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A swastika, the generally accepted Nazi symbol

Nazism (or National Socialism; German: Nationalsozialismus) is a set of political beliefs associated with the Nazi Party of Germany. It started in the 1920s. The Party gained power in 1933, starting the Third Reich. They lasted in Germany until 1945, at the end of World War II.

Many scholars think Nazism was a form of far-right politics.[1] Nazism is a form of fascism and uses biological racism and antisemitism. Much of the philosophy of this movement was based on an idea that the Aryan race was better than all others and had the greatest ability to survive. According to the racist ideas of Nazism, the Germanic peoples were the Herrenvolk (master race),[2] whilst the inferior races who were said to be the Jews, Gypsies and blacks were classified as Untermenschen (sub-humans).[3]

To implement the racist ideas, in 1935 the Nuremberg Race Laws banned non-Aryans and political opponents of the Nazis from the civil-service and forbid any sexual contact with people defined as Aryan and non-Aryan.[4][5] The Nazis sent millions of Jews, Roma and other people to concentration camps where they were killed. These killings are now called the Holocaust.

The word Nazi is a short for Nationalsozialist (supporter of the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei) in the German language. This means "National Socialist German Workers' Party".

Nazi rise to power[change | change source]

Adolf Hitler, who wrote Mein Kampf, said that all the problems of Germany were the result of Jews making plans to hurt the country. He also said that it was Jewish and Communist politicians who planned the Armistice of 1918 that ended World War I, and who allowed Germany to agree to pay huge amounts of money and goods (reparations). On the night of the 27 February 1933 and 28 February 1933, someone set the Reichstag building on fire, which was where the German Parliament held their meetings. The Nazis blamed the communists. Opponents of the Nazis said that the Nazis themselves had done it to come to power. On the very same day, an emergency law called Reichstagsbrandverordnung was passed. The government claimed it was to protect the state from people trying to hurt the country. With this law, most of the civil rights of the Weimar Republic did not count any longer. This was used by the Nazis against the other political parties. Members of the communist and social-democratic parties were put into prison or killed. People were threatened and there was a lot of violence against them. The Nazis became the biggest party in the parliament. By 1934, they managed to make all other parties illegal. Democracy was replaced with a dictatorship. Adolf Hitler became leader (Führer) of Germany.

Nazi was Hitler's standard during his run as President of Germany

Attacking other countries[change | change source]

As the German leader (Führer) of Nazi Germany, Hitler began moving Nazi armies into neighboring countries. When Germany attacked Poland, World War II started. Western countries like France, Belgium and the Netherlands were occupied and to be treated by Germany as colonies, while in Eastern countries, such as Poland and the Soviet Union, the Nazis planned to enslave the Slavic peoples so that German settlers could take their land. The Nazis made alliances with other European countries, such as Finland and Italy. Every other European country that allied with Germany did it because they didn't want to be taken over by Germany. By alliances and conquest, the Nazis managed to control much of Europe.

The Holocaust[change | change source]

In the Holocaust, millions of Jews, as well as Roma people (also called "Gypsies"), the disabled, homosexuals, and political opponents from Germany (including Communists) and other countries that the Nazis controlled were sent to concentration camps in Poland and Germany. The Nazis killed millions of these people at the concentration camps with poison gas. The Nazis also killed millions of people in these groups by forcing them to do slave labor without giving them much food or clothing. In total, 11 million people died- 6 million of them Jews.

The Nazis lose the war[change | change source]

In 1945, the Soviet Union took over Berlin after beating the German army in Russia, and met the American and British armies who had fought right across Germany after invading Nazi Europe from Normandy in France on June 6,1944. The Nazis lost because the Allies had many more soldiers and more money than them. During the invasion of Berlin, Hitler may have shot himself in a bunker with his new wife, Eva Braun. Other Nazis also killed themselves, including Joseph Goebbels just one day after Hitler named him as his successor. The Nazis surrendered after Berlin was captured by the Soviet Army

Trial for the Nazis[change | change source]

After the war, the Allied governments, such as the United States, Britain and Soviet Union held trials for the Nazi leaders. These trials were held in Nuremberg, in Germany. For this reason, these trials were called "the Nuremberg Trials." The Allied leaders accused the Nazi leaders of murdering millions of people (in the Holocaust), of starting wars, of conspiracy, and belonging to illegal organisations. Most Nazi leaders were found guilty by the court, and they were sent to jail or executed by hanging.

Nazis after the war[change | change source]

There has not been a Nazi state since 1945, but there are still people who believe in those ideas. These people are called neo-Nazis, (which means new-Nazis). They claim that...

  • Northern and Western European white people are superior to all other races of people
  • deny the Holocaust happened (Holocaust deniers)
  • speak against Jews and sometimes other races
    • say that Hitler was right to blame Jewish people Germany's problems after WWI,
    • tell people to hate Jewish people and other groups of people
    • believe that Jews have too much world influence.

After the war, laws were made in Germany and other countries, especially countries in Europe. These laws say it is forbidden to say that the Holocaust never really happened. Sometimes they also ban questioning the number of people affected by it, which is saying that not so many people were killed as most people think. There has been some controversy over this as affecting people's free speech. Certain countries, such as Germany, Austria, and France also ban the use of Nazi symbols to stop Nazis from using them.

Other websites[change | change source]

  1. Fritzsche, Peter. Germans into Nazis, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1998; Eatwell, Roger, Fascism, A History, Viking-Penguin, 1996. pp. xvii-xxiv, 21, 26–31, 114–140, 352. Griffin, Roger, "Revolution from the Right: Fascism," in David Parker, ed., Revolutions and the Revolutionary Tradition in the West 1560-1991, London: Routledge, 2000
  2. Valdis O. Lumans (1993). Himmler's Auxiliaries: The Volksdeutsche Mittelstelle and the German National Minorities of Europe, 1933-1945. Univ of North Carolina Press. p. 20. ISBN 978-0-8078-6311-4.
  3. Robert Gellately; Nathan Stoltzfus (2001). Social Outsiders in Nazi Germany. Princeton University Press. p. 216.
  4. The first supplemental decree of the Nuremberg Laws extends the prohibition on marriage or sexual relations between people who could produce "racially suspect" offspring. A week later, the minister of the interior interprets this to mean relations between "those of German or related blood" and Roma (Gypsies), blacks, or their offspring.