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The Nazi regime was “Hitler's regime, it was Hitler's policy, Hitler's rule of force, Hitler's victory and defeat - nothing else” Hans Frank, Hitler's lawyer. If the regime was to be Hitler's and no one else's then he would need complete control over every aspect of German life, from schools, churches, courts, and people. This essay will examine each of the aspects of every day life, what the nazi's did to take control of it and how successful they were.
After 1933 control of the radio was given to the Reich Radio Company. A new radio set was made, Peoples radios, these radios were cheap and with a license fee of only 2 marks a month they weailable to all. By 1939 70% of households owned one. Throughout the day radios installed in homes, schools, offices, factories and even streets broadcast propaganda extolling the virtues of Hitler and Nazi success while Nazi failures and reversals went unmentioned. Listing to the BBC was punishable under the stringent treason laws. Geobbles also used radio to transmit Nazi propaganda to the rest of the world, although the effectiveness of this was questionable, as it served more to assure the rest of the world that German citizens had been completely brainwashed. Whilst it may seem that the Nazis had considerable control over the radio network, 30% of the population did not own a radio. It is probable that a sizeable number of that 30% did not own a radio because they could listen while at work or at friend's houses. The remaining few would most likely be opposed to Hitler's regime.
Since TV's were experience and still in the very stages, cinema was very popular. Geobbles was convinced that it was a very powerful medium and could be used to control the masses. He was no novice when it came to films, he studied film technology as a hobby. Once in charge he removed all Jewish actors, directors and producers, but there were plenty of other professionals willing to work for him. It was his view that people wanted escapism not more propaganda. Geobbles made many films and they were very popular. Hitler decided that film was not doing its part to help with the propaganda campaign and ordered Geobbles to make pro-nazi and anti-Semitic films. The most famous of these films was the eternal Jew.
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Hitler and the rest of the nazi party knew that there were many members of society who would never be full nazi supporters, if these people passed there views on to there children then there could be a possible large scale resistance to the nazi's in the future. To combat this and to ensure a completely loyal generation the Nazis changed the school system, and the school curriculum. Jews were at first made to stand at the front of the class while the other pupils pointed out why they were inferior, later they were ejected from main-stream schools and had to attend Jewish schools, if they wanted any education. In school subjects the truth was “bent” to make the Aryan race superior. In biology pupils were taught that Aryans were physically superior to the Jews, and a new subject the Science of Race was introduced, where pupils look at detail what made a person worthy enough to be a citizen of the 3rd Reich. G. Mosse a pupil at the time explains;
Every subject was now presented from a national socialist point of view. Most of the old books were replaced by new ones which had been written and censored by government officials. Adolf Hitler's “Mein Kampf” became the text book for our history lessons. Wee read and discussed it chapter by chapter…When we finished we started again from the beginning…A new subject the science of race was introduced and religious instruction became optional.
The old-style liberal education had been dropped and nazi ideology was being taught across the country. New schools were also set up, specially designed to teach the next generation of high level nazi officials. The Napolos or National Political training institutes, under the control of August Heißmeyr these schools attracted the sons of reliable nazi families. Completion of there studies the students usually passed pass straight onto the armed forces. The Adolf Hitler Schule was set up by Robert Ley in 1937, supposed to be the finishing schools for the future ruling elite of Germany. Children aged 12-18 were admitted, mostly high ranking members of the Hitler youth. On graduation students looked for places in either university or at the ordens burgen. These ordens burgen or order castles were prestigious schools and were very difficult to get in to. Potential students had to have completed 6 years at the Hitler schule, 2 1\2 years in the state labour service and a period of full time employment in party work. It was concerned an honour to be accepted for this school.
The Hitler youth was set up in 1933 by Hitler with the intention to attract youth to what many children saw as an exciting organisation and wanted something to do with it. They may not have understood or even known of the Nazi's political intentions, what attracted them was the organisation and that many of their friends might have joined. In these Nazi clubs the boys were given military style training and indoctrinated with more nazi propaganda. There were often big meetings of the Hitler Youth and other nazi youth organisations like the League of German Maidens, although it is questionable whether the people went to these events for the Marches and completions as many of the girls at these events came back pregnant. Although it is easy to say that the younger generations were easily won over closer examination revels that they might not have been so submissive. In 1936 the Hitler youth was made an a government agency which young Aryan German's were expected to join, leading us to believe that there may have been considerable numbers not attending these clubs, whether this is their parents protesting about Hitler's fascist rule or the children's personal choice is difficult to say.
The Nazi thirst for control was so extensive that they even tried to control German culture and turn it into Nazi culture. All forms of non-Aryan art and literature were banned, many burned. As a result many of Germanys greatest artists left the country, all forms of culture were subject to intuitional controls. The guardians of German culture were Alfred Rosemburg and Joseph Geobbles, in 1929 Geobbles set up the League of Struggle for German culture. Its aim was to remove all traces of Jewish influence from German culture. While the Nazis may have successfully changed mainstream culture, there were undoutbly sub-cultures that emerged underground. These underground groups, which formed, had no real power, as they could never meet in any reasonable numbers and due to the Gestapo's surveillance if they were even to plan a meeting would probably be caught.
