Beer Hall Putsch (November 8 , 1923)
Hitler and the Kampfbund, along with Ludendorff to add legitimacy to the coup,
march on Munich to seize power from the Weimar government.
Although the coup was a failure, the Hitler-Ludendorff trial gained massive
publicity, exposing Hitler’s rhetoric.
The failure also convinced Hitler that power could be achieved more effectively
through legal means; when Hitler was released from prison, the Nazi Party began
to take on a different form, using impressive campaigning strategies to target a
vulnerable German population.
While serving time for the attempted revolution, Hitler also wrote Mein Kampf.
An annual rally (1923 – 1938) of the Nazi Party, and one of the largest Nazi
propaganda events after 1933, bringing in as many as half a million people at
German citizens marched with Hitler and swore their loyalty to him; the event
purported to exemplify the might of the German people, and the solidarity
between the Volk and the Nazi Party.
Significant because it effectively strengthened the personality cult of Adolf Hitler,
portraying him as German’s chosen savior (especially after 1933).
Red Army Faction (1974 – 1977)
A terrorist group that grew partly out of the student movement in West Germany;
opposed to marriage, the nuclear family, and denounced consumerism.
A proletariat armed resistance movement whose purpose was to rid West
Germany of what they deemed to be an imperialist American presence.
Murdered 34 people; kidnapped representatives of the government; bombed US
and German government installations.
Although the leaders are caught, with most committing suicide in prison, this is an
good example of the deep discontent that exists in West Germany.
Enabling Act (March 23 , 1933)
After the Reichstag fire (which may have been staged by the Nazis), Hitler issued
the Reichstag Fire Decree, which allowed civil liberties to be oppressed and
makes Germany into a police state in a way.
The Enabling Act came next, and was passed by the Reichstag and signed by
President von Hindenburg on March 23 , 1933.
Was to last four years and was renewed twice by the Reichstag.
The Act allowed Hitler to issue decrees without involving the Reichstag, even those
that deviated from the Constitution, and played a big role in Hitler’s rise to power;
also exemplifies Hitler’s commitment to take power through legal means.
SS paramilitary death squads, responsible for mass killings during World War II with a leading role in the Holocaust (approx 2 million killed, 60% of which were
Active in Eastern Europe under the leadership of Heinrich Himmler and Reinhard
Heydrich, the Einsatzgruppen would follow the army in and handle political
prisoners and commissars.
Significant in that they played a large role in the invasion of Poland, Operation
Barbarossa, and Babi Yar, as well as in the general conquering of territories
invaded by Germany.
“Stab in the back” Myth
The myth that the German Army was not losing World War I, but was betrayed by
left-wing representatives that wished to overthrow the monarchy; especially those
that signed the Armistice and drafted the Weimar Constitution, deemed the
The Nazis made this myth an integral part of their platform, and portrayed the
Weimar republic as nationally humiliating, and ruled by Jews and Marxists.
Caused some distrust in the left-wing and discontent with the Weimar Republic; the
Nazi Party taking advantage of this is an excellent example of how they were able
to appeal to the German population.
Night of the Long Knives (June 30 , 1934)
A political purge that began on June 30 , and spanned two days; Nazi government
kills leading figures of a left-wing faction, leaders of the SA, as well as
conservative anti-Nazis, including those who had suppressed Hitler during the
Beer Hall Putsch.
Hitler saw the independence of the SA as threatening to his newly gained power,
and the army saw the SA’s size as threatening to their position as the national
army—Ernst Rohm, the leader of the SA, also had the plan to absorb the German
army into the SA, and exhibited socialist rhetoric, which Hitler disliked
Killings were carried out by the SS and the Gestapo; the SS became independent
afterwards and was able to grow under Himmer.
The carrying out of the purge was essential to gain the full support of the German
Army for Hitler, and was a turning point for German government, who seemed to
unanimously pledge their loyalty to Hitler afterwards.
The proposal of territorial expansion of Germany to provide living space for the
over-populated nation and resources necessary to its people’s well being.
