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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

Propaganda

- 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

 

Did Hitler Plan the Second World War?

Linked within the debate on how consistent and clear Hitler’s aim to establish a vast empire based on racial purity is to judge whether Hitler intended (and planned) to fight another war (in order to achieve his aims).

Classic Interpretation

* Stereotype of Hitler the warmonger
* Character plotting to take over Eastern Europe and over-run Western Europe
* Opposed and thwarted by a succession of European democracies who acceded to a number of his demands for the sake of peace (appeasement).
* Accepted by many to be the official theory because “…it fits the facts…” (M.Gilbert, 1973).
* A war of this size ‘had’ to be planned – it was not possible for an event of this size to be accidental.
* Accepted teaching and theory that is still being felt today.

Revisionism (1960s onwards)

AJP Taylor dismissed the theory that Hitler was a ‘system-maker’ by arguing that it was counter productive for Hitler to want to destroy present civilization and be the master of very little that remained.
* Taylor suggests that Hitler’s foreign policy (FP) was the legacy of predecessors – they wanted to return Germany to the table of great nations.
* Predictably Taylor was criticized for his academic theory.
* Regarded as an exercise in using the same information to come up with a radically different theory.
o Taylor’s thesis, if nothing else, forced historians to consider alternative ideas and to check their ideas before considering them to be ultimate, concrete and finite.

 

Radical Critics

*
German historians from the ‘Programme School’ have been Taylor’s fiercest critics.
* The Programme thesis relies heavily on a close reading of Mein Kampf and Zweites Buch.
* They suggest (and argue) that Hitler’s FP was remarkably consistent from its initial planning (1920s, Mein Kampf and Zweites Buch) right up to its implementation in 1939.
* They point out that Hitler’s advantage was his flexible approach – sometimes described as vague as well as adaptable.
* Hugh Trevor Roper (1953) pointed out that Mein Kampf was the blueprint for Nazism although it did not contain a timetable of events nor did it declare the order they should be achieved.
* Alan Milward has argued that there was no other intention for Hitler when you consider and analyse his pre-war economic strategy.
* Hitler himself declared in Meim Kampf his distress and hatred of programmes – describing them as simple exercises in gathering power.

Hitler Himself

* Roper and Taylor come to the same conclusion that Hitler was a power-hungry opportunist who managed to exploit the conditions of the day.
* These theories discount Hitler’s will-power, determination and single-minded approach to achieving Germany’s destiny.
* The Programme school point out that there is very little value in accepting what Hitler said (almost on any occasion) to be a precise indication of his immediate intentions.

Balance

* Documentary proof and analysis is scant.
* Many wartime documents are either inaccessibly stored in vaults or have been destroyed.
* What is revealed from high-ranking Nazi diaries and evidence that is left is the consistency of movement eastward in Hitler’s FP planning.
* Moving eastward satisfied national socialists and fulfilled the aims of Nazi FP.


Summary Remarks

* Hitler was not the fantasist, crazy fanatic and pragmatist we have all come to learn and accept – he was everything, at all times, in different measures, for different moments.
* Whether for long-term or short-term goals Hitler had a vision if no written plan.
* He was not consistent in his approach but consistent in his aims.
* Central to his concerns was the purification of Germany and Germans, conquering living space in the east.
* Hitler had no blueprint and no timetable of events.

He combined consistency of aim with complete opportunism in method and tactics.

 

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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