Removal of remaining limits
At the risk of appearing to talk nonsense I tell you that the Nazi movement will go on for 1,000 years! ... Don't forget how people laughed at me 15 years ago when I declared that one day I would govern Germany. They laugh now, just as foolishly, when I declare that I shall remain in power!Sony VAIO VGN-AR94S Battery
Having achieved full control over the legislative and executive branches of government, Hitler and his political allies embarked on systematic suppression of the remaining political opposition. After the dissolution of the Communist Party, the Social Democratic Party (SPD) was also banned and all its assets seized. Sony VAIO VGN-AR94US Battery
The Steel Helmets were placed under Hitler's leadership with some autonomy as an auxiliary police force.On 1 May, demonstrations were held, and the SA stormtroopers demolished trade union offices. On 2 May 1933, all trade unions in the country were forced to dissolve, and were replaced with a new organisation of "trade unions", uniting workers, administrators, and company owners. Sony VAIO VGN-AR95S Battery
This new trade union reflected the concept of national socialism in the spirit of Hitler's "Volksgemeinschaft" (community of all German people).
Also the Catholic Church, to which roughly 50 % of the German people belonged, was forced to support Hitler: Sony VAIO VGN-AR95US Battery
there was an early "Concordat" with the Vatican, but nonetheless the large Centre Partyof the Catholics was dissolved, as most other ones. On 14 July 1933, Hitler's Nazi Party was declared the only legal party in Germany.
Hitler used the SA to pressure Hugenberg into resigning, and proceeded to politically isolate Vice-Chancellor von Papen.Sony VAIO VGN-AW110J/H Battery
The demands of the SA for more political and military power caused much anxiety among military, industrial and political leaders. Hitler was prompted to purge the entire SA leadership, includingErnst Röhm, and other political adversaries (such as, Gregor Strasser and former Chancellor Kurt von Schleicher). Sony VAIO VGN-AW11M/H Battery
These actions took place from 30 June to 2 July 1934, in what became known as the Night of the Long Knives. While some Germans were shocked by the killing, many others saw Hitler as the one who restored "order" to the country.
On 2 August 1934, President von Hindenburg died. In contravention to the Weimar Constitution, calling for presidential elections,Sony VAIO VGN-AW11S/B Battery
and following a law passed the previous day in anticipation of Hindenburg's imminent death, Hitler's cabinet declared the presidency vacant and transferred the powers of the head of state to Hitler asFührer und Reichskanzler (leader and chancellor). This removed the last legal remedy by which Hitler could be dismissed, and nearly all institutional checks and balances on his power. Sony VAIO VGN-AW11XU/Q Battery
Hitler's move also violated the Enabling Act, which had barred tampering with the office of the presidency.
On 19 August, the merger of the presidency with the chancellorship was approved by a plebiscite with support from 84.6% of the electorate.Sony VAIO VGN-AW11Z/B Battery
As head of state, Hitler now became Supreme Commander of the armed forces. The traditional loyalty oath of soldiers and sailors was altered to affirm loyalty directly to Hitler rather than to the office of commander-in-chief.
In 1938, in the wake of two scandals Hitler brought the armed forces under his direct control by forcing the resignation of his War Minister (formerly Defence Minister),Werner von Blomberg on evidence that Blomberg's new wife had a criminal past.Sony VAIO VGN-AW120J/H Battery
Hitler and his allies also removed army commander Werner von Fritschon suspicion of homosexuality. Hitler replaced the Ministry of War with the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht (High Command of the Armed Forces, or OKW), headed by the pliant General Wilhelm Keitel.Sony VAIO VGN-AW150Y/H Battery
Having consolidated and concentrated his political powers, Hitler proceeded to suppress or eliminate his opposition by a process termed Gleichschaltung ("bringing into line"). He also tried to gain additional public support by vowing to reverse the effects of the Depression and the Versailles treaty.Sony VAIO VGN-AW160J/Q Battery
Economy and culture
Increased economic activities were enabled largely by debt flotation (refinancing long term debts into cheaper short term debts) and expansion of the military.For example, Hitler's reconstruction and rearmament were financed with currency manipulations by Hjalmar Schacht, including credits through the Mefo bills.Sony VAIO VGN-AW170Y/Q Battery
Nazi policies strongly encouraged women to bear children and stay at home. In a September 1934 speech to the National Socialist Women's Organization, Hitler argued that for the German woman her "world is her husband, her family, her children, and her home."Sony VAIO VGN-AW180Y/Q Battery
The Cross of Honor of the German Mother was bestowed on women bearing four or more children. The unemployment rate fell substantially, mostly through arms production and women leaving the workforce.
