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
1924 - 1929: A Golden era?
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
- 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
Education in Nazi Germany
Women in Nazi Germany
- The Jewish Problem in 1933
- Anti-Jewish Legislation
- Policy 1933 - 1937
- Origins of Anti-Semitism
of the Nazi Party.
The Nazi Party was formed as the German Workers party by Anton Drexler,
Dietrich Eckhart and Gottfried Feder in 1919. Drexler, who was the original
leader of the party, had strong nationalistic views and was anti-semitic.
This small political party was noted by the armed forces as being a potential
Socialist threat and a spy, Adolf Hitler, was sent to investigate the
party to assess how much of a threat the party was. Hitler became fascinated
with the politics of the group, and began an active participation in the
activities of the German Workers Party. This led to him rapidly becoming
the member of the GWP executive responsible for propaganda and in turn
his skills as a public speaker led to him becoming the mouthpiece of the
His skills as a political speaker and his assertive manner within party
meetings soon led to Hitler becoming the recognised leader of the party.
It was he who then began to formulate policies. This culminated in the
production, in 1920, of a 25 point programme or manifesto. This outlined
the aims of the NSDAP (The Party name had by now been changed from 'German
Workers party'). The programme, along with Hitler's speeches, illustrates
what the ideology of the party was in its early days and, via speeches,
how these ideals and aims might be put into practice.
To read the full 25 point programme, click
The programme is a curious mixture of ideas ranging from demands for
the Unification of Germany through to the expulsion of Jews from the German
nation. Economic ideals are noted also in the programme: Nationalisation
of corporations, land reform and welfare policies are all suggested. Thus
a basis was in place from which the party could sell its programme to
a wide audience.
In 1923 Hitler and his party found Bavaria, where they were based, in
a state of chaos. Along with other right wing groups the Nazi's sensed
the opportunity to take control and begin the National Socialist Revolution.
This led to the Munich Putsch,
which though a failure, propelled Hitler into the National arena as his
trial was widely publicised and the relatively lenient sentence he received
had a consequence of breaking a coalition government (Socialists withdrew
from the coalition led by Stresemann, resulting in a new coalition being
Hitler used his imprisonment to rethink the strategy of the NSDAP. Whilst
serving his sentence he wrote the first edition of Mein Kampf, "My
Struggle". This book outlined the history of Hitler's political development
and in the section section of the book goes on to discuss political ideology
and the way forward. The full text of Mein Kampf is available online at
Whilst imprisoned HItler made several decisions that would radically
alter the way forward for the Nazi Party. He realised that a revolution
of the kind attempted in Munich was unlikely to succeed. Therefore his
revolution would have to be a legal one, via the democratic process. This
decision changes the manner in which the Nazi Party must organise itself,
and the way in which it sells its ideas. From this point onwards, there
is a clear attempt at a broader sectoral appeal, with the Nazi propaganda
machine becoming increasingly significant. Hitler knew that he had to
convince the masses that National Socialism was right for them - and his
time in prison allowed him the time to plan for this.
Nazi Party methodology in the period leading up to, and including, the
Propaganda is a means of advertising a political idea. In the case of
the NSDAP in its early days this took the form of posters, public meetings
/ speeches and a conscious decision to present the party in a particular
Posters: Click on these thumbnails to see larger versions
of these examples of early Nazi Propaganda.
"Citizens! Do not believe that the Germany
of misfortune and misery, the nation of corruption and usury,
the land of Jewish corruption, can be saved by parties that claim
to stand on a foundation of facts. Never!"
This poster advertised a speech that Hitler was due to make in
Another early example of a Nazi poster, again inviting
people to attend a speech by Adolf Hitler in Munich. The choice
of colours here is deliberate. Red was believed to 'arouse the
opponents' of National Socialism - and of course, is highly visible
and therefore attracts more attention.
This poster dates from 1921.
|Following the failure of the Munich Putsch it is noticeable
that the design of the Propaganda posters alters quite radically.
Early posters such as these are largely text based, make use of
rhetoric and entice the passer by through use of striking background
colours and carefully chosen slogans. Later examples of Propaganda
Posters tend to be image based, portraying the strength of National
Socialism, portraying Germany as the Fatherland etc.
This example of Hitters use of Rhetoric as a Propaganda tool dates from
May 1923, at the time when French and Belgian troops were occupying the
Ruhr and hyperinflation was at its peek. In it Hitler appeals to the National
Pride of the people and plays on the economic crisis and its consequences.
|My dear fellow Germans!
