1. Describe the problems faced by the Weimar Republic.
• Many Germans held the new republic responsible not only for the defeat of Germany in World War I but also for the national humiliation at Versailles.
• The Versailles Peace Treaty at the end of the First World War dispossessed Germany of its territories, its resources and its pride as a nation. He also had to pay 6 billion pounds as war compensation.
• Authoritarian groups and revolutionary parties began to emerge which denounced democracy and popular support grew for conservative dictatorship.
• The Weimar Republic was weak due to inherent constitutional irregularities such as proportional representation and Article 48 (which gave the President the power to impose emergency and rule by decree).
2. Discuss why Nazism became popular in Germany by 1930.
• After defeat in the First World War, Germany was forced to sign the harsh and humiliating Treaty of Versailles, in which it was made to accept the guilt for the war.
• The Nazism became a mass movement only during the Great Depression of 1929.
• The Nazi propaganda stirred hopes of a better future at this time.Hitler was a powerful speaker. He promised to build a strong nation, undo the injustice of the Versailles Treaty and restore the dignity of the German people.
• He promised employment for the unemployed, and a secure future for the youth.
• He promised to weed out all foreign influences and resist all foreign conspiracies against Germany.
• The Nazi propaganda stirred hopes of a better future at this time.
3. What are the peculiar features of Nazi thinking?
• Nazis believed in the idea of one people, one empire and one leader.
• According to Nazism there was no equality between people. In this view, the blue eyed Nordic German Aryans were at the top while the Jews were located at the lowest rung.
• New territories must be gained for enhancing the natural resources and power of Germany.
• The Nazis believed that Jews were inferior and the cause of German misery and therefore should be totally eliminated.
4. Explain why Nazi propaganda was effective in creating a hatred for jews.
• The Nazi regime used language and media with care, and often to great effect. Media was used to gain support for the regime and to make it popular all over the world.
• They spread their ideas through visual images, radio, posters, slogans, speeches, films, etc. All enemies of Germans, especially the Jews were mocked, abused and called as evil. They were termed as bad-meaning foreign agents.
• The most infamous film “Eternal Jew” was shown all over to the people. All orthodox Jews were stereotyped and shown as supporting long beards and wearing loose clothes. But in reality, it was not so. These Jews were called names such as rats, pests and vermins.
• Nazi propaganda completely brainwashed the people who began to believe that Jews are to be hated.
5. Explain what role women had in Nazi society. Return to Chapter 1 on the French Revolution. Write a paragraph comparing and contrasting the role of women in the two periods.
Children in Nazi Germany were repeatedly told that women were radically different from men. The fight for equal rights for men and women that had become part of democratic struggles everywhere was wrong and it would destroy society. Boys were taught to be aggressive, masculine and steel-hearted, girls were told that they had to become good mothers and rear pure-blooded Aryan children. They had to be the bearers of the Aryan culture and race. They had to look after the homes and teach children Nazi values. If the Aryan women deviated from the prescribed code of conduct they were publicly condemned and severely punished.
In other parts of Europe, women were actively participating in democratic struggles. In countries like France women formed clubs for protest and were ever involved in violent uprisings. They were politically more aware of their rights and were brave enough to demand them.
6. In what ways did the Nazi state seek to establish total control over its people?
• The First Fire decree in 1933 suspended the civic rights like freedom of speech, press and assembly and thus controlled the German population.
• The Enabling Act was passed. It gave all powers to Hilter to Sideline Parliament and rule by decree.
• All political parties except the Nazi Party were banned.
• The communists were suppressed and sent to concentration camps.
• Special security forces such as the SA, SS, SD and Gestapo were created to control and order society in ways that the Nazis wanted.
• The police forces had powers to rule with impunity. Genocide also created an atmosphere of fear and repression which helped them to establish total control over its people.