"Nazification" - 1934-1937

Saturday, 12 July 2008 18:35 phil stokes

During the years following Hitler's consolidation of power he set about the "Nazification" of Germany and its release from the armament restrictions of the Versailles Treaty. Censorship was extreme and covered all aspects of life including the press, films, radio, books and even art. Trade unions were suppressed and replaced with the centralised "Labour Front", which didn't actually function as a trade union. The churches were persecuted and ministers who preached non-Nazi doctrine were frequently arrested by the Gestapo and carted off to concentration camps. All youth associations were abolished and re-formed as a single entity as the Hitler Youth organisation. The Jewish population was increasingly persecuted and ostracised from society and under the Nuremburg Laws of September 1935 Jews were no longer considered to be German citizens and therefore no longer had any legal rights. Jews were no longer allowed to hold public office, not allowed to work in the civil-service, the media, farming, teaching, the stock exchange and eventually barred from practising law or medicine. Hostility towards Jews from other Germans was encouraged and even shops began to deny entry to Jews. From a very early stage, Hitler geared the German economy towards war. He appointed Dr. Hjalmar Schacht minister of economics with instructions to secretly increase armaments production. This was financed in various ways, including using confiscated funds, printing bank notes and mostly by producing government bonds and credit notes.

In September 1936, Goering took over most of Schacht's duties in preparing the war economy and instituted the Four-Year Plan, which was intended to make Germany self-sufficient in four years. This put Germany on a total war economy and entailed strict control of imports, materials prices and wages as well as the creation of factories and industrial plants to produce essential war materials (e.g. synthetic rubber, fuels and steel). Workers were low paid and their freedom to move between jobs was increasingly restricted. Even the workers' recreation time was strictly controlled through the "Strength Through Joy" organisation. Hitler was the law when it came to the judicial system and had the ultimate say over legal actions of any kind. Any judge who was not favourable to the Nazi regime was dismissed, and a "Special Court" for political crimes and a "Peoples Court" for accusations of treason were introduced. Both of these courts were controlled by the Nazi Party and an unfortunate defendant was extremely unlikely to get a fair trial.



Last Updated on Friday, 15 January 2016 10:23