When Cuno became Chancellor of the German Reich people said that
the failure of the policy of compliance necessitated a change
in the leadership of the Reich. What did the policy of compliance
mean then? That's very simple: you must try as far as possible
to satisfy your adversary's demands so as to make Germany's recovery
possible. It was unimportant whether or not there was any legal
basis for these demands. No state could do more than Germany to
fulfil them. But the German People are required to make reparations
which exceed the entire wealth of the nation. So these requirements
must have a very definite purpose, an agenda which goes far beyond
economics. France does not want reparations; it wants the destruction
of Germany, the fulfilment of an age-old dream; a Europe dominated
"Reparations" are nothing but a "legal device"
intended to bring a state to its knees with a facade of legality,
to destroy the fabric of a nation and to replace one state with
a conglomeration of small states which consume and destroy each
So the only way that the Government could satisfy France was
by liquidating the German Reich, by bringing about its dissolution.
Satisfying France is not an economic but a political question.
This was what caused the downfall of Dr. Wirth. To satisfy France
he would have to destroy Germany; that he cannot do; and what
he can do, will not satisfy France... But it is the fire in the
hearts of Germany's young folk which will bring us ultimate victory.
It will be they who will sustain the state which they will create
for themselves. New young warriors are coming forward in Germany,
young men who have already shed their blood for their Fatherland
but know full well that because of those who rule Germany today
their blood was shed in vain. The parliamentarians do not enjoy
the respect of the nation; they have to pass protective legislation
to defend themselves. Germany can be saved only by the dictatorship
of the national will and determination to take action.
People ask: is there someone fit to be our leader? Our task is
not to search for that person. Either God will give him to us
or he will not come. Our task is to shape the sword that he will
need when he comes. Our task it to provide the leader with a nation
which is ready for him when he comes!
My fellow Germans, awaken! The new day is dawning!
Source Material illustrating Hitler's early ideological beliefs:
|For us there are only two possibilities: either we remain German
or we come under the thumb of the Jews. This latter must not occur;
even if we are small, we are a force. A well-organized group can conquer
a strong enemy. If you stick close together and keep bringing in new
people, we will be victorious over the Jews.
Hitler, 9th November 1921. Munich.
|Besides this we always find two great catchwords,
'Freedom' and 'Democracy,' used, I might say, as signboards. 'Freedom':
under that term is understood, at least amongst those in authority
who in fact carry on the Government, the possibility of an unchecked
plundering of the masses of the people to which no resistance can
be offered. The masses themselves naturally believe that under the
term 'freedom' they possess the right to a quite peculiar freedom
of motion - freedom to move the tongue and to say what they choose,
freedom to move about the streets, etc. A bitter deception!
And the same is true of democracy. In general even in the early
days both England and France had already been bound with the fetters
of slavery. With, I might say, a brazen security these States
are fettered with Jewish chain s....
Adolf Hitler, 28th April 1922. Munich
The essential character of the November-Republic is to be seen
in the comings and goings to London, to Spa, to Paris and Genoa.
Subserviency towards the enemy, surrender of the human dignity
of the German, pacifist cowardice, tolerance of every indignity,
readiness to agree to everything until nothing more remains. This
November Republic bore the stamp of the men who made it. The name
'November criminals' will cling to these folk throughout the centuries....
Adolf Hitler, 12th September 1923. Munich.
|In the economic sphere this Revolution has proved to be an immense
misfortune. The districts which were most important for the feeding
of our people were lost and districts which are the condition for
the feeding of the nation have been treasonably alienated. And what
did the Revolution not prophesy for us in the political sphere?
One heard of the right of Self-Determination of Peoples, of the
League of Nations, of Self-Government of the People. And what was
the result? A World Peace, but a World Peace over a Germany which
was but a field of corpses. Disarmament, but only the disarmament
of Germany, with Germany looting its own resources. Self-determination,
yes, but self-determination for every Negro tribe: and Germany does
not count as a Negro tribe. League of Nations, yes: but a League
of Nations which serves only as the guarantor for the fulfillment
of the Peace Treaty, not for a better world order which is to come.
And government by the people - for five years past no one has asked
the people what it thinks of the act of November of the year 1918:
at the head of the Reich there stands a President who is rejected
by the overwhelming majority of the people and who has not been
chosen by the people. Seventeen million Germans are in misery under
Hardly ever in five years has so much been torn away from the
German nation as in these years of the so-called successful Revolution.
We have been rendered defenseless: we are without rights: we have
become the pariahs of the world. What are our organs of government
today but organs for executing the will of foreign tyrants? .
Adolf Hitler, 12th September 1923. Munich.
For us it was a filthy crime against the German people, a stab
in the back of the German nation. The middle class could not take
up arms against it because the middle class did not understand
the whole revolution. It was necessary to start a new struggle
and to incite against the Marxist despoilers of the people who
did not even belong to the German race - which is where the Marxist
problem is linked with the race problem, forming one of the most
difficult and profound questions of our time....