Hitler oversaw one of the largest infrastructure-improvement campaigns in German history, leading to the construction of dams, autobahns, railroads, and other civil works. Sony VAIO VGN-AW190JAH Battery
However, these programmes lowered the overall standard of living of workers who earlier had been unaffected by the chronic unemployment of the later Weimar Republic; wages were slightly reduced in pre–World War II years, while the cost of living was increased by 25%. Sony VAIO VGN-AW190NAB Battery
Hitler's government sponsored architecture on an immense scale, with Albert Speer becoming the first architect of the Reich, instrumental in implementing Hitler's classicist reinterpretation of German culture. In 1936, Hitler opened the summer Olympic games in Berlin. Sony VAIO VGN-AW190NBB Battery
Hitler also made some contributions to the design of theVolkswagen Beetle and charged Ferdinand Porsche with its design and construction.
On 20 April 1939, a lavish celebration was held for Hitler's 50th birthday, featuring military parades, visits from foreign dignitaries, thousands of flaming torches and Nazi banners.Sony VAIO VGN-AW190NCB Battery
One question concerns the aspect of modernization in Hitler's economic policies. Historians such as David Schoenbaum and Henry Ashby Turner argue that Hitler's social and economic policies were modernization that had anti-modern goals. Others, including Rainer Zitelmann,Sony VAIO VGN-AW190YAB Battery
have contended that Hitler had the deliberate strategy of pursuing a revolutionary modernization of German society.
Rearmament and new alliances
On 3 February 1933, in a meeting with German military leaders, Hitler spoke of "conquest for Lebensraum in the East and its ruthless Germanisation" as his ultimate foreign policy objectives.Sony VAIO VGN-AW190YBB Battery
In March 1933, a major statement by the State Secretary at the Auswärtiges Amt (Foreign Office), Prince Bernhard Wilhelm von Bülow, of German foreign policy aims was issued. It advocated Anschluss with Austria, the restoration of Germany's national borders of 1914, Sony VAIO VGN-AW190YCB Battery
rejection of Part V of the Treaty of Versailles, the return of the former German colonies in Africa, and a German zone of influence in Eastern Europe. Hitler found the goals in Bülow's memo to be too modest.
In his "peace speeches" in the mid-1930s, Hitler stressed the peaceful goals of his policies and willingness to work within international agreements.Sony VAIO VGN-AW190YDB Battery
At the first meeting of his Cabinet in 1933, however, Hitler prioritised military spending over unemployment relief. In October 1933, Hitler withdrew Germany from the League of Nations and the World Disarmament Conference, and his Foreign Minister Baron Konstantin von Neurath stated that the French demand for sécurité was a principal stumbling block.Sony VAIO VGN-AW220J/B Battery
In March 1935, Hitler rejected Part V of the Versailles treaty by announcing an expansion of the German army to 600,000 members (six times the number stipulated in the Treaty of Versailles), including development of an Air Force (Luftwaffe) and increasing the size of the Navy (Kriegsmarine). Sony VAIO VGN-AW230J/H Battery
Although Britain, France, Italy and the League of Nations condemned these plans, no country took actions to stop them.
