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The Truth About Hitler, Guns, and German Gun Laws

Updated on April 7, 2017
Young Adolf Hitler 1900
Young Adolf Hitler 1900 | Source

The Facts about Hitler and Gun Control


Hitler condemned millions of people to death. He was responsible for the most horrific acts against mankind in the 20th century. Babies were murdered, and children experimented on in unimaginable ways. People were shot, gassed, hung, starved and tortured to death.

Many people are portraying Hitler as a pro-gun control dictator who was able to take over Germany by seizing the guns of German citizens.

But was he able to commit mass genocide because he was pro-gun control and disarmed the German people? Let's look at his, and Germany's history.

German Euthanasia Propaganda

Roughly translated it says that this person costs society 60,000 reichsmarks over his lifetime.
Roughly translated it says that this person costs society 60,000 reichsmarks over his lifetime.

Hitler's Ascendency

Born in Austria, Hitler moved to Germany with his family when he was three.At 18 he enlisted in the German army during World War I, was wounded and awarded the Iron Cross. He became embittered at Germany's defeat, blaming it on Marxists, Jews, and weak German leaders.

Already a staunch patriot, his nationalism propelled him into politics. A powerful public speaker, he and the Nazi party eventually claimed complete control of the German government in 1933. Playing on the German people's patriotism and nationalism, Hitler set himself up as a dictator. He played on people's fears to shift the German citizen's resentment of their own hardship onto minorities and other perceived "takers" in society.

Not only were Jews blamed for Germany's woes, but anyone who was deemed a burden on society was marked for extermination. The handicapped, mentally ill, and minorities fell victim to his killing machine.

Post World War I Germany

Germany was in ruins after World War I, known then as the Great War. The German people had lost 15% of their young male population. Famine and the flu epidemic further took a toll on the population. The Treaty of Versailles put the entire blame of the war on Germany, and ordered her to pay huge reparations. The German citizens resented the treaty and the ceding of "their" land to other countries. The stage was set for Hitler, a charismatic speaker who could again instill nationalistic pride in the German citizens.

The 1919 German Weapons Ban.

In 1919, the German government, in response to the Treaty of Versailles, ordered the German people to turn over all firearms and ammunition. Anyone found in possession of a weapon would face imprisonment and a fine. The citizens were disarmed to prevent further aggression and to prevent government upheaval during these fractious times. Guns were confiscated from the German people a full 14 years before Hitler took control of Germany.

The 1928 Law on Firearms and Ammunition

As Hitler and his Nazi party grew in power, the "Law on Firearms and Ammunition" was enacted. This law revoked the 1919 ban on guns. Germans were allowed to again own, transport, sell, and manufacture guns if they had a permit. The requirements as to who could obtain a permit was strictly regulated, but those German citizens who were deemed trustworthy by the government could again obtain guns.

Hitler and the 1938 Weapons Law

In 1938, Hitler - now the dictator - enacted the 1938 Weapons Law, which allowed native German non-Jews to manufacture firearms. Ironically, Hitler himself was a non-native German.

Hitler did away with the government permit process for shotguns, rifles, and ammunition. This law allowed the weapons to be freely sold and transported by native non-Jewish Germans.

The Weapons Law also exempted a larger group of citizens from the 1928 handgun permit law. Now anyone who had obtained a hunting license was also allowed to buy a handgun.

The law also allowed some individuals under 18 to acquire a handgun, a liberalization of the 1928 law.

The 1938 law extended the permit validity to three years versus the previous one year under the 1928 law. This represents another loosening of Germany's gun laws.

Hitler

Conclusion

After World War I, the German government, by order of the Treaty of Versailles, stripped all citizens of their right to own guns. Though people of Jewish heritage were not allowed to own weapons, that is the only gun-control Hitler enacted. The 20 years after the 1919 total gun ban saw a great loosening of the laws, and more German citizens, not fewer, could buy weapons.

People argue that Hitler supported gun control because the people of the countries he conquered were required to turn in guns. I would think that is standard operating procedures during wartime.

History shows Hitler was not the man who used gun control to take over the German people. The German people made his rise possible.

Hitler enacted a law that ensured Jews could not have guns. We must ask ourselves - did the Jews even have guns in the years after World War I? It isn't likely. It is even more unlikely that even if they had had weapons, the Jews would - or could - have fought back against the German people who participated in, or turned a blind eye to, the round-up and mass extermination of millions of men, women, and children.

Hitler's gun control quote - if it's on the internet it must be true

"This year will go down in history! For the first time, a civilized nation has full gun registration! Our streets will be safer, our police more efficient, and the world will follow our lead into the future!"

You may have seen this quote attributed to a speech made by Adolf Hitler in 1935. There is absolutely no record of Hitler saying this. But since so many people want to believe it, it is now quoted by the NRA and other anti-gun control advocates.

A quote Hitler did make in 1942 read: “The most foolish mistake we could possibly make would be to permit the conquered Eastern peoples to have arms. History teaches that all conquerors who have allowed their subject races to carry arms have prepared their own downfall by doing so.”

