Life in Nazi Germany Essay

Society

When Hitler joined the National Socialist Party he claimed it was more than a party and was to rule Germany; he recoiled at the idea of liberal individualism and tried to enforce the idea of ‘Volksgemeinschaft’, ‘a people’s community’.

When Hitler became Fuhrer he aimed to improve the German economy and to reduce unemployment. Hitler succeeded at this by using conscription, forcing men over 18 to john the armed forces; he also reduced unemployment by banning women from the armed forces. Hitler also developed many things we use today in modern life, for example: Motorways (autobahn), jets, synthetic fuels, guided missiles and microwaves to name a few. In fact, the first magnetic tape was a recording of a Hitler speech.

Youth

Hitler tried to influence young people who would later become Nazi adults by inventing the ‘Hitler Youth’, a club similar to scouts, that took in children aged 7-18. It was meant to train children for life. Similar to Nazi education, the children were then taught about warfare and fighting if they were male and the three C’s if they were female ( Cooking, Children, Church).This was Hitler’s way of trying to breed an Aryan race.

The total membership in 1939 was 8 million but began to fall after war broke out, despite membership being compulsory. Many teenagers rebelled against it and openly admired American fashion and swing music.

Woman

In Nazi Germany women were raised to be good housewives and to stay at home to cook and take care of children. They were part of the League of Maidens when they were younger (female version of the Hitler Youth) and left when they were 18, fully educated in life skills.

Sexism was encouraged in Germany and many women lost high-ranking jobs, such as being doctors or teachers. To make sure men in the army were well looked after, women were banned from the army so they could look after their husbands when they got back from war. Unfortunately, due to this policy, female unemployment rose in 6 years from 4.8 million to 5.9 million.

Birth rates soared during 1933-1939 as Hitler and the Nazis gave grants to families with more children. The government even gave medals to women for producing lots of children.

Leisure

Germany was host to the 1936 Olympics, and though Germany still won the most medals for a country, a black American, Jesse Owens, won the most for an individual. This infuriated Hitler who obviously was against Owens competing as he was an African-American. Many countries threatened to boycott the games because of Hitler’s policies on Jews but they ended up competing. Spain could not compete as civil war broke out in Spain a day before the games started.

Hitler and the Nazis banned many leisure activities and music genres from the German people, jazz music was banned as it was considered ‘too American’. Anti-war novels were banned altogether, to stop the people of Germany being pacifist. Art was heavily censored, impressionist art was banned whereas Realist art was allowed in galleries.

Church

Hitler claimed to be Roman Catholic, maybe to please the church and pope at that time. In 1933 he signed a concordat with the Pope. However many Christians at that time refused Nazi ideas and joined German resistance. To combat this Hitler formed a Nazi church, complete with Swastikas and Crosses. He infamously said ‘One can be a Christian or German, you can not be both.’

Jews

Perhaps the most infamous of Nazi policies; the issue of race. Anti-Semitism was a huge part of Nazi life and was actively encouraged by the government. They also mistreated other minorities, such as blacks, disabled and homosexuals. Hitler’s hatred of Jews dated back to WW1, which he believed was lost due to the Jews. Hitler was a product of anti-Semitism in Germany, not the creator as many people believe. Hitler’s hatred translated into economic boycott and racial laws, therefore triggering government inspired hate-violence. Of course this all ended in the mass-extermination of the Jews in the holocaust.

Hitler liked to use his enemies as scapegoats for his mistakes or actions, for example the Communists after the Reichstag fire and the Jews for WW1. It is not surprising that during all this violence many Jews emigrated to other countries; as many as 150,000 emigrated between 1933-1939.

The whole Nazi society had to attack the Jews, if individuals or groups did not they were ridiculed publicly. There were many organised attacks and riots on Jewish shops.