich people worried by the threat from Communism

How did Hitler become Chancellor of Germany in

January 1933?
Poor elections
230 seats in July 1932 to 196 seats in Nov 1932
going down. Worried it would go down more
Makes Hitler change his mind about coalitions
(contradicts everything he said before one strong
Does coalition with Von Papen (centre party
member) who thought he could control the
Paul von Hindenburg
30th January 1933 forced to ask Hitler to become
Chancellor due to increasing pressure when Nazis
became largest party in Reichstag (Also worried
about growth of Communism becoming like
Despised Hitler, thought he and Nazis were
unworthy of ruling Germany
Tried to limit Hitlers power by making Von
Papen Vice Chancellor and restricting the no. of
other Nazis in cabinet to two
From Chancellor to Dictator
Hitler sets new elections for March 1933 to escape
coalition - thought Germans would vote
overwhelmingly for the Nazis
February 1933
However, reports from towns and villages suggested
that the Nazis were unlikely to get overall majority

Reichstag Fire
On 26th February 1933, Reichstag fire occurred.
Hitler used it as an excuse to get extra powers
claimed it was a signal for country-wide communist
revolution by blaming it on communist called Van der
Lubbe. Hitler given temporary extra powers by
Hindenburg through Emergency decree
To win March 1933 elections, Hitler banned
communist party with new powers and kicked out
87 MPs
Used violence and intimidation - imprisoned party
leaders, restricted party meetings, scared people to
lessen support for other parties
March elections held in atmosphere of fear and
Nazis won 288 seats, needed 300 seats for
overall majority but Communist party was
banned so they got overall majority and won
Reichstag meeting now in Opera House suited
Hitler, made discussion and debate difficult and Hitler
good at speaking
Legally became dictator through Enabling Act
March 1933
o Gave him permanent dictatorial powers
o Safeguards in democratic system - To pass
this law, Hitler needed 2/3 of Reichstag to
vote for it
o Achieved this by:
Putting Stormtroopers outside Opera
House to intimidate MPs
Promised Catholic Church to Centre
Some MPs believed Hitler could use
powers to stop Communist threat and
solve 6 million unemployed crisis
Law passed 444 to 94 (only social
dems. voted against it) over 2/3
How did Hitler strengthen his dictatorship?

May 1933 Trade Unions (represented workers)

also closed down. Replaced with Nazi Labour
o It meant there were no leaders to complain
o Unions were weak because of high
unemployment (good time to attack them)
July 1933 Law against formulation of Political
Parties (makes Germany 1 party state
o Doesnt show loyalty to the 180 MPs who voted
for him
o Stopped chance of rivals appearing and allowed
Hitler to arrest people with other ideals
Local government Nazi officials took over (no
local elections, makes Nazis completely in
o Made sure there was no opposition from any
political party
30 June 1934 The Night of the Long Knives
o Hitlers elimination of the SA (brownshirts). Key
leaders including Ernst Rohm.
o Replaced by SS (blackshirts, new elite group)
led by Heinrich Himmler
Reasons Hitler turned against the SA/Brownshirts in
Hitler was told that Rohm and other SA leaders
were plotting against him and planning to seize
power (there was no evidence for this)
Hitler saw the SA could potentially challenge
his leadership (SA had 2 million men) and
Rohm was personally ambitious
Hitler didnt need chaos anymore, he needed a
professional army
Hitler wanted to impress the generals in the
German National Army + distance himself from
the SA (which had a reputation as street
fighting thugs)
Ernst Rohm had a personal following in the SA
Rohm wanted the Socialist parts of the 25
point programme introduced (better wages,
better pensions etc.)

29th-30th June 1934

Most of the arrests happened around Munich
Rohm was arrested + shot later on
200 people shot Not all were SA
Hitler told the Reichstag he had to do it to save the
nation from a potential civil war. The Reichstag
(which was made up of just Nazis) accepted this
The event helped Hitler as it meant all key Nazis
were keen to be loyal + seen to be loyal
The Economy under the Nazis
Population: 57 million approx. in Germany
20 million workers
17 million on unemployment pay
Unemployment timeline
Jan 1933 6.5 million unemployed
Jan 1936 2.5 million unemployed
Jan 1939 300,000 unemployed
Main reasons
The RAD (National Labour Service) kept them
physically fit, good for Hitler (master race)
Rearmament (also munitions factories +
New industries self-sufficiency(autarky)
projects making petrol from coal, coffee from
(minor reason) Didnt count Jews and women
500,000 Jews in Germany, 250,000 probably
working, however many women still

