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17 years ago I sat my HSC and was lucky enough to receive HSC coaching from Fergus (who is also my Dad) and as a result Modern History became my favourite subject and the topic of 20th Century Germany became a life long interest for me. I am fascinated with by the circumstances by which Hitler came to power but also how Germany under Hitler’s rule was able to rearm and become an aggressor in a world that 20 years earlier had seen so much death and destruction.

I have recently started reading a mammoth book(1200 pages) on this subject by William Shirer, “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich” and as I read on my Kindle I can highlight the information that I would like to have had when I was preparing for my HSC. This year there seems to be more than usual numbers of students studying 20th Century Germany so I hope some of these quotes will show up in your essays over the next few terms.

Quotes from historians should be used to support your argument around answering the question.

For our Bondi Junction and Mosman HSC Coaching students don’t forget to watch Ferg’s video lessons on 20th Century Germany as well as submit lots of practice essays to our team of HSC markers who will give you feedback on how to improve your essay in just 72 hours.

HSC CoWorks offers HSC Tuition and HSC Coaching in a number of subjects including HSC History. Our team is made up of a team of HSC experts. Experienced HSC teachers, HSC markers, high achieving ex-students and certified life coaches. We have been a part of successful HSC campaigns since 1996 and in this time we have worked with 1000s of students as they have made the climb up Mount HSC® to get into their dream University course.

Jesse

Business Manager and Performance Coach

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The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (William Shirer)

– Highlight on Page 139 | Loc. 3430-33  | Added on Thursday, 26 September 13 11:31:10 Greenwich Mean Time

But by the beginning of 1930 it became obvious that Nazi propaganda was making headway in the Army, especially among the younger officers, many of whom were attracted not only by Hitler’s fanatical nationalism but by the prospects he held out for an Army restored to its old glory and size in which there would be opportunities, now denied them in such a small military force, to advance to higher rank.

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The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (William Shirer)

– Highlight on Page 140 | Loc. 3452-55  | Added on Thursday, 26 September 13 11:34:22 Greenwich Mean Time

That was, as leader of a movement which had just scored a stunning popular triumph at the polls, to assure the Army and especially its leading officers that National Socialism, far from posing a threat to the Reichswehr, as the case of the Nazi subalterns implied, was really its salvation and the salvation of Germany.

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The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (William Shirer)

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It promised to lead the German people away from communism, socialism, trade-unionism and the futilities of democracy. Above all, it had caught fire throughout the Reich. It was a success.

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The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (William Shirer)

– Highlight on Page 141 | Loc. 3487-94  | Added on Thursday, 26 September 13 11:39:41 Greenwich Mean Time

Because of this and of Hitler’s public assurances to the Army at the Leipzig trial, some of the generals began to ponder whether National Socialism might not be just what was needed to unify the people, restore the old Germany, make the Army big and great once more and enable the nation to shake off the shackles of the humiliating Treaty of Versailles. They had been pleased with Hitler’s retort to the presiding judge of the Supreme Court, who had asked him what he meant when he kept talking about the “German National Revolution.” “This means,” Hitler had said, “exclusively the rescue of the enslaved German nation we have today. Germany is bound hand and foot by the peace treaties… The National Socialists do not regard these treaties as law, but as something imposed upon Germany by constraint. We do not admit that future generations, who are completely innocent, should be burdened by them. If we protest against them with every means in our power, then we find ourselves on the path of revolution.”

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The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (William Shirer)

– Highlight on Page 147 | Loc. 3611-14  | Added on Sunday, 29 September 13 06:22:04 Greenwich Mean Time

Ernst Roehm had broken with Hitler in 1925 and not long afterward gone off to join the Bolivian Army as a lieutenant colonel. Toward the end of 1930 Hitler appealed to him to return and take over again the leadership of the S.A., which was getting out of hand. Its members, even its leaders, apparently believed in a coming Nazi revolution by violence, and with increasing frequency they were taking to the streets to molest and murder their political opponents. No election, national, provincial or municipal, took place without savage battles in the gutters.