This is one of those "well, duh!" moments. Of course a conqueror tries to disarm the vanquished citizens.

President Obama on Sensible Gun Control

Do you believe that if the Jewish citizens of Germany had had weapons they would have been able to prevent the Holocaust?

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    • Gcrhoads64 profile image
      Author

      Gable Rhoads 4 years ago from North Dakota

      I agree with your thoughts. If people are going to disagree, at least use facts, not unproven rhetoric.

      Thank you for reading. :)

    • Shaddie profile image

      Shaddie 4 years ago from Washington state

      THANK YOU for this hub! I hate getting into arguments with people who always compare every little injustice in their lives to Hitler or the Holocaust or whatever other World War II related history they feel will shock me into letting them win. Hitler did not instill a ban on guns. Germany, as well as MUCH OF EUROPE, did that well before he came along. And gun laws still remain in Europe, even after Hitler has been dead for over 60 years.

      I don't agree with the restriction of guns in America, but I also think referring to Hitler in times like these is just absurd.

    • NateB11 profile image

      Nathan Bernardo 4 years ago from California, United States of America

      Absolutely fascinating, especially in light of the arguments that Hitler instituted gun control; he didn't. And you're absolutely right, the people helped him rise to power; it is interesting because he basically took over without any use of force. Fascinating subject and well-presented here.

    • Gcrhoads64 profile image
      Author

      Gable Rhoads 4 years ago from North Dakota

      Thank you for your comment, Buck.

      I will edit that sentence. I believe it, but I should have focused solely on the subject matter. :)

    • Buck Steiner profile image

      Buck Steiner 4 years ago from Steiner Ranch

      I started reading your hub but stopped at this glittering jewel of ignorance.

      " Like the conservative leaders in America today, he played on people's fears and resentments to shift the German citizen's resentment of their hardship onto minorities and other perceived "takers" in society."

      Exactly what conservative leader is using fear ? How about the liberal leaders? Obama uses these words constantly "catastrophe," "crisis" and "disaster" everything out of his mouth is used to instill fear into the mindless drones who vote for him.

      I suspect given your age that your life experience is almost nil and hopefully as you grow older some wisdom will creep in....but I doubt it!

    • Gcrhoads64 profile image
      Author

      Gable Rhoads 4 years ago from North Dakota

      Thank you, cantuhearmescream.

    • Cantuhearmescream profile image

      Cat 4 years ago from New York

      Gcrhoads94,

      I appreciate any girl that takes an interest in history and I like that you tied it into the extremely controversial gun-control topic. I enjoyed the article and I have always found the Hitler era quite fascinating. Good job

    • Gcrhoads64 profile image
      Author

      Gable Rhoads 4 years ago from North Dakota

      Thank you for reading my hub, Credence2.

      We can only hope it will enlighten some enough to stop the silly comparisons between President Obama and Hitler.

    • Credence2 profile image

      Credence2 4 years ago from Florida (Space Coast)

      Great Hub, this should help to put a damper on the tendency of the right to equate what relatively mild effort the Obama administration makes in regards to gun control and the related circumstance in Hitler's Germany during the Third Reich. When examining the logic of reasoning from the Right one must always prepare for the onslaught of hyperbole.

    • Gcrhoads64 profile image
      Author

      Gable Rhoads 4 years ago from North Dakota

      That must have been horrifying, ytsenoh.

      Thank you for your comments. I try not to add to the rancor so prevalent in political discussions. :)

    • ytsenoh profile image

      Cathy 4 years ago from Louisiana, Idaho, Kauai, Nebraska, South Dakota, Missouri

      I don't like guns because I had one pointed at my head when I was 20. I will never like guns. I enjoyed reading your piece though, very interesting and I enjoyed reading the civil conversation throughout your comments. Thank you.

    • adh071185 profile image

      Aaron 4 years ago from Southern United States

      @ Gcrhoads64

      As well it should. This extremely polarized society we find ourselves in helps no one. Instead of vitriolic comments and accusation coming from both sides we need level heads to progress the issue.

      The worst thing for our society in this situation is for nothing to change. Stagnation caused by party politics and just plain mean spirited rhetoric are creating a dangerous precedent. We should nip it in the bud.

      Thanks Again.

    • Gcrhoads64 profile image
      Author

      Gable Rhoads 4 years ago from North Dakota

      Thank you for your comment,adho71185.

      I consider myself middle-of-the road on the gun control debate. I grew up around guns, and have several myself. I just dislike the rhetoric used by people on both sides of the argument. Sometimes it motivates me to do some fact checking. ;)

    • adh071185 profile image

      Aaron 4 years ago from Southern United States

      Very well written with interesting facts.

      My views on gun ownership more than likely clash with most of the people on this hub but I would have to agree that anyone who compares Hitler to Obama is out of line.

      Hitler was a psychopath and a murder. I would say his rise to power was more closely associated with his charisma and skills as a orator than his views on gun control.