Setting up the RAD

1933 Manual Labour Law
RAD aimed at ages 18-25
Autobahns(motoways) created
A youth unemployment scheme

Communal accommodation lived in camps

They did physical work like:
Digging drainage ditches on farms
Planting new forests
Building schools and hospitals
Building a network of motorways
Why some liked the RAD
It gave them something to do (sense of achievement
and pride in country)
Took young unemployed men off the streets
They got pocket money, accommodation and free
Team-work, being outside, physical work
Doing things to help Germany (national revival)
Stopping main potential source of
opposition/rebellion (young people)
Chance to move away from home
Why other people hated the RAD
Had no privacy slept in camps together
Had to be away 5 days a week
Only got pocket money not real wages
RAD work was not based on qualifications of men
not proper jobs, not training you for the job you want
Re-armament building up the military
The T.O.V. had limited Germany to 100,000 men and
no airforce
By 1935 300,000 in the Army, 2500 military aircraft
compared to 0 in 1930
By 1939 1.4 million in the Army
March 1935 introduced conscription reduces
Military spending increased from 1.2 billion in 1932 to
26 billion marks in 1938
o This created jobs in manufacturing
(uniforms/tanks) and catering, munitions etc.

o Heavy industry boosted iron/steel needed for

tanks + jeeps, coal
Were the Germans really better off economically
under the Nazis?
Focused more on heavy industry and manufacturing tanks
and weapons than food etc. (stuff that ordinary people
would benefit from)
Trade Unions
Did work for workers rights
Hitler banned Trade Unions because they could produce

DAF German Labour Front (Nazi Trade Union)

Lost rights to strike
Couldnt leave a job without government permission
Only government-run labour exchanges could
arrange new jobs
Workers couldnt bargain for higher wages
No limitations on work hours
Average wage was the same in 1928 as in 1938

Economic success

Not doing well

Unemployment fell from 6 million (1/3 of Invisible unemployment Jews not

workforce) in 1933 to under 1 million in
included, women not included, not major
1939 due to RAD e.g. building
autobahns 7000km
Productivity was high due to RAD only got pocket money, not real
RAD so GDP increased as

people worked long hours

up to 60 hrs towards the
war (DAF no trade unions no
limit on hours)
Re-armament soldiers + munitions
factories etc. lots of jobs
Lots of jobs in radio due to propaganda
etc. By 1938, 70% owned shortwave
radios (only national broadcasts)
Hosted Berlin Olympics in 1936
brought in lots of revenue for local

Most of wealth (GNP) spent on military

power (26 billion marks in 1938) not
really benefitting citizens
Small farmers lost out, food prices
remained stable so profits fell
Small businesses squeezed out by big
businesses who could fulfil armament

businesses as well
Nazis controlled food prices so prices
stayed low- good for citizens

Prices rose but pay stayed same(no trade
unions) average 35 marks a week

Not an equal benefit to all the citizens of Germany
although steel, iron, vehicles, industry boomed.
Economic success was just an illusion by DAF
to get people to work hard encouraged
people to work harder for static/lower wages
through patriotism campaigns (Back to work
with Hitler). It was a short-term benefit for
citizens HOWEVER, the major unemployment
issue was gone, communist threat was gone,
and it was preparing the German economy for
Autarky (self-sufficiency)
Life in a Police State (SS, Gestapo, Concentration
Law and Order
Nazis abolished the right to trial before
Judges replaced where necessary by Nazi
The SS and Gestapo could put people in camps
without trial
In 1934, Hitler set up the Peoples Court, which
tried people for crimes against the state (e.g.
Nazi opponents)

SS (used in Night of the Long Knives)

Formed in 1925 as Hitlers personal bodyguard
By early 1930s, had become partys own police force
June 1934 became most important military group
within the state, led by Heinrich Himmler
Could arrest and put you in camps without trial

The Gestapo
Secret police, first in State of Prussia
o Then over whole of Germany from 1936
Led by Reinhard Heydrich

