These answers have been prepared by Dr Dennis for his OCR
students, but they will be just as useful for pupils studying AQA.
This is a balanced answer.
Begin with examples of
those who did benefit and say why.
Those who benefited
(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
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
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
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.
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
(i) The Reichstag Fire,
(ii) The Enabling Law
(iii) The Night of the
Which of these was the
most important? Explain your answer by referring to (i), (ii) and (iii).
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.
(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
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.
Hitler stated a woman's
Kinder, Kirche and Kuche (children,
church and kitchen)
The Nazis encouraged marriage with
financial incentives in the laws and homes for unmarried women were
created (state maternity hostels)
The Nazis were a male dominated
Hitler viewed women's role as
traditional -mother and wife. There was a women's bureau - but it had
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.
Opportunities for women to work were
limited. Even during the war women did not serve in the armed forces.
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
Given the use of terror combined with propaganda - it is understandable
why there was so little opposition.
But there was some
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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)
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.