Precis Essay Chapter 3 – Essay Example
Précis Chapter 3 Adolf Hitler became chancellor of Germany in January 1933. Conservative politicians and parts of the political and industrial establishment were convinced that they would be able to control him – his party, the NSDAP, was actually losing support among the population at the time of the election.
However, Hitler immediately set about pushing through new laws and commenced his tactics of isolating and suppressing minorities. The first group he targeted, German communists, were seen as a troublesome group by many Germans and the incident of the burning down of the German Parliament (Reichstag) for which the communists were blamed, gave Hitler a welcome opportunity to criminalize the communist movement and deal with any dissidents very harshly. Hitler pushed through a law (the Enabling Act) which in effect concentrated all power in his hands and rendered the parliament obsolete. With this quiet revolution quickly accomplished, the path was clear for further measures. Concentration camps were built and among their first groups of inmates were communists, homosexuals, travelers (gypsies), mentally ill people and people belonging to small ethnic minority groups (such as African Germans). Most of these groups were disliked or not accepted by the majority of German citizens, so measures to sideline them were often welcomed or plainly ignored by the population. The Jewish population of Germany was targeted at first by forbidding them to work in academic jobs or as civil servants and by starting campaigns to boycott Jewish shops, initially with not much success.
All these measures served as a constant drip feed to the German population who slowly became desensitized to these initially low level persecutions. In fact, most people kept quiet, particularly if they stood to gain new jobs or other opportunities as a consequence of minorities being pushed out. The low level persecution of the German Jewish population culminated in the Reichskristallnacht in November 1938, were countless shops were smashed and many people murdered – whilst the majority of the German population stood by in apathy.
Having acquired the tacit acquiescence of the German population, Hitler sought international diplomatic approval. He achieved an agreement with the Pope (“the Concordat”) as the Catholic Church saw Hitler as a strong ally internationally against a growing threat of communism. A Non-Aggression Pact with Poland and Later the Soviet Union followed.
By the mid-thirties Hitler had begun to re-arm Germany by starting to mass produce weapons – a direct contravention against the Versailles Peace Treaty of 1918.
Inside Germany, parades and gatherings were used as opportunities to demonstrate the power of the national socialist party. What had been extraordinary, became ordinary: the Gleichschaltung measures meant that every organization, from trade unions to children’s groups had now a national socialist leadership and all elements of the population were sucked into what was the new order of the Third Reich.
Doris Bergen, War & Genocide: Chapter 3 “From Revolution to Routine: Nazi Germany, 1933-1938”