Job To search out Nazi opponents

Had power to arrest and imprison, put in camps
Used informers to uncover any attempts to
organise oppositions
Used torture to extract information and
Concentration camps
Anyone arrested by Gestapo could be held in camps
When first established, over 100,000 prisoners
Most were political opponents
Camps run by SS guards Deaths Head Units
trained to be ruthless and cruel
Beatings given for minor offences anything
major resulted in execution without trial
The Police State was used to create fear.
Suspected communists rounded up by the SS
Press reports made it clear that if the Nazis
were after someone, they would get him one
way or another
They released some prisoners so that other
people would get scared when they heard
People warned each other not to complain because
you could be sent to a C camp
Dr Ruhmann imitated Hitlers way of speaking, got
reported and sent to the camps
Politicians who opposed the Nazis were given the
dirtiest jobs at work. They were pestered to join the
SA, if they declined, they would be raided and
fined for petty things, beaten up, fired and
given no unemployment pay, questioned, forced to
sign statements and threatened with C Camps. They
were denounced in speeches and threatened
Between 1933 and 1945, more than 3.5 mill
Germans had been in camps or prisons for
political reasons

Approx. 77,000 Germans executed for

resistance by the Special courts court martial
and civil justice system

How did the Nazis keep control?

Censorship and communication
Propaganda = distorted/misleading information designed
to make people think in a certain way
Josef Goebbels in charge of propaganda in Germany
During the years 1933-39, the treatment of the Jews
definitely became worse.
April 1933 one-day shop boycott
Organised by the SA against Jewish shops
People might think not much of an effect as only 1
day but the presence of the SA blocking people from
entering Jewish shops intimidated people and
probably led to Jews losing lots of customers so they
made less profit.
Jews also felt vulnerable with SA outside their shop
1933 Jews
Some Jews working for the government and
working at universities lost their jobs and other
Jews faced anti-semitism at work
May seem like gradual worsening as no violence but
for a Jew, most likely wouldve seemed like a sudden
and rapid change as they discovered they were
second-class citizens and they lost their jobs +
couldnt provide for their families
Combined with Jewish propaganda in
newspapers, radio + at school
1935 Nuremburg Laws

Every year in September, the Nazis held the

Nuremburg Rallies, in the town of Nuremburg (Hitler
Youth and brownshirts took part)
Tens of thousands of people went + filmed and
shown to the public.
The Nuremburg laws were announced at the
Definite worsening as meant Jews lost all rights of
a German citizen
Losing these rights led to a lot more violence on the
streets against Jews
To the SS, probably seemed like a message from
Hitler saying Go ahead- it is okay to use
physical force against the Jews. The law was
also now against the Jews
1936 Berlin Olympics
Treatment of the Jews did not worsen due to Berlin
Olympics. It was actually toned down.
The anti-Jew slogans had disappeared
However, the Jews who lost their jobs didnt get
their jobs back either so the situation did not
9th-10th November 1938 Kristallnacht
Violent attacks against Jewish property
About 100 Jews killed + 20,000 sent to C camps
Big-step up from way Jews treated before
Had killed them and even charged the Jews 1
billion Reichenmarks for all the damage the SS
To the Jews, it would seem as if they were being killed
for no reason
Publicly humiliated as have to clean up the
street themselves

1939 Jews removed from Germany

In 1939, the SS were made responsible for the Jews

and removing them from Germany
Not a gradual worsening as it removed Jews from
their homes + showed them they would no longer be
tolerated in Germany
Ghettoes set up in Poland for Jews to live in,
which meant that they could now no longer even live
where they wanted to as they were forced into camps
In conclusion
Treatment of Jews from 1933-39 did get worse
gradually until 1938 when Kristallnacht occurred
no longer gradual
o Open violence against the Jews, 100 Jews
killed and 20,000 forced into camps
Before, it was about making them unequal to
Aryans by taking away rights and firing them
from jobs but from Kristallnacht onwards,
became a lot more aggressive

The Nazis and education

Education for Nazis meant brainwashing young
Targeted the young as they were less critical
and more nave.
Needed to:
Control Teachers
o Sack Jewish teachers
o Teachers who belonged in Nazi Party got
Inspect Schools
o Used Nazi Youth as unofficial inspectors
Control the Books
o Producing new books burnt offensive left-wing
New things to education
Subject Eugenics racist
twist, taught how evolution

Alterations to education
History respect Great
German past and faith in

made some races better

than others
Prayers to Hitler My
Race studies

Hitler and future

Geography taught
Germany territory was
any territory occupied by
The day began with Heil
Hitler salutes
P.E more important than
academics (master race)
increased to 2 hours per
Maths questions about
killing Jews

Hitler Youth
In 1933, 2.2 million in HY
In 1939 (start), 7.2 million total membership

Why did people join the Hitler Youth?

