Dr Dennis's Exemplar Answers

Germany 1933-45


These answers have been prepared by Dr Dennis for his OCR students, but they will be just as useful for pupils studying AQA.




Q1:    How far did people of Germany benefit from Nazi Rule? (10 Marks)

Q2:    ‘'The most serious problem faced by the German people in the period 1939-45 was the impact of the bombing raids.' Do you agree with this statement? Explain your answer. (10 marks)

Q3:    Which of the following was the most important in helping Hitler to take control over Germany? Explain your answer by referring to (i), (ii) and (iii)

(i) The Reichstag Fire,

(ii) The Enabling Law

(iii) The Night of the Long Knives. (10 Marks)

Q4:    Explain how the following together contributed to the success of the Nazis in maintaining (keeping themselves) in power in the period 1933-39

(i) The Enabling Law

(ii) The Economic Policies of the Nazis

(iii) Nazi policies towards the young. (10 Marks)

Q5:    What was the role of women in Nazi Germany? (5 marks)

Q6:    What opposition was there to Hitler and the Nazis from within Germany?   

Q7:    What steps did Hitler take to solve unemployment? (4 marks)

Q8:    How did Hitler deal with opposition to Nazi rule in Germany? (4 marks)

Q9:    What was the Hitler Youth Movement? (4 marks)

Q10:  Why were women and children such an important part of Hitler's Germany? (6 marks).

Q11:  Why did different groups oppose Nazi rule? (6 marks)

Q12:  Why did Hitler persecute the Jews? (6 marks)







Q1:   How far did people of Germany benefit from Nazi Rule? (10 Marks)

This is a balanced answer.

Begin with examples of those who did benefit and say why.


Those who benefited (gained)

(1) 6 million unemployed when Hitler came to power. By 1938 Hitler had reduced this number to just 250,000. The unemployed obviously benefited because they now had jobs and money.

2) Big business benefited because they had contracts. Also they benefited because strikes were illegal and trade unions were banned.

(3) The army benefited because it managed to re-arm.

(4) Workers also benefited from new organizations like the 'Strength Through Joy' movement which offered them cut price holidays, cheap theatre and sporting event tickets and lead to the production of the 'People's Car'.

However, workers also lost their freedom of choice. They had to join the German Workers' League, worked for longer hours and. for less pay..., but many didn't mind, as they had bread and work, which was better than being unemployed.


Those who did not benefit

There were clearly also people who did not benefit under life under the Nazis;­

1. The Jews were hated by Hitler and the Nazis. Discrimination (treated unfairly) began against them as a soon as Hitler came to power. The Nazis tried to get people to stop using Jewish businesses for example. Things got even worse for them in 1935 with the passing of the Nuremburg laws (anti-Jewish laws) and then in 1938 with the attack on Jewish property and synagogues (Crystal Night / the. Night of the Broken Glass)

From 1942 the Final Solution to the Jewish problem led to the holocaust or mass murder of many Jews in death camps such as Auschwitz, Dachau and Belsen. By the end of the war six million out of eight million Jews had lost their lives under the Nazis.

2. Anyone who opposed the Nazis was also persecuted. Individual church ministers such as Bonhoeffer and Niemoller paid heavily for speaking out against the Nazis. So too did the White Rose movement, who opposed the policies of the Nazis and those involved in the Stauffenberg bomb plot in 1944.

3.There were other minority groups that did not benefit from life under the Nazis. The gypsies, homosexuals, mentally ill -people,­ beggars, prostitutes, habitual criminals were all persecuted. Some lost their lives and others were thrown into the concentration camps.

4. All other opposition parties did not benefit because they were banned under the Enabling Act. Many of their leaders were thrown into concentration camps.          .

5. Ordinary Germans lost their freedom of speech and choice. By 1945 most had lost a lot more as Germany "lay in ruins, and many had suffered under the Allied bombing of the German cities. The war had also brought further hardship like the rationing of rood and clothes. By the end of Nazi rule Germany was a defeated and occupied country. In the end therefore it is difficult to say that the people of Germany did benefit from Nazi rule.




