National Socialist Germany

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The Reichsadler or Emblem of the German Reich (used 1935–1945), which features an eagle looking over its right shoulder, that is, looking to the left from the viewer's point of view. It is similar to the Parteiadler of the NSDAP, but the eagle of the latter is looking over its left shoulder, that is, looking to the right from the viewer's point of view.

National Socialist Germany, commonly referred to unofficially as the Third Reich (the first being the Holy Roman Empire, the second being the German Empire), was governed by the National Socialist German Workers Party (NSDAP) following their victory as the largest single parliamentary party in the Federal General Elections of 30 January 1933. As a result, during the 1933-45 period National Socialism became the state ideology. On the 8 May 1945 it would cease to exist.


National Socialist Germany
Adolf Hitler
Allied psychological warfare
Book burning/censorship
and National Socialist Germany
Claimed mass killings of Germans
by the WWII Allies
Claimed mass killings of non-Jews
by National Socialist Germany
Clean Wehrmacht
Degenerate art
Foreign military volunteers
and National Socialist Germany
Master race
Munich Putsch
National Socialism and occultism
National Socialist Germany
and forced labor
National Socialist Germany
and partisans/resistance movements
National Socialist Germany revisionism
National Socialist Germany's
nuclear weapons program
Night of the Long Knives
Nuremberg trials
Pre-WWII anti-National
Socialist Germany boycott
Revisionist views on
the causes of the World Wars
Soviet offensive plans controversy
Superior orders
The Holocaust
The World Wars and mass starvation‎

Take-over of power (Machtübernahme)

A further Federal General Election was held on 5 March 1933 again giving the National Socialists the largest number of seats (288) in the Reichstag. The next large bloc was held by the Marxist Social Democratic Party of Germany (SDP) (120). The Communist Party of Germany (KPD) held 81. Under the provisions of Reichspräsident Paul von Hindenburg's Reichstag Fire Decree[1] all the Communist deputies were arrested, and several Social Democrats were kept out of the chamber. On March 6 the Communist Party was banned.[2] In June the SDP also was banned altogether from operating in any way in Germany.

Following the Reichstag fire the parliament moved across the Königsplatz square (today Platz der Republik) to the magnificent Kroll Opera House, facing the Reichstag building. (It was bombed by the British RAF on 22 November 1943.)

On 23 October, 1933, Germany announced its withdrawal from both the Disarmament Conference (which in any case was a failure) and the League of Nations in response to the Western powers' refusal to meet its demand for equality.[3]


The years 1933–1939 under National Socialist leadership showed that Germany could stand strong and independent. First, they succeeded in eradicating unemployment in principle. In 1932, during the Weimar Republic, six million Germans able to work were unemployed. By 1937, over five million of these had found work. Numerous social reforms were implemented in Germany. In addition to better wages, workers also received rights in the event of dismissal, more holidays than in other European countries, better housing standards, health care and more.

Just a few months after the National Socialists came to power, animal welfare laws were introduced in Germany. On April 21, 1933, the first law was passed that regulated how the slaughter of animals should take place so as not to inflict unnecessary pain on the animals.

German doctors became the first in the world to identify the link between smoking and lung cancer, and National Socialist Germany began the first public anti-tobacco campaign in modern history. The anti-tobacco campaign included a ban on smoking in trams, buses and city trains, promoting health education, organizing medical lectures for soldiers and increasing taxes on tobacco.

During this period Otto Hahn was the head of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Chemistry in Berlin. Between 1934 and 1938 he worked with Fritz Strassmann on the study of isotopes created through the neutron bombardment of uranium and thorium, which led to the discovery of nuclear fission. In 1944, Hahn received the Nobel Prize for Chemistry for the discovery of nuclear fission, although Fritz Strassmann had been acknowledged as an equal collaborator in the discovery.[4][5]

Several voluntary organizations were also founded in the later 1930s. One of these was the Winterhilfswerk des Deutschen Volkes (English: Winter Relief of the German People), a charity that collected food, money and clothes for needy Germans.

