key here is to understand that the Nazi state affected
different people in different ways. For the
majority of people, in fact, life was good - that is why they
turned a blind eye to the fact that - for groups which were not accepted by the Nazi
state - life was horrific.
Dennis's model answers - very clear and useful exemplar answers, aimed
at OCR students
- BBC debate-podcast
on Life in Nazi Germany
podcast on Life in Nazi Germany
Giles Hill on Nazi Germany
on the German economy, 1933-1939
What did the Nazis do for us? - the Nazis were evil
genuises, and we still benefit from things they did.
ordinary people, life was good, and many Germans even today
look back and remember the years before 1939 as happy years:
economic policies gave full
employment (work programmes/ Strength through Joy), prosperity and financial security - many observers stated
that there seemed to be no poverty in Germany,
Strength through Joy
(KdF) gave some
people fun and holidays.
the 'Beauty of Work' movement (SdA) gave
people pride in what they were doing.
and order (few people locked their doors),
ceremonies, rallies, colour and excitement,
propaganda gave people hope,
racial philosophy gave people self-belief
in Adolf Hitler gave a sense of security (one German woman
told the American reporter Nora Wall: 'He is my mother and
my father. He keeps me safe from all harm.')
were few drawbacks:
fell, and strikers could be shot - the Nazis worked
closely with the businessmen to make sure that the
workforce were as controlled as possible.
of personal freedoms (eg freedom of speech).
culture had to be German - eg music had to be Beethoven
or Wagner or German folk songs - or Nazi - eg all actors
had to be members of the Nazi party/ only books by
approved authors could be read.
Prora holiday camp
all felt the same, the same happiness and joy.
Things were looking up.
I believe no statesman has ever been as loved as Adolf
Hitler was then.
Itís all come flooding back to me.
Those were happy times.
German farmer, Luise Essig, remembering life in Nazi Germany.
Nazis were very male-dominated and anti-feminist.
Nazi philosophy idealised the
role of women
as child-bearer and creator of the family:
Law for the Encouragement of Marriage gave newly-wed
couples a loan of 1000 marks, and allowed them to keep 250
marks for each child they had.
who had more than 8 children were given a gold medal.
not all women were happy with the Nazi regime:
against women was encouraged. Women doctors,
teachers and civil servants were forced to give up their
were never allowed to serve in the armed forces - even
during the war.
perfect Nazi family
German young people were happy:
culture was very youth-oriented.
HJ provided exciting activities for young
HJ and the
BDM treated young men and women as though they
were special, and told then they had knew more then their
parents were frightened that their children would report
them to the Gestapo, which gave young people a power
that they enjoyed.
not all young people were happy with the Nazi regime:
girls were unhappy with the emphasis on the three Cs
(Church, children, cooker).
Girls who were
regarded as true Aryan girls were sent off to special
they were bred
(like farm animals) with
selected 'Aryan' boys.
the end of the war, youth gangs such as the Eidelweiss
Pirates grew up, rejecting the HJ and Nazi youth culture,
drinking and dancing to American jazz and 'swing' music.
In Cologne in 1944 they sheltered army deserters and even
attacked the Gestapo.
If they were caught, they were hanged.
on Nazi youth
perfect Nazi boy...
used 'fear and horror' against anyone who disapproved of their
banned all Trade Unions on 2 May 1933. Their offices were closed, their money
confiscated, and their leaders put in prison.
were put into concentration camps or killed.
Protestant pastors such as
Bonhoffer were persecuted and executed.
block of flats had a 'staircase ruler' who reported
grumblers to the police - they were arrested and either
murdered, or sent to concentration camps.
were encouraged to report their parents to the Gestapo
if they criticized Hitler or the Nazi party.
concentration camp badges
This Google book has a very clear, detailed description of
the anti-Nazi opposition.
Opposition to the Nazis - difficult article
And this is a good article on
the Polish resistance:
The Nazi regime
many groups which it thought were racially or socially inferior (untermensch
= subhuman) - people they called the 'germs of destruction'.
which were persecuted and killed included:
Frank, whom the Germans systematically persecuted,
were forced into walled
ghettos, put into concentration camps, and used for
experiments. In the end the Nazis devised the Final Solution
of genocide - it was the
Gypsies were treated almost as badly as the Jews - 85% of
Germany's gypsies were killed.
people were sterilized and killed.
mentally disabled babies were killed
ill patients were killed 1939-41.
disabled people and families with hereditary illness
were sometimes sterilized. 300,000 men and
women were sterilized 1934-45.
deaf people were sterilised and put to death.
homosexuals, prostitutes, alcoholics, pacifists,
hooligans and criminals were also regarded as
anti-social, and they were put in concentration camps.
Auschwitz - a tour
Good research prompts
Nazi race-hatred poster:
'The Jew - the inciter of war,
the prolonger of war'.
in concentration camps who had been used for medical experiments.
* Please note
that I have had a complaint about this sentence from a German
student who pointed out quite fairly that:
'Gestapo-terror was everywhere. Anyone who spoke up was killed
or put into a concentration camp. I mean, would you speak up
knowing that you will be killed ? You should not forget also
that MANY GERMANS HID JEWS.
Another point you should not forget is, how could people see
pictures like these? All they could see was Nazi propaganda
which of course had an influence on the people's minds.
Certainly there was real injustice going on during
the Nazi regime - I'm happy that I am living nowadays and not
back then - but I think people today often forget that the
Germans were not EVIL PEOPLE...'
I have left my sentence
because I believe that, on balance, it is also fair
comment, but readers should note that it is a judgement, not a