Timeline of Nazi Germany events from 1919 to 1945.
A DAY IN THE LIFE DURING ...
by Jacquelin Cangro
Meet Gerhard, a teen living in Berlin in 1936, and spend time
with him as he prepares to be initiated into the Hitler Youth
and says farewell to a Jewish neighbor who is fleeing Germany
with his family.
FROM DEMOCRACY TO DICTATORSHIP
In January 1919, following World War I, an elected assembly
met in Weimar to write a new constitution for war ravaged Germany.
The Weimer Republic promised Germans a new, democratic government.
Less than fifteen years later, Adolf Hitler would declare himself
Führer of Germany’s Third Reich. Let us look at
how Hitler and the Nazi party transformed Germany from a budding
democracy to a dictatorship in such a short time.
THE LAST DAY OF ERNST ROHMíS LIFE
Todd Avery Raffensperger
Ernst Rohm had been an officer in the Imperial German Army,
and was the organizer and leader of the SA (Sturmabteilung
or Storm Detachment), an army of former veterans and thugs
that served as the militant arm of the Nazi Party, and known
by the nickname of “Brownshirts,” for the color
of their uniforms. He was a fellow veteran of Hitler in the
First World War and one of the founding members of the Nazi
Party. Find out why Hitler turned on him and other members
of the SA in a bloody incident known as the “Night of
the Long Knives.”
DARKNESS FALLS: DIARY EXCERPTS
I began my journal while living in Munich, Germany, at a time
of political unrest and turmoil. It was 1919. The Treaty of
Versailles had been signed, infuriating most Germans. While
I hoped for peace, I had a feeling that things would get worse – much
worse. Inside are excerpts from my journal that discuss the
rise of the Nazis.
POLICE POWER: THE GESTAPOíS ROLE IN NAZI TERROR
Imagine living in a constant state of fear that the police
might come to your house without warning and take you away,
interrogate you, assault you, seize your possessions, or even
imprison you, all without evidence of a crime. Imagine being
encouraged to snitch on your neighbors, teachers, friends,
and even your family if they said or did something even remotely
unpatriotic. If you were a German living under the Nazi regime,
these horrific “what ifs” were a reality. Learn
about the backbone of the terror, known as the Gestapo, and
its far-reaching and terrifying power.
BLOOD AND HONOR: THE HITLER YOUTH
Donna Rae Bush
German youth represented the future for the Third Reich. Many
young people embraced Adolf Hitler’s promises for a stronger,
more prosperous Germany. Hitler admired their enthusiasm and
recognized its value for promoting his political agenda. Hitler
Youth became the official youth group of the Nazi Party in
1929 and was a tool for preparing German children to be good
Nazi citizens. Find out more about life in the Hitler Youth
and the conflict it sometimes caused between parents and children.
BERLIN 1936: THE TRIUMPH OF PROPAGANDA
On August 1, 1936, Olympic flags and swastikas lined the Unter
den Linden, the main boulevard in Berlin. For the first time
in Olympic history, runners carried a lighted torch from
Olympia, Greece, to the Olympiastadion, site of the Eleventh
Olympiad. Boys from the Hitler Youth released thousands of
pigeons to symbolize peace. Adolf Hitler accepted an olive
branch and waved to the cheering crowd. Let’s look
back in time at the controversy over the 1936 Olympics and
decide whether the world missed a chance to predict the war
that swept Europe a few years later.
LENI RIEFENSTAHL: HITLERíS FILMMAKER
The cameras were rolling as Adolf Hitler’s plane floated
down through the clouds. They captured its descent from the
heavens to the airport below at Nuremberg, Germany. It was
the fall of 1934, and Nazi party officials and soldiers had
gathered in the quaint medieval city for their annual rally.