In 1936, the Summer Olympics were held in Berlin, and the famous Swedish explorer Sven Hedin made the opening speech. The Olympics were a great triumph for National Socialist Germany. Germany also won by far the most medals in total. Many of today's Olympic traditions, such as the Olympic torch, originate in these Olympics. The Winter Olympics that year took place in Bavaria's Garmisch-Partenkirchen, and were another outstanding Olympic success.

In 1936 the Hitler Youth (Hitler Jugund) (HJ) (founded in 1922) became the official youth organisation in Germany for boys aged 14 - 18, its purpose being to reinvigorate the nation's youth with healthy activities and social direction. The junior version (ages 10 - 14) was called the Deutsches Jungvolk or "DJ". The girls' wing was The League of German Girls (Bund Deutscher Mädel) (BDM), the only legal female youth organization in Germany.[6]

In March 1936 the 245-metre (804-foot) long rigid airship Hindenburg was launched at Friedrichshafen, Germany. It had a maximum speed of 135 km (84 miles) per hour and a cruising speed of 126 km (78 miles) per hour. Though it was designed to be filled with helium gas, the airship had to be filled with highly flammable hydrogen gas because of export restrictions (today known as sanctions) by the United States against National Socialist Germany. In 1936 the Hindenburg inaugurated its commercial air service across the North Atlantic by carrying 1,002 passengers on 10 scheduled round trips between Germany and the United States. During the 1936 flight season, it finished 17 round-trip crossings of the ocean, and even set a new record that July by flying across the Atlantic—and back—in just five days, 19 hours, and 51 minutes. At the time, this was the fastest double-crossing of the Atlantic ever carried out. On 6 May 1937 while landing at Lakehurst, New Jersey, it was destroyed by an internal bomb planted in an act of sabotage.[7]

On 30 January 1937 Germany publicly repudiated the Treaty of Versailles in its entirety.[8]

In 1938 the Organization Todt, led by the construction engineer Fritz Todt, was founded. This gigantic organization, which employed about 1.5 million workers, incorporated the construction of the Autobahns with a whole range of other assignments such as the Siegfried Line. After 1939, these included repairs of war-damaged bridges, roads and railway lines, as well as the construction of the Atlantic Wall.

On December 16, 1938, Hitler introduced the Mother's Cross, the Cross of Honour of the German Mother. The medal was awarded annually on the second Sunday in May (Mother's Day) and on August 12, Klara Hitler's (Hitler's mother) birthday. The award bore the inscription "The German Mother". It was not only married mothers who were awarded the Mother's Cross. Even single mothers could get it, which at this time was a radical view of women with children. Hitler was very careful to emphasize the importance of not expelling these women from society or shaming them.


The official name of the state continued as the German Reich (German: Deutsches Reich). From 1943 onwards, it became the Greater Germanic Reich of the German Nation (German: Großgermanisches Reich Deutscher Nation), often shortened to the Greater German Reich (German: Großdeutsches Reich).

See the article on Reich for the origins and meanings of the terms "Reich" and "Third Reich".

Adolf Hitler was Chancellor of the Reich (German: Reichskanzler) from 1933 and from 1934 head of state (Reichspräsident und Reichskanzler) with varying official and unofficial titles that included the word "Führer" (Leader).


See also

Further reading

External links

See the article on National Socialism regarding external links specifically on this topic

Article archives


  1. The Reichstag had been set on fire by communists.
  2. The Communist Party of Germany (KPD) was again formally banned in West Germany in 1956 by the Constitutional Court.
  3. Adolf Hitler, October 14, 1933 Radio Broadcast
  4. Per F Dahl (1 January 1999). Heavy Water and the Wartime Race for Nuclear Energy. CRC Press, 73–. ISBN 978-0-7503-0633-1. 
  5. (1997) Chemical Achievers: The Human Face of the Chemical Sciences. Chemical Heritage Foundation, 76-80. ISBN 9780941901123. 
  6. These youth groups were outlawed by the Allied Control Council on 10 October 1945.
  8. The Speeches of Adolf Hitler, April 1922-August 1939 edited by Norman H. Baynes, New York, 1969, vol.ii, p.1335-6, address to the Reichstag.