Peer Pressure if your friends joined

Chance to travel summer camps which
parents liked as economic depression 1933
Activities target practice (guns), orienteering,
Positive propaganda about HY
Hitler Youth came into Schools ran activities,
persuaded younger ones to join
Hitler Youth Law 1936 made it compulsory to
join HY, but did not compel regular attendance
Other youth groups phased out
It was patriotic

Opposition to the Hitler Youth

By the late 1930s, group known as Edelweiss
Pirates emerged around Cologne, Dusseldorf
and Essen (Industrial Rhineland)

o Independent groups, largely working class,

organised their own camping trips main
activity bashing up the Hitler Youth
The Swing Youth middle class
o Inspired by British and US music wore makeup,
fashion just liked hanging out
o Accepted Jews

There were Catholics and Protestants in Germany
The Church did not oppose the Nazis
Martin Niemoller opposed Nazi control over the
Churches and was sent to a C Camp for 8 years.

Women in Nazi Germany

Law for reduction of unemployment in June
Introduced interest free loans of up to 1,000
marks for young married couples on condition
that wife gave up work
Most productive mothers awarded special
medals at Ceremony held every year on
birthday of Hitlers mother
Laws against abortion strictly enforced
From 1936 Nazis opened special maternity
homes designed to be breeding centres for
Pure Aryan children
1933 German women who held positions of
responsibility were sacked from their jobs
From 1936 onwards, women could not be
judges/serve on juries
Hair should be worn in plaits or bun, not dyed or
Make-up discouraged, trousers discouraged,
slimming criticised because had to be capable
of healthy child-bearing
The Treatment of Undesirable Groups
Seen as Aliens

Gypsies unpopular did not have regular jobs and

moved around
Tramps + beggars arrested and put to forced
Those with physical/mental problems seen as threat
to Aryan superiority if allowed to have children
July 1933 law passed including compulsory
o Included people with depression, epilepsy,
blindness, deafness and physically disabled
o By 1937, almost 200,000 compulsory
sterilisations had been performed on men +
o Later policies included euthanasia/mercy
killing through lethal injection
o Mistreatment of Jews and other undesirable
groups got worse after war started in Sep 1939

Stalins Dictatorship 1924-1941

Russia in 1924
Different alphabet (Cyrillic)
Huge 125 million people
Different system of government Communist after
October Revolution 1917
Lenin (Vladimir Iliyich Ulyanov) First communist
leader in Russia
Promised peace, land, workers council
Comes to power in October 1917
Leon Trotsky background
Fifth son of well-off Ukrainian farmer (well-educated)
Jewish family although not religious (sister married
Great strategist
Planned the October Revolution in 1917
Led the Red Army in the Civil War 1917
Lenins Right-hand man and Commissar for War
Brilliant speaker

Believed in the ideas of Karl Marx (spreading

communism to other countries)
Trotsky joined the Bolsheviks (Lenins Communist
party) in 1917
Expected to be Lenins heir
Josef Stalin background
Poor background; from Georgia
Father was a drunken shoemaker who beat him
Had been a leading gov. figure in last years of Lenins
Gen. Sec. of Comm. Party
Had been part of the Bolsheviks all his life
Russian was his second language his foreign accent
led people to believe he wasnt that clever
Was a socialist communist (believed in strengthening
communism in one country instead of spreading it)
Civil War 1917-21
Red army (communists) won but Russia destroyed
economically famine, starvation etc. (5-15 million
died of famine in 1921 due to 2 bad harvests
and the civil war)
Lenin became leader of Russia in 1921
1921 New Economic Policy (NEP)
Lenin needed to get Russia producing more food so
communism was relaxed and some capitalism was
Lenin saw he had to change the harsh policy to win
back the support of peasants and industrial workers.
Peasants could sell their surplus food for a profit,
paying 10% tax to be paid in crops to the
The government let most industry be run privately
but kept control of the largest industries coal mines,
railways, banks etc.

