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To what extent did the inefficiencies in the war economy contribute to the ultimate defeat in 1945?
- Hitler’s refusal to mobilise women
- The inefficiency of the Nazi state
- Allied bombing raids
- Appointment of speers
- Shortages of labour
- Shortages of raw materials
Why did the Nazi party become a mass movement in the years 1929 to the 1932?
- Hitler leadership and propaganda
- The failure of mainstream politicians
- Economic crisis
- The appeal for Nazi ideology
Hitler became chancellor in January 1933 due to the failure of Weimar democracy - how far do you agree?
- the failure of Weimar democracy
- The support of the conservation elites to Hitler
- The appeal of Hitler
- The great depression
- the failure of mainstream Weimar politicians
Why did the Nazis undertake the Final solution to the 'Jewish question'
- The role of Hitler
- Cumulative radicalisation and the chaotic state
- The impact of the war
- Nazi ideology
- Declie in support after 1942
- christian opposition
- Youthful opposition
- Conservative opposition
- Left-wing opposition
- Why did it not succeed?
Hitler’s refusal to mobilise women
- The Nazi regime believed that women should not be involved in industrial production.
- As a result, although 52% of German women were working in September 1939, this number did not increase as the war progressed.
- Speer attempted to encourage the employment of women, but Nazis rejected this suggestion, knowing that part of the appeal to their government was its emphasis on the traditional role of women.
- Other countries such as Britain and Russia were able to exploit these workers especially women to the best of their ability to help increase production of armaments.
The inefficiency of the Nazi state
- Between the periods of 1939- 1942, Goering’s Office of the Four Year plans was largely responsible for the co-ordination of the war economy. Goering was unable to assert full authority over the economy.
- Competition for power created by Hitler - Fritz Todt (minister of armaments), Heinrich Himmler (Head of the SS), Walther Funk (Minster of Economics) and at local level the Gualeiters
- Hitler did this as an attempt to protect his own position and ensure an efficient state though intense competition - economy failed to perform.
- For example in 1941, Britain produced twice as many aircraft as Germany, Equally, in the same year; Russia produced more tanks than Germany.
- Poor co-ordination which led to poor productivity.
Allied bombing raids
- Reduced the capacity of the German economy.
- The allies specifically targeted German industrial centres, with the goal of destroying industry, the lives of workers, and breaking workers’ morale.
- Tens of thousands were killed in the firestorms caused by allied bombing raids targeting Hamburg in 1943 and Dresden in 1945.
- Leads to the defeat in the war because they were unable to work effectively to originally produce the armaments. Therefore less likely to be able to work effectively to not only to produce the goods but also have to re build the factories to produce the goods.
Appointment of Speers
- Concerted effort to streamline economic decision making and boost productivity.
- Speer used his power to establish a Central Planning Board to co-ordination economic production and set industry free from the office of the Four Year Plan.
- Additionally, Speer excluded senior military officials, including Goering, from economic decision making.
- As a result between 1942 and 1944, ammunition production rose by 97%, tank production rose by 25% and total military production rose by 59%.
- Production remained below that of Britain, Russia and America and therefore, Speer’s rationalisation was not sufficient enough to make the economy a success which contributed to the failure of the war.
Shortages of labour
- There was also a heavy reliance on foreign workers which there was 6.4 million by 1942.
- These were often little more than badly treated and underfed slave labourers; as a result their productivity was 60-80% lower than that of the average German worker.
- Not efficient as the productivity of the work forces is low meaning they are lagging behind the other countries.
- Unable to out produce the rival’s countries such as Britain and the Russia.
Shortages of raw materials
- The Nazis assumed that conquest would lead to an increasing supply of raw material. However, in practice, the German war effort was highly destructive and therefore they destroyed many of the resources they had hoped to utilise.
- Additionally, the SS, who administered conquered territories, were more interested in implementing racial policy than developing an efficient economic organisation.
- Furthermore, Stalin instituted a scorched earth policy in the coal-rich Donbass region of the Ukraine. - Unable to gain access to Soviet raw materials.
- The lack of raw material led to the failure of the economy - unable to out-produce their enemies.
- The lack of raw materials resulted in less armaments being made, also the poor utilisation of resources of the land they gained.
- This is because they could have developed an efficient economic organisation instead of wasting resources by implementing racial policies. These people could have been used effectively by working for the German economy by producing weapons, machinery or vehicles.
Hitler’s leadership and propaganda
- Joseph Goebels cultivated an image for Hitler as Germany’s heroic saviour. At a time when politicians seemed weak and ineffective this image was very appealing
- The ‘Hitler Myth’ helped to gain support for Hitler and the Nazis
- He also went up against president Hindenburg – which allowed him to gain support and get publicity
- He harnessed modern technology to put his message across and innovatively travelled vie aeroplane to campaign – portrayed as a dynamic and modern leader
- Came second in the election and established himself as a credible political leader.