Q2:   ‘'The most serious problem faced by the German people in the period 1939-45 was the impact of the bombing raids.' Do you agree with this statement? Explain your answer. (10 marks)


The allied bombing raids on Germany did not begin until 1942, so the statement above about its impact on the German people is incorrect, although after this date it was important. However, it was one of a number of reasons which combined together to affect German civilians (people). Up to 1942 Germany seemed to be doing well in the war, and although there was some food and clothes rationing (you are only allowed so much), the spoils of war (what could be gained by winning) seemed to outweigh ­any sacrifices being made.


The bombing raids were linked to when war started to go badly for German. In 1942 Germany faced" major defeats at EI Alamein and Stalingrad. This caused major concerns for the civilians back in Germany who had family fighting in the Germany army. It also had another impact because sacrifices now had to be made at home (back in Germany). For example, Albert Speer was put in charge of preparing the German economy for 'total war'. This affected (had an impact) on civilians as food rationing was cut even more, factories had to work longer hours (and with greater risk of being blown up by bombing raids) and more labour was needed, so more women had to work.


As the war went badly the bombing raids could now attack Germany and have an impact on their people, because not only did they try and destroy production for the war (by blowing up factories), but they also aimed at civilians (people) to try and destroy their morale (will to go on fighting). By the end of the war the 'Thousand Bomber Raids' were killing a lot of German people. In one raid (attack) on Dresden (German city) 135,000 people were killed, so obviously this was a very serious problem for civilians.As more bombs dropped this affected food and production, so more German people began to starve and the damage to homes and cities was enormous.


However, there were other problems not connected to the bombing as well. For example, Germany was a police state so if you were a trade union leader, an opponent of Nazism - you were probably locked up in a concentration camp already, so the bombing raids were only one more thing to worry about. For Germany's Jews, who faced the death camps and the 'Final Solution', Bombs could have been a blessing (a quick death/ less suffering). So as you can see there were various problems which German civilians faced and it is their interrelationship that led to huge amounts of suffering after 1942. So no single (one) problem was the most important.




Q3:   All the following helped Hitler to take control over Germany;­

(i) The Reichstag Fire,

(ii) The Enabling Law

(iii) The Night of the Long Knives.

Which of these was the most important? Explain your answer by referring to (i), (ii) and (iii). (10 Marks)


All three of the above played their part in helping Hitler take control over Germany. He was made Chancellor in January 1933 but at that time there were more non- Nazis in the government than Nazis, so Hitler wanted to take control. He did this by calling another election.        .

Just before this election the Reichstag (German parliament) was burnt down and Hitler used this opportunity to blame the Communists and then conduct the elections in an atmosphere of violence and intimidation. Hitler also persuaded Hindenburg to pass an emergency law restricting peoples personal freedom and by using this law Hitler threw thousands of communist supporters into prison. This meant that the Nazis were able to increase their control over the Reichstag, although they still did not have an overall majority.


However, the Reichstag Fire did allow the Nazis to get an electoral victory good enough to gain control of the Reichstag by combining with the Nationalists (another extreme right group) to form a majority. This was important because control of the Reichstag was necessary in order to get the Enabling Act. The Enabling Act allowed Hitler to pass laws for the next four years without having to ask the Reichstag for permission. Hitler used this Act to ban all other political parties and make Germany a one party state (country). This allowed him to increase his control, but there were still powerful men within his own party which might threaten his leadership. So on the 30th of June 1934, in the Night of the Long Knives Hitler's SS murdered many members of the SA leadership, including Ernst Rohm who Hitler saw as a threat. In doing this he was dealing with opposition from within his own party, but this could not be done without dealing with opposition" from without his party first. Now the army made Hitler Commander in Chief of Germany and when Hindenburg died Hitler had complete control over Germany. All three events were therefore necessary and interlinked in helping Hitler take control.




