Social and Political Movements in Nazi Germany
Adolf Hitler remains a powerful symbol of Nazi rule and mass genocide across the world today. His life was filled with experiences which led him to become a tyrannical dictator of Germany, ultimately leading to the chaos and destruction of World War II.
Hitler was born in 1889 in Austria. He originally aimed to be an artist, but was rejected twice by the Vienna Art Academy. After being refused the opportunity to follow his dream, he entered politics in 1912 and joined the German Workers’ Party in 1919. He quickly gained support for his views and climbed to position of Minister for War under President Paul von Hindenburg in 1933. From there he was able to gain support from the German nation, and become leader of the Nazi party in 1934.
As leader of the Nazi party, Hitler was a strong propagator of a new wave of social, political, and economic reform in Germany. He promised the nation wealth, restoration of honor, and pride, creating a wave of nationalism. His influential speeches and appealing rhetoric convinced millions to follow and support the new wave of German thinking – his National Socialist German Workers’ Party.
Hitler’s plan was to create a ‘master race’ of Aryan Germans, in an attempt to wipe out several minority groups he saw as unfit for the Aryan nation. Jews, Slavs, physically disabled people, bad debtors and political dissidents were thought of as inferior and were subjected to mass extermination and imprisonment in concentration camps. It is estimated that over six million Jews were killed in the Holocaust.
The Second World War was the result of Hitler’s plans to expand German territory and gain land and resources. During the War, the Nazi party committed atrocities including kidnapping, enslavement and murder in several countries. Due to their acts of cruelty, millions of innocent people lost their lives in a horrific, systematic effort to create a racially superior nation.
Hitler went to war with allies including Italy, Japan and Hungary and conquered most of Europe before being finally defeated. In 1945, the Allies marched into Berlin and Hitler was forced to commit suicide.
Legacy of Adolf Hitler
The legacy of Adolf Hitler is complex and contradictory. He is remembered as a final embodiment of evil and genocide by many, while also being unfairly characterized in public history as a savior of the German people.
Hitler’s ideology and political beliefs still impact modern-day world politics and the belief system of millions of people. It can be argued that Hitler was the first modern leader to use mass media for political influence, and the methods he used to manipulate people, control the economy and refine his beliefs are still studied today as a powerful tool for political and authoritarian influence.
Hitler’s powerful speeches and effective rally strategies had a significant impact on the nation of Germany. His inspirational style of speaking generated an unparalleled wave of patriotism and marked an evolution of public speaking which is still evoked in the world today. One shining example of this is the rhetoric used by former US president Dwight Eisenhower in the 1944 presidential election, which was compared to the style of Hitler’s.
Though he was easily one of the most influential figures of the 20th century, the pattern of totalitarianism and unchecked rule Adolf Hitler established has left a dark legacy. His policies of expansionism, racial hierarchy and genocide are still at the forefront of conversations on racism and mass genocide today. His forces also took part in the destruction of thousands of cultural buildings, including churches, universities and hospitals, impacting the global cultural infrastructure forever.
Economic Strategies of the Nazi Regime
The Nazi regime started a period of remarkable economic recovery for Germany during the 1930s, initially from the nation’s total economic woes of 1920s hyperinflation.
Hitler’s government changed the way the economy worked by consolidating the industry so that it worked in a concerted effort drive towards rearmament, allowing the German people to come out of the Depression and achieve financial stability.
The Nazi government had new views on what a worker should be, as Hitler encouraged dedicated workers and punished those considered lazy or shirkers. He also believed in vastly increasing wages and controlling prices so that workers on the lowest income levels could continue to buy. This economic prosperity led to an increase in consumer spending, creating a sense of wealth in Germany that last until the end of the Second World War.
This economic prosperity was possible through the implementation of protectionism, which created a shield of tariffs and protective legislation for native raw materials and products. These measures helped to protect the German industry, ensuring that little to no foreign goods entered the nation.
The most prominent example of protectionism was the ‘I-Plan’ in 1927. This was a reform of the Reichsbank, Germany’s central bank at the time, which redefined the function of money and replaced gold reserves with government bonds. This was based on the concept of ‘synthetic money’, paving the way for the introduction of a state-controlled economic system.
International Relations Under Hitler
Hitler’s ultimate goal was to create an ‘Aryan master race’, but this goal could only be achieved through numerous acts of aggression internationally. He entered into alliances with Italy and Japan, seeking allies that shared his vision of racial superiority, and expansions of territories. Also, the Nazi regime saw an opportunity to acquire the territories and resources it needed from other countries, and this led to Hitler’s decision to expand into Czechoslovakia and Poland.
In November 1936, Hitler formed an alliance with Italy, called the Rome-Berlin Axis. This pact was a military and political alliance between the two countries during the Second World War. This agreement was a key factor in triggering the start of World War II, as Nazi forces moved aggressively into Czechoslovakia, Slovakia and Poland.
Hitler’s foreign policies were premised on the strength of his racial rhetoric and the mobilization of resources to rearm and rebuild German military strength. He also sought to disrupt the status quo of European states, which he saw as weak and ripe for his own form of governance.
The defeat of Germany triggered the process of denazification, where the Nazi party was disbanded and the government was restructured, removing Nazi leaders from all positions of power. This process stripped Germany of its international status and the control the Nazi’s had over the world.
Nazi Culture and Propaganda
Nazi Germany, under Hitler, was engulfed in a wave of party related propaganda and culture which laid the foundation for fascist ideology across the world today.
Under Hitler’s leadership, groups, ideologies and perspectives which were not in line with the Nazi extreme views were censored and subdued. An example of this was the anti-intellectualism sentiment that was gained from the educational policies of the regime.
Nazi public relations and propaganda was used heavily to gain support, manipulate public opinion and spread Nazi ideals across Europe. Hitler believed in an absolute state monopoly on the media, and he utilized all forms of communication to spread the central Party message. This included the production of propaganda booklets and newspapers, along with the use of events and rallies to bring Nazi ideals to the people.
Hitler also had his own set of standards for art and film, which corresponded to the National Socialist agenda. These standards were used to manipulate the messaging of art, cinema, and literature imagery to reflect Nazi ideals.
The indoctrination process also extended to cultural activities like overalls, folk festivals and folk songs. Hitler encouraged youth participation in cultural preservation, hoping to drive a deeper divide between cultural and national identities within the nation.
Conclusion About Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was a powerful leader, who had profound and lasting impact on the world. His powerful speeches inspired an entire nation, his ideas influenced the culture and politics of Germany and his international relations paved the way for World War II.
Hitler’s own views of racial and ethnic superiority, along with his desire for land and resources, formed the basis of horrific acts of genocide and human atrocity. His legacy remains one to be condemned and yet studied in the hopes of preventing a catastrophic history like his from ever happening again.