Hitler’s Germany 1933-1939
1. Origins and nature of authoritarian and single-party states

Germany pre-Hitler


1. Germany was defeated in WWI and was forced by Britain, France, and the United States to pay “debilitating reparations to the victors…leaving Germany humiliated and impoverished”(NY Times Upfront).

Effect of Stock-Market Crash

1. The Great Depression began in 1929 due to the U.S. stock market crash.
2. Because of the Depression, banks (even in Germany) “failed, factories closed, and millions of people lost their jobs”(NY Times Upfront).
3. Hitler and his Nazi party “promised to stop reparation payments, to give all Germans jobs and food, and to make the proud to be German again”(NY Times Upfront).


1. Germany had a democracy since 1919
2. Paul von Hindenberg was president of the German Reich, ending in 1933. By appointing Nazi officials into high government positions he hoped to “break the deadlock…and maintain control of the government behind the scenes”(NY Times Upfront).
3. In 1930, “the Nazis won 18 percent of the vote,” therefore making it nearly impossible for another party to govern Germany without support of the Nazi party(NY Times Upfront).
4. Hitler was “appointed Chancellor in January 1933” by Paul von Hindenburg(NY Times Upfront).
5. Right after his inauguration of Chancellor, “Hitler used the tire that destroyed the Reichstag, the parliament building in Berlin, as an excuse to declare a state of emergency and suspend democratic protection such as freedom of speech” (NY Times Upfront). There was some suspicion over who was to blame for this, the Communists or the Nazis, however, it still marked “the death of German Democracy and the beginning of Hitler’s reign of terror” (NY Times Upfront).

During Hitler

Concentration Camps
1. Soon after Hitler’s rise to power “the first concentration camp was opened in the Bavarian town of Dachau”(NY Times Upfront).
2. The Nazi party first imprisoned “political opponents of the regime”(NY)

Nazi Ideology:

1. Antisemitism, nationalism, militarism, and anti-communism.
“In Nazi Germany artists were drafted to depict the promised paradise of the Third Reich, while avant-garde and modern works were labelled ‘degenerate.’ No specific definition of ‘degenerate art’ was enunciated, but works condemned included those by Jewish artists, those with pacifist sentiments, all German Expressionist painting, abstract art and art made by anyone associated with the Bauhaus.” (http://www.oxfordartonline.com/subscriber/article/grove/art/T015205?q=nazi+propaganda&search=quick&pos=10&_start=1#firsthit)


Schweller, Randall. Deadly imbalances : tripolarity and Hitler's strategy of world conquest . New York: Columbia University Press, 1998. (http://ciaonet.org/book/schweller/schweller04.html)

Aware of the
tripolar structure of the international system, Hitler constructed a grand strategy to destroy the other two poles, Russia and the United States, and thereby establish German global mastery.
Hitler’s program consisted of four stages. First, Germany would rearm and secure alliances with two key
LGPs—Britain and Italy. Next, Germany would unleash several lightning wars against its neighbors in order to bolster its military and economic resources and to pacify its Western flank in preparation for the Eastern campaign. Under the shelter of British neutrality or, better still, with British help, the Reich would then strike quickly to eliminate the nearest pole, the Soviet Union, before the more distant pole, the United States, could intervene. The defeat of Soviet Russia would transform the tripolar system into a bipolar one, pitting the stronger German led European continent against the weaker North American continent (Hitler believed that the U.S. would annex Canada). Germany would now be “entirely self–reliant and capable of withstanding any economic blockade which might have been staged by the major maritime powers.” (Milan Hauner, “Did Hitler Want a World Dominion?” Journal of Contemporary History , vol. 13, no. 1 (January 1978), p. 24.)
With Europe as the nucleus of the German empire, Hitler would then set in motion the next step of his Program: the defeat of America and the creation of a global German empire. In preparation for this final war, the Reich would expand overseas from its continental base and retool its armed forces—with the
Luftwaffe and navy receiving priority over the army. After establishing power bases in Europe, Africa, and the Atlantic, Germany would attack and crush the United States, converting the international system from bipolarity to unipolarity.
TRIPOLAR: Three nation-states have nearly equal amounts of military, cultural, and economic influence.
BIPOLAR: Two nation states
UNIPOLAR: One nation-state
In summary, Hitler’s grand strategy consisted of a series of isolated wars of escalating magnitude. First, Germany would win easily obtainable objectives in short and decisive campaigns in the east. Next, Germany would defeat France and coerce the British into an alliance against Russia and America. Finally, Germany would be ready to unleash successive polar wars against the Soviet Union and the United States.
For Hitler, the success of this sequence of events, from the Anschluss to the final war against America, rested on four elements: the blitzkrieg, two strategy innovations, and the advantage of offensive over defensive alliances.
Although this plan worked in theory, Hitler jumped the gun and attacked the Soviet Union before the eastern front was secured.
BLITZKRIEG: Or lightning war is "a headline word applied retrospectively to describe a military doctrine of an all-mechanized force concentrating its attack on a small section of the enemy front then, once the latter is broken, proceeding without regard to its flank" (Keegan, John. The Second World War. Glenfield, Auckland 10, New Zealand: Hutchinson, 1989).