The failure of mainstream politician’s
- The Grand Coalition government led by Muller fell apart as the parties in government disagreed over the issue of unemployment benefits
- Following the collapse of the grand coalition subsequent governments were minority administrations which lacked Reichstag support. Chancellor Bruning’s government failed to get back for it budget in July 1930 – Hindenburg dissolved the Reichstag and call a new election. Chancellor von Papen’s government lost a vote of no-confidence in 1932, while chancellor von Schleicher’s administration lasted for only 2 months.
- Politicians did not take effective action to deal with the Depression. Modest reflationary measures were only started in mid-1932. German people lost faith in their political system as politicians failed to help them effectively – Bruning was labelled the ‘hunger Chancellor’
- 44 emergency decrees were issued in 1931 alone compared to 5 in 1930 – politicians were unable to gain popular support and could not even govern with the full support of the Reichstag
The great depression
- Following the Wall Street Crash in October 1929, the US economy experienced a severe depression. The German economy was heavily dependent upon the US money and therefore greatly affected when US investment dried up and loans were recalled
- National income shrunk by 39% between 1929 and 1932
- Industrial production declined by more than 40%
- The number of unemployed rose to around 6 million by 1932. One third of people of working age were out of work
- some 500,000 businesses were bankrupted
- In 1931, as the German economy collapsed, a banking crisis was triggered and five major banks went bankrupt
- Homelessness and poverty increased and people’s standards of living decreased: many felt insecure and desperate.
The support of the conservative elites
- Mass popularity was not sufficient for Hitler to be appointed, it was the support the received which led to him being appointed from the political and economic elite.
- As the economic and political crisis continued, conservatives in big business and in the army turned to Hitler for fear of a communist takeover. KPD increased 3.2million 1928 to 5.9 million 1933.
- The Nazis determination to smash the communist militia that caused conservatives to back Hitler – They feared about losing their wealth and power in the event of a communist takeover.
- The Nazis were able to launch attacks on the political left partly because of the positions within the Cabinet that they had been given. Frick, at the Ministry of the Interior, was in charge of the security apparatus for the state, while Goering, who was Interior Minister for Prussia was able to direct terror against the left in Prussia.
- The conservative did not unwittingly give these powerful positions to the Nazis von Papen wished to use the Nazis crush the left and create authoritarian rule.
- Support from the conservative’s elite also came from some leading industrialists who bankrolled the Nazis during the March 1933 election. They promised the party 3 million Reich marks on 20 February 1933.
The failure of mainstream Weimar politicians
- Three chancellors within 3 years – explains why there was a lack of confidence with the Weimar politicians.
- These politicians were unable to handle the economic crisis which led to the breakdown of the Weimar democracy – people turned to more extreme parties such as the Nazis and The KPD.
- Grand coalition in 1929 – This coalition was led by the SPD’s Muller, was a coalition of the left, right and centre and commanded a secure majority (over 60%) in Reichstag.
- Hindenburg elected president in 1925 – upheld a new constitution and in 1928, chose a SPD Chancellor in spite of hostility to socialism
- KPD gain 10.6% of vote in 1928 – Support for extremists reduced but remained high with a quarter of people voting for parties that wished to see Weimar democracy end
- Between 1923-29 seven government were found – political parties did not co-operate well. Forming a stable government was hard the centre right and the right could agree on domestic policies but not foreign policies, while the centre right and the left could agree on foreign policies but not domestic policies. – Some governments didn’t have majority support of the Reichstag.
- The SPD were often reluctant to work with others while government were often brought down by apparently trivial issues, such as the collapse of Luther’s 1926 administration over the appearance of the German flag.
Economic (golden years)
- By 1928 German economic output reach pre-war levels – by 1928 equally that of 1913 with the national income 12% higher than in 1913 - however agriculture was in recession from 1927
- Certain sectors of the economy performed particularly well Chemical Company IG Farben became the largest manufacturer in Europe. But Germany’s economy did not perform as well as comparable economies such as Britain and France.
- Exports rose by 40% between 1925 and 1929
- Loans from the international community, particularly the USA, financed the development of infrastructure in Germany 25.5 billion marks were loaned between 1924 and 1930. However the German economy was heavily reliant on US loans and investment, leaving Germany vulnerable to US economic problems
- Inflation and unemployment remained relatively low. But unemployment never fell below 1.3 million and levels were climbing before 1929
- Wage rose every year between 1924 and 1930
Social (golden years)
- Stresemann’s actions ended the Ruhr crisis and France and Belgium left the Ruhr- he also pursued the policy of fulfilment but renegotiated reparations and gain foreign loans and investment through the Dawes Plan of 1924 and the Young Plan of 1929
- Germany was admitted to the League of Nations in 1926
- The urban culture was experimental and liberal and tolerant atmosphere – homosexuality was seen as ok and some young women in cities were able to pursue careers and live in an independent manner. But many Germans believe that the Weimar culture was decadent.
- Outside large urban areas, most Germanys still preferred traditional roles for women and did not tolerate homosexuality.
- Changes in artistic culture too – in architecture and design, the hugely influential Bauhaus movement created modern designs for buildings, furniture and graphics also satirical forms of Cabaret were popular in Berlin
The role of Hitler(final solution)
- Core part of his world view.
