Seven Ways to Control Germany

(Overdo The Power You Worthless Ranting Rogue)


Within a one-party state, Hitler used terror to keep power, underpinned by propaganda and indoctrination of the young.   There were special measures to keep the workers happy.   Hitler signed a Concordat with the Pope, which stopped Catholics opposing him, and he persecuted the Jews (which many Germans approved of).




Simple overview


Dr Dennis's model answers - very clear and useful exemplar answers, aimed at OCR students



- Scott Allsop's podcast on Nazi Control of Germany


Was Hitler a 'weak dictator'? - difficult article

Strong dictatorship or polycratic chaos? - very difficult



1     One-Party State

The Enabling Act (23 March 1933) made Hitler was the all-powerful Fuhrer of Germany.   The Law against the Formation of Parties (14 July 1933) declared the Nazi Party the only political party in Germany.   It was an offence to belong to another Party.   All other parties were banned, and their leaders were put in prison.   

       Nazi Party members, however, got the best jobs, better houses and special privileges.   Many businessmen joined the Nazi Party purely to get orders.


"Ein Volk, Ein Reich, Ein Fuhrer!" - one people, one empire, one leader.


2    Terror

The Nazis took over local government and the police.   On 26 April 1933, Hitler set up the Gestapo (the secret police) and the SS, and encouraged Germans to report opponents and 'grumblers'.   Tens of thousands of Jews, Communists, gypsies, homosexuals, alcoholics and prostitutes were arrested and sent to concentration camps for 'crimes' as small as writing anti-Nazi graffiti, possessing a banned book, or saying that business was bad.

       On the Night of the Long Knives (13 June 1934) Hitler used his legal power to assassinate all his opponents within the Nazi Party,


Simple site 

Gestapo and SS - Spartacus sites

Historylearning site - excellent


3     Propaganda

The German people were subjected to continual propaganda, under the control of Josef Goebbels.  It was the cult of personality - everything was organised to make Germans permanently grateful to Adolf Hitler.   Germans were made to feel part of a great and successful movement - in this respect the 1936 Olympic Games were a propaganda coup.


       The Nazis used the most up-to-date technology to get their message across.   The twenty key elements of Nazi propaganda you need to remember/understand were:

  • bands

  • book-burnings

  • censorship

  • cinema

  • flying displays

  • Hitler's peeches

  • jazz was banned

  • Josef Goebbels

  • loudspeakers

  • marches

  • meetings

  • Mein Kampf

  • newsreels

  • newspapers

  • olympic games

  • parades

  • peoples radio

  • posters

  • processions

  • television




Even stamps encouraged Germans to idolise Adolf Hitler.


Historylearning site - excellent

BBC site - harder


Nazi Art - a very difficult site with, however, lots of links

4    Youth

Hitler boasted: 'When an opponent declares, 'I will not come over to your side', I calmly say, 'Your child belongs to us already'.  

       The Nazis replaced anti-Nazi teachers and University professors, and school lessons included hidden indoctrination - requiring children to calculate how much mentally disabled people cost the state, or to criticize the racial features of Jewish people.

       German boys were required to attend the Hitler Youth, which mixed exciting activities, war-games and Nazi indoctrination.   German girls went to the BDM and learned how to be good mothers, and to love Hitler.



Spartacus site



The Poisonous Mushroom


Education for Death - wartime (1943) Disney anti-Nazi propaganda on growing up as a Nazi.

5    Workforce

Hitler banned all Trade Unions on 2 May 1933.   Their offices were closed, their money confiscated, and their leaders put in prison.   In their place, Hitler put the German Labour Front which reduced workers' pay and took away the right to strike.  The National Labour Service sent men on public works programmes.

       To keep the workers happy, the Nazis set up the Strength through Joy movement, which offered good workers picnics, free trips to the cinema and (for the very few) free holidays.



6    Religion

Hitler signed a Concordat with the Pope, agreeing to leave the Roman Catholic Church alone if it stayed out of politics - so most Catholics were happy to accept the Nazi regime.   

       Protestants and Jehovah's Witnesses - if they opposed the Nazis - were sent to concentration camps.  


Historylearning site

Jehovah's Witnesses - excellent

German methodists 

7    Racism

The Nazi regime was from the start based on anti-semitism.   The Racial Purity Law (15 September 1935) took away German citizenship from the Jews, and forbade sex between Germans and Jews.  Other key dates include Kristallnacht (9-10 November 1938) and the Wansee Conference (January 1942).

       Many Germans approved of this racism.



Using negative images and stereotypes - such as this illustration from The Poisonous Mushroom - Nazi propaganda pilloried Jews as dirty, deceitful, dangerous people of whom Germany should be free.