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The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (William Shirer)

– Highlight on Page 148 | Loc. 3640-44  | Added on Sunday, 29 September 13 06:25:23 Greenwich Mean Time

But the Nazi leader was quite content to see strife among his principal subordinates, if only because it was a safeguard against their conspiring together against his leadership. He never fully trusted Strasser, but in the loyalty of Goebbels he had complete confidence; moreover, the lame little fanatic was bubbling with ideas which were useful to him. Finally, Goebbels’ talents as a rowdy journalist—he now had a Berlin newspaper of his own, Der Angriff, to spout off in—and as a rabble-rousing orator were invaluable to the party.

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The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (William Shirer)

– Highlight on Page 149 | Loc. 3675-78  | Added on Sunday, 29 September 13 11:36:16 Greenwich Mean Time

As the year of 1931 ran its uneasy course, with five million wage earners out of work, the middle classes facing ruin, the farmers unable to meet their mortgage payments, the Parliament paralyzed, the government floundering, the eighty-four-year-old President fast sinking into the befuddlement of senility, a confidence mounted in the breasts of the Nazi chieftains that they would not have long to wait. As Gregor Strasser publicly boasted, “All that serves to precipitate the catastrophe… is good, very good for us and our German revolution.”

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The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (William Shirer)

– Highlight on Page 151 | Loc. 3725-28  | Added on Sunday, 29 September 13 11:43:28 Greenwich Mean Time

He saw clearly enough—as who didn’t?—the causes of the weakness of the Weimar regime. There were too many political parties (in 1930 ten of them each polled over a million votes) and they were too much at cross-purposes, too absorbed in looking after the special economic and social interests they represented to be able to bury their differences and form an enduring majority in the Reichstag that could back a stable government capable of coping with the major crisis which confronted the country at the beginning of the Thirties.

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The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (William Shirer)

– Highlight on Page 151 | Loc. 3730-33  | Added on Sunday, 29 September 13 11:44:19 Greenwich Mean Time

No wonder that when Bruening took over as Chancellor on March 28, 1930, it had become impossible to achieve a majority in the Reichstag for any policy—of the Left, the Center or the Right—and that merely to carry on the business of government and do something about the economic paralysis he had to resort to Article 48 of the constitution, which permitted him in an emergency, if the President approved, to govern by decree.

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The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (William Shirer)

– Highlight on Page 159 | Loc. 3913-15  | Added on Monday, 30 September 13 10:46:45 Greenwich Mean Time

happy future for all Germans if he were elected: jobs for the workers, higher prices for the farmers, more business for the businessmen, a big Army for the militarists, and once in a speech at the Lustgarten in Berlin he promised, “In the Third Reich every German girl will find a husband!”

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The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (William Shirer)

– Highlight on Page 161 | Loc. 3975-77  | Added on Monday, 30 September 13 10:54:54 Greenwich Mean Time

Hitler regarded them as purely a political force, a band to strike terror in the streets against his political opponents and to keep up political enthusiasm in the Nazi ranks.

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The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (William Shirer)

– Highlight on Page 165 | Loc. 4063-69  | Added on Tuesday, 1 October 13 10:32:24 Greenwich Mean Time

A wave of political violence and murder such as even Germany had not previously seen immediately followed. The storm troopers swarmed the streets seeking battle and blood and their challenge was often met, especially by the Communists. In Prussia alone between June 1 and 20 there were 461 pitched battles in the streets which cost eighty-two lives and seriously wounded four hundred men. In July, thirty-eight Nazis and thirty Communists were listed among the eighty-six persons killed in riots. On Sunday, July 10, eighteen persons were done to death in the streets, and on the following Sunday, when the Nazis, under police escort, staged a march through Altona, a working-class suburb of Hamburg, nineteen persons were shot dead and 285 wounded. The civil war which the barons’ cabinet had been called in to halt was growing steadily worse. All the parties save the Nazis and the Communists demanded that the government take action to restore order.

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The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (William Shirer)

– Highlight on Page 185 | Loc. 4555-59  | Added on Wednesday, 2 October 13 12:16:16 Greenwich Mean Time

No class or group or party in Germany could escape its share of responsibility for the abandonment of the democratic Republic and the advent of Adolf Hitler. The cardinal error of the Germans who opposed Nazism was their failure to unite against it. At the crest of their popular strength, in July 1932, the National Socialists had attained but 37 per cent of the vote. But the 63 per cent of the German people who expressed their opposition to Hitler were much too divided and shortsighted to combine against a common danger which they must have known would overwhelm them unless they united, however temporarily, to stamp it out.