An important part of the Nazi ideology; they regarded it as essential; meaning
―living space‖ or ―habitat‖
One of Hitler and the Nazi Party’s most important foreign policy goal; was mostly
concerned with the Soviet Union, a land which Hitler believed was both a nation
that possessed vast and rich agricultural land and was inhabited by what Hitler
saw as Slavic Untermenschen (sub-humans).
As these people were not Germans and would never be capable of assimilating to the German way of life, Hitler felt justified in killing them to make room for
Germans to settle—this exemplifies one part of Hitler and the Nazi’s ideology of
a ―racial hierarchy‖, placing the value of one race over another.
Willy Brandt / Ostpolitik
Leader of the SPD and Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany from 1969-
After a generation of overly conservative politicians directing Germany, Brandt is
seen as being a part of a new wave of politicians.
Brandt’s noted legacy was a benevolent policy towards the East, known as
Ostpolitik, which aimed at improving relations with East Germany, something
that seemed to be far gone under Adenauer’s 1955 Hallstien Doctrine, which
refused to recognize any state or nation that recognized the GDR in East
Young Plan/Dawes Plan
Dawes Plan – 1924
o Proposed by an American (Charles Dawes) to assist Germany’s economic
situation after World War I, namely the reparations problem, which had
affected international politics since the close of the war.
o Staggered payments; smaller and more manageable.
o Germany becomes dependent on short-term American loans.
o Plan includes a provision that said the Allies would stop the occupation of
the Ruhr industrial area, something that settled the international tension.
Young Plan – 1929
o Another American implementation—replaces Dawes Plan.
o Was clear that Germany could not make their annual payments, and that
the total reparations figure was far too excessive.
o Resets total repayment figure and reduces annual payments; paid over 59
o The Young Plan and the Dawes Plan are effective, but tie German and
American economies tightly together.
Although Germany displays good faith and enters a period of
relative prosperity/stability thanks to America, when America
enters the Great Depression, Germany’s economy is seriously
affected—America begins requesting the loans to be paid back, as
they are now desperate for money; this makes Germany the nation
to be affected the second most (next to America) by the GD.
Nuremberg Trials (1945 – 1946)
The Nuremberg Trials were a series of military tribunals held by the Allies
nations after World War II; including the Trial of Major War Criminals before the
International Military Tribunal.
The trials targeted the political and military leadership of Nazi Germany; 23 trials
were held. Established that individuals are accountable for their actions, not abstract
concepts; punishing individuals is the only way that international law can be
enforced—i.e an excuse of duress was invalid.
Although considered to be the trial that forced Nazis to face the consequences for
their actions, the Nuremberg Trials are often criticized for the lack of Jewish
testimony and avoidance of discussing the Holocaust as one of the crimes
committed—most crimes were ―waging war‖ and not crimes towards humanity.
The Eichmann trial (1961), by contrast, attempted to remedy these criticisms by
including crimes against the Jewish people and humanity as charges, and by
including Jewish testimony—this is when the Holocaust really began gaining
Heinrich Himmler was Reichsfuhrer of the SS; he also appointed Reinhard
Heydrich to be General of the SS and Chief of the RSHA (which included the
Gestapo and the Kripo)
Under Himmler’s leadership, the SS grew from a small paramilitary formation
into one of the largest and most powerful organizations in the Third Reich, as well
as the one likely to be the most directly responsible for the Holocaust.
Himmler was also one of the most powerful men in Nazi Germany and one of the
persons most directly responsible for crimes against humanity and the Holocaust;
created the Einzsatzgruppen and built and directed the extermination camps.
Reinhard Heydrich was a high-ranking Nazi official; General of the SS and Chief
of the RSHA, including the Gestpo and the Kripo; also head of the SD, an
operation in charge of neutralizing opposition and dissent to Nazism.
Chaired and led the Wannsee Conference, which formalized the plans for the
Final Solution to the Jewish Question.
Is commonly seen as one of the most brutal men of the Nazi regime, and one of
the individuals most directly responsible for the Holocaust; it is also interesting to
note that unlike most other high-ranking Nazi officials, Heydrich looked as if to
be the poster boy for Nazism—he was almost perfectly Aryan.
Oversaw the murder of thousands, maybe millions; Operation Reinhard Camps
are named after him after his death in 1942.
