The Rise of Nazi Germany: An Interactive Lesson
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Reparations, Inflation & Depression:
*The end of the First World War resulted in the Treaty of Versailles (Pronounced Ver-sigh). The treaty was very unfair to the losers. So much so that President Wilson withdrew from the proceeding in protest. The treaty was forced upon Germany without any concessions to that country or representation by that country in the proceedings. It was a "sign this or else" situation.
*The treaty forced reparations upon Germany in such high amounts that it economically hurt the country drastically even before the start of the Great Depression.
* Hyperinflation resulted. Hyperinflation is inflationthat is very high or "out of control". Inflation is an economic term defined as the rise in the general level of prices of goods and services (such as food or electricity) in an economy over a period of time.
* As a result life savings where whipped out over night.
Adolf Hitler, Leader & Savior:
*Lack of leadership and political fighting worsens economic situation. The Weimar Republic (pronounced Vi-mar) was a slap dash governmental form thrown together at the end of the First World War by political and military officials who didn't flee for fear of reprisals for the war.
*Hitler’s combination of political manipulation and strong leadership brought him to power. He took over the Nazi party (which stands for the National Socialist Party in German) and only used its ideals to accomplish is goals. He used popular symbols and ideas to increase the popularity and image of his party.
Project: Research the original meaning of the swastika symbol. Are there any non-Nazi groups that still use it? You may be surprised by the answers.
The Nazi Philosophy:
“Lebensraum” or Living Space:
*The need for more room for the German race to grow. Initially it was a move to regain territory lost due to the Treaty of Versailles. After this the move into areas that were occupied by "non-Arian" peoples. Nazi philosophy views such people as good servants or workers for the supreme race while other races such as the Romani (also know as gypsies), Jews, black Africans (and other dark skinned races), mentally or physically disabled, Jehovah's Witnesses (and other dissenters due to religion such as Mormons) and homosexuals were viewed as sub-human and were experimented on, imprisoned and exterminated.
*Germany evolved into a military dictatorship as a result. Since the Weimar Republic was not a natural evolution of German politics this left a very intrenched warrior class feeling disenfranchised and frustrated. Add to this the constant changes in the republics political structure due to a lack of stability and the German people embraced strong leadership after living in relative chaos for several decades.