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The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (William Shirer)

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Fourteen years of sharing political power in the Republic, of making all the compromises that were necessary to maintain coalition governments, had sapped the strength and the zeal of the Social Democrats until their party had become little more than an opportunist pressure organization, determined to bargain for concessions for the trade unions on which their strength largely rested. It might be true, as some Socialists said, that fortune had not smiled on them: the Communists, unscrupulous and undemocratic, had split the working class; the depression had further hurt the Social Democrats, weakening the trade unions and losing the party the support of millions of unemployed, who in their desperation turned either to the Communists or the Nazis. But the tragedy of the Social Democrats could not be explained fully by bad luck. They had had their chance to take over Germany in November 1918 and to found a state based on what they had always preached: social democracy. But they lacked the decisiveness to do so. Now at the dawn of the third decade they were a tired, defeatist party, dominated by old, well-meaning but mostly mediocre men. Loyal to the Republic they were to the last, but in the end too confused, too timid to take the great risks which alone could have preserved it, as they had shown by their failure to act when Papen turned out a squad of soldiers to destroy constitutional government in Prussia.

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The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (William Shirer)

– Highlight on Page 190 | Loc. 4670-76   | Added on Thursday, 3 October 13 10:55:10 Greenwich Mean Time

Despite increasing provocation by the Nazi authorities there was no sign of a revolution, Communist or Socialist, bursting into flames as the electoral campaign got under way. By the beginning of February the Hitler government had banned all Communist meetings and shut down the Communist press. Social Democrat rallies were either forbidden or broken up by the S.A. rowdies, and the leading Socialist newspapers were continually suspended. Even the Catholic Center Party did not escape the Nazi terror. Stegerwald, the leader of the Catholic Trade Unions, was beaten by Brownshirts when he attempted to address a meeting, and Bruening was obliged to seek police protection at another rally after S.A. troopers had wounded a number of his followers. Altogether fifty-one anti-Nazis were listed as murdered during the electoral campaign, and the Nazis claimed that eighteen of their own number had been done to death.

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The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (William Shirer)

– Highlight on Page 194 | Loc. 4754-61  | Added on Thursday, 3 October 13 11:06:13 Greenwich Mean Time

On the day following the fire, February 28, he prevailed on President Hindenburg to sign a decree “for the Protection of the People and the State” suspending the seven sections of the constitution which guaranteed individual and civil liberties. Described as a “defensive measure against Communist acts of violence endangering the state,” the decree laid down that: Restrictions on personal liberty, on the right of free expression of opinion, including freedom of the press; on the rights of assembly and association; and violations of the privacy of postal, telegraphic and telephonic communications; and warrants for house searchers, orders for confiscations as well as restrictions on property, are also permissible beyond the legal limits otherwise prescribed.

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The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (William Shirer)

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In addition, the decree authorized the Reich government to take over complete power in the federal states when necessary and imposed the death sentence for a number of crimes, including “serious disturbances of the peace” by armed persons. 8 Thus with one stroke Hitler was able not only to legally gag his opponents and arrest them at his will but, by making the trumped-up Communist threat “official,” as it were, to throw millions of the middle class and the peasantry into a frenzy of fear that unless they voted for National Socialism at the elections a week hence, the Bolsheviks might take over. Some four thousand Communist officials and a great many Social Democrat and liberal leaders were arrested, including members of the Reichstag, who, according to the law, were immune from arrest. This was the first experience Germans had had with Nazi terror backed up by the government. Truckloads of storm troopers roared through the streets all over Germany, breaking into homes, rounding up victims and carting them off to S.A. barracks, where they were tortured and beaten. The Communist press and political meetings were suppressed; the Social Democrat newspapers and many liberal journals were suspended and the meetings of the democratic parties either banned or broken up. Only the Nazis and their Nationalist allies were permitted to campaign unmolested.

