Nazi control of Germany

Nazi control of Germany

Control Over Individuals

  • Gestapo, the secret police, closely monitored the citizens to suppress opposition. Arrests, interrogations and executions were used to cultivate fear.
  • Censorship and control of media were pivotal. They ensured that people saw and heard only Nazi-approved content.
  • Propaganda was also used heavily to indoctrinate citizens into accepting Nazi ideology and to create the cult personality around Hitler.

Education and Youth Organisations

  • The Nazis took control of the education system, changing syllabuses to teach Nazi ideologies, emphasising racial purity and obedience.
  • Nazi ideas were propagated through organisations like the Hitler Youth, aimed for boys, and the League of German Girls.

Persecution and Anti-Semitism

  • The Nazis implemented severe, systematic persecution of groups they deemed racially or socially undesirable, such as Jews, Roma people and homosexuals.
  • Anti-Semitic policies, such as The Nuremberg Laws (1935), deprived German Jews of their rights, leading to their marginalisation and culminating in the Holocaust.
  • The Kristallnacht (Night of Broken Glass) in 1938, where Jewish shops, homes and synagogues were attacked, marked a significant escalation of anti-Semitism.

Economic Controls

  • Hitler introduced a Four Year Plan in 1936, focused on preparing Germany for war by boosting the armaments industry, which also reduced unemployment.
  • The German Labour Front (DAF) controlled workers and promoted loyalty to the Reich. They boosted morale with schemes such as “Strength Through Joy”, offering affordable holidays and leisure activities.

The Nazi State

  • Hitler’s regime introduced Gleichschaltung - coordination of all institutions under Nazi control. This extended to businesses, local government and churches.
  • The Enabling Act (1933) fundamentally transformed Germany into a dictatorship, allowing Hitler to make laws without Reichstag’s consent.
  • Hitler consolidated his power following President Hindenburg’s death in 1934, by merging the roles of Chancellor and President, becoming Führer.

The Church

  • The state sought to control churches part of the Reich Church to promote Nazi Christian values.
  • Oppositional religious leaders, such as those part of the Confessional Church, were arrested and churches were watched by the Gestapo.