Revision Diary

Life in Nazi Germany


One party law and order – the SS and Gestapo.

Control of education, youth movements and the media; censorship and propaganda.

Cultural, racial and religious persecution;

Economic policy; increased employment through public works programmes, rearmament and conscription; self-sufficiency.

Effects of Nazi policies on people living in Germany.


Make sure you have detailed factual knowledge about AND HAVE THOUGHT ABOUT the following issues and topics:


Nazi RULE IN GERMANY 1934-39

1.  The nature of life in Nazi Germany, including

●   Nazi Nazi Economic Policy

●   The Holocaust


and that you are able to explain:







Life in Nazi Germany


Revision Focus

This is a Paper 2 topic, so you need to have factual KNOWLEDGE IN DEPTH but also a degree of understanding which will allow you in the exam to write MULTI-CAUSAL EXPLANATIONS of the key issues.



e-book on Life in Nazi Germany






Good Things

Bad Things

Nazi Party members

•  very happy - they got the best houses, preferential treatment, good jobs in the government and power over other people.


Ordinary people

•  Nazi 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,

•  the Strength through Joy (KdF) gave some people fun and holidays.

•  the 'Beauty of Work' movement (SdA) gave people pride in what they were doing.

•  law and order (few people locked their doors),

•  autobahns improved transport,

•  frequent ceremonies, rallies, colour and excitement,

•  Nazi propaganda gave people hope,

•  Nazi racial philosophy gave people self-belief

•  Trust in Adolf Hitler gave a sense of security

•  Wages fell, and strikers could be shot - the Nazis worked closely with the businessmen to make sure that the workforce were as controlled as possible.

•  Loss of personal freedoms (eg freedom of speech).

•  All 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.


•  Nazi philosophy idealised the role of women as child-bearer and creator of the family.   

•  The 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.   

•  Mothers who had more than 8 children were given a gold medal.   

•  Job-discrimination against women.  

•  Women doctors, teachers and civil servants were forced to give up their careers.

•  Women were never allowed to serve in the armed forces - even during the war.


•  Most were very happy.   

•  Nazi culture was very youth-oriented.   

•  The HJ provided exciting activities for young boys.   

•  The HJ and the BDM treated young men and women as though they were special, and told then they had knew more then their parents.   

•  Many parents were frightened that their children would report them to the Gestapo, which gave young people a power that they enjoyed.

•  SOME girls were unhappy with the emphasis on the three Cs (Church, children, cooker).  

•  Girls regarded as true Aryans were sent to special camps where they were bred (like farm animals) with selected 'Aryan' boys.


•  Towards 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.


•  Many Germans welcomed political repression because it brought political stability after the Weimar years.

•  Hitler banned all Trade Unions on 2 May 1933.   Their offices were closed, their money confiscated, and their leaders put in prison. 

•  Communists were put into concentration camps or killed.

•  Many Protestant pastors such as Dietrich Bonhoffer were persecuted and executed.

•  Each block of flats had a 'staircase ruler' who reported grumblers to the police - they were arrested and either murdered, or sent to concentration camps.

•  Children were encouraged to report their parents to the Gestapo if they criticized Hitler or the Nazi party.


•  Many Germans approved of Nazi racism - or at least turned a blind eye

•  Jews, such as Anne Frank, whom the Germans systematically persecuted, were forced into walled ghettos, put into concentration camps, and used for medical experiments.   In the end the Nazis devised the Final Solution of genocide ('the Holocaust').

•  Gypsies were treated almost as badly as the Jews - 85% of Germany's gypsies were killed.

•  Black people were sterilized and killed.

•  5000 mentally disabled babies were killed 1939-45.   

•  72,000 mentally ill patients were killed 1939-41.

•  Physically disabled people/ families with hereditary illness were sterilized (300,000 men and women were sterilized 1934-45).

•  Some deaf people were sterilised/ put to death.