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The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (William Shirer)

– Highlight on Page 194 | Loc. 4772-83  | Added on Thursday, 3 October 13 11:09:58 Greenwich Mean Time

With all the resources of the national and Prussian governments at their disposal and with plenty of money from big business in their coffers, the Nazis carried on an election propaganda such as Germany had never seen before. For the first time the State-run radio carried the voices of Hitler, Goering and Goebbels to every corner of the land. The streets, bedecked with swastika flags, echoed to the tramp of the storm troopers. There were mass rallies, torchlight parades, the din of loudspeakers in the squares. The billboards were plastered with flamboyant Nazi posters and at night bonfires lit up the hills. The electorate was in turn cajoled with promises of a German paradise, intimidated by the brown terror in the streets and frightened by “revelations” about the Communist “revolution.” The day after the Reichstag fire the Prussian government issued a long statement declaring that it had found Communist “documents” proving: Government buildings, museums, mansions and essential plants were to be burned down… Women and children were to be sent in front of terrorist groups… The burning of the Reichstag was to be the signal for a bloody insurrection and civil war… It has been ascertained that today was to have seen throughout Germany terrorist acts against individual persons, against private property, and against the life and limb of the peaceful population, and also the beginning of general civil war.

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The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (William Shirer)

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GLEICHSCHALTUNG: THE “CO-ORDINATION” OF THE REICH The plan was deceptively simple and had the advantage of cloaking the seizure of absolute power in legality. The Reichstag would be asked to pass an “enabling act” conferring on Hitler’s cabinet exclusive legislative powers for four years. Put even more simply, the German Parliament would be requested to turn over its constitutional functions to Hitler and take a long vacation. But since this necessitated a change in the constitution, a two-thirds majority was needed to approve it.

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The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (William Shirer)

– Highlight on Page 199 | Loc. 4896-4902  | Added on Thursday, 3 October 13 11:42:17 Greenwich Mean Time

Parliament had turned over its constitutional authority to Hitler and thereby committed suicide, though its body lingered on in an embalmed state to the very end of the Third Reich, serving infrequently as a sounding board for some of Hitler’s thunderous pronunciamentos, its members henceforth hand-picked by the Nazi Party, for there were to be no more real elections. It was this Enabling Act alone which formed the legal basis for Hitler’s dictatorship. From March 23, 1933, on, Hitler was the dictator of the Reich, freed of any restraint by Parliament or, for all practical purposes, by the weary old President. To be sure, much remained to be done to bring the entire nation and all its institutions completely under the Nazi heel, though, as we shall see, this also was accomplished with breathless speed and with crudeness, trickery and brutality.

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The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (William Shirer)

– Highlight on Page 200 | Loc. 4915-17  | Added on Friday, 4 October 13 11:59:20 Greenwich Mean Time

Thus, within a fortnight of receiving full powers from the Reichstag, Hitler had achieved what Bismarck, Wilhelm II and the Weimar Republic had never dared to attempt: he had abolished the separate powers of the historic states and made them subject to the central authority of the Reich, which was in his hands.

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The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (William Shirer)

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The one-party totalitarian State had been achieved with scarcely a ripple of opposition or defiance, and within four months after the Reichstag had abdicated its democratic responsibilities.

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The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (William Shirer)

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Hitler was now the law, as Goering said, and as late as May and June 1933 the Fuehrer was declaiming that “the National Socialist Revolution has not yet run its course” and that “it will be victoriously completed only if a new German people is educated.” In Nazi parlance, “educated” meant “intimidated”—to a point where all would accept docilely the Nazi dictatorship and its barbarism. To Hitler, as he had publicly declared a thousand times, the Jews were not Germans, and though he did not exterminate them at once (only a relative few—a few thousand, that is—were robbed, beaten or murdered during the first months), he issued laws excluding them from public service, the universities and the professions. And on April 1, 1933, he proclaimed a national boycott of Jewish shops.

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The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (William Shirer)

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There were at least five major ones: preventing a second revolution; settling the uneasy relations between the S.A. and the Army; getting the country out of its economic morass and finding jobs for the six million unemployed; achieving equality of armaments for Germany at the Disarmament Conference in Geneva and accelerating the Reich’s secret rearming, which had begun during the last years of the Republic; and deciding who should succeed the ailing Hindenburg when he died.

