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Changing life in Germany


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How did Nazi political policy affect life in Germany?

Extending political control

The Nazis made sure that the German people supported them by using terror and inciting fear.

The SS and the Gestapo

1925 – The SS established as part of the SA, but a more disciplined unit, with black uniform.

1929 – Under Henrich Himmler's, leadership, and as a result of the Night of the Long Knives in 1934, the SS became the most important military group in Germany. It was divided into three sections:

  • Safety
  • Waffen SS – the armed forces’ most devoted and dependable unit
  • Killing unit – Concentration Camps during the Second World War

By 1936 the SS controlled the police, including the Gestapo (Geheime Staatspolizei).

The Gestapo was established in Prussia in 1933 by Hermann Goering.

  • 1936 – the Gestapo’s control over the rest of Germany extended, linked with the SS, Reinhard Heydrich is leader
  • Activity – torturing in order to obtain a confession
  • Purpose – looking for enemies of the Third Reich
  • Responsible for Dachau, April 1933
  • 1934–39 - 534 people sentenced to death.
  • 1939 - 160,000 people arrested for political crimes


Propaganda was important to the Nazis – it was everywhere.

They used different types of propaganda via different media to appeal to all levels of society.

Control over the legal system

Control over the legal system

Control over the legal system

1934: The People's Court - To put the state's enemies on trial.

1939 - Sentenced over 500 to death and others to a concentration camp.

The death penalty

1933 - Three sentenced to death

1943 - As many as 46 sentenced to death, eg for listening to a foreign radio station, publishing leaflets condemning the government.

Judges had to support the Nazi party, and had to be members of the National Socialist Alliance for Law and Order.

October 1933 – 10,000 lawyers swear an oath to the Führer.

Control over central and regional government

Control over central and regional government

Control over central and regional government

Hitler was the head of the Third Reich, and the country was controlled according to the Führer's will. A group of Nazi leaders implemented the government’s policies.

1934 – every province was abolished and placed under central control:

  • 32 regions (Gaue), with a Reich governor
  • A Gauleiter, in charge of each Gaue
  • Each Gau included 760 areas - Kreise
  • Each Kreis included 21,354 groups - Orstgruppe
  • Each Orstgruppe included 70,000 cells - Zellen
  • Each Zellen included 400,000 blocks - Blocke
  • Each Blocke included 30–40 houses/flats


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