Kamenev and Zinoviev (high-ranking members of the

Bolsheviks) saw the NEP as a betrayal to communism.
Trotsky approved of it though and Stalin claimed he
approved of it but didnt.
Peasant opposition in the countryside reduced due
to NEP.
Was it a success?
Food production had increased by 1925 but if you were a
coal miner, you were still in a bad situation.
A Kulak = a rich peasant/emerged under NEP as able to
work hard and make a profit.
The peasants arent natural supporters of the Communists
as they wanted to own land, improve it and make money.
They did hate the Tsar(royals) though and wanted Russia
to change. They were more conservative (wanted private
ownership) than people in the city.
Lenins illness
Lenin had 3 progressively worse strokes between May
1922 and December 1923, probably triggered by
being shot by Dora Kaplan in 1918.
o This allowed Stalin to move up from a low job to
a high one.
Stalins Role in Lenins Russia.
Lenin made Stalin General Secretary of the
Communist Party in 1922.
o In charge of party membership and the
appointment of government officials.
o He could promote his own supporters to
government officials and give them more power.
This made him more powerful because:
He was a filing clerk so he had lots of info
on people (bribes/blackmail etc.)
They owed him loyalty and they could
vote on who gets to be in the Politburo so
Stalin managed to get in easily.
Other leading Bolsheviks (e.g. Trotsky) did not worry
about Stalin (called him Comrade Filing Clerk) as
they thought it was a low job.

Lenins Testament
In 1922, Lenin had been worried about Stalins
growing power. He summarised his views on Party
leaders and particularly criticised Stalin. In Jan 1923,
he added a postscript:
Stalin is too rude, too dangerous He will not
know how to use his power
However this was never acted on Stalin kept his
job as Lenin was too ill to do anything and died in
January 1924
Why did Stalin emerge as Lenins successor instead
of Trotsky?
Trotskys illness Crimea recovering from malaria,
Stalin told him wrong date so he arrived late,
made Stalin appear more dedicated to memory of
Trotsky, appeared as Lenins closest ally by being one
of main mourners
Trotsky arrogant, often offended other Bolsheviks
failed to take opposition seriously, didnt build up
support in party ranks, was Jewish antiSemitism deep rooted in USSR
Trotskys ideas permanent revolution
unpopular, most party members attracted to
Stalins Socialism in one country focusing on
rebuilding Russia after civil war. Bolsheviks like
Kamenev and Zinoviev hated Trotsky, did not want
him as leader
Attitude of leading communists to Lenins Will
+ Trotsky
Commie leaders willing to ignore Lenins warning
about Stalin more interested in keeping Trotsky
out (only became Bolshevik after ending long
argument with Lenin in 1917). Many were jealous of

Trotskys rapid promotion to Commissar for War +

success in creating, leading Red Army. Trotsky also
opposed NEP (Lenins idea) which lost him support,
whereas Stalin seemed to support all of Lenins ideas
Stalins skill + ambition
Excellent organiser, manipulative, low-born but
working as Gen. Sec. of Bolsheviks shows he
had ambition, Stalins low job and Georgian accent
made leading Bolsheviks underestimate him, did not
see him as a threat, manipulated photographs to
appear as Lenins right hand man, many believed
this and Stalin wrote Foundations of Leninism
book praising Lenins policies especially NEP
made him popular true successor to Lenin
Stalins role as General Secretary
In charge of party membership + people to carry out
gov. decisions, could promote his own supporters to
become junior party officials, they owed him loyalty.
These elected the Politburo gave Stalin easy access
to organisation, other leading Bolsheviks too busy
arguing and scheming to prevent his rise to power
Trotsky Timeline
1925 Trotsky few supporters in Politburo sacked
as Commissar for War
1926 Trotsky, Zinoviev and Kamenev kicked out of
1927 Stalin supporters like Bukharin (now in
1927 Trotsky expelled from Communist Party
1928 Stalin expelled those who supported the NEP
from the Politburo
1929 Trotsky expelled from USSR
1940 Trotsky murdered in Mexico by one of Stalins
Stalin and the Modernisation of Russia