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The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (William Shirer)

– Highlight on Page 206 | Loc. 5068-78  | Added on Friday, 4 October 13 12:33:17 Greenwich Mean Time

Nothing could be further from Hitler’s thoughts. He realized more clearly than Roehm or any other Nazi that he could not have come to power without the support or at least the toleration of the Army generals and that, for the time being at least, his very survival at the helm depended in part on their continued backing, since they still retained the physical power to remove him if they were so minded. Also Hitler foresaw that the Army’s loyalty to him personally would be needed at that crucial moment, which could not be far off, when the eighty-six-year-old Hindenburg, the Commander in Chief, would pass on. Furthermore, the Nazi leader was certain that only the officer corps, with all its martial traditions and abilities, could achieve his goal of building up in a short space of time a strong, disciplined armed force. The S.A. was but a mob—good enough for street fighting but of little worth as a modern army. Moreover, its purpose had now been served and from now on it must be eased tactfully out of the picture. The views of Hitler and Roehm were irreconcilable, and from the summer of 1933 to June 30 of the following year a struggle literally to the death was to be fought between these two veterans of the Nazi movement who were also close friends (Ernst Roehm was the only man whom Hitler addressed by the familiar personal pronoun du).

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The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (William Shirer)

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The Third Reich was indeed friendless in a hostile world. And it was disarmed, or relatively so in comparison with its highly armed neighbors. The immediate strategy and tactics of Hitler’s foreign policy therefore were dictated by the hard realities of Germany’s weak and isolated position. But, ironically, this situation also provided natural goals which corresponded to his own deepest desires and those of the vast majority of the German people: to get rid of the shackles of Versailles without provoking sanctions, to rearm without risking war. Only when he had achieved these dual short-term goals would he have the freedom and the military power to pursue the long-term diplomacy whose aims and methods he had set down so frankly and in such detail in Mein Kampf.

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The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (William Shirer)

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When Hitler addressed the Reichstag on January 30, 1934, he could look back on a year of achievement without parallel in German history. Within twelve months he had overthrown the Weimar Republic, substituted his personal dictatorship for its democracy, destroyed all the political parties but his own, smashed the state governments and their parliaments and unified and defederalized the Reich, wiped out the labor unions, stamped out democratic associations of any kind, driven the Jews out of public and professional life, abolished freedom of speech and of the press, stifled the independence of the courts and “co-ordinated” under Nazi rule the political, economic, cultural and social life of an ancient and cultivated people. For all these accomplishments and for his resolute action in foreign affairs, which took Germany out of the concert of nations at Geneva, and proclaimed German insistence on being treated as an equal among the great powers, he was backed, as the autumn plebiscite and election had shown, by the overwhelming majority of the German people. Yet as the second year of his dictatorship got under way clouds gathered on the Nazi horizon.

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He was only forty-five, and this was just the beginning. Even one returning to Germany for the first time since the death of the Republic could see that, whatever his crimes against humanity, Hitler had unleashed a dynamic force of incalculable proportions which had long been pent up in the German people.

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LIFE IN THE THIRD REICH: 1933–37 I T WAS AT THIS TIME, in the late summer of 1934, that I came to live and work in the Third Reich. There was much that impressed, puzzled and troubled a foreign observer about the new Germany. The overwhelming majority of Germans did not seem to mind that their personal freedom had been taken away, that so much of their culture had been destroyed and replaced with a mindless barbarism, or that their life and work had become regimented to a degree never before experienced even by a people accustomed for generations to a great deal of regimentation.

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Hitler was liquidating the past, with all its frustrations and disappointments. Step by step, and rapidly (as we shall see in detail later), he was freeing Germany from the shackles of Versailles, confounding the victorious Allies and making Germany militarily strong again. This was what most Germans wanted and they were willing to make the sacrifices which the Leader demanded of them to get it: the loss of personal freedom, a Spartan diet (“Guns before Butter”) and hard work. By the autumn of 1936 the problem of unemployment had been largely licked, almost everyone had a job again * and one heard workers who had been deprived of their trade-union rights joking, over their full dinner pails, that at least under Hitler there was no more freedom to starve. “Gemeinnutz vor Eigennutz!” (The Common Interest before Self!) was a popular Nazi slogan in those days, and though many a party leader, Goering above all, was secretly enriching himself and the profits of business were mounting, there was no doubt that the masses were taken in by the new “national socialism” which ostensibly put the welfare of the community above one’s personal gain.

