The nature of the Nazi Government

The Nazi Government took ideas from Hitler's book.

  • The Führer Principle - there must be one political party and one leader.
  • Racism - Germans were seen as the 'Master Race' and all other races were viewed asinferior. Jewish people and Slavs were regarded as subhuman. Nazis thought all inferior races had to be removed or made slaves.
  • Lebensraum (living space) - Germany needed more land to allow the Master Race to grow.
  • Autarky - meaning that Germany must be economically self-sufficient and not dependent on goods imported from abroad.

Control of Germany

Hitler introduced many policies and measures to keep control of Germany.

Control through fear and oppression

Germans were too scared to disobey Nazi laws. They were intimidated and treated violently.

The Gestapo

  • The Gestapo was the Nazis secret police which spied on Germans.
  • It had over 150,000 informants who would also spy on Germans.
  • The Gestapo and their informants did not wear uniforms so no one knew if they were being spied on.
  • They had powers to arrest and imprison those they thought were enemies of the Nazi Party. These people were often violently questioned or sent to concentration camps.

The SS

The SS were in charge of the concentration camps, where ‘undesirable people’ were imprisoned.

These ‘undesirable people’ included:

  • Jewish people
  • Gypsies
  • political opponents
  • homosexuals
  • criminals
  • religious figures
Prisoners in one of the holocaust camps
Prisoners in one of the holocaust camps

Life in the concentration camps was extremely harsh. Prisoners were made to work in horrendous conditions. Stories of what prisoners experienced increased fear among the German population.

The arrest and disappearance of thousands of people, then their reappearance with tales of the concentration camps, terrified the population.