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To what Extent did Hitler and the Nazis Create a Classless Society?

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To what Extent did Hitler and the Nazis Create a Classless Society? When Hitler became Chancellor of Germany in 1933, Germany had been ravaged by the Great Depression. About a third of the population was unemployed. The elite which had dominated German society, the government, the armed forces and landed estates were still in a position of power. The German people were demoralised and lacked faith in their government to change things for the better. In short, almost everyone was susceptible to someone who could promise a better way of life. Hitler and the National Socialist party aimed to overcome the rigidity and sterility of the old class structure, which harked back to the Kaiser and the pre-unified Germany. He aimed to create the people's community, the 'Volksgemeinschaft'. Although this may have been seen as including all Germans, in fact it was only those of Aryan background who were able to be part of it. Using a skilled propaganda programme masterminded by Josef Goebbels, Hitler was able to persuade the Germans that they were living in a society where everyone was equal. ...read more.


The Reich Entailed Farm Law of 1933 was intended to protect small farms, which made up more than a third of all German farms. The law said they could only be passed onto one person and couldn't be sold or mortgaged. In principle, this made sense and made farmers appear protected but reality was that it was unsuccessful. Kraft durch Freude (strength through joy) was a policy which set out to create unity and equality among those who qualified. The idea behind was that people could qualify for amazing holidays at very cheap prices. For example they could go on cruises and to films, exhibitions and concerts. There were morale building activities such as sports which helped build a feeling of national pride and a gratitude towards the state which provided it and there is no question that many Germans welcomed the "feel good factor" of national pride. Everyone likes to be part of apparent prosperity success, particularly when the past has been so disappointing. Other values were imposed such as Kinder, Kuche und Kirche (children, kitchen and church) ...read more.


It would appear that people felt more of a part of a 'national community' but the reality was that the basic class structure remained relatively unchanged. Under the Nazis there were successes in the fields of foreign policy, increased economic prosperity and political stability and the Nazis manipulated these through propaganda and terror to create a society that either actively supported the regime, or was too afraid to openly resist it. Although the Weimar Republic had been insecure and unstable, many Germans welcomed the strong leadership, the feeling of national unity and the feeling of normality that replaced it and for many this justified the violence and injustice of the Nazi regime. In conclusion it appeared on the surface that Hitler did create a classless society but in reality this was not the case. Although the population was bonded in a common unity of national pride and common purpose, everything of significance was united under Hitler's control apparently for the greater good but class boundaries still existed and racial boundaries were reinforced. It was a society that made people conform strongly and to expose anyone who didn't. ...read more.

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