Notes: GCSE History Germany

GCSE History Germany revision notes

Germany 1919-39 remains one of the most popular GCSE History topics. Students often need access to teacher created notes and revision guides. The notes below cover Germany under the Weimar Republic, the Rise of Hitler and Nazi Germany. 

Weimar Germany was formed following the defeat of the Germans in the First World War. It faced uprisings from the left wing Spartacist group and then from the right wing through the Kapp Putsch. One of the first issues the Weimar Republic had to address was the peace settlement. Germany was forced to accept the Treaty of Versailles. The treaty and the human costs of the First World War had a big impact on Germany.

The economy struggled and policy was deliberately inducing a hyperinflation crisis in Germany. Unemployment was high and money so worthless that it wasvused as toys by children. In this atmosphere the Nazi Party, led by Adolf Hitler attempted to take power through the Munich Putsch. It failed but whilst imprisoned Hitler wrote Mein Kampf and remodelled the parties route to power.

Germany recovered in the mid 1920’s as a result of international agreements such as the Dawes Plan. Under the direction of Gustav Stresemann, Germany slowly become involved in International Politics again. The Treaty of Rapello, Kellog-Briand Pact and membership of the League of Nations followed. An extension of American aid was agreed though the Young Plan. The Wall Street Crash soon meant that aid was limited. Germany went into a Depression.

The rise in unemployment was accompanied by high inflation. Political parties from the extremes became more popular. Hitler and the Nazi Party took advantage. They gained sets in the Reichstag. Hitler used his public speaking to great effect. Goebbels masterminded propaganda and media campaigns including the Nuremburg rallies. The Brown Shirts of the party, the SA, broke up meetings of political opponents. Soon, Hitler had become Chancellor.

Soon after becoming Chancellor the Nazi’s used the Reichstag Fire to have the Enabling Act passed. This gave Hitler a greatvdeal of personal authority. President Hindenburg’s death then led to Hitler becoming Fuhrer. Thereafter a Fuhrerprincip was established and Germany became a totalitarian state.

Nazi Germany saw huge changes in the economy. Schemes such as the Autobahn network that had begun in thevrepublic, were expanded. Architects such as Albert Speer created plans for public works and buildings. The economy was geared towards autarky, the principle of being self sufficient and synthetic materials were developed.

Education became manipulated in a way that would indoctrinate children. The Hitler Youth movements were established. The curriculum changed to promote Aryan ideals. Special schools were established to create ideal candidates for the SS.

Life in Nazi Germany was geared towards making the state strong. This meant work was hard but available. Schemes were established to provide leisure opportunities and holidays.


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