Hitler's domestic policies, 1933 - 39


This theme asks you to look at what kind of domestic programme was put into place by Hitler, and how his economic and social policies were created and implemented. An awareness of the results of these policies is also essential so you need to be aware of their relative successes and failures.


Note:

This topic is useful for both Paper 3, when there might be a direct question on this, and Paper 2, for instance if there is a question about 'domestic policy' or even possibly women and/or youth.


Past Questions:


Paper 3

  • Compare and contrast the domestic policies of Hitler and Mussolini. (May 2010)

  • Compare and contrast the repressive policies of Hitler and Stalin. (May 2009)

  • Compare and contrast the social and economic policies of Hitler and Mussolini. (Nov 2008)

  • Compare and contrast the domestic policies of Hitler and Stalin up to the outbreak of the Second World War. (Nov 2006)

  • Compare and contrast totalitarian rule in Hitler’s Germany and Mussolini’s Italy, up to 1939. (May 05)

General SPS questions


MARKSCHEME NOTES

EXCELLENT IB REVISION NOTES ON THIS TOPIC

Hitler's overall aims in terms of domestic policy?
  • "Volksmeinschaft" (people's community) --> Build a classless society by replacing individual liberty with securing the greater good of the nation
  • Remove non-Nazi influences
  • Shaping the attitudes of the population to support Hitler's aims
  • Focus on foreign policy and military

Methods to achieve these?
  • Hitler put extreme focus on the youth and women of Germany, given that they were to become the strong future patriots of Germany!

Successes: Hitler succeeded given that he managed to impose his ideology onto the people. Also, through a harsh way of rule, Hitler managed to keep receive the support he needed to pursue his foreign interests.

Failures: Despite this, Hitler was only in power for 12 years, 6 of which were spent in war. Essentially, after the end of the Second World War including Hitler's suicide, Germany no longer purused Nazi ideology as a way of rule! This suggests that Hitler was not effective enough in this domestic policies to leave an impact on his Reich after his death, as he aspired to do.

Youth:
  • Aims
Indoctrinate with Nazi ideology
Create loyalty and willingness to sacrifice to greater good of nation --> nationalism/anti-individualism
"Seperate spheres" --> boys were to be strong fighters --> girls were to bear children

1933 - Government takes over and increases in supporters --> expansion of movement
1936 - Membership and all other youth organizations banned
Camping outdoor activity, fun games --> intimidation and oath to loyalty
Later, greater focus on military drills and Nazi ideology --> seperate for boys and girls

Successes:
95% loyal to Hitler
Rapid membership increase after 1933, plus compulsory membership
Brainwashed kids --> students prepared to sacrifice themselves for the Nazi loyalty
Hitler Youth became the dominant monopoly over German's Youth's spare time

Failures:
Many youth managed to escape the "compulsory memberships" and rival groups emerged
Many turned away from Hitler Youth in later 1930s
The Hitler Youth became less successful with more military training and Nazi lectures etc.
Growing opposition to Hitler Youth - rejection of it + non-Nazi ideas

Education:
Nazifying - an attempt to control the teachers
97% of teachers joined the Nazi Teacher's League in 1937
Purge and discuss unreliable teachers
Politicize the curriculum to reflect
Nazi ideology - control textbooks --> History, Biology, Physical Education (2h per day)
Anti-intellectual, pro-strong/healthy --> future Aryan race
Greater focus on needlework for girls, music and home crafts

Successes:
Control over teachers - 1937
Effective way of spreading Nazism

Failures:
Poor quality of students
Created ignorant individuals who could not think for themselves - very much dependent on Nazi ideology

Women and Social control:
Aims
"Seperate spheres" for men and women - whereas men were expected to work and fight for the Reich, women were expected to work and fight for the family
The attitudes towards women was summarised by the slogan Kinder, Kirche, Kuche (Children, Chruch, Kitchen)
The policy had the support of churches traditional rural groups, but ran contrary to ideas of female emancipation - would have been given the vote in and got careers in the Weimar period

Why did Hitler have these policies?
Ideological - Peasant-based Volksgemeinschaft invovled the rejection of "modern" and "Bolshevik" ideas about female emancipation
Pragmatic - Given the steady birth rate decline in Germany, Hitler considered it essential for the continued economic growth of the Reich, as he planned to conquer and populate lands in the east

What did Hitler do?
  • Reduced the amount of women in employment - Married women were excluded from the civil service and other professions. Employers were encouraged to employ men in favour of women. The numbers of women allowed into university was restricted.
  • Increased the amount of marriages and births - Divorce was made easier for childless couples. Aryan women were offered an interest fee marriage loan; the amount to be repaid fell by a quarter with each child loan - only granted to women who agreed to stay out of work
  • Generous welfare payments for mothers
  • Motherhood skills were taught by the "Women's Enterprise" (DFW)
  • Medals ("Honour Cross of the German Mother") - any women who had more than 8 children received a gold medal from Hitler personally
  • Abortion was restricted and the use of bith control for Aryans was condemned.
  • Increased the quality of births - 1933 Sterilisation law was passed against all those with a hereditary disease/mental health problems (inc. alcoholism/feeble-mindedness)
  • 320,000 people sterilised by the Nazi 1933 - 1945

Racial policies:
The Nazis believed -->
1. The blonde-haired, blue-eyed Nordic Germans (or Aryans) were a Volk, or a race.
2. They were the master race. All the other, inferior, races were arranged in a hierarchy beneath them.
3. Near the bottom of this hierarchy came black peoples, and beneath them 'non-people' such as gypsies and Jews.
4. It was their duty to keep the German race 'pure' by having children only with fellow Aryans and restricting what other races could do, especially with Jews.
5. It was their destiny to conquer the lands of inferior races, such as the Slavs to the east, and use them to provide resources and living space for the master race.

The persecution of minority groups
The Nazis persecuted undesirable minority groups in Germany, which consisted of:
1. Homosexuals - sent to concentration camps
2. Gypsies - sent to concentration camps, shot or gassed
3. The mentally ill - sent to concentration camps

The Euthansia Programme in 1939
Euthansia means a quiet and easy death. Hitler introduced this programme to kill people with mental or physical disabilities who the Nazis judged to lead worthless lives at the expense of the State. 5000 children were killed by starvation or lethal injections. 71,000 adults were killed by injections or gassing. In 1941, Hitler stopped the programme in the face of protests started by the Catholics.

The persecution of Jews
Through the use of propaganda, Hitler blamed the Jews for:
1. Germany's defeat in 1918
2. The inflation of 1923
3. The economic collapse of 1929-1932
4. In schools children were taught to hate Jews, and textbooks put across anti-semitic ideas.
5. Nazi-controlled newspapers and magazines bombarded adults with anti-semitic articles and cartoons.

Successes:
These policies can be seen as successful given that Hitler managed to take control over society by imposing his ideology onto the everyday lives of ordinary Germans. This is proven by the fact that Hitler
Failures:

Overall evaluation of Hitler's domestic policy: was any revolutionary change made, or it was it all just random, improvised and reactionary?


Resources:

http://www.scribd.com/doc/31086478/IB-History-Revision-Notes-Hitler-Nazi-Germany

http://www.funfront.net/hist/total/n-german.htm#nazification

http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/IB_European_History#Foreign_and_Domestic_Policy