- Inspiration behind the ever-escalating anti-Semitism of his regime
- Diary entry of Himmler’s indicated that, at a meeting to discuss the ‘final solution of the Jewish question’ in December 1941, Hitler authorised or ordered that Jews should be
- ‘extermination as partisans’.
- most historians do not believe that Hitler had a clear plan for the ‘Final Solution’ that pre-dated the war
Cumulative radicalisations and the chaotic state
- Consequences of the process of the ever growing extreme extremism that occurred as a result of the chaotic decision-making procedures.
- The chaos encouraged local initiatives and ideological radicalism.
- Cumulative radicalisation led to escalating action; German Jews were subject to restrictions and repression at the start of the war, but were not confined to ghettos. Polish Jews were then subject to the same measures and ordered into overcrowded ghettos ran by the SS.
- When Germany invaded the Soviet Union, Einsatzgruppen, who followed the army ensuring SS control, had wide-ranging instructions to eliminate opponents and massacres of Jews followed.
- These became systematic as the army move eastwards and culminated in a policy of organised genocide in the death camp system.
The impact of the war
- ’Final Solution’ developed in context of war.
- The German invasion of Poland had created what the Nazis regarded as a problem; the Jewish population of Poland was large, around 3 million. Jews were forced into ghettos which were overcrowded and insanitary.
- When Jews from other parts of Europe started to be deported to the ghettos, the problem intensified.
- As the invasion of the Soviet Union put strains on the German war economy, the cost of feeding people in ghettos was considered too great.
- With the failure of the Madagascar Plan and the success of small-scale experiments with murder by gas, the plan for the ‘Final Solution’ was drawn up and executed the systematic transportation to death camps of the entire Jewish population of Europe.
- Hatred of the Jews which the Germans labelled at the undesirables
- Strong views about eugenics at the time when the Final solution was enacted – wanted Germans to be superior and have pure blood – shown in the Nuremberg laws 1935 – interracial relation and marriages were band.
- Wanted more lebensraum for the German race – wipe out all these undesirables and able to have more resources for the German people.
- Hitler made it a priority to try to maintain supplied on the home front – it was not until the end of the war that the German people suffered from the extreme shortages experienced during the First world War, meat was rationed, it remained at the reasonable level of 500g till April 1942
- Extra rations were given at Christmas and for those in strenuous jobs
- Early victories
- Resisted Albert Speer’s calls to mobilise women in the war – felt that maintain traditional roles for women would be better for morale
Decline in support after 1942
- Working conditions were difficult hours at work increased, particularly in armaments factories.
- Some people acted negatively to the militarisation of the Hitler Youth after 1939
- Defeat in Stalingrad could not have been covered up as the scale of loses were so great. The high rate of casualties eastern front damaged morale and provoked some criticism of Hitler
- Allied bombing of German cities seems to have reduced morale in some areas, such as in the Rhineland.
- Allied bombing killed 305,000 people, injured 780,000 and 2 million homes in Germany.
- The Catholic Church continued to speak out where they felt their interests or values were threatened.
- In 1941, a couple of incidents illustrate this large protests against an order to remove crucifixes from Bavarian schools caused the order to be reversed and Bishop Galen attacked the Aktion T4 ‘euthanasia’ programme, whose existence was subsequently covered up.
- Individual Protestant churchmen attacked the regime. Dietrich Bonhoeffer spoke out against the regime and was attacked in 1943 and executed in 1945
- Some Edelweiss Pirates became more active during the war working with the left wing underground and helping to smuggle out escaped prisoners of war. The leaders of the Pirates in Cologne were publicly hanged for their activities in 1944
- The white rose student movement was formed in Munich in 1942. The movement urged Germans to reject Nazi values on ethical grounds. The group distributed anti-Nazi letters and leaflets. Brother and sister Hans and Sophie Scholl were beheaded for their activities in the movement in 1943.
- In the army some officers rejected the regime after Stalingrad and sought to overthrow it.
- In the 1944 Bomb Plot, an army group sought to assassinate Hitler and seize power. Assassin Stauffenberg’s bomb did not kill Hitler and the plot was uncovered.
- As a result, 22 generals were executed and Field Marshal Rommel was prevailed upon to commit suicide.
- Robert Uhrig established resistance cells in factories in the summer of 1941, there were 89 of these in Berlin
- There were also communists groups in Hamburg and Mannheim and various active socialist groups, such as Red patrol
- Communist network Rote Kappelle, some of whose members had access to sensitive information, collected intelligence and engaged in the distribution of anti-Nazi leaflets. The network was uncovered and destroyed by the military intelligence in 1942. Other communists groups were broken up in 1943
- There was some active underground resistance on the left but these isolated groups did not have a great impact on undermining the regime
Why did it not succeed
- Lack of support – even though the German people were less supportive of the regime by 1943-1944, active opposition groups had a very few members, The bomb Plot only involed 22 out of 2000 generals, for example many in the army felt bound by their oath to Hitler
- The existence of the terror state – opposition during wartime meant people involved in resistance faced enormous risks such as execution or indefinite
- They acted too late
- Restance did not in general involve a worked out plan.