Q4:   Explain how the following together contributed to the success of the Nazis in maintaining (keeping themselves) in power in the period 1933-39

(i) The Enabling Law

(ii) The Economic Policies of the Nazis

(iii) Nazi policies towards the young. (10 Marks)


All three reasons together help to explain how the Nazis maintained themselves in power.

The Enabling law allowed Hitler to pass laws for four ears without having the permission of the Reichstag. This meant he ruled more or less how he wanted. It gave him a legal basis for doing what he did and this was important. It allowed him to ban all other political parties for example, making him a legal dictator. Without the Enabling law the Nazis might not have been able to stay in power. However, once they had that authority, they certainly strengthened their position, helping themselves to maintain themselves in power by their economic policies. Hitler had promised to return Germany to prosperity and solve the unemployment problem. Therefore it was vital (very important) that he did this. By 1939, mainly through rearmament and public works, nearly everyone had a job and the economy seemed to have recovered.


They also strengthened their control with their policies towards the young. Hitler realised this was vital because the young would be the future Nazis. Therefore he needed to turn them into good Nazis, loyal and obedient to him. The Nazis did this by controlling the school curriculum, making all teachers join the German Teacher's League. Subjects like biology taught the superiority of the Aryan race and all History was rewritten to portray a Nazi view of events, like the Munich Putsch. The Hitler Youth was also created and in 1936 membership became compulsory (they had to join). Other youth clubs and church organisations were shut down. The youth organisations provided another way to indoctrinate the young and fill them with Nazi ideas. The boys would be the future soldiers, the girls would become the mothers to these future soldiers.

So really it was all three reasons working together which helped maintain the Nazis in power.




Q5:   What was the role of women in Nazi Germany? (5 marks)


Hitler stated a woman's role was

(1)    Kinder, Kirche and Kuche (children, church and kitchen)

(2)    The Nazis encouraged marriage with financial incentives in the laws and homes for unmarried women were created (state maternity hostels)

(3)    The Nazis were a male dominated organization.

(4)    Hitler viewed women's role as traditional -mother and wife. There was a women's bureau - but it had little power.

(5)    You got a 'Gold Cross' for having 8 children and motherhood and home building was a focus for the media and propaganda. The German Maiden's League reinforced these ideas and the birth rate did increase.

(6)    Opportunities for women to work were limited. Even during the war women did not serve in the armed forces.




Q6:   What opposition was there to Hitler and the Nazis from within Germany?   


Many Germans believed Hitler was a fine leader and genuinely supported him.

·                 Those who did not - many did not want to risk their lives by speaking out. (mention Gestapo and informers and many people imprisoned and executed without trial)

·            Given the use of terror combined with propaganda - it is understandable why there was so little opposition.


But there was some opposition

Many Jews, left Germany and criticized the Nazi regime from abroad.

·            Some church leaders spoke out against Hitler.

·            e.g. Niemoller (he was arrested and spent 8 years in a concentration camp.

e.g.. Bonhoeffer - he organized resistance to Hitler and paid with his life. .

e.g.. Some of the scientists working on Nazi special weapons passed on secrets to the Allies during the war.

·                e.g The Stauffenberg plot (20 July 1944). An attempt was made to blowup Hitler at his Prussian headquarters. This was very late in the war and it was only a matter of time before Germany lost. The bomb killed 4 people but Hitler survived with damaged eardrums. The attempt failed and over 5000 people were killed in response to this.


It is not surprising there was little opposition. Many communists and socialists had been thrown into prison early in 1934.