Adolf Hitler, speaking at his trial. 26th
February 1924. Munich.
|The cure of a sickness can only be achieved if its cause is known,
and the same is true of curing political evils. To be sure, the
outward form of a sickness, its symptom which strikes the eye, is
easier to see and discover than the inner cause. And this is the
reason why so many people never go beyond the recognition of external
effects and even confuse them with the cause, attempting, indeed,
to deny the existence of the latter. Thus most of us primarily see
the German collapse only in the general economic misery and the
consequences arising there from. Nearly every one of us must personally
suffer these-a cogent ground for every individual to understand
the catastrophe. Much less does the great mass see the collapse
in its political, cultural, ethical, and moral aspect. In this the
feeling and understanding of many fail completely.
That this should be so among the broad masses may still pass, but
for even the circles of the intelligentsia to regard the German
collapse as primarily an 'economic catastrophe,' which can therefore
be cured by economic means, is one of the reasons why a recovery
has hitherto been impossible. Only when it is understood that here,
too, economics is only of second or third-rate importance, and the
primary role falls to factors of politics, ethics, morality, and
blood, will we arrive at an understanding of the present calamity,
and thus also be able to find the ways and means for a cure.
The question of the causes of the German collapse is, therefore,
of decisive importance, particularly for a political movement whose
very goal is supposed to be to quell the defeat.
But, in such research into the past, we must be very careful not
to confuse the more conspicuous effects with the less visible causes.
The easiest and hence most widespread explanation of the present
misfortune is that it was brought about by the consequences of the
lost War and that therefore the War is the cause of the present
Adolf Hitler, Chapter 10, Volume
1. Mein Kampf.
No more than Nature desires the mating of weaker
with stronger individuals, even less does she desire the blending
of a higher with a lower race, since, if she did, her whole work
of higher breeding, over perhaps hundreds of thousands of years,
night be ruined with one blow.
Historical experience offers countless proofs of this. It shows
with terrifying clarity that in every mingling of Aryan blood
with that of lower peoples the result was the end of the cultured
people. North America, whose population consists in by far the
largest part of Germanic elements who mixed but little with the
lower colored peoples, shows a different humanity and culture
from Central and South America, where the predominantly Latin
immigrants often mixed with the aborigines on a large scale. By
this one example, we can clearly and distinctly recognize the
effect of racial mixture. The Germanic inhabitant of the American
continent, who has remained racially pure and unmixed, rose to
be master of the continent; he will remain the master as long
as he does not fall a victim to defilement of the blood.
The result of all racial crossing is therefore in brief always
- Lowering of the level of the higher race;
- Physical and intellectual regression and hence the beginning
of a slowly but surely progressing sickness.
Adolf Hitler, Chapter 11, Volume 1. Mein
The State is only a means to an end. Its end and its purpose
is to preserve and promote a community of human beings who are
physically as well as spiritually kindred. Above all, it must
preserve the existence of the race, thereby providing the indispensable
condition for the free development of all the forces dormant in
this race. A great part of these faculties will always have to
be employed in the first place to maintain the physical existence
of the race, and only a small portion will be free to work in
the field of intellectual progress. But, as a matter of fact,
the one is always the necessary counterpart of the other.
Those States which do not serve this purpose have no justification
for their existence. They are monstrosities. The fact that they
do exist is no more of a justification than the successful raids
carried out by a band of pirates can be considered a justification
We National Socialists, who are fighting for a new philosophy
of life must never take our stand on the famous 'basis of facts',
and especially not on mistaken facts. If we did so, we should
cease to be the protagonists of a new and great idea and would
become slaves in the service of the fallacy which is dominant
today. We must make a clear-cut distinction between the vessel
and its contents. The State is only the vessel and the race is
what it contains. The vessel can have a meaning only if it preserves
and safeguards the contents. Otherwise it is worthless.
Adolf Hitler, Chapter 2, Volume 2. Mein
*Hitler had experience of public speaking. In May 1919 he had been recruited
as a Political officer by the German Army after he had convinced officers
that he had opposed the Socialist uprising in Bavaria. He had quickly
developed his rhetoric and was well aware of ways of convincing disillusioned
soldiers that a common enemy was the true reason behind germany's defeat
and the Treaty of Versailles. These are themes that Hitler would return
to time and again during his rise to power and whilst Fuhrer of the Third
- How far did Germany recover under Stresemann?
- How did the Nazi party develop, upto 1929?
- How did Hitler become Chancellor?
- Howdid Hitler create a dictatorship?
- What were the main features of Totalitarian
- What were the benefits of Nazi rule?
Full Germany revision