On 18 June 1935, the Anglo-German Naval Agreement (AGNA) was signed, allowing German tonnage to increase to 35% of that of the British navy. Sony VAIO VGN-AW235J/B Battery
Hitler called the signing of the AGNA "the happiest day of his life" as he believed the agreement marked the beginning of the Anglo-German alliance he had predicted in Mein Kampf. France or Italy were not consulted before the signing, directly undermining the League of Nations and putting the Treaty of Versailles on the path towards irrelevance.Sony VAIO VGN-AW290JFQ Battery
On 13 September 1935, Hitler ordered two civil servants, Dr. Bernhard Lösener and Franz Albrecht Medicus of the Interior Ministry to start drafting antisemitic laws for Hitler to bring to the floor of the Reichstag. On 15 September, Hitler presented two laws—known as the Nuremberg Laws—before the Reichstag. Sony VAIO VGN-AW41JF Battery
The laws banned marriage between non-Jewish and Jewish Germans and the employment of non-Jewish women under the age of 45 in Jewish households. The laws also deprived so-called "non-Aryans" of the benefits of German citizenship.
In March 1936, Hitler reoccupied the demilitarized zone in the Rhineland, thus again violating the Versailles treaty. Sony VAIO VGN-AW41JF/H Battery
In addition, Hitler sent troops to Spain to support General Franco after receiving an appeal for help from Franco in July 1936. At the same time, Hitler continued with his efforts to create an Anglo-German alliance.
In August 1936, in response to a growing economic crisis caused by his rearmament efforts, Hitler issued the "Four-Year Plan Memorandum",Sony VAIO VGN-AW41MF Battery
ordering Hermann Göring to carry out the Four Year Plan to have Germany ready for war within the next four years. Hitler's "Four-Year Plan Memorandum" laid out an imminent all-out struggle between "Judeo-Bolshevism" and German National Socialism, which in Hitler's view required a committed effort of rearmament regardless of the economic costs.Sony VAIO VGN-AW41MF/H Battery
On 25 October 1936, Count Galeazzo Ciano foreign minister of Benito Mussolini's government declared an axis between Germany and Italy, and on 25 November, Germany signed the Anti-Comintern Pact with Japan. Britain, China, Italy and Poland were also invited to join the Anti-Comintern Pact, but only Italy signed in 1937. Sony VAIO VGN-AW41XH Battery
By late 1937, Hitler had abandoned his dream of an Anglo-German alliance, blaming "inadequate" British leadership.
On 5 November 1937, Hitler held a secret meeting at the Reich Chancellery with his war and foreign ministers and military chiefs.Sony VAIO VGN-AW41ZF Battery
As recorded in the Hossbach Memorandum, Hitler stated his intention of acquiring Lebensraum ("living space") for the German people, and ordered to make preparations for war in the east no later than 1943. Hitler further stated that the conference minutes were to be regarded as his "political testament" in the event of his death.Sony VAIO VGN-AW41ZF/B Battery
Hitler was also recorded as saying that the crisis of the German economy had reached a point that a severe decline in living standards in Germany could only be stopped by a policy of military aggression and seizing Austria and Czechoslovakia. Moreover, Hitler urged for quick action before Britain and France obtained a permanent lead in the arms race.Sony VAIO VGN-AW50DB/H Battery
In early 1938, Hitler asserted his control of the military-foreign policy apparatus through the Blomberg-Fritsch Affair and the abolition of the War Ministry and its replacement by the OKW. He also dismissed Neurath as Foreign Minister on 4 February 1938, and assumed the role and title of the Oberster Befehlshaber der Wehrmacht (supreme commander of the armed forces).Sony VAIO VGN-AW51JGB Battery
It has been argued that from early 1938 onwards, Hitler was not carrying out a foreign policy that increased the risk of war, but that he was carrying out a foreign policy that had war as its ultimate aim.
