Hitler performing the Nazi salute.
Credit: National Archives and Records Administration.
As well as a world-wide depression, the 1930s was a period of unstable world peace through the expansionist designs of totalitarian regimes in Japan, Italy, and Germany. In 1931 Japan had invaded Manchuria, crushed Chinese resistance, and set up the puppet state of Manchukuo. Italy, under Benito Mussolini, enlarged its boundaries in Libya and in 1935 conquered Ethiopia.
Germany, under Nazi leader Adolf Hitler, militarised its economy and reoccupied the Rhineland (demilitarised by the Treaty of Versailles) in 1936. In 1938, Hitler incorporated Austria into the German Reich and demanded cession of the German-speaking Sudetenland from Czechoslovakia. By then, war seemed imminent.
To understand the rise and fall of Hitler’s Third Reich, it is important to start looking at Germany from just after World War I right through to the end of World War II.
Chapter 1 starts with the proclamation of the Weimar Republic in 1918 and follows the unstable political situation through to Hitler’s total domination of Germany in 1933.
Chapter 2 looks at Hitler’s consolidation of power and his transformation of Germany into a dictatorship. Germany becomes a one-party state, with terror used to maintain control. Police harass and arrest Communists, Socialists and Jews. The chapter continues with the outbreak of World War II through to Hitler’s suicide in April, 1945, and Germany’s unconditional surrender on May 7, 1945.
Chapter 3 discusses the Nuremberg Trials and the Denazification of the country.
Text credit Tatyana Gordeeva, German Culture at:
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