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The Germans heard vaguely in their censored press and broadcasts of the revulsion abroad but they noticed that it did not prevent foreigners from flocking to the Third Reich and seemingly enjoying its hospitality. For Nazi Germany, much more than Soviet Russia, was open for all the world to see. * The tourist business thrived and brought in vast sums of badly needed foreign currency. Apparently the Nazi leaders had nothing to hide. A foreigner, no matter how anti-Nazi, could come to Germany and see and study what he liked—with the exception of the concentration camps and, as in all countries, the military installations. And many did. And many returned who if they were not converted were at least rendered tolerant of the “new Germany” and believed that they had seen, as they said, “positive achievements.” Even a man as perspicacious as Lloyd George, who had led England to victory over Germany in 1918, and who in that year had campaigned with an election slogan of “Hang the Kaiser” could visit Hitler at Obersalzberg in 1936 and go away enchanted with the Fuehrer and praise him publicly as “a great man” who had the vision and the will to solve a modern nation’s social problems—above all, unemployment, a sore which still festered in England and in regard to which the great wartime Liberal leader with his program We Can Conquer Unemployment had found so little interest at home.

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The so-called Nuremberg Laws of September 15, 1935, deprived the Jews of German citizenship, confining them to the status of “subjects.” It also forbade marriage between Jews and Aryans as well as extramarital relations between them, and it prohibited Jews from employing female Aryan servants under thirty-five years of age. In the next few years some thirteen decrees supplementing the Nuremberg Laws would outlaw the Jew completely. But already by the summer of 1936 when the Germany which was host to the Olympic games was enchanting the visitors from the West, the Jews had been excluded either by law or by Nazi terror—the latter often preceded the former—from public and private employment to such an extent that at least one half of them were without means of livelihood.

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THE NAZIFICATION OF CULTURE On the evening of May 10, 1933, some four and a half months after Hitler became Chancellor, there occurred in Berlin a scene which had not been witnessed in the Western world since the late Middle Ages. At about midnight a torchlight parade of thousands of students ended at a square on Unter den Linden opposite the University of Berlin. Torches were put to a huge pile of books that had been gathered there, and as the flames enveloped them more books were thrown on the fire until some twenty thousand had been consumed. Similar scenes took place in several other cities. The book burning had begun.

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– Highlight on Page 242 | Loc. 5926-27  | Added on Wednesday, 9 October 13 10:18:26 Greenwich Mean Time

This was inevitable, of course, the moment the Nazi leaders decided that the arts, literature, the press, radio and the films must serve exclusively the propaganda purposes of the new regime and its outlandish philosophy.

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– Highlight on Page 242 | Loc. 5929-30  | Added on Wednesday, 9 October 13 10:19:18 Greenwich Mean Time

Every manuscript of a book or a play had to be submitted to the Propaganda Ministry before it could be approved for publication or production.

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the radio became by far the regime’s most effective means of propaganda, doing more than any other single instrument of communication to shape the German people to Hitler’s ends.

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– Highlight on Page 249 | Loc. 6090-94  | Added on Wednesday, 9 October 13 10:57:45 Greenwich Mean Time

The German schools, from first grade through the universities, were quickly Nazified. Textbooks were hastily rewritten, curricula were changed, Mein Kampf was made—in the words of Der Deutsche Erzieher, official organ of the educators—“our infallible pedagogical guiding star” and teachers who failed to see the new light were cast out. Most instructors had been more or less Nazi in sentiment when not outright party members. To strengthen their ideology they were dispatched to special schools for intensive training in National Socialist principles, emphasis being put on Hitler’s racial doctrines.

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– Highlight on Page 249 | Loc. 6099-6101  | Added on Wednesday, 9 October 13 10:58:34 Greenwich Mean Time

All teachers took an oath to “be loyal and obedient to Adolf Hitler.” Later, no man could teach who had not first served in the S.A., the Labor Service or the Hitler Youth.