Stalin 1931: we are 50-100 years behind the

advanced countries. We must catch up in 10 years
or we will be crushed.
How did Stalin modernise Russia?
1) Magnitogorsk industrial site biggest steel works in
the world in the 1930s + 100 more cities. Gulag
attached to Magnitogorsk where 35,000 prisoners
were used as slave labour
2) Production targets 5 year plan 1st yr 1928-32
increase coal,iron,steel oil production, 2nd 1933-37
machines,tractors, 3rd 1938-42 consumer
goods+weapons Enforced by GOSPLAN gov. agency
that dealt with industrialisation plans, responsible for
making sure production reached targets, drove them
to find new raw materials, Coal 36 MILLION 1928
3) Ordered steel works or coal mines built
wherever there were resources no matter how
cold/remote (east of the Ural mountains -20C)
4) Gulag system prisoners built Tran Siberian
railway increasing transport links, forced prisoner
labour long hours production
5) Creches set up so women could work steel
6) Stakhanov 1935 6x normal work rate held up as
national hero,-----> Stakhanovites/Stakhanovism
drove people to work harder increased production
7) 1935 Fear of being labelled a wrecker or
saboteur. Could be shot/executed, increased
8) Encouragement posters to motivate and inspire
Was industrial modernisation a success or



The German invasion of

1941 was pushed back
(Germany wasnt able to
take Moscow)

Millions died working on

industrial projects

Rest of the world

suffered from Great
Depression while the
USSR improved

Millions of peasant families

were uprooted and forced to
live thousands of miles

Those who had worked

especially hard were
treated as heroes

Harsh working conditions

(working 7 days a week)

Gradually, living
conditions improved,
especially in established

People who had

working hard enough
were labelled as
saboteurs/wreckers and
could be shot on sight
(people felt pressured)

Electricity became
available for everyday

Absenteeism was treated

as a crime

Radios improved
Not enough housing. New
communications(however housing could not keep up
, they were censored)
with demand (rapid growth
of cities). Many families
lived in one room of a
Free education led to
higher literacy rates
(more developed) +
more educated

Peasant farmers
destroyed as a class

Free healthcare from
Some blocks of flats had
central heating
In Moscow, people were
proud of the new
buildings + the Moscow
underground railway
Conclusion : Industrialisation in 1930s was harsh but it
achieved results that no one couldve predicted and
the foundations had been laid for the USSR to
become a superpower which it did after WW2 1945
How did Stalin modernise agriculture?
(Collectivisation) 1929
Stalin wanted to modernise food agriculture in the
He wanted the USSR to be a modern 20th century
country with most people living in cities and
working in industries
For that to happen, Stalin needed to improve farming
as the peasants were not producing enough food
(even after NEP had finished 1924) to feed the people
of the USSR
In 1924 there were approx. 25 million peasant farms
in the USSR.
Drawbacks to the NEP
NEP had led to an increase in food production but it
was not enough to feed a modern industrialised
country. More efficient farming was needed.

How farms changed

Lots of small farms owned by peasants into one
big farm (collectivisation)
Large collectivised farms could be more productive
than small plots of land
o Could make use of new modern machinery e.g.
Stalin aware not many peasants were actually
communist (most were conservative). He wasnt sure
he could rely on their loyalty
Collectivisation began I929
25 million peasant farms were to be combined to
form 240,000 collective farms (called Kolkhoz)
Peasants opposed it many would rather kill
livestock than hand them over to the state
Any one accused of being a Kulak (rich peasant) was
imprisoned, shot or transported to Siberia
Destruction of livestock had had consequences
o Animal population fell by 50% in 3 years
o Led to terrible famine which caused 6 million
deaths between 1931-33
Stalin ordered the cities fed so that there would be no
demonstrations/mass riots and he ordered famine areas to
be isolated.
Was collectivisation a success?
By 1938, collective farms
were established 240,000
replaced 25 million small
farms - Farms were one
large efficient unit (good
for USSR + feeding
growing cities)
1936-40 Production of food
increased e.g. 1928 (73

Failure for actual
farmers/peasants who
liked NEP lost their own
plot of land + independent
decision-making + now on
fixed income cant earn

mil. Tonnes of grain) and

in 1940 (95 mill. Tonnes
of grain)
Life in collective farms
better e.g. every farm had
a hospital and a school
(could be used for
ing), every worker had the
same wage
Modern mechanised
farms (tractors etc.) with
rising production after 1937

Failure for the whole

Ukraine area as famine
1931-33 caused by peasant
reaction burnt crops +
animals + cannibalism and
6-7 million people died
Stalin had to send in
requisition squads to take
food for cities due to
peasant revolt

Peasants in the
countryside now
obedient wage earners
on a collective farm followed
timetable orders
Peasant opposition to
communism destroyed
success for Stalin Kulaks
destroyed as a class
Remaining kulaks sent to
Gulags cheap/unpaid
labour force
Russia now totally obedient no sources of opposition
Harsh process (caused millions of deaths) but
production did go up and Stalin achieved his aims +
destroyed class he hates (Kulaks)
How did Stalin strengthen his dictatorship? 1929-41

