Nazism in Germany ( A.D.1933 – A.D.1945)
Germany, a powerful empire in the early years of the 20th century, fought the First World War (1914-1918) against the Allies (England, France and Russia).
Germany made initial gains by occupying France and Belgium. However the Allies strengthened by the US entry in 1917, defeated Germany and the Central Powers in November 1918.
Defeat of Germany
The defeat of Imperial Germany and the abdication of the Emperor William II gave an opportunity to parliamentary parties to recast German polity.
A National Assembly met at Weimar and established a democratic constitution with federal structure.
This republic, however, was not received well by its own people.
The Peace Treaty at Versailles with the Allies was a harsh and humiliating one.
Germany lost its overseas colonies and one tenth of its population. The Allied Powers demilitarized Germany to weaken its power.
Germany was forced to pay war compensation amounting to £6 billion.
The allied armies also occupied the resources rich Rhine land. Many Germans held the new Weimar Republic responsible for not only the defeat in the war but also the disgrace at Versailles.
The 1929 Great Economic Depression also affected the economy of Germany.
The Germans were expecting a great leader to save Germany from this agony.
Adolf Hltler (1889-1945)
Adolf Hitler was born in 1889 in Austria. His father was a custom officer. He lost his parents very early. He went to Vienna for job.
At this juncture there emerged a great leader, Adolf Hitler.
He was a painter for sometime. He joined the army during the First World War and fought bravely for which he was awarded the Iron Cross.
After the war,he did not get any job and he took to politics. He organized a group of men called the National Socialists in 1919, which became Nazist Party.
He gave his group a programme, a symbol and uniform. The followers of Hitler were called ‘Brown Shirts’ and he was called ‘Fuhrer’ (leader).
His party emblem was Swastika() His secret police was Gestapo.
Hitler began his political career as an agitator. In 1923, he made an attempt to capture power.
It was known as Hall Revolution’. But he failed and was arrested for high treason and sentenced to 5 years imprisonment.
While he was in prison he wrote a book called ‘Mein Kampf (My Struggle), which became the bible of Nazis. Soon he was released.