One of Hitler's central and most controversial ideologies was the concept of so-called racial hygiene. Hitler's eugenic policies initially targeted children with physical and developmental disabilities in a programme dubbed Action T4.Sony VAIO VGN-AW52JGB Battery
Hitler's idea of Lebensraum espoused in Mein Kampf, focused on acquiring new territory for German settlement in Eastern Europe. The Generalplan Ost("General Plan for the East") provided that the population of occupied Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union was to be partially deported to West Siberia, used as slave labour or murdered;Sony VAIO VGN-AW53FB Battery
the conquered territories were to be colonized by German or "Germanized" settlers. American historian Timothy D. Snyder wrote that:
Hitler imagined a colonial demodernization of the Soviet Union and Poland that would take tens of millions of lives. Sony VAIO VGN-AW70B/Q Battery
The Nazi leadership envisioned an eastern frontier to be depopulated and deindustrialized, and then remade as the agrarian domain of German masters. This vision had four parts. First, the Soviet state was to collapse after a lightning victory in summer 1941, just as the Polish state had in summer 1939, Sony VAIO VGN-AW71JB Battery
leaving the Germans with complete control over Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, western Russia, and the Caucasus. Second, a Hunger Planwould starve to death some thirty million inhabitants of these lands in winter 1941–1942, as food was diverted to Germany and western Europe. Sony VAIO VGN-AW72JB Battery
Third, the Jews of the Soviet Union who survived the starvation, along with Polish Jews and other Jews under German control, were to be eliminated from Europe in a Final Solution. Fourth, aGeneralplan Ost foresaw the deportation, murder, enslavement, or assimilation of remaining populations,Sony VAIO VGN-AW73FB Battery
and the resettlement of eastern Europe by German colonists in the years after the victory. ... As it became clear in the second half of 1941 that the war was not going according to plan, Hitler made clear that he wanted a Final Solution to be effected immediately.Sony VAIO VGN-AW80NS Battery
Between 1939 and 1945, the SS, assisted by collaborationist governments and recruits from occupied countries, systematically killed 11–14 million people, including about six million Jews representing two-thirds of the Jewish population in Europe. These killings took place, for example, in concentration camps, ghettos, and through mass executions.Sony VAIO VGN-AW80S Battery
Many victims of the Holocaust were gassed to death, whereas others died of starvation or disease while working as slave labourers.
Hitler's policies also resulted in the systematic killings of Poles and Soviet prisoners of war, communists and other political opponents, homosexuals, Roma, the physically and mentally disabled, Jehovah's Witnesses, Adventists, and trade unionists. Sony VAIO VGN-AW80US Battery
One of the largest centres of mass-killing was the extermination camp complex of Auschwitz-Birkenau. Hitler never appeared to have visited the concentration camps and did not speak publicly about the killings.
The Holocaust (the "Endlösung der jüdischen Frage" or "Final Solution of the Jewish Question") was organised and executed by Heinrich Himmler andReinhard Heydrich. Sony VAIO VGN-AW81DS Battery
The records of the Wannsee Conference—held on 20 January 1942 and led by Reinhard Heydrich with fifteen senior Nazi officials (including Adolf Eichmann) participating—provide the clearest evidence of the systematic planning for the Holocaust. On 22 February, Hitler was recorded saying to his associates, "we shall regain our health only by eliminating the Jews".Sony VAIO VGN-AW81JS Battery
Although no specific order from Hitler authorising the mass killings has surfaced, he approved the Einsatzgruppen, killing squads that followed the German army through Poland and Russia, and he was well informed about their activities. Evidence also suggests that in the fall of 1941, Himmler and Hitler decided to use gassing for the mass killings.Sony VAIO VGN-AW81YS Battery
During interrogations by Soviet intelligence officers declassified over fifty years later, Hitler's valet, Heinz Linge, and his military aide, Otto Günsche, had stated that Hitler had a direct interest in the development of gas chambers."
Alliance with Japan
In February 1938, upon advice from his newly appointed Foreign Minister,Sony VAIO VGN-AW82DS Battery
the strongly pro-Japanese Joachim von Ribbentrop, Hitler ended the Sino-German alliance with the Republic of China to enter instead into an alliance with the more modern and powerful Japan. Hitler announced German recognition ofManchukuo, the Japanese-occupied state in Manchuria, and renounced German claims to the former colonies in the Pacific held by Japan.Sony VAIO VGN-AW82JS Battery
Hitler also ordered an end to arms shipments to China, and recalled all German officers working with the Chinese Army. In retaliation, Chinese General Chiang Kai-shek cancelled all Sino-German economic agreements, depriving the Germans of Chinese raw materials such as tungsten and limiting the efforts of German rearmament.Sony VAIO VGN-AW82YS Battery
Austria and Czechoslovakia
On 12 March 1938, Hitler declared unification of Austria with Germany in the Anschluss. Hitler then turned his attention to the ethnic Germanspopulation of Sudetenland districts of Czechoslovakia.