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In no country in the world had there been a youth movement of such vitality and numbers as in republican Germany. Hitler, realizing this, was determined to take it over and Nazify it.

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Under the expert hand of Heydrich, a former intelligence officer in the Navy who had been cashiered by Admiral Raeder in 1931 at the age of twenty-six for refusing to marry the daughter of a shipbuilder whom he had compromised, the S.D. soon spread its net over the country, employing some 100,000 part-time informers who were directed to snoop on every citizen in the land and report the slightest remark or activity which was deemed inimical to Nazi rule. No one—if he were not foolish—said or did anything that might be interpreted as “anti-Nazi” without first taking precautions that it was not being recorded by hidden S.D. microphones or overheard by an S.D. agent. Your son or your father or your wife or your cousin or your best friend or your boss or your secretary might be an informer for Heydrich’s organization; you never knew, and if you were wise nothing was ever taken for granted.

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The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (William Shirer)

– Highlight on Page 274 | Loc. 6688-93  | Added on Sunday, 2 February 14 10:46:47 Greenwich Mean Time

On June 16, 1936, for the first time in German history, a unified police was established for the whole of the Reich—previously the police had been organized separately by each of the states—and Himmler was put in charge as Chief of the German Police. This was tantamount to putting the police in the hands of the S.S., which since its suppression of the Roehm “revolt” in 1934 had been rapidly increasing its power. It had become not only the praetorian guard, not only the single armed branch of the party, not only the elite from whose ranks the future leaders of the new Germany were being chosen, but it now possessed the police power. The Third Reich, as is inevitable in the development of all totalitarian dictatorships, had become a police state.

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The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (William Shirer)

– Highlight on Page 274 | Loc. 6694-6706  | Added on Sunday, 2 February 14 10:48:29 Greenwich Mean Time

GOVERNMENT IN THE THIRD REICH Though the Weimar Republic was destroyed, the Weimar Constitution was never formally abrogated by Hitler. Indeed—and ironically—Hitler based the “legality” of his rule on the despised republican constitution. Thus thousands of decreed laws—there were no others in the Third Reich—were explicitly based on the emergency presidential decree of February 28, 1933, for the Protection of the People and the State, which Hindenburg, under Article 48 of the constitution, had signed. It will be remembered that the aged President was bamboozled into signing the decree the day after the Reichstag fire when Hitler assured him that there was grave danger of a Communist revolution. The decree, which suspended all civil rights, remained in force throughout the time of the Third Reich, enabling the Fuehrer to rule by a sort of continual martial law. The Enabling Act too, which the Reichstag had voted on March 24, 1933, and by which it handed over its legislative functions to the Nazi government, was the second pillar in the “constitutionality” of Hitler’s rule. Each four years thereafter it was dutifully prolonged for another four-year period by a rubber-stamp Reichstag, for it never occurred to the dictator to abolish this once democratic institution but only to make it nondemocratic. It met only a dozen times up to the war, “enacted” only four laws, * held no debates or votes and never heard any speeches except those made by Hitler.

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The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (William Shirer)

– Highlight on Page 276 | Loc. 6741-45  | Added on Sunday, 2 February 14 10:52:17 Greenwich Mean Time

With that authority Hitler had quickly destroyed those who opposed him, unified and Nazified the State, regimented the country’s institutions and culture, suppressed individual freedom, abolished unemployment and set the wheels of industry and commerce humming—no small achievement after only three or four years in office. Now he turned—in fact, he already had turned—to the two chief passions of his life: the shaping of Germany’s foreign policy toward war and conquest and the creation of a mighty military machine which would enable him to achieve his goal.

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The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (William Shirer)

– Highlight on Page 276 | Loc. 6749-51  | Added on Sunday, 2 February 14 10:52:48 Greenwich Mean Time

From February 1933 to the spring of 1937, the number of registered unemployed fell from six million to less than one million. *

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The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (William Shirer)

– Highlight on Page 279 | Loc. 6772-75  | Added on Sunday, 2 February 14 10:54:47 Greenwich Mean Time

THE FIRST STEPS: 1934–37 To TALK PEACE, to prepare secretly for war and to proceed with enough caution in foreign policy and clandestine rearmament to avoid any preventive military action against Germany by the Versailles powers—such were Hitler’s tactics during the first two years.

