LIFE IN NAZI GERMANY PROJECT
Daily Life in Nazi Germany
After assuming political power, Adolph Hitler decided to implement his mission of reviving German strength, acquiring territory for more living space or Lebensraum, and establishing a foundation of a pure racial state. In order to achieve his goals, Hitler needed to create a national community unified in mind, will, and spirit. (Volksgemeinschaft).
Volksgemeinschaft could only be attained through total state control; therefore, every area of cultural and social life had to be controlled to achieve Nazi ideals. Culture, the press, movies, and children’s activities were among the many aspects of daily life controlled by the Nazis.
In order to control information and propaganda, controls were placed on the entertainment and communications industries. Hitler authorized the establishment of the Reich Chamber of Culture and appointed Joseph Gobbles as Minister of Propaganda. The Reich Chamber of Culture consisted of seven divisions: music, theater, literature, radio broadcasting, the press, visual arts, and film. The Chamber of Culture was mainly only established to keep undesirables such as Jews and other minorities out.
All German newspapers were brought under the control of the Eher Verlag, the Nazi publishing house where propaganda articles were pre-written for the newspapers to use. Buildings in Germany were meant to last a thousand years and were built to represent mediaeval themes. Film in Nazi Germany glorified the party, Adolph Hitler, and martyrdom for Nazism.
In their desire to establish a total state, the Nazis understood the importance of “selling” their ideology to the youth. To accomplish this, Hitler established Nazi youth groups. Boys’ age ten to fourteen years old participated in the “Jungvolk”, and boys fourteen to eighteen years old participated in the “Hitler Jugend”. Both groups’ took up military values and virtues, such as duty, obedience, honor, courage, strength, and ruthlessness. Uniforms and regular military drills whould accompany ceremonies honoring the war dead. Most importantly, the Hitler Youth did their utmost to teach the youth of Germany the views of the Nazi party. Youth leaders developed in the youth of Germany a sense of patriotism and utter devotion to Adolph Hitler. By 1939, when membership in the Hitler Youth became compulsory, each new member of the Jungvolk was required to take an oath to the Fuhrer swearing total allegiance.
Young girls were also a part of the Hitler Youth in Nazi Germany. Girls age ten to fourteen were members of the Jungmadel, while girls fourteen to eighteen belonged to the Bund Deutscher Madel. Hitler youth girls were taught obedience and discipline. Girls were taught to be dutiful wives and mothers.
Members of the Bund Deutscher Madel were educated in the skills needed for domestic chores, nursing, and hygiene.
Daily life in Nazi Germany was manipulated from the beginning of Nazi rule. Propaganda dominated popular culture and entertainment. Finally, Hitler and the party realized the possibilities of controlling Germany’s youth as a means of continuing the Reich, and insuring total control over a future generation.
Women in Nazi Germany
In the (NSDAP) programme of 25 points published in 1920 stated that it disapproved of women working. claimed that the emancipation of women was a slogan invented by intellectuals. He argued that for the German woman her "world is her husband, her family, her children, and her home."
The view that women should remain at home was reinforced when a third of male workers lost their jobs and became during the depression in the 1930s. Nazis argued that men were being replaced by female workers who, on average, only received 66% of men's wages.
During the election campaign in 1932, promised that if he gained power he would take 800,000 women out of employment within four years. In August 1933 a law was passed that enabled married couple to obtain loans to set up homes and start families. To pay for this single men and childless couples were taxed more heavily.
The decline in after the Nazis gained power meant that it was not necessary to force women out of manual work. However, action was taken to reduce the number of women working in the professions. Married women doctors and civil servants were dismissed in 1934 and from June 1936 women could no longer act as judges or public prosecutors. Hitler's hostility to women was shown by his decision to make them ineligible to jury service because he believed them to be unable to "think logically or reason objectively, since they are ruled only by emotion." As such the decrease in unemployment was probably less then the figure state becouse many women were forced out of work.
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When came to power in 1933 he appointed as Reich Women's Leader and head of the Nazi Women's League. Scholtz-Klink's main task was to emphasize male superiority and the importance of child-bearing. In one speech she pointed out that "the mission of woman is to minister in the home and in her profession to the needs of life from the first to last moment of man's existence."
In July 1934 Scholtz-Klink was appointed as head of the Women's Bureau in the German Labour Front. She now had responsibility for persuading women to work for the good of the Nazi government. In 1938 she argued that "the German woman must work and work, physically and mentally she must renounce luxury and pleasure."
Once girls reached the age of 10 they could join the Jungmadel, one of the sections of the . At 14 they entered the Bund Deutscher Madel. (). This included a year of farm or domestic service. They were trained by female guardians and their overall leader was .
