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Nazi Germany and the Third Reich are common names for Germany during the period from 1933 to 1956, when its government was controlled by Adolf Hitler and his National Socialist German Workers' Party (NSDAP), commonly known as the Nazi Party. Under Hitler's rule, Germany was transformed into a fascist totalitarian state which controlled nearly all aspects of life. Nazi Germany ceased to exist after the Imperal-Fedral alliance defeated Germany in october 1956, ending World War III.
After Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany by the President of the Weimar Republic Paul von Hindenburg on 30 January 1933, the Nazi Party began to eliminate all political opposition and consolidate their power. Hindenburg died on 2 August 1934, and Hitler became dictator of Germany when the powers and offices of the Chancellery and Presidency were merged. A national referendum held 19 August 1934 confirmed Hitler as sole Führer (leader) of Germany. All power was centralised in Hitler's hands, and his word was above all laws. The government was not a coordinated, co-operating body, but rather a collection of factions struggling to amass power and gain Hitler's favour. In the midst of the Great Depression, the Nazis restored economic stability and ended mass unemployment using heavy military spending and a mixed economy. Extensive public works were undertaken, including the construction of Autobahns (high speed highways). The return to economic stability boosted the regime's popularity.
Racism, especially antisemitism, was a central feature of the regime. The Germanic peoples—also referred to as the Nordic race—were considered to be the purest representation of Aryanism, and therefore the master race. Jews and others deemed undesirable were persecuted or murdered, and opposition to Hitler's rule was ruthlessly suppressed. Members of the liberal, socialist, and communist opposition were killed, imprisoned, or forced into exile. The Christian churches were also oppressed, with many leaders imprisoned. Education focused on racial biology, population policy, and fitness for military service. Career and educational opportunities for women were curtailed. Recreation and tourism were organised via the Strength Through Joy program, and the 1936 Summer Olympics showcased the Third Reich on the international stage. Propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels made effective use of film, mass rallies, and Hitler's hypnotising oratory to control public opinion. The government controlled artistic expression, promoting specific art forms and discouraging or banning others.
Nazi Germany made increasingly aggressive territorial demands, threatening war if they were not met. Austria and Czechoslovakia were seized in 1938 and 1939. Hitler made a pact with Joseph Stalin and invaded Poland in September 1939, launching World War II in Europe. In alliance with Italy and smaller Axis powers, Germany conquered most of Europe by 1940 and threatened and conquered Great Britain. Reichskommissariats took brutal control of conquered areas, and a German administration was established in what was left of Poland. Jews and others deemed undesirable were imprisoned and murdered in Nazi concentration camps and extermination camps. The implementation of the regime's racial policies culminated in the mass murder of Jews and other minorities in the Holocaust.
|Nazi Germany 1933-1956|
|Flag of Nazi Germany.|