3rd Year: Germany under Hitler

Adolf Hitler
Main Page: International Relations in the 20th Century

He's possibly the most (in)famous person of the 20th century. One of the few people from throughout history who nearly anyone, young or old, would recognise. You've heard of Hitler before, and now you'll study him and his actions. So, you know what Europe was like after the Treaty of Versailles, you know was fascism is and how it was applied in Italy, now you'll look at how Hitler came to power in Germany, what kind of policies he pursued, and how some of those policies led to World War II.

Adolf Hitler was born in 1889 in Austria. He wanted to become a painter but was rejected from the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts. He fought in World War I, after which the Germany army recruited him to spy on the new German Workers' Party. He ended up joining it and becoming its leader, by which time it had renamed itself as the National Socialist Party (in German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsch Arbeiterpartei), called the Nazi party for short.

He was elected Chancellor in 1933, and upon the death of President Paul von Hindenberg in 1934 he combined the two positions to create the title of F├╝hrer (leader) of Germany (similar to Mussolini's 'il Duce'). What happened next all forms part of the most well-known story of 20th century history.

Continue to Hitler's Foreign Policy (The Drift to War)

  • Hitler and the Nazi party: What were they, their ideas, Mein Kampf
  • Reasons for Hitler's rise to power: Weimar Republic, Great Depression, Propaganda, the SA and SS.
  • Becoming a dictator: Enabling Law, Night of the Long Knives, Olympic Games, Economy, Hitler and the Jews, the "Final Solution".

Click here for exam questions you can be asked about this topic. (Higher and Ordinary)

"Behind the enemy powers: The Jew":
An anti-Semitic Nazi propaganda poster.
What do you think is the message of this poster?

From the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

The Weimar Republic
The Treaty of Versailles abolished the old German Empire and replaced it with the Weimar Republic (called this because the government met in the city of Weimar). Read about its history here, and learn why it was so easy for Hitler to take control for it.

BBC History: Adolf Hitler
The BBC have a biography of Hitler, as well as links to stories and articles about different events that took place during his time and in power and in the war years. Unfortunately, for now at least, none of the videos seem to work.

Biography.com: Adolf Hitler
Biography have their own page about Hitler, which has a five-minute long video documentary on his career.

The Rise of the Nazi Party
Joseph Goebbels, Reich Minister for Propaganda
Spartacus Schoolnet have a long but very good and detailed article on the rise of the Nazi Party, featuring primary source material from the time, such as leaflets, accounts, and propaganda posters.

The Nazis' Rise to Power: Timeline
This timeline shows how the Nazis rose from a small political party made up of ex-soldiers to the dominant party in Germany, with pictures, explanations and links (although some of them are broken).

Kristallnacht (YouTube)
A short video showing footage from Kristallnacht, a night of intense anti-Semitic violence in Nazi Germany. 

Read more about it here.

Facts about the Holocaust
About.com have a summary of facts about the Holocaust. You might know some of them, you mightn't know others.

Holocaust Survivors: Witness Accounts
The full horrors of the concentration and extermination camps only became known when Allied troops liberated them. Read some accounts here. 

United States Holocaust Memorial Musem
The USHMM commemorates the victims of the Holocaust, and their site has information on life in Nazi Germany for Jewish people, and other groups who were targeted.

The 1936 Berlin Olympics Opening Ceremony (YouTube)
You've probably seen the 2012 London opening ceremony. The 1936 ceremony was far more subdued, not just with less theatrics but with the Nazi government toning down their own totalitarian style. American athlete Jesse Owens won four gold medals, but Hitler refused to shake his hand due to his African-American heritage.

The 1936 Berlin Olympics
Hitler wanted to use the Olympics as a propaganda tool to show off the superiority of Aryan athletes. Read about it here.