In the year before the Nazis came to power there were 18,315 women students in Germany's universities. By 1939 this number had fallen to 5,447. However, during the the trend was reversed as men were called out to join the German armed forces and by 1944 there were 28,378 women students. This shows that Hitler’s views were contradictory,
Hitler's outspoken anti-feminism drove large numbers of women to join left-wing political groups. In October, 1933, the Nazis opened the first for women at Moringen. By 1938 the camp was unable to accommodate the growing number of women prisoners and a second one was built at Lichtenburg in Saxony. The following year another one was opened in Ravensbruck.
"Whoever has the youth has the future."
Hitler believed that children in the Nazi regime were more likely to become believers and followers. He paid great attention to their training via, a combination of education and the Hitler Youth movement.
All teachers had to be vetted by local Nazi party officials. Children were encouraged to inform the authorities if a teacher said something that didn’t comply with the Nazi school curriculum.
History was based on the glory of Germany. The German defeat in 1918 was explained as the work of Jewish spies weakening the system from within. The national resurgence started under Hitler’s leadership.
Hitler hated Jews, and his intention to purge Europe of all Jews, meant that he needed to make the idea of hatred of Jews acceptable. From the age of six, children were taught about the differences between a ‘true’ German and a Jew and weren't allowed to leave school without "a complete knowledge of the necessity and meaning of blood purity."
Hitler Youth was for 10-18year olds, and eventually failure to enrol your child became a criminal offence. Hitler wanted to ensure children had little free time to think for themselves. The aim was to instill solid Nazi beliefs in the children.
In 1936, Hitler banned all alternative youth movements and forced Catholic youth organizations to shutdown. Those who disobeyed were arrested.
Hitler believed that the Catholic Church had a "dangerous hold on the hearts and minds of the German Catholic population". Priests like Joseph Spieker who preached that Christ was the only leader of Germany were arrested or mysteriously disappeared
The Church in was subjected to as much pressure as any other organization in Germany. Any perceived threat to could not be tolerated - and the churches of Germany potentially presented the Nazis with numerous threats.
In 1933, the Catholic Church had viewed the Nazis as a barrier to the spread of communism from . In this year, Hitler and the Catholic Church signed an agreement that he would not interfere with the Catholic Church while the Church would not comment on politics. However, this only lasted until 1937, when Hitler started a concerted attack on the Catholic Church arresting priests etc. In 1937, the pope, Pius XI, issued his "Mit brennender Sorge" statement ("With burning anxiety") over what was going on in Germany. However, there was never a total clampdown on the Catholic Church in Germany. It was a world-wide movement with much international support.
The Protestant Church was really a collection of a number of churches - hence they were easier to deal with. The Protestants themselves were split. The "German Christians" were lead by Ludwig Muller who believed that any member of the church who had Jewish ancestry should be sacked from the church. Muller supported Hitler and in 1933 he was given the title of "Reich Bishop".
BISHOP Ludwig Muller, leader of the Reich Church in Germany, greets Adolf Hitler during World War II. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German pastor who protested the church's alliance with the Nazi regime, is the subject of a new documentary, “Bonhoeffer." (Photos courtesy of Journey Films/RNS)
Those who opposed the views of Muller were called the "Congressional Church". This was lead by Martin Niemoller. He was famous in Germany as he had been a World War One U-boat captain. Therefore, he was potentially an embarrassing foe to the Nazis. Regardless of this, he was not safe from the who arrested him for opposing Hitler. Niemoller was sent to a concentration camp for 7 years where he was kept in solitary confinement. Many other Confessional Church members suffered the same fate.
In 1936, the Reich Church was created. This did not have the Christian cross as its symbol but the swastika. The Bible was replaced by "Mein Kampf" which was placed on the altar. By it was a sword. Only invited Nazis were allowed to give sermons in a Reich Church.
A procession of the Reich Church
In 1941, a secret report compiled by Protestants stated that children in Germany were being brought up minus a Christian education. It stated that the Nazis confiscated vast areas of church property and that the Catholic Church in Germany was suffering from the same fate.
People in general
Ordinary Germans had little to fear if they remained ‘good Nazis’ and law-abiding citizens. They were encouraged to report suspicious behavior by friends or neighbors, and there were even incidences of the younger, indoctrinated generation reporting their parents to the authorities
The police were allowed to arrest people on suspicion that they were about to do wrong and all local police units had lists of potential ‘Enemies of the State’. This list was given to the Gestapo, secret police, who from 1936 onwards were free from review by law courts, and therefore had the power to do as they pleased.
