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Weimar and Nazi Germany

The Weimar Constitution

The impact of the Treaty of Versailles

1919 -1923: years of crisis?

The Munich Putsch

The Origins of the Nazi Party

Mein Kampf

1924 - 1929: A Golden era?

Gustav Stresemann

German Foreign Policy 1919 to 1933

Germany in the Depression

The Rise of the Nazi party

- Why did people vote for Hitler?

From Chancellor to Fuhrer

The failures of Weimar

Creating a totalitarian state

Nazi methods of control

- Organisation of the Nazi Party

- Obedience to the Fuhrer

Opposition to the Nazi's


- Nazi Ideology

The Economy under the Nazi's

- Schacht

- The 2nd 4 Year Plan

- Evaluation of the 4 Year Plan

- How successful was the policy of Autarky?

- German Labour Front

- Dr Robert Ley

Nazi Foreign Policy

- Did Hitler plan to have a Second World War?

Education in Nazi Germany

Women in Nazi Germany

The Holocaust

- The Jewish Problem in 1933

- Kristallnacht

- Anti-Jewish Legislation

- Policy 1933 - 1937

- Origins of Anti-Semitism


Anti-Jewish Legislation

Most historians agree that Hitler was aware that the public would be more likely to follow him if his persecution of minorities was gradual and cloaked in legality. This explains the large number of individual laws passed in the period 1933-39.


* Deprive Jews of their livelihood, property, citizenship and dignity
* Prevent Jews from mixing with Aryans
* Remove Jews from positions of authority and decision making.
* Convince Jews to migrate from Germany - to make them realise that they had no part within the Reich. (The policy, though, would gradually become more sinister).
* Exclude all non-Aryans from participating in the cultural, social, political, economic and civic life of Nazi Germany.

As we have suggested already, Hitler was not the inventor or conceiver of Anti-Semitism or Anti-Jewish behaviour. It was centuries old and had become quite sophisticated in the new modern democracies and conservative countries of Central and Western Europe. Additionally, Hitler's concern for the rebuilding of the economy and rearmament was not pursued in isolation of other aims and policies. Hitler still introduced some discriminatory measures and legislation. These became known as the 'April Laws' 1933.

1933: (The April Laws)

* Law for the Restoration of the Civil Service
* Law Concerning Admission to the Legal Profession

These laws were designed to make exclusive the profession law and civil service only open to Aryans and Germans. Hitler had to exempt Jews who had served for the Fatherland in WW1 for he was not yet ready to stand up to Hindenburg.

* Decree Regarding Physicians' Services

Designed to prohibit Jewish doctors from working in the state health sector although once again this clause was boycotted by Hindenburg.

* Law Against the Overcrowding of German Schools

Designed to restrict the number of Jewish students in any one school or university to 5% of the total.


Although the April Laws created the platform for the more disturbing and evil marginalisation, separation and division of Jews from Germany society, they did not have the total effect that the Nazi party had wished for. The Hindenburg clauses meant that 70-75% of doctors, lawyers and commercial men remained in their jobs. Within a week the government had to announce that the law only applied to those in upper levels of the civil service as few replacements could be found.

The party activists (especially the SA) were not happy with the laws. They felt let down by Hitler who had promised the entire removal of the Jews from Germany society and business life.

It would take a number of other measures and more legislation to quell the revolutionary zeal in the SA and other radical elements in the party.

* Public book burning ceremonies (May 1933). This was an attack co-ordinated by Goebbels (Minister for Propaganda) that was inspired to whip up anti-Semitism and anti-Jewish intellectualism.
* The creation of the Reich Chamber of Culture (Sept 1933) gave Goebbels wider and more sweeping power to expel Jews from the Arts and Media. Germany was never to fully recover from this loss.

The situation of the Jews into 1934 was still vague but had stabilised a little. Only 23,000 decided it was time to leave Germany altogether. Some 10,000 even returned in early 1935. Arbitrary terror and discrimination were continuous but the regime, though, still seemed tame and fairly mild.

What was most puzzling for German Jews was the obsessive propaganda and notices across Germany that ridiculed the Jew and mocked their citizenship. It was citizenship that was next under threat.


Essential Revision

Key Issues:

  1. How far did Germany recover under Stresemann?
  2. How did the Nazi party develop, upto 1929?
  3. How did Hitler become Chancellor?
  4. Howdid Hitler create a dictatorship?
  5. What were the main features of Totalitarian rule?
  6. What were the benefits of Nazi rule?

Full Germany revision section






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