On 28–29 March 1938, Hitler held a series of secret meetings in Berlin with Konrad Henlein of the Sudeten Heimfront (Home Front), the largest of the ethnic German parties of the Sudetenland.Sony VAIO VGN-AW83FS Battery
Both men agreed that Henlein would demand increased autonomy for Sudeten Germans from the Czechoslovakian government, thus providing a pretext for German military action against Czechoslovakia. In April 1938, Henlein told the foreign minister of Hungary that "whatever the Czech government might offer, he would always raise still higher demands ...Sony VAIO VGN-AW83GS Battery
he wanted to sabotage an understanding by all means because this was the only method to blow up Czechoslovakia quickly". In private, Hitler considered the Sudeten issue unimportant; his real intention was a war of conquest against Czechoslovakia.Sony VAIO VGN-AW83HS Battery
In April 1938, Hitler ordered the OKW to prepare for Fall Grün (Case Green), the codename for an invasion of Czechoslovakia. As a result of intense French and British diplomatic pressure, Czechoslovakian President Edvard Beneš unveiled on 5 September 1938, the "Fourth Plan" for constitutional reorganization of his country, Sony VAIO VGN-AW90NS Battery
which agreed to most of Henlein's demands for Sudeten autonomy. Henlein's Heimfront responded to Beneš' offer with a series of violent clashes with the Czechoslovakian police that led to the declaration of martial law in certain Sudeten districts.Sony VAIO VGN-AW90S Battery
In light of Germany's dependence on imported oil, and that a confrontation with Britain over the Czechoslovakian dispute could curtail Germany's oil supplies, Hitler called off Fall Grün, originally planned for 1 October 1938. On 29 September 1938, a one-day conference was held in Munich attended by Hitler, Sony VAIO VGN-AW90US Battery
Chamberlain, Daladier and Mussolini that led to theMunich Agreement, which gave in to Hitler's ostensible demands by handing over the Sudetenland districts to Germany.
Chamberlain was satisfied with the Munich conference, calling the outcome "peace for our time", while Hitler was angered about his missed opportunity for war in 1938.Sony VAIO VGN-AW91CDS Battery
Hitler expressed his disappointment over the Munich Agreement in a speech on 9 October 1938 in Saarbrücken. In Hitler's view, the British-brokered peace, although favourable to ostensible German demands, was a diplomatic defeat for him, which spurred Hitler's intent of limiting British power to pave the way for the eastern expansion of Germany.Sony VAIO VGN-AW91CJS Battery
However, as a result of the summit, Hitler was selected Time magazine's Man of the Year for 1938.
In late 1938 and early 1939, the continuing economic crisis caused by the rearmament efforts forced Hitler to make major defence cuts.Sony VAIO VGN-AW91CYS Battery
On 30 January 1939, Hitler made an "Export or die" speech, calling for a German economic offensive, to increase German foreign exchange holdings to pay for raw materials such as high-grade iron needed for military weapons.
"One thing I should like to say on this day which may be memorable for others as well for us Germans: Sony VAIO VGN-AW91DS Battery
In the course of my life I have very often been a prophet, and I have usually been ridiculed for it. During the time of my struggle for power it was in the first instance the Jewish race which only received my prophecies with laughter when I said I would one day take over the leadership of the State,Sony VAIO VGN-AW91JS Battery
and that of the whole nation, and that I would then among many other things settle the Jewish problem. Their laughter was uproarious, but I think that for some time now they have been laughing on the other side of the face. Today I will be once more the prophet. Sony VAIO VGN-AW91YS Battery
If the international Jewish financiers outside Europe should succeed in plunging the nations once more into a world war, then the result will not be the bolshevisation of the earth, and thus the victory of Jewry, but the annihilation of the Jewish race in Europe!"Sony VAIO VGN-AW92CDS Battery
On 15 March 1939, in violation of the Munich accord and possibly as a result of the deepening economic crisis requiring additional assets, Hitler eventually ordered the Wehrmacht to invade Prague, and from Prague Castle proclaimed Bohemia and Moravia a German protectorate.Sony VAIO VGN-AW92CJS Battery