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The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (William Shirer)

– Highlight on Page 281 | Loc. 6818-23  | Added on Sunday, 2 February 14 11:00:15 Greenwich Mean Time

THE BREACHING OF VERSAILLES In the meantime Hitler pursued with unflagging energy his program of building up the armed services and procuring arms for them. The Army was ordered to treble its numerical strength—from 100,000 to 300,000 by October 1, 1934—and in April of that year General Ludwig Beck, Chief of the General Staff, was given to understand that by April 1 of the following year the Fuehrer would openly decree conscription and publicly repudiate the military restrictions of the Versailles Treaty.

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The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (William Shirer)

– Highlight on Page 282 | Loc. 6860-66  | Added on Wednesday, 5 February 14 10:35:08 Greenwich Mean Time

These powers, led by Great Britain, had been flirting with the idea of recognizing a fait accompli, that is, German rearmament, which was not nearly so secret as Hitler supposed. They would concede Hitler complete arms equality in return for Germany’s joining in a general European settlement which would include an Eastern Locarno and thus provide the Eastern countries, especially Russia, Poland and Czechoslovakia, with the same security which the Western nations enjoyed under the Locarno Treaty—and, of course, furnish Germany with the same guarantees of security. In May of 1934 Sir John Simon, the British Foreign Secretary, who was to be a good forerunner of Neville Chamberlain in his inability to comprehend the mind of Adolf Hitler, actually proposed equality of armaments to Germany. The French sharply rejected such an idea.

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The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (William Shirer)

– Highlight on Page 283 | Loc. 6867-71  | Added on Wednesday, 5 February 14 10:36:09 Greenwich Mean Time

The month before, on January 13, the inhabitants of the Saar had voted overwhelmingly—477,000 to 48,000—to return their little coal-rich territory to the Reich and Hitler had taken the occasion to publicly proclaim that Germany had no further territorial claims on France, which meant the abandoning of German claims on Alsace and Lorraine. In the atmosphere of optimism and good will which the peaceful return of the Saar and Hitler’s remarks engendered, the Anglo–French proposals were formally presented to Hitler at the beginning of February 1935.

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The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (William Shirer)

– Highlight on Page 284 | Loc. 6893-98  | Added on Wednesday, 5 February 14 10:39:05 Greenwich Mean Time

Sunday, March 17, was a day of rejoicing and celebration in Germany. The shackles of Versailles, symbol of Germany’s defeat and humiliation, had been torn off. No matter how much a German might dislike Hitler and his gangster rule, he had to admit that the Fuehrer had accomplished what no republican government had ever dared attempt. To most Germans the nation’s honor had been restored. That Sunday was also Heroes’ Memorial Day (Heldengedenktag). I went to the ceremony at noon at the State Opera House and there witnessed a scene which Germany had not seen since 1914. The entire lower floor was a sea of military uniforms, the faded gray uniforms and spiked helmets of the old Imperial Army mingling with the attire of the new Army, including the sky-blue uniforms of the Luftwaffe, which few had seen before.

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The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (William Shirer)

– Highlight on Page 299 | Loc. 7262-67  | Added on Wednesday, 26 March 14 09:57:18 Greenwich Mean Time

He had, as we have seen, abolished unemployment, created a boom in business, built up a powerful Army, Navy and Air Force, provided them with considerable armaments and the promise of more on a massive scale. He had singlehandedly broken the fetters of Versailles and bluffed his way into occupying the Rhineland. Completely isolated at first, he had found a loyal ally in Mussolini and another in Franco, and he had detached Poland from France. Most important of all, perhaps, he had released the dynamic energy of the German people, reawakening their confidence in the nation and their sense of its mission as a great and expanding world power.

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The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (William Shirer)

– Highlight on Page 305 | Loc. 7392-95  | Added on Saturday, 29 March 14 20:21:09 Greenwich Mean Time

“The aim of German policy,” he said, “was to make secure and to preserve the racial community and to enlarge it. It was therefore a question of space [Lebensraum].” The Germans, he laid it down, had “the right to a greater living space than other peoples… Germany’s future was therefore wholly conditional upon the solving of the need for space.”