Operation Reinhard Camps
Camps opened to carry out the mass murder of Polish Jews in the General
Government (Nazi-occupied Poland)—ushered in the most deadly portion of the
Holocaust, with the introduction of exclusive extermination camps.
The three camps, Belzec, Sobibor, and Treblinka, were responsible for
approximately 2 million deaths.
These camps are significant because there were exclusively death camps; 99% of
those arriving at these camps were murdered within hours. These three small camps included the first gas installations (all utilized carbon
monoxide exclusively), were all closed by the end of 1943, and were created for
the swift annihilation of Polish Jewry.
The second President of Weimar Germany from 1925 – 1934; succeeded by
Hitler when he became the Fuhrer, a title that combined both President and
Hitler pressured Hindenburg on several occasions to appoint him Chancellor, but
Hindenburg personally despised Hitler, referring to him often as ―that Bohemian
corporal‖; despite old age and dwindling health, Hindenburg ran for reelection in
1932 as it was believed he was the only candidate that could beat Hitler.
Won the 1932 election, but as the political situation in Weimar Germany
worsened, Hindenburg began playing an active role in the rise of the Nazis to
power—he dissolved the parliament twice in 1932, appointed Hitler as
Chancellor in 1933, and then went on to issue the Reichstag Fire Decree after the
possibly Nazi-staged Reichstag Fire.
o Using Article 48 (which allowed the President to issue emergency
decrees), the Reichstag Fire Decree decreased the power of the Reichstag
and suspended various civil liberties.
o He then went on to sign the Enabling Act, which gave Hitler legislative
powers, made Hitler’s decrees the force of law, and made Hindenburg’s
dismissal of Hitler the only check against his power (considering
Hindenburg’s rapidly deteriorating health, this was unlikely to occur);
when he died the following year, Hitler combined the office of President
and Chancellor into the Fuhrer and made himself head of state.
Included in the practice of ―eugenics‖; Nazi Germany’s eugenics program was
racially based and carried out through social policies that placed the improvement
of the Aryan race at the center of the Nazi ideology.
Sterilization was a form of eugenics that sought to make it impossible for
―undesirable‖ populations to reproduce, typically by removing or blocking their
Beginning with the July 14 , 1933 Law for the Prevention of Hereditarily
Diseased Progeny, the Nazi state made sterilization compulsory for a variety of
different individuals that the Nazi regime claimed were ―unworthy of life‖
Included mentally ill, depressed, diseased, deformed, disabled, and even those
who had a history of stealing or alcoholism.
Interesting because it did not apply to Jews initially, although it was a precursor
to the Aktion: T4 euthanasia program, and thus also to the conception of the
Nazi trade union organization, which replaced the various, trade unions of the
Weimar Republic after Hitler’s rise to power. Generally, the German workers were satisfied by what the DAF gave them in
repayment for their absolute loyalty.
Combated capitalism, liberalism, but also revolution against the factory owners
and the Nazi state.
Another excellent example of the manner in which the Nazi program targeted the
Strength Through Joy
Large state-controlled leisure organization in Nazi Germany; part of the German
Labor Front (DAF), the national German labor organization at the time.
It was set up as a tool to promote the advantages of Nazism to the German people,
and quickly became the world’s largest tourism operator of the 1930s.
Purported to bridge the class divide by making middle class leisure activities
available to the masses, and also to boost the German economy by stimulating the
Served to ensure that the working class was kept busy and did not have an
excessive amount of free time on their hands—also made the working class
thankful to the state for providing activities that they otherwise could not afford as
A good example of the manner in which Nazis targeted the working class.
Triumph of the Will (1935)
A film created by Leni Riefenstahl, a German female director; depicted the 1934
Nazi Party Congress in Nuremberg, which was attended by more than 700,000
Contains excerpts from speeches given by Nazi leaders, including Hitler; Hitler
commissioned the film and served as an unofficial producer—the overriding
theme of the film is the return of Germany as a great power of the world, with
Hitler as a true leader who will bring glory to the nation.
Considered one of the best examples of propaganda in film history; Riefenstahl’s
techniques have earned the fil