1934 Purges begin

Sergei Kirov: Close ally of Stalin during rise to power,
supported Stalin in Politburo against old Bolsheviks who
mightve sided with Trotsky, promoted to Party boss in
Worried about Kirov because:

Showing too much independence Nov 1934

Speech critical of collectivisation
Nov 1934 speech got lots of applause, possibly
more than Stalin shows Kirov popular,
supported in Comm. Party
Kirov knows how to lead + organise leader of
Leningrad + charismatic
^ Shows he could be a possible rival to Stalin
Stalin also worried about Kamenev and Zinoviev
Both able politicians loyal Bolsheviks from
Lenins Time but critical of Stalin
Knew of Lenins will (Stalin is too rude +
Death of Kirov 1st Dec 1934
Kirov shot by NKVD(secret police) ordered by
Allowed Stalin to strengthen dictatorship because:
Stalin announced that Kirovs death was part
of wider terrorist plan allowed him to arrest
others (e.g. Kamenev & Zinoviev 1935) falsely
accused of planning Kirovs death and Stalin
Killed one rival blamed other rivals for it

10,000 arrests around Leningrad in Dec


Show Trials
Those accused of being involved in plots against
Stalin + Soviet State put on trial
Show Trials were public why?
The accused often confessed to crimes and shot in
Show Trial Dates
1936 Kamenev + Zinoviev

1938 Bukharin also knew about Will, man of

1938-9 Army Trial - secret Purge

NKVD (State Security Police)

Later known as the KGB.

Arrested enemies of the State/communism

Killed Kirov
Killed Bukharin
Arrested the Kulaks
Faked evidence against Kamenev and Zinoviev
Executions wreckers/saboteurs
Ran the Gulags + border security

Took orders from: Stalin spoke directly to the head of the

NKVD who Stalin appointed
The NKVD carried out The Great Terror 1934-8
Millions shot/arrested/sent to labour camps e.g
doctors, lawyers, peasants
24 million in labour camps
12 million died from execution/harsh
Spies everywhere, could arrest with little evidence
Arrested people with independent
thoughts/could be leaders
Established climate of fear in USSR, no-one
would dare follow a rebel

Secret Army Purge 1938-9

Secret to stop other countries especially Hitlers
Germany (lebensraum) knowing that there were
less commanders, war tacticians vulnerable to
Generals/high ranking officers good leaders, lots
of loyalty from troops, could march to Moscow and
overthrow Stalin (no evidence though Stalin

75/80 men on supreme military council

All ranks purged 35,000 officers
shot/imprisoned (50%)
Soviet Navy all 6 admirals shot
Marshall Tchukachevsky + 7 other generals
(experienced Red Army Leaders) secretly
trialed + executed
USSR weakened
Vulnerable to attack from German Nazis
Substantially weakened army, commanders, war
tacticians, not many leaders, strength in numbers
but little commanders due to paranoia
But Stalin strengthened in 1930s
Felt confident not too many commanders, no
threat of opposition
Now had a very loyal army
1936 New constitution (most democratic in
Gave citizens right to vote + freedom of speech
18 or over could only elect Supreme Soviet (only
comm. Party candidates)
o Little/no real governing power, only met 2
weeks a year, controlled by Stalin
NKVD acted outside constitution could
murder/arrest anyone
Stalin introduced constituton to strengthen
dictatorship by giving people false impression that
they were involved in future of USSR (form of
control over them), in fact they had no effect on 5
year plans, collectivisation etc.

Stalins personality cult

Already shown he could manipulate with propaganda +

fear in rise to power but

1930s increased control by making Stalin look

Created false image of himself friendly/caring
In school, history rewritten give stalin important
role under Lenin in early days of communism
Comm. Youth group (Pioneers) brainwashed young
All literature had to praise Stalin could not be
o Writers/filmmakers/artists praise Stalins
o Dissenters punished e.g. Solzhenitsyn who
criticised Stalins Rule sentenced to 8 years in
o Musicians compositions celebrate
achievements of soviet workforce and
modernisation of country
o Propaganda posters Stalin + happy Russian
workers common, helped spread message of
happy workers striving for success
Film + Radio/ all new tech controlled by state
Eisenstein made film October glorifying 1917 revolution