The press was a large obstacle to Hitler's control, there were over 4,700 local and regional papers as well as magazines, all of these would have to be co-ordinated or shut down. However this could not be done at once, people would notice many publications stopping and the remaining publications having one general theme, the Nazi's are brilliant. In 1933 when they came to power opposition papers were banned, and the Reich's press Law of 1933 called for “Racially pure journalism” and the elimination of Jewish, right wing and liberal papers. Membership of the newly formed Reich Association of German News Papers was compulsory and consequently all ideologically incorrect publications gradually disappeared. By 1939 there were less than 1500 newspapers left and Armann, the controller of the Reich association of German Newspapers, controlled 70% of them. News papers had no choice but to comply and follow party guidelines, as a result they were drab and repetitive and as people grew tired of a diet of propaganda so readership declined.
The Government was the one thing the Nazis had power over, but Hitler's government would not allow any opposition, or even civil rights. After the Reichstag fire of 1933 and the following outlawing of Communists and socialists gave the Nazi party the extra votes they needed to guarantee a chancellor-ship for Hitler. Although the 43.8% was not the 2/3's needed to change the constitution it did put him in charge of the government. A meeting if the deputies was called at the Kroll Opera House, the streets on the way there were lined with SA men and the inside of the hall full of SS men. The purpose of the meeting was to pass a new law, the enabling law. Under this law Hitler would have dictator like power for a period of 4 years. After. Hitler made his speech to a cheering audience. The leader of the Social Democrats, Otto Wels, stood up and made a defiant speech, he rose to a hostile audience and to a background of chanting SA and SS he explained why his party would not vote for the bill. Hitler stood up, mocked his opponent and tore up his speech. With the support of the Nationalists and the Nazi's Hitler could depend on 341 of the 432 votes he needed to get the 2\3 majority to change the constitution. With the exclusion of the communists it lay with the catholic centre party. Originally they were opposed to the act but the Nazis promised to respect the rights of the Catholic Church. As a result the e control of the government, the enabling law was just the first step, the legal system had to be controlled as well as the government.
The courts were not easy for the Nazis to control, there was an efficient and democratic system in place, but this did not suit the Nazis. In 1933-34 Jewish and anti nazi judges were sacked and in there place Nazi party members. In 1934 treason cases were transferred to Peoples Courts where reliable Nazi judges could be counted on to deal with opponents to the regime. A new act was passed in 1935 whereby people committing acts “Hostile to the National Community” could be punished in a way seen fit by the Judge, not only did this allow the Nazis to punish people for things which were not illegal and also allowed judges to make up there own punishments. This was one aspect of German life which the Nazis had considerable control, they could now essentially punish anyone for anything, the treason laws allowed the death sentence to be carried out on people as young as 14.
The Nazi's had to be very careful when dealing with the church, as they had many supporters. Originally Hitler tried to keep on the good side of the churches, and although he did want control over them he signed a concordat with the Pope in 1933. The churches tried to adapt to keep on the good side of the Nazi's, however they found it impossible to Christianise Nazism. Eventually church organisations were closed down and religious teachings banned. A new church was formed, The Reich's Church, this church seemed to worship Hitler and war more than any god. The bible was replaced with Mein Kampf and the cross replaced with a sword, which was to sit at the alter of every church. At first glance it appears as though the Nazi's have effectively eradicated the threat of religion, however, it is extremely difficult to change peoples deepest beliefs and many would probably continued to worship in private and ignore the new Reich's Church.
Hitler hated trade unions, they were immediately banned and living standards soon fell. To replace the trade unions the German Labour front was formed, but arguably it done nothing the help workers, it abolished limits on working hours and rights to wage rises. This organisation was more for show than to actually help the workers. The KdF was set up to compensate for the drop in living standards. Workers and there families could go to a Nazi holiday camp. People could even get the chance to go on a luxury cruise to the Norwegian fjords or the Mediterranean at heavily subsidised prices. They also subsidised trips to theatres and sports facilities. A car was also designed, the Volkswagen, it was advertised that for 5 marks a week and you could own your own car. The KdF done little more than to sustain the belief that Nazism was working for the public. Very few people actually went on the subsidised holidays the people shown in the advertisements were about the only people that went, and no one received their Volkswagen although it did create massive revenues.
The Nazis control over every aspect of German life had mixed success, some things had been successfully taken over while others, although they were controlled were not popular with the public. Control of the media appears to be complete but people may not necessary pay any attention to the propaganda. Newspapers became drab and repetitive and the declining popularity shows that people grew bored of this. Schools curriculum had been changed to reflect nazi ideology although people may have realised that what they were being taught were lies. The Hitler Youth needed a law to get full attendance and the churches, which superficially Hitler had control over, was not successful. Culture was changed but unseen cultures would emerge. The press and the government was one of the few things which Hitler had considerable control, although readership of newspapers declined after full control was achieved.
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