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Do sources A-F support the view that the Nazis succeeded in creating a Volksgemeinschaft in Germany between 1933-39?

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Introduction

Laura Spandler Do sources A-F support the view that the Nazis succeeded in creating a Volksgemeinschaft in Germany between 1933-39? When the Nazis came to power in Germany in 1933 one of their main aims was to create a Volksgemeinschaft, a united, national community based on blood and race, in which the people would be politically committed to the Nazi regime. This new society required a change in the consciousness of the German people, perhaps not possible in the short time the Nazis had. Sources A-F paint an extremely complex picture of the level of success achieved, but the overall feeling is that at best the Nazis achieved apathy towards the policy, not a belief in their ideology, although it very much depended on the individual's experience. Propaganda was a major tool used by the Nazis in inculcating their ideology, and the radio, source A, was especially important as 70% of Germans at the time owned a radio and, along with loud speakers in the streets, all could hear the F�hrer. However, looking at sources A and B together, we realise even though everybody could hear the F�hrer most people didn't listen. ...read more.

Middle

Neither Maschmann nor Clare had any personal reason to oppose the regime and so they could be apathetic towards the bad parts. There is evidence that the Volksgemeinschaft could have succeeded; sources C and E show partial successes for the regime. Source C says, 'Germany was a wonderful place to be alive' as long as you were not in a minority group, but by definition the majority of people never are. However, the Nazis could never succeed if many groups were excluded. Source E shows partial success for Volksgemeinschaft. Maschmann says she experienced the desired egalitarian society in the youth camps, also believing it 'could be extended infinitely'. However, in both sources the reasons for attraction to the regime were not a belief in the ideology, key to the success of a real Volksgemeinschaft, but they were more for desire to be part of a group or for personal gain, Maschmann says that it gave her 'an escape from a childish, narrow life'. She also admits that in reality it was only successful on a small scale. ...read more.

Conclusion

The question of the success of the Volksgemeinschaft is immeasurable because it depended on the experience of the individual. For some like in sources C and E it was a good thing, but for others it was terrible, Jews for example. Different groups in society reacted differently to the Nazi message. There is evidence, in sources D and E, that the Nazis had the most success with the youth of Germany and the least with the 'older industrial workers'. However, there is no suggestion made in any of the sources that any group believed whole-heartedly in the ideology of the Volksgemeinschaft, key to its success. Many of the reasons for support were for personal gain or patriotism, as in source C. This means they achieved apathy towards the ideology, rather than belief. Overall the success of the Volksgemeinschaft was extremely limited, there is no evidence to show that even a small part of German society believed in the ideology of the Volksgemeinschaft and the Nazi regime, but many conformed to Nazi policies. However, this was not what the Nazis intended. They needed a complete change in attitudes but as source D says, 'there can be no suggestion of Nazism having effected a social revolution'. ...read more.

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