Nazism (or National Socialism; German: Nationalsozialismus) is a set of political beliefs associated with the Nazi Party of Germany. It started in the 1920s, but the Nazi Party gained power in 1933 and started carrying out their ideas in Germany, which they called the Third Reich. They stayed in power in Germany until 1945, when they lost World War II.
National Socialism is an extreme right-wing, fascist, ideology that is heavily inspired from the works of Oswald Spengler. The Nazis believed that only the Aryan (German) race was capable of building nations and other races, notably the Jewish race, were agents of the corruptive forces of capitalism and Marxism, both of which the Nazis opposed. They considered the Aryan race the 'Master race', which meant that they thought that the Aryans were the most biologically evolved of humans and therefore deserved to have power over all other humans. They adapted Charles Darwin's theory of evolution and applied it to humans.
The leader of the Nazis Adolf Hitler wanted to a create a country where all Aryans were treated equally. They spent heavily on poorer people and began several huge government programs to help Germany deal with the unemployment and economic crisis caused by the Wall Street Crash of 1929 and the Great Depression which followed it. Some Nazis, such as Ernst Röhm, wanted the reforms to go further and called for a revolution, completely eliminating economic classes in Germany and for the government to take control of major businesses. Many of these Nazis were murdered on Hitler's orders during the Night of the Long Knives because they were a threat to his leadership of the Nazi Party.
The Nazis blamed the Jewish people for Germany's defeat in World War I. This is known as the Stab in the Back Myth. The Nazis also blamed the Jewish people for rapid inflation and practically every other economic woe facing Germany at the time as a result of their defeat in World War I. For this reason, the Nazis not only viewed the Jewish people as inferior to them, but as oppressors of the Aryan people who were creating inequality. The Nazis' tactic of lazily albeit effectively blaming the Jewish people for all of Germany's problems is a propaganda tactic known as scapegoating and was used to justify the great atrocities committed by the Nazis against the Jewish people.
To implement the racist ideas, the Nuremberg Race Laws (created in 1935) banned non-Aryans and political opponents of the Nazis from the civil-service. They also forbid any sexual contact between 'Aryan' and 'non-Aryan' persons.
Nazi rise to power (1919-1934)[change | change source]
Adolf Hitler, the leader of Nazi Germany, wrote a book called Mein Kampf ("My Struggle"). The book said that all of Germany's problems happened because Jews were making plans to hurt the country. He also said that Jewish and communist politicians planned the Armistice of 1918 that ended World War I, and allowed Germany to agree to pay huge amounts of money and goods (reparations).
In November 1923, the Nazis tried to overthrow the democratic German government that had been set up after WWI. Nazi thinking emphasises conflict and violence, and believes that these are the best way to sort out political problems. The Nazis had therefore set up their own private army, called the Sturmabteilung (SA) which were sometimes known as the 'Nazi stormtroopers' or simply the 'brownshirts'. Many political parties had their own private armies at this time in Germany to guard their events and meetings from the private armies of other political parties. The attempt to take power is referred to as the Munich Putsch or Beer Hall Putsch and was crushed after less than 24 hours.
After the Putsch, Hitler was imprisoned for six months and the Nazi Party briefly banned. It was allowed to exist again in if it promised to only be democratic. The Nazis agreed, but made it clear that if they took power in Germany, they would turn Germany into a dictatorship. The Nazis believed in something called the Führer Principle, which means that they believe that all groups should be organised like armies, with absolute loyalty shown to the leader of the group. They wanted to apply this principle to Germany. They disagreed with democracy, because they believed that it divided groups which made them weaker.
The Nazis performed very badly in elections until the early 1930s, where they became exceptionally popular. This can be partly explained by a massive increase in poverty in Germany caused by the Wall Street Crash of 1929, and Nazi promises to rebuild German strength and pride. However, this is not the only reason for the Nazis coming to power, because it still took more than three years for Adolf Hitler to become Chancellor of Germany after the Crash.
On the night of the 27 February 1933 and 28 February 1933, someone set the Reichstag building on fire. This was the building 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. The Nazis used this against the other political parties. Members of the communist and social-democratic parties were put into prison or killed.
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, and had the power to make any laws he wanted.
Life in Nazi Germany (1934-45)[change | change source]
The Nazis changed Germany to fit their ideas of what a country should be like. They created a totalitarian state, which is a country where the government tries to have total control over ordinary people's lives.
In schools, several subjects were changed to fit a Nazi interpretation. History was taught to emphasise German military victories and blames Jewish people and Marxists for defeat in WWI. Children were also taught racial hygiene lessons, where pseudo-scientific racist principles taught to them. In 1936, all German children had to be members of the Hitler Youth which was a Nazi version of the Scouting movement, and was designed to prepare them to be soldiers in wars against other races.
People who opposed the Nazis were seen as traitors. The Nazis created a very effective police state, led by Heinrich Himmler and his deputy Reinhard Heydrich. They were in charge of an organisation called the Schutzstaffel (SS) that took control of all of the police forces in Germany. The SS also set up a new secret police organisation called the Gestapo which hunted down people who wanted to protest against the Nazi government. Enemies of the Nazis were regularly tortured, put in concentration camps or executed.
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. However, in Eastern countries, such as Poland and the Soviet Union, the Nazis planned to kill or 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 did not want to be taken over by Germany. Through these alliances and invasions, 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"), people with disabilities, homosexuals, political opponents, and many other people were sent to concentration camps and death 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, 17 million people died, 6 million of them being Jews.
Victory of the Allies[change | change source]
In 1945, the Soviet Union took over Berlin after beating the German army in Russia. The Soviet Red Army 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 the Red Army captured Berlin.
Nuremberg Trials[change | change source]
After the war, the Allied governments, namely the United States, Britain, and the Soviet Union, held trials of the Nazi leaders. These trials were held in Nuremberg, Germany. For this reason, these trials were called "the Nuremberg Trials." The Allied leaders accused the Nazi leaders of war crimes and crimes against humanity, including murdering millions of people (in the Holocaust), of starting wars, of conspiracy, and belonging to illegal organizations like the SS (called, "Schutzstaffel", in German). Most Nazi leaders were found guilty by the court, and they were sent to jail or sentenced to death and executed.
Nazis after the war[change | change source]
- Germanic peoples are superior to all other races of people.
- Many neo-nazis change "germanic" to "all white people".
- They speak against Jews and sometimes other races. For example:
- They say that the Holocaust did not happen, and that it was made up by the Jews.
- They say that Hitler was right to blame Jewish people for Germany's problems after World War I;
- They tell people to hate Jewish people and other groups of people.
- They believe that Jews have too much power in the world.
After the war, laws were made in Germany and other countries, especially countries in Europe, that make it illegal to say the Holocaust never 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 who wrote this? There has been some controversy over whether this affects people's free speech. Certain countries, such as Germany, Austria, and France, also banned the use of Nazi symbols. It is also banned to make a Nazi pledge position on a popular media source to stop Nazis from using them.
Related pages[change | change source]
- Adolf Hitler
- Nazi eugenics
- Holocaust victims
References[change | change source]
- "Nazism | Definition, Leaders, Ideology, & History". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2021-05-07.
- Gopnik, Adam. "Does "Mein Kampf" Remain a Dangerous Book?". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2021-05-07.
Other websites.[change | change source]
- "Nazi - Encyc". Encyc. Retrieved 2018-04-03.