THE NAZIS

The Big Questions 1

The Big Questions 1

When studying this period in depth, you will have to focus on:

Hitler - AS Level History* Understanding how and why Hitler was able to come to power in 1933, explaining the factors that made the Nazis more appealing to the electorate.

* How Hitler was able to consolidate his power once he became chancellor.

* The economic and social reforms implemented by the Nazis and their impact on Germany as European power and on different groups within German society.

* Nazi Germany at war, especially in relation to the impact of ‘total war’ on the German population.

Important Background Knowledge

Understanding how the Nazis came to power requires a fairly detailed understanding of the decades prior to 1933. In particular, it is essential that you have a good grasp of:

Palace of Versailles - AS Level History* The existence of strong Nationalist currents amongst some parts of the German population, who regarded Germany’s surrender in World War One as having been the result of a treacherous ‘stab in the back’ of left-wing groups in 1918.

* The enormously divisive effect of the Treaty of Versailles, and the commitment of the Nazis to overturn the perceived injustices contained within it.

* The structural weaknesses of the Weimar political system, in terms of its inability to produce stable governments, the public perception that it had failed to resolve the crises faced by Germany in the 1920s and 1930s, and the existence of Article 48 of the Constitution, which gave the President to rule by decree.

* The fact that the German economy was shattered by the worldwide depression that was sparked by the Wall Street Crash, with Germany experiencing huge levels of unemployment that the Weimar governments did little to address.

* The existence, dating back to the eighteenth century, of ideas of a greater German people, which in some circles took the form of viewing the Germans as a separate, superior race.

It is also a good idea to have an understanding of Hitler’s foreign policy goals (lebensraum, overturning of the Treaty of Versailles, creation of a Third Reich etc.) and the steps he took on the international scene to achieve them in the 1930s.

Hitler’s Rise to Power and the Consolidation of Nazi Rule

Understanding how the Nazis were able to hold power unchallenged by 1934 requires you to know about:

Reichstag Fire 1933 - AS Level History* The 1930 and 1932 elections and the increasing popularity of the Nazi party.

* The factors that led to Hitler being offered the position of Chancellor.

* The steps immediately taken by Hitler after becoming Chancellor, in particular the arrests made after the Reichstag Fire and the Enabling Act.

* The steps taken by Hitler to assert full control over the Nazi party and to quell dissenting opinion within it, above all in the form of the Night of the Long Knives.

* The weaknesses of the Weimar system in allowing these steps to be taken by the Nazis.

* The establishment of a system based around terror and intimidation through elements such as the SS and the Gestapo.

* Concessions made to groups such as industrialists and Christian political parties.