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Did Nazi rule in Germany result in a social revolution.

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Introduction

Holly Reading DID NAZI RULE OF GERMANY RESULT IN A SOCIAL REVOLUTION? B. In order to respond to this question, we first have to consider a number of factors. The Nazis targeted specific groups to impose their ideas on, with varying levels of success. They succeeded in the areas of anti-Semitism, eugenics and workers. They succeeded to a lesser extent with churches, youth groups and education. Least successful for them were women. A social revolution for the Nazis was a 'Volksgemeinschaft', literally a 'people's community'. Only people of pure German blood were allowed to be a part of this community as the Nazis wanted to breed a pure Aryan race, which excluded certain groups of people e.g. Jews, mentally ill, etc. From 1920 when the 25 Point Programme was outlined, point 4 stated the Nazi ideal of society 'none but those of German blood may be members of the Nation' (Hite & Hinton, 2000, p52). Members of this nation would all be genetically healthy and committed to Nazi regimes. They wanted to achieve 'Gleichschaltung', coordination, to rid the nation of all non-Nazi groups and coordinate them into one pure Nazi one. Different Historians have different views as to whether or not a social revolution was actually achieved. David Schoenbaum author of 'Hitler's Social Revolution' (1960) and Ralf Dahrendorff both say that yes, the Nazis did achieve a social revolution. ...read more.

Middle

The next policy we will be looking at is workers. The Nazis wanted to have full employment throughout Germany. They also wanted to integrate workers into Volksgemeinschaft, to end Trade Union power, to end women at work and to prepare workers for a 'Werwortschaft', war economy. After the depression unemployment was very high in Germany. In 1931, unemployment was as high as 8.5 million (Collier & Pedley, p97). In Hitler's address to the Nation on January 31 1933, he said 'within four years unemployment must be overcome' (H&H p168). Soon after the NSDAP came to power in 1933, all trade unions were banned and the DAF was set up in their place. Membership went from 5 million in 1933 to 22 million in 1939. The Nazis used this organisation to rally support for them and it seemed to work. The number in employment in 1932 was 12.9 million by 1937 this figure had increased to 18.9 million (C&P p97). The Trade Unions put up little opposition and the DAF membership shows that they were popular. The Nazis were able to coordinate workers and fit them into the Volksgemeinschaft. Now we turn to Nazi policies on religion. Article 24 of the NSDAP political programme promised Christians that they could support Nazism without compromising their own religious convictions (McDonough, 2001, p30), although in 1933 Hitler said in a private conversation 'you are either Christian or a German. ...read more.

Conclusion

They did improve heath situations to help 'develop healthy Germans' "The regime did none the less achieve certain improvements in health situation for instance led to more intensive medical fitness tests, which were mandatory for all newly weds for applicants for marriage loans and family allowances." (Grunberger, 1971, p284) However there is evidence for failure in this area too. "Signs of increased nervousness were not diagnosed only among the young, but among women who combine domestic responsibilities with wage earning and among men particularly piece rate workers." (Grunberger p286) Other failures were the fact that many women risked abortion even though it carried the death penalty. There is also evidence that shows failure to 'end women's employment'. Grunberger says: "By 1944 every 8th doctor was a female compared to Weimar's one in twenty." (P282) "Nazis also increased the nursing force, so between 1932 and 1939 the proportion of nurses to every 10,000 of the population went up from eighteen to twenty." (P282) Overall the Nazis failed in their campaign to confine women to the home, although initially their policy appeared successful as it coincided with the withdrawal of female labour as a consequence of the slump. Women were defiant and went against Nazi policies. In conclusion, Hitler and the Nazis did not create a complete social revolution in Germany during their rule. They did not manage to achieve their Volksgemeinschaft as failures and opposition stopped them as well as the contradictory nature of some of their policies. ...read more.

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