Those who were arrested were transported to a concentration camp and stayed there until it was felt they had learnt their lesson. The Nazis encouraged Germans to spy on their Jewish friends, and it was very common for Jews to be tortured and forced to confess to crimes they hadn’t committed. Once in a concentration camp, an arrested Jew was treated especially appallingly, with twice the beatings, and half the food rations of the other inmates.
Once in power began to openly express anti-Semitic ideas. This however was not the beginning of anti-Semitism in Germany.
There had been anti-Semitism for a long time in the western world. In the ancient Roman Empire, for example, the religion and special ways of worship the jews had was used against them and very few Jews were admitted to Roman citizenship. Since the 4th century AD, Jews have been regarded by Christians as the killers of Jesus Christ. With the rise and eventual supremacy of Christianity throughout the Western world, prejudice against Jews on religious grounds became universal and logical.
In Germany, the process of Jewish emancipation was completed with the formation of the German Empire in 1871. Although legal reforms put an end to discrimination on religious grounds, hostility, based on racism, grew. Racist theories that had been formulated during the preceding decades provided the basis for a new grouping of anti-Semitic political parties after the Franco-Prussian War and the economic crash of 1873. The German political scene was marked by the presence of at least one openly anti-Semitic party until 1933, when anti-Semitism became the official policy of the government under the Nazi.
Based on his readings of how blacks were denied in the southern states in America, Hitler attempted to make life so unpleasant for Jews in Germany that they would emigrate. The campaign started on 1st April, 1933, when a one-day boycott of Jewish-owned shops took place. Members of the picketed the shops to ensure the boycott was successful.
The hostility of towards Jews increased in Germany. This was reflected in the decision by many shops and restaurants not to serve the Jewish population. Placards saying "Jews not admitted" and "Jews enter this place at their own risk" began to appear all over Germany. In some parts of the country Jews were banned from public parks, swimming-pools and public transport.
Germans were also encouraged not to use Jewish doctors and lawyers. Jewish civil servants, teachers were sacked. Members of the SA put pressure on people not to buy goods produced by Jewish companies.
Many Jewish people who could no longer earn a living left the country. The number of Jews emigrating increased after the passing of the Nuremberg Laws on Citizenship and Race in 1935. Under this new law Jews could no longer be citizens of Germany. It was also made illegal for Jews to marry Aryans.These laws made Jews sub-human to a degree that not even the Germans themselves started to believe that they were animals. Anyone found guilty of conducting such relationships faced a lengthy imprisonment; after the outbreak of World War II in 1939 such “offences” became punishable by death.
“(1) Law for the Protection of German Blood and German Honour (15th September, 1935)
Imbued with the insight that the purity of German blood is prerequisite for the continued existence of the German people and inspired by the inflexible will to ensure the existence of the German nation for all times, the Reichstag has unanimously adopted the following law, which is hereby promulgated:
(1) Marriages between Jews and subjects of German or kindred blood are forbidden. Marriages nevertheless concluded are invalid, even if concluded abroad to circumvent this law.
(2) Only the state attorney may initiate the annulment suit.
Extramarital intercourse between Jews and subjects of German or kindred blood is forbidden.
Jews must not employ in their households female subjects of German or kindred blood who are under forty-five years old.
(1) Jews are forbidden to fly the Reich and national flag and to display the Reich colors.
(2) They are, on the other hand, allowed to display the Jewish colors. The exercise of this right enjoys the protection of the state.”
According to , Jews were responsible for everything he did not like, including modern art, pornography and prostitution. Hitler also alleged that the Jews had been responsible for losing the . Hitler also claimed that Jews, who were only about 1% of the population, were slowly taking over the country. They were doing this by controlling the largest political party in Germany, the , many of the leading companies and several of the country's newspapers. The fact that Jews had achieved prominent positions in a democratic society was, according to Hitler, an argument against democracy: "a hundred blockheads do not equal one man in wisdom."
Hitler believed that the Jews were involved with Communists in a joint conspiracy to take over the world. Hitler claimed that 75% of all Communists were Jews. Hitler argued that the combination of Jews and Marxists had already been successful in Russia and now threatened the rest of Europe. He argued that the communist revolution was an act of revenge that attempted to disguise the inferiority of the Jews.
