Alongside control and suppression, the Nazis tried to influence every part of German life.
Hitler claimed that he had dramatically reduced unemployment figures under the Nazis. Certainly, rearmament created jobs. But National Service meant young men were not counted as being unemployed any longer. Women and Jews were left out of the figures altogether. Therefore, we can’t be sure of how many people truly found jobs under the Nazis. However, living standards for working class Germans did not really improve and workers were expected to take part in Nazi Party schemes like Strength Through Joy, which gave them cheap holidays, in return for giving up their trade union rights.
The Nazis aspired to achieve autarky, or economic self-sufficiency, but in general the economy was geared towards preparing for a future war. As such, workers were expected to work long hours for modest pay and to toe the line.
The Nazis’ social policies affected two groups in society the most – women and young people:
In addition, the Nazis sought to control or limit the influence of Christianity. They set up an official state church, called the Reich Church, which adapted protestant teachings to Nazi ideology. Also, despite signing a Concordat with the Pope in 1933 in which Hitler promised to leave the Catholic Church alone if it stayed out of politics, the Nazis attempted to interfere with it and placed restrictions on worship.
Nazi ideology centred on the belief that the Aryan of northern Europe was superior to all others and that some races were sub-human. Nazis also believed any weaknesses in the Aryan race, such as disabled people, should be weeded out to maintain racial purity. Therefore, many groups who the Nazis did not like were targeted and persecuted. This was done in many different ways; ‘euthanasia’, imprisonment in concentration camps and the loss of civil rights.
The group targeted most by this persecution were the Jews. Under the Nazis Jews in Germany had their rights gradually taken away, including their German citizenship. During World War Two, this deteriorated further and the Holocaust saw 6 million Jews from across Nazi-occupied Europe murdered.
Revision tip: Remember the different parts of this period by remembering the mnemonic: In Germany Rose (the) Nazis
|1929-33||Rise of Hitler|