Their leader had arrived like a god. And filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl
made sure the world knew about it. Find out more about this
influential women and the role she played in promoting the
FOR EVERY VOLK A VOLKSWAGEN
Adolf Hitler, who saw cars as a symbol of a modern society,
promoted the expansion of the autobahn, Germany’s network
of highways, and called for the creation of an affordable
car for every German. “For every member of the Volk
[folk], a Volkswagen [people’s car],” he declared.
With this statement, a car brand was born. Explore how a
people’s car appealed to German citizens and what ultimately
became of the plan of a car for everyone.
JOSEPH GOEBBELS AND THE NAZI PROPAGANDA MACHINE
Five feet, four inches tall, and walking with a limp, Joseph
Goebbels wasn’t much to look at. But he certainly had
a lot to say. Learn more about Adolf Hitler’s powerful
minister of propaganda during the Third Reich, the man who
played a key role in directing the hearts and minds of the
German people, instigating the Holocaust, and attempting to
hold the Nazi party together during Germany’s downfall.
DACHAU: HITLERíS FIRST CONCENTRATION CAMP
On March 21, 1933, a Bavarian newspaper announced a concentration
camp would open at a weapons factory in Dachau, a resort town
in southern Germany. Heinrich Himmler, head of Munich police,
told German citizens to put aside their scruples because this “work
camp” would help reform Nazi enemies into “good
citizens.” Read on to find out the ghastly history of
the camp whose front gate was inscribed with the words that
told a lie, “Work Makes You Free.”
KRISTALLNACHT: THE NIGHT OF THE BROKEN GLASS
A teenage boy walked into the German embassy in Paris, France,
on an early November night in 1938. In his hands, he carried
a gun. Seconds later, the sounds of gunshots echoed through
the building’s walls. Shortly after this event, violence
broke out against the Jews living in Germany. Thousands of
Jewish homes, businesses, and synagogues were destroyed. The
event came to be known as Kristallnacht, or “night of
the broken glass” – find out more about the catalyst
for Kristallnacht and the role of this night of violence in
the escalation of state hatred towards Jews in the Third Reich.
Learn about the German young man named Helmuth Hübener
who took a stand against Hitler’s regime by spreading
the truth from the outside world and ended up paying the ultimate
price for his bravery.
DIETRICH BONHOEFFER: MAN OF PRINCIPLES
Pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer used his role to communicate secret
information about the plans of the German resistance to kill
Hitler and overthrow the Nazi regime. He also was involved
in a mission called Operation 7, in which he helped smuggle
fourteen German Jews into Switzerland. Find out what made this
man of the cloth take a stand while so many others stood silent.
THE MUNICH AGREEMENT
On his return to Britain from Munich, British Prime Minister
Chamberlain waived the signed declaration in the air for the
waiting cameras. He told the waiting crowd that he had returned
from Germany bringing “peace with honor. I believe it
is peace for our time.” Learn what agreement Chamberlain
signed and why his name is now synonymous with the word “appeasement.”
KIRCHE, KINDER, KUCHE: WOMEN IN NAZI GERMANY
Emily Peterson Whitby
At the beginning of the twentieth century, the future of women’s
rights in Germany looked bright. In 1918, women received the
right to vote. One year later, in the 1919 elections, almost
80 percent of eligible women voted. But with the rise of the
Nazi party in 1933, those prospects dimmed. In 1934, Hitler
addressed the National Socialist Women’s Organization.
He said that a German woman’s world “is her husband,
her family, her children, and her home.” Nazi propaganda
used the slogan, Kirche, Kinder, Küche to describe a German
woman’s proper place. Read how the Nazi government encouraged
women to uphold this ideal and stories of women who both supported
and resisted the Nazi regime.
ARTS & CRAFTS
THE BUTTERFLY PROJECT by
NAZI GERMANY WARTIMERATIONS by
LITERATURE STUDY GUIDES
THE BOOK THIEF (Middle School) by Catherine Morin
THEY BURNED THE BOOKS (High School) by Jim Cort
policies Learning Through History magazine is published
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