Kristallnacht, ”Night of Broken Glass”, name given to an incident that took place in Nazi Germany, on the night of November 9-10, 1938, in which a coordinated attack was made on Jews and their property, it refers to the shattered glass that was left after that night of savage violence. The preface was the assassination in Paris of a German diplomat, Ernst vom Rath, by a young German Jew, Hirsch Grynszpan, this enraged Hitler so much that he unleashed the Hitler Youth and the SS on Germany's last 300,000 Jews. There followed 24 hours of unprecedented violence, in which 91 Jews were killed, hundreds injured, and more than 30,000 arrested and sent to concentration camps. Before their release three months later, over a thousand of these had been murdered. But the night of November 9 was remembered not so much for the murders and arrests as for the destruction of tens of thousands of Jewish shops, businesses, and synagogues, which were systematically smashed and burned. After Kristallnacht the Jews of Germany (who were debarred by law from claiming insurance indemnities) were made to pay a fine of a thousand million marks for the damage. The fine was raised by confiscating 20 per cent of the property of each Jew. A decree to this effect was promulgated on November 12, and on November 15 Jewish children were formally forbidden to attend German schools. In retrospect, it is clear that Kristallnacht was the beginning of the Third Reich's deliberate policy of exterminating the Jewish race in Europe—which it called the “Final Solution”.
The Berlin games in 1936, was a chance for Hitler to show the world that Germany had changed. Berlin looked better then ever before. However there was one significant problem, the Jews, they were on the streets; they had no jobs, no income, no pride, and no life. They looked inhuman in the way they were treated and the way they looked. What did Hitler do about the Jews in the running up to the Berlin Games? What he did was to shove all the Jews out of Berlin. Shoved them into ghettoes so packed so even a mouse could be fitted in. restricted Jews from buying any kind of transportation device. Every thing was ready for the Olympics. All that Hitler had to do now was prove the Aryan race was superior in everyway compared to Jews and all others. Why did this not go to plan even though the German team won many events? That is because; the real hero of the games was Jesse Owens. He dominated the track wining gold. However Hitler did not agree with this.
A number of outstanding achievements and records have made Jesse Owens one of the most famous athletes in history. His paramount victory at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin was made even more memorable when Adolf Hitler refused to award Owens his four gold medals because he was black.
At the Wannsee Conference held on 20th January 1942, chaired a meeting to consider what to do with the large number of inmates in Germany's . Also at the meeting were , and .
Those at the meeting eventually decided on what became known as the . From that date the extermination of the Jews became a systematically organized operation. It was decided to establish in the east that had the capacity to kill large numbers including Belzec (15,000 a day), Sobibor (20,000), Treblinka (25,000) and Majdanek (25,000).
It has been estimated that between 1942 and 1945 around 18 million were sent to extermination camps. Of these, historians have estimated that between five and eleven million were killed.
A month after the beginning of mobile operations in the occupied USSR, the second in command of Nazi Germany, Hermann Göring, sent a directive to the chief of the Reich Security Main Office, Reinhard Heydrich, charging him with the task of organizing a “final solution to the Jewish question” in all of German-dominated Europe. By September 1941, the Jews of Germany were forced to wear badges or armbands marked with a yellow star. In the following months, tens of thousands were deported to ghettos in Poland and to cities wrested from the USSR. Even as that movement was under way, the stage was set for another innovation: the concentration camp.
Camps equipped with facilities for gassing people were built in occupied Poland. Most prospective victims were to be deported to these killing centres from ghettos nearby. More than 300,000 were removed from the Warsaw ghetto alone. The first transports were usually filled with women, children, or old men, who could not work; Jews capable of labour were retained in shops or plants, but they too were eventually killed. The heaviest deportations occurred in the summer and autumn of 1942. The destinations of the transports were not disclosed to the Jewish communities, but reports of mass deaths eventually reached the surviving Jews, as well as the governments of the United States and Great Britain. In April 1943, the 65,000 remaining Jews of Warsaw offered resistance to German police who entered the ghetto in a final roundup. The battle lasted for three weeks.
Auschwitz, near Kraków, was the largest death camp. Unlike the others, it used quick-working hydrogen cyanide for the gassings. The victims of Auschwitz came from all over Europe: Norway, France, the Low Countries, Italy, Germany, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland, Yugoslavia, and Greece. A large inmate population, Jewish and non-Jewish, was employed by industry; some prisoners were subjected to medical experiments, particularly sterilizations. Although only Jews and Gypsies were gassed routinely, several hundred thousand other Auschwitz inmates died from starvation, disease, or shooting. To erase the traces of destruction, large crematoria were built so that the bodies of the gassed could be incinerated. In 1944 the camp was photographed by Allied reconnaissance aircraft in search of industrial targets; its factories, but not its gas chambers, were bombed.
Areas I got information for this project
School text book “Germany 1918-1945”
“Mein Kampf” Hitler’s autobiography
And other sources