      Most of the atrocities carried out during the course of the war were perpetrated by the military and the Secret Police anyway.

      The German people were beaten down and subjugated both morally and economically. That made the ground ripe for ANYONE who promised to alleviate the degradation they were suffering in Post WWI Germany.

    • Jewel01 profile image

      Julie Buchanan 4 years ago from Michigan

      Gcrhoads64, I appreciate your effort to dispel the propaganda, spewed by those who wish to advance their agenda. I am tired of those who use Hitler to describe Obama, as well. graceinus, is correct in his statement, regarding Hitler. It is also a fact that the children of Germany where encouraged to tell their teachers, if their parents spoke out against Hitler, or his regime.

      There is never a simple answer, it seems, these days, but I certainly appreciate your effort.

    • Gcrhoads64 profile image
      Author

      Gable Rhoads 4 years ago from North Dakota

      I agree with your sentiments on the German people. They thought they had a man who would bring back national pride and prosperity to Germany. They ended up with a monster who used them for his demented ideas.

      Thank you for the comments and compliment. : )

    • profile image

      graceinus 4 years ago from those of the Ekklesia

      Well Hitler did not use gun control to subdue the German citizens . Hitler was far more suddle when he first came to power. And Guns or gun control had nothing or very little to do with it. The German people were trying to rebuild from the ashes of WW1 without help from anyone else. Hitler brought them , what they had hoped would be a better Germany. What they ended up getting by 1940 went far beyound what the normal German people wanted.

      I do believe you wrote a very good HUB.

    • Gcrhoads64 profile image
      Author

      Gable Rhoads 4 years ago from North Dakota

      People who are anti-gun control use the argument that Hitler enacted gun control to subdue the German people. Strict gun control was German law when he took over, and he relaxed the laws for most citizens.

    • profile image

      graceinus 4 years ago from those of the Ekklesia

      I believe there is a bit of a disconnect between what you're saying and what I'm saying. Therefore it would be helpful to me if you would provide your understanding of what gun control is.

      The reason I ask this is due to the fact that "The 1938 Weapons Law" (as you mentioned above) is still a form of Gun Control.

    • Gcrhoads64 profile image
      Author

      Gable Rhoads 4 years ago from North Dakota

      I will stand by my statement that Hitler did not implement gun control on all German citizens; the laws were in place before he took power, and he liberalized gun regulations, exempting Jewish people.

    • profile image

      graceinus 4 years ago from those of the Ekklesia

      What I am saying is this, what was Law (referring only to their gun control) and what was allowed to be practiced at that time and place is two different things. Living in Germany for 25 years allows you to learn a lot about their history. And by the way " personal checks" were conducted on EVERYBODY in Germany back then.

    • Gcrhoads64 profile image
      Author

      Gable Rhoads 4 years ago from North Dakota

      I will have to question your assertion that only people that the Nazi party trusted could have a firearm of any kind. The 1938 did away with the permit process for rifles and shotguns so no personal checks were required. Have I misread the law?

      I appreciate your thoughtful insights. :)

    • profile image

      graceinus 4 years ago from those of the Ekklesia

      I will answer with Yes and No. Yes, starting in 1938 more Germans where allowed to own firearms. No, because only those who were favored by the Nazi Party could own a firearm of any kind. If a German citizen was concidered untrustworth to the Nazi Party by the SA, then he/she would not and could not own a firearm. This help prevent a revolt by the citizen through armed conflict. Due to the many attempts on Hitler's life, he trusted very few who were close to him let alone the citizens he controled.

    • Gcrhoads64 profile image
      Author

      Gable Rhoads 4 years ago from North Dakota

      Grace, my point is that Hitler didn't impose strict regulation of guns. These regulations were already in place before he came to power, and he relaxed the the rules so many more non-Jewish citizens could obtain guns.

    • profile image

      graceinus 4 years ago from those of the Ekklesia

      Gcrhoada64- What you failed to mention is that the German Firearms Law which was enacted on March 18, 1938 strongly benefitted the Nazi Party. Those concidered untrustworthy (besides the Jews) were not permitted to own firearms of any kind. If you were not a citizen of Germany at the time you could not own a firearm in Germany. The Firearm License then and now is called a Waffenbesitzkarte. Between 1936 through 1945 the Nazi Party had a firm hand on the entire country. Those German citizen who did own firearms at the time where subject to unannounced inspection for accountability by the German SA ( Seceret Police). In 1945 , after the war, the German Firearms Law did change but the system of unannounced inspection of firearms still applies but with different rules. Also ALL German citizen who own Firearms , today in Germany, are required by law to keep their weapons (Firearms) in locked contianers AT ALL TIMES when firearms are not in use. And ammunition for the firearms must also be stored in locked contianer but not the same contianer that stores the firearms.

    • Paul Wingert profile image

      Paul Wingert 4 years ago

      I hope that the gun nuts will actually do something like, oh I don't know, RESEARCH, before they associate Hitler with gun control.