Social Controls

The Nazis took a number of measures to control the lives of the German people. This control was called Gleichschaltung or ‘co-ordination’.

Gleichschaltung Laws

On 31 March 1933, the "First Gleichschaltung Law" dissolved Germany's state parliaments (except Prussia). New state governments were put in place with the same powers as the Reich government.

On 7 April, the "Second Gleichschaltung Law" put a Reich Governor in nearly complete control of each state, apart from Prussia. The governors answered to Interior Minister Wilhelm Frick. Hitler reserved control of Prussia to himself through Hermann Göring.

In April the Law for the Re-establishment of the Professional Civil Service led to the dismissal of Jews and Nazi opponents from the Civil Service.

Anti-Nazi judges were dismissed from the courts.

In May, trade unions were dissolved. The DAF (Deutsche Arbeitsfront - German Labor Front) to which all workers had to belong was introduced in their place.

In 1935 the ‘Acts Hostile to the National Community’ allowed the Nazis to ‘legally’ persecute their opponents.

A range of organisations were set up to which it was virtually compulsory to be a member.

Hitler Youth

Boys joined the Hitler Youth. From the age of six, boys took part in the Pimpfen. At ten they moved to the Deutsches Jungvolk (Young German Boys) before joining the Hitler Youth proper at 14. They were trained to become soldiers and indoctrinated with Nazi ideology.

League of German Maidens

Girls became part of the Jungmädel (Young Maidens) at age ten before entering the Bund Deutscher Mädel (League of German Maidens) at 14. They were taught to be mothers and wives.

The video below looks at youth groups in Nazi Germany.

Stregth through Joy

Kraft durch Freude (Strength through Joy) was set up to control workers' leisure activities. It was designed to keep people too busy to become involved with opposition groups. It also provided people with activities and holidays that they might not otherwise have been able to afford.