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'The Nazi totalitarian state was established at the expense of the German people.' Assess the validity of this statement.

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Introduction

'The Nazi totalitarian state was established at the expense of the German people.' Assess the validity of this statement. In the 1950/60's historians, such as Allan Bullock, took the view that it was obviously established at the expense of the people. The Nazi's brutally eradicated anybody who did not conform to their ideas from the Jews to the Trade Unions. However since this period historians have found that there was a wide compliance with the Nazi state and if it was established at the expense of the people then why was there so much support and even enthusiasm? Firstly, the word totalitarian has to be considered. The process of Gleichshaltung or forcible co-ordination involved the dissolution of the Trade Unions, abolition of the Federal States and on July 14th 1933 the dissolution of the political parties ('Law against the New Construction of Parties'.) This meant that Germany was a one party state and people lost the freedom to vote. The Nazi's controlled all aspects of German life through various organisations and force (Gestapo and SS,) however there was still opposition. It can be argued that Nazi Germany was totalitarian, but not as much as Stalin's Russia. Hindenburg's death marked the end of democracy and this was replaced with chaos of conflicting agencies and ministries. ...read more.

Middle

In November 1938, members of the SA and Nazi party attacked and burned down Jewish synagogs, homes and businesses. In total 91 were killed and about 30,000 were imprisoned during Kristallnacht. Jews were driven out of commercial life and deprived of means of livelihood. The children were expelled from school and university. In total 6 million Jews were murdered by the Nazis. The general populations view differed on the persecution of the Jews, from actively taking part in violence to hiding the Jews from the Gestapo. The mentally ill were originally sterilised, but later the policy was changed to euthanasia. Between 1939-41 80 000 were murdered as they were seen to have unhealthy genes, a threat to the pure race. A special unit, T4, was established to kill disabled children and this was extended to adults. By 1944, 200 000 people were killed for mental and physical disabilities. The Nazis also targeted the 'asocials': vagabonds, gypsies, beggars, prostitutes, alcoholics, eccentrics, the work shy, homosexuals, minority religious groups, and juvenile delinquents. Homosexuals were seen as being against the laws of nature as they reduced the birthrate, 10-15 000 were arrested and sent to concentration camps. 'Kinder, Kirche, Kuche' were the three main roles of a German woman. Aryan women were vital to the future of the country to produce children. ...read more.

Conclusion

Few people dared openly criticise Hitler on mass scale. In particular two youth groups actively protested against him, the Eidelweiss Pirates and The White Rose Group. Opposition also came from the Church, some of the army, some elites, the Beck-Goerdeler Group, the Bomb Plot of 1944, Communists, Socialists and Industrial Workers, however they never posed a real threat. In hindsight Hitler was regarded as a good leader. He brought prosperity to Germany through reduction of the unemployed, economic success, reduced crime rates and restored German pride. It is also argued that if Hitler had left office in 1938, he would have been remembered as an excellent leader. In August 1934, 89.9% of the population voted in favour of Hitler's unlimited powers, this shows people's support. In 1951 citizens of the Federal Republic of Germany were questioned and over half described the period between 1933 and 1939 as one in which things had gone best for Germany. However the consequences if you did not fit into Hitler's Volkgemeinschaft or dared to protest were horrific, for example the Jews. People were afraid to criticise the regime and this can be misleading when considering support. Freedoms were removed through the destruction of the Trade Unions, the right to vote, events such as the burning of the books (1933,) women's rights to work and people were brainwashed by Nazi propaganda. In conclusion some benefited from Nazi policies and others lost out, it was not at the expense of all people. ...read more.

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