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World War II.docx

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Anthony Cantor

World War II -Hitler used propaganda for his own self-promotion -Hitler developed belief that an international Jewish conspiracy was undermining Germany -“stab in the back” by Jews in Germany -Jewish conspiracy was behind left-wing groups Adolf Hitler (1889-1945) -WWI gave him a sense of purpose -saw Austria as useless & wanted to serve the German army -saw WWI as Germany’s fight against its enemies as well as against inner internationalism -crucible for increased national consciousness & purpose & opposition to internationalists, the left & minorities -after WWI, became frequent speaker in Munich -defined the Germans as the Aryan race, Jews as a parasitic/alien race designed to undermine Germans -NSDAP (1921) -National Socialist German worker’s party (though he hates socialism & was far-right) -leaders drew up a 25-point plan to abolish the Treaty of Versailles, create a greater German state (incorporating Austria & German speaking areas of Denmark, Czechoslovakia, etc.) -called for citizenship in greater German state to be based on ethnic blood -called for large-scale companies to be nationalized (fuse together interests of bosses & workers to work for national greatness, like Mussolini’s policies) -called this party the worker’s party b/c he wanted to counteract the appeal of socialism among workers & peasants, & draw various classes to his nationalist & racist movement (who would often be more politically available for those talking about class consciousness) -NSDAP started out w/ 1100 members, in 1923: 55,000 members th -appealed to small business men (those who had been enthusiastic in the 19 -century in the folkish movement) & veterans from WWI (who didn’t think they had lost the war), offering them a way to engage in paramilitary activities (fascists had their own military wings) -street battles between communists & Free Corps (right-wing militants) -looked to Italy where radical right-wing groups were emerging, & Hitler & the Nazi party tried to create something similar -inspired by the March on Rome in Italy, there were some coups in Germany -Beer Hall Putsch (1923) -coup Hitler participated in in Germany -decided in 1923 that there should be a “March on Berlin”, but ended up trying to achieve the coup in Munich on Nov. 8, 1923 -SA (paramilitary armed band of the Nazis) surrounded the Beer Hall & forced the premier of Bavaria into a back room, threatening him to support their coup (he didn’t support it) -Nov. 9: military & police were ready to fire on Hitler & his group Hitler wasn’t prepared for this, & marched his group into the line of fire & 16 of them died (who were later elevated in Nazi mythology as the old fighters) -Hitler was arrested, put on trial, sentenced to jail for 5 years for treason -Mein Kampf (1925) -wrote in prison -obsessions: fear of communism, Jews were an evil race contriving to destroy German society -explanation of his plans for Germany -Weimar Republic survived past this coup, centrist coalitions were holding the gov’t together, political violence decreased communists never accepted the legitimacy of the Republic, & resisted & had a great deal of support from even the mainstream nationalists on the right (were monarchists) 1928: looked far-fetched that Nazis would be inpower (communists had 10.6% of vote, Nazis: 2.6%) 1929: Great Depression, industrial boom based on foreign investment, Germany’s dependence on exports weakened it, -people demanded help from the state, & various factions had differing views on how to solve the problems -communists had about 13% of the vote, Nazis: 18% -Nazis were creating a sub-gov’tal network, building an entire infrastructure even before taking over the gov’t -Nazi message was attractive to those who liked nationalism & traditional authority, but didn’t like the current rule -Nazi party had a v. broad appeal, winning a significant minority of votes from the left 1932: 37% vote to Nazis meant they were the largest party in the parliament -wasn’t enough for them to form a gov’t: needed to form a coalition Nov. 1932: Nazis lost votes to 33% (difference of 2 million votes) -President Hindenberg tried to get Hitler to accept being vice Chancellor (controlling him but using him b/c of his connections w/ a lot of people) Hitler was aware of this strategy & refused to compromise -January 1933: Chancellor of Germany -Nazis didn’t form the entire cabinet, & only had 2 posts in addition to Hitler -one of the posts was in control of the police -opened the door for Hitler to take full control & to undermine German experimental democracy -Reichstag fire (1933) -Feb. 1933: somebody sent the parliament on fire -arrested a communist, saying it was an international communist plot -Reichstag (parliament) passed law that in event of such a threat, Hitler had the ability to suspend individual rights~ -March 1933: Nazis won 44%~ -Enabling Act (1933) -extended emergency powers indefinitely -transferred all power to the chancellor, which he used to suspend all parties except his own -SS/SA/Night of the Long Knives -w/in Nazi movement: strong-arm wing (SA paramilitaries) who were the most radical & violent 1934: Hitler purged the SA -nobility
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