•  Beggars, homosexuals, prostitutes, alcoholics, pacifists, hooligans and criminals were said to be 'anti-social', and put in concentration camps



Nazi Economic Policies



•    In June 1933, the Nazis passed a Law to Reduce Unemployment.

•    The RAD (National Labour Service) sent men on public works; eg the autobahns.

•    Government spending rose, 1932–38 from about 5 billion to 30 billion marks.

•    Unemployment fell from nearly 6 million to virtually nothing.

•    Hitler built up the armed forces (e.g. conscription took 1 million).

•    Re-armament set steel mills, coal mines and factories back into production. The Luftwaffe gave jobs to fitters, engineers and designers.

•    The state machinery needed clerks, prison guards etc.


•    1933 Farm Law: farmers were assured of sales/ given subsidies.

•    The government kept food prices at the 1928 level.


•    farmers were organised into the Reich Food Estate and strictly controlled (e.g., one rule stated that hens must lay 65 eggs a year).


•    The New Plan of 1934 stopped imports, and subsidised industry = 'Autarky' (the belief Germany should be self-sufficient).

•    Production rose, especially of oil, steel, coal and explosives.

•    In 1936, Goering was put in charge. His Four Year Plan proposed to get the army and industry ready for war in four years.

•    Employers were happy when workers were well disciplined.


•    businesses were strictly controlled; they could be told to make something different/ were not allowed to raise wages/ workers could be sent to other factories.

•    Economists know now that these policies cause massive economic problems.


•    The Nazis tried to make people proud (e.g. the film The Beauty of Work in 1934).


•     Trade unions were banned and all workers had to join the German Labour Front = no right to strike.

•    Wages actually fell.

•    People who refused to work were imprisoned.

•    Wages and conditions on the RAD schemes were very poor.

Strength through Joy (KdF)

•     Workers were offered cut-price holidays, theatre trips and concerts. In Berlin, 1933–38, the KdF sponsored 134,000 events for 32 million people (2 million went on cruises & weekend trips, and 11 million on theatre trips).

•    The KdF designed the Volkswagen (or ‘People’s Car’) ‘Beetle’, which it was planned to be able to buy for 5 marks a week.

•    The government made sure that everybody could get a cheap radio.



The Holocaust


•    19th century - Theories that Jews are 'a lower form of humanity' than Germans became popular.

•    1920s - Many Germans blamed the Jews for losing the war, and for the high unemployment.

•    1 April 1933 - Members of the SA stood outside Jewish shops and businesses and persuaded Germans to go to German shops.

•    After 1933 - Lessons in school taught German children to hate Jews.

•    Summer 1935 - 'Jews not wanted' posters were put up in holiday resorts, public places, swimming baths and cafes.

•    Sept 1935 - 'Nuremberg laws' - Jews were forbidden to vote, to hold public office or to marry 'Aryans'.

•    After 1936 - Jews were pushed out of their jobs as lawyers, doctors, and teachers etc.

•    Oct 1938 - Jews were encouraged to emigrate.   Jews who did not were sent to concentration camps in growing numbers.

•    9 Nov 1938 - Nazi mobs destroyed Jewish synagogues and businesses.   It was called Kristallnacht, from the glass left from broken windows.

•    1 Sep 1939 - War broke out.

•    After 1 Sep 1939 - Mentally and physically disabled children were put to death.

•    After 1940 - The Nazi film the Eternal Jew used crude propaganda methods to make the German cinema-goers hate the Polish Jews/ All Jews were forced to wear the yellow 'star of David' as a form of identification/ Jews forced to live in separate ghettos/ Convicted homosexuals were given an alternative: castration or the concentration camp.

•    1941 - Conquest of Russia; the Germans captured vast numbers of Russian Jews.   Einsatzgruppen were set up to shoot Jews.

•    20 Jan 1942 - Wannsee Conference: decision to implement the 'final solution', followed by the systematic genocide of gypsies and Jews.