Changes in Germany – 1933-1939

Patrick Houghton
October 24, 2004
History 12B
Mr. Kohlman
After the initiating of Adolf Hitler as Chancellor of Germany in
1933, life in Germany changed dramatically between 1933 and 1939. These
changes were crucial to bring about the Nazi ideology in Germany’s young
and old population. The changes of German life between the years 1933 to
1939 were largely the product of the introduction to propaganda, rearming
of Germany, and the creation of different Nazi party organizations.


The concept of Propaganda was not new to the German population. In
the First World War, Germans were displayed posters of ravenous British
soldiers, only interested in conquest and control. In the ‘modern’ world of
the thirties, propaganda had taken a major leap from the printed word, to
the spoken and visualized word. The entire basis of the Nazi ideals
depended primarily on propaganda. In the years following the appointing of
Hitler as Chancellor, the then small and ‘radical’ Nazi party was hanging
by the small thread of propaganda. The party officials created poster with
slogans attacking the Weimar Republic, political opponents, and the
Communist Party. Nazi propaganda was the brainchild of Doctor Joseph
Goebbels, a failed writer and a fanatical Nazi. His first major goal was
the persuasion of the German people to support the Nazi party. The Nazi
party had done poorly even the early thirties, and required a supreme
majority to take control of the Reichstag and eventually the whole nation.

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After Hitler was appointed Chancellor in 1933, he quickly appointed
Goebbels Minister of National Enlightenment and Propaganda. Goebbels
responsibilities no longer consisted of small party rallies and primitive
posters; he was able to expand into the area of radio and film. All of
Germany’s radio stations became under the Ministry’s direct control, and
the Ministry quickly developed new methods for expanding the Nazi
propaganda. The Ministry created new companies to mass-produce
“wirelesses”, at affordable prices so all German families could have a
radio. A Nazi film enthusiast club was created, providing film and
equipment to local hobbyists to film local Nazi rallies and glorify village
‘accomplishments’. These two new types of propaganda were critical in the
survival of the Nazi dictatorship for the near future; however, the classic
rally still was one of the most spectacular. At the 1936 Olympics in
Munich, the organization was centred on propaganda. This was Germany’s time
to shine. The Olympics was a superb success. Visiting countries were
impressed by German ‘hospitality’ and redevelopment. Adolf Hitler was shown
as a “…quaint intelligent man with exciting solutions to the world’s
problems”1 German athletes won the most medals, and were rarely
challenged by other competition. Every August in Nuremburg, a mass rally
was held in the city to celebrate the cleansing of the old useless
democracy and the creation of the Nazi Reich. In one rally, 100,000 men,
all three quarters of a metre apart, marched triumphantly past Hitler, with
the troops carrying 32,000 blood-red flags with the new emblem of the
German Reich, the Swastika. None of these mass rallies could be carried out
with out the full participation of the largest military in the world, the
German armed forces.


Following Hitler’s arrival as Chancellor in 1933, he was faced with a
massive economic depression and severe unemployment. Hitler decided to use
this to his advantage, not only politically, but militarily. A new Minister
of Economy was installed, Hjalmar Schacht, a man who had stopped the
exponentially increasing inflation of the early 20’s. He called for the
employment of hundred of thousands of men on new public works projects, the
mightiest of which was the new Autobahn, a span of highways across Germany,
which had the hidden use of allowing military logistics to travel across
the nation with molecular efficiency and lighting speed. This was not the
principle creation of jobs in Germany. Re-armament of the German military
was on the top of Hitler’s goals. In March 1935, Adolf Hitler announced the
creation of a new army, a new conscripted one of strong men and intelligent
scientists. He saw the expansion of Germany’s limited army to a military
with modern aircraft, mighty battle-ships, and the most efficient army in
the world. Against the Treaty of Versailles, he created the Luftwaffe, a
new German air force to be equipped with modern German fighters and mighty
bombers. He smashed the tonnage rules set by the allies and began
construction of mighty battle-ships, and even more deadly advanced U-Boats
(Submarines). With the introduction of conscription in 1935, no man was
denied work, and the German Wehrmacht grew to over a million men, not
including those belonging to the SS or Gestapo. The introduction of new-
steel mills and creation of synthetic materials allowed German industry to
begin construction of new armaments and vehicle. Tanks, first introduced as
cumbersome slow machines of little use in WWI, became modern, fast, and
deadly weapons under the German name of Panzer. Factories once dedicated to
the creation of small tools such as shovels and axes were turned into small
arms factories, where they began construction of new submachine guns, based
entirely on a new method of manufacture utilizing metal pressing and
stamping. Small automobile companies were set under control of Volkswagen,
a company once dedicated to creating affordable vehicles and now tasked
with the construction of armoured personnel vehicles and trucks. A whole
new industry was born in Germany, Aviation. For the first time, aircraft
were constructed in a similar manner to automobiles, utilizing an assembly
line and common parts. All of this was due to the hard work and dedication
of the German people, and their membership in exclusive organizations and
clubs.


The German during Nazi Germany was open to hundreds of special
interest groups created by the government, each with its own set of goals
and tasks. These ranged from infant care groups, to a deadly secret police
force. One of the largest organizations and must influential to the common
was the Hitler Youth and its partner organizations. Here young boys were
taught the ideals of Nazi life and respect for the Fuhrer and his
subordinates. Hitler youth were often tasked with hard labour, public works
projects, and policing the youth. The Hitler Youth Organization consisted
of 4 major organizations, two for boys and young men, and two for girls and
young men. The Deutsches Jungvolk (German Young People) was an organization
for boys aged from 10 to 14. Here they would be given their basic training
in Nazi discipline and teamwork. Upon reaching the age of 14, they were
channelled into the Hitler youth, an organization for young men aged 14 to
18. They would undertake in much more military training and hard labour.

Girls began their introduction to Nazi life in the Jungmdelbund (League of
Young Girls), where between the ages of 10 to 14 they would be taught the
way of the house wife. After turning 14, they joined the Bund Deutscher
Mdel (League of German Girls) where they were given training on cooking,
housework, and child care. The organizations were not limited to the young.

All workers were to join the German Labour Front, a Nazi controlled
organization that was supposed responsible to ensure workers rights. IF you
were looking for an organization with a more military flare to it, perhaps
the Gestapo would interest you. This secret police force was the supreme of
the Aryan race. They were directly responsible for the upholding of Nazi
laws, and were delegated to control of the infamous Nazi Concentration
camps. Here, millions of Jews, Gypsies, and Priests would die under the
hands of the SS and the Gestapo. These organizations and others real
responsibility was to keep individual tabs on each and every signal German,
and provide free and cheap labour and policing across Germany to withhold
the Nazi ideal.


Despite the negative connotations toward the Nazi’s in this period of
history, German life was still of great expansion and growth. Thanks to the
changes brought on by propaganda, re-armament, and the creation of
organization, gone were the days of depression and sickness, every worker
and employee had a decent wage, a safe country, and a bright future to look
forward too. No one knew however, the horrors that would ruin their once
great future.


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1 William T Shire, Berlin Diary, Copyright 1944