Q7:   What steps did Hitler take to solve unemployment? (4 marks)


One of the main ways he solved unemployment was by rearmament. He reintroduced conscription (you had to serve in the military), began the building of a military air force and a bigger navy. New weapons meant that factories needed to produce more so they employed more people. Hitler also set up the Nazi Labour Front which led to more people working. They built new roads, museums and other public works. Also the new organizations like the ‘Strength Through Joy’ movement and the Hitler Youth created new jobs. Finally, ‘Aryans’ took the jobs of the Jewish people. These are the ways Hitler solved unemployment.




Q8:   How did Hitler deal with opposition to Nazi rule in Germany? (4 marks)


Hitler dealt with opposition very effectively. After the Enabling law he banned all other political parties. The communists had already been banned after the Reichstag Fire and many opposition leaders had been thrown into concentration camps. Hitler also stopped freedom of speech and used effective methods of propaganda. His SS and Gestapo dealt with opposition using intimidation and terror and more and more concentration camps like Dachau, Belsen and Auschwitz were built for opponents. Germany became a police state under the Nazis and everything was controlled. It became very dangerous to openly oppose Hitler.




Q9:   What was the Hitler Youth Movement? (4 marks)


The Hitler Youth movement was founded (made) in 1926. Boys aged between six and ten joined the Little Fellows, ten to fourteen, the Young Folk and fourteen to eighteen the Hitler Youth. Girls joined the German Maidens League. The purpose of the Hitler Youth was to encourage Nazi ideas and beliefs, and also loyalty and obedience to Hitler. The Hitler Youth was really a training ground for the army and emphasis was placed on military training and physical fitness. Girls were also encouraged to keep fit in preparation for motherhood and the opportunity to give birth to the future soldiers. In 1936 membership or the Hitler Youth became compulsory (they had to join).




Q10: Why were women and children such an important part of Hitler's Germany? (6 marks).


Hitler saw women in a traditional way. A woman's role was really to stay at home and have the children - Kinder, Kirche, Kuche (children, church, kitchen). Hitler realised that he needed to improve the birth-rate in Germany if they were going to become strong again. By improving the birth-rate there would be more future soldiers, loyal and obedient to him. Mothers were awarded a gold medal if they had eight children and given special seats at Nazi functions. Children were the future of Nazi Germany. Hitler wanted to control the young through education and the Hitler Youth. The young could be taught loyalty, obedience and Nazi ideas. This would help the children grow up to become good Nazis, future soldiers and mothers to make Germany strong. This is why Women and children were an important part of Hitler's Germany.




Q11: Why did different groups oppose Nazi rule? (6 marks)


The communists would always oppose the Nazis because they had totally opposite ideas on how to run Germany. They communists represented the extreme left of politics and the Nazi's the extreme right. Others opposed the Nazis because they resented (did not like) the brutality of the Nazi police state. Many of these people left Germany and criticised the Nazis from abroad (outside Germany). There were also other people who opposed the Nazis like Von Stauffenberg who wanted to kill Hitler and end the war. The Protestant Church also opposed the setting up of an unchristian church - the Reich Church. Certain church leaders like Bonhoeffer and Niemoller spoke out against the Nazi. Niem611er was arrested and spent eight years of his life in a concentration camp. Bonhoeffer paid with his life, they opposed Nazi rule because they didn't agree or like it.


Other examples: The White Rose Movement, The Swing Movement (rebellious teenagers)




Q12: Why did Hitler persecute the Jews? (6 marks)


Hitler formulated his ideas (made his ideas) about the Jews when he lived life as a drop out in Vienna. He believed in the superiority of the Aryan race. Jews had been persecuted throughout Europe because they were blamed for the death of Jesus Christ. Another reason was that they tended to be well educated and therefore many had well-paid jobs, so there was a lot of jealousy. Hitler also used the Jews as a scapegoat (someone to blame) to blame for Germany's problems. He blamed Jewish business men and bankers for Germany's defeat in the First World War. He thought they had forced the surrender of the German army. He also knew that political popularity could be gained from a policy of anti-Semitism. ­These are the reasons why Hitler persecuted the Jews.