What was Adolf Hitler's nationality

National Socialism and Hitler's Career

75 years ago Adolf Hitler took up the post of Reich Chancellor in Germany. Many people were enthusiastic about Hitler and the National Socialists at the time. But a reign of terror begins

The heels of the boots slam in step on the cobblestones. One, two, one, two, one, two. There are tens of thousands of men marching through Berlin on this frosty winter evening. In rank and file, stiff and jagged. All in uniform, all in time. The flames of their torches lick the black of the sky.

Horns blare tinny marching music, the drum beats sound muffled: one, two, one, two, one, two. Lined with a huge crowd, the parade meanders like a river of fire through the Brandenburg Gate, Berlin's landmark, into Wilhelmstrasse. Your destination is the building with number 77. It houses the Reich Chancellery, the official seat of the Reich Chancellor.

In the brightly lit window of an adjoining house there is a thin man with severely parted black hair and a square mustache under his nose: Adolf Hitler.

Reich President Paul von Hindenburg appointed the 43-year-old as the new Chancellor of the German Reich at noon, making Hitler the second most powerful man in the country. The torchlight procession is a triumphal procession of his followers in his honor. It is January 30, 1933, a Monday.

It is the day on which the foundation stone for a dictatorship is laid in Germany, for the reign of terror of the National Socialists. It will last twelve years, three months, a week and two days and plunge the world into the most terrible war of all time.

  • At the top one dictatorship stands for a single party, person or group. Fundamental rights such as the right to freedom of expression are suspended.

Hitler and the NSDAP

But hardly anyone suspects that on this January evening. The people in front of the Reich Chancellery cheer exuberantly. Again and again they stretch their right arm up in the air to give the "Hitler salute".

Some wave red flags with a white circle in the middle, emblazoned with a black swastika: It is the symbol of the National Socialist German Workers' Party (NSDAP), headed by the "Führer" Adolf Hitler.

  • The Swastika was once considered a sign of salvation and a symbol of the turning point towards happiness. The National Socialists adopted it as a party badge. That is why it is forbidden today.

A few years earlier, this party was completely insignificant. In the 1928 elections to the Reichstag, it received hardly any votes, and most people believed it was a crazy as well as extreme movement that need not be taken seriously. What mistake were they! Hitler was an excellent speaker who could get people carried away with his speeches.

And he took advantage of their need. Because many Germans were doing badly at the time. At times, more than six million men and women were out of work. Poverty and despair provided the breeding ground for the strong influx of extreme movement. Hitler made full-bodied promises to create jobs and defeat poverty. And the NSDAP was getting more and more popular because many people believed Hitler. Too many. Far too many.

  • The term democracy comes from the Greek and translates as the rule of the people. The people lay down the laws by which they want to live in their country and choose their own government.

The Nazis

Hitler and the Nazis, as his supporters were called, were against democracy. Criticism of the "Führer" was prohibited. In this way they gradually expanded their rule: just five days after Hitler took office, an "emergency ordinance" - a special law - was passed that, among other things, restricted the freedom of the press. No journalist should be allowed to write anything against Hitler or the Nazis with impunity!

If they didn't like articles or newspapers, they could now simply forbid them on the basis of the emergency ordinance. A little later, Hitler's followers even burned books that were too critical for them or whose authors they rejected - Hermann Hesse, for example, or Erich Kästner, the author of "Emil and the Detectives" and "Pünktchen und Anton", were among them. But that wasn't all.

  • In a democracy they are Freedom of the press and freedom of expression important fundamental rights. For example, they guarantee that everyone is free to express their opinion and that journalists are not hindered in their work.

The fire of the Reichstag building

When a fire was started in the Berlin Reichstag building on February 27, 1933, the Nazis used the event as an opportunity to eliminate their political opponents, the supporters of other parties. They blamed them for the attack. The next day, a new emergency ordinance suspended important fundamental rights: people could now simply be arrested for an indefinite period - without a judge taking care of the matter.

Thousands of Nazi opponents were interrogated, put in prisons or beaten up, and some even killed. In the new elections on March 5, the NSDAP was the strongest party in the country - and soon it was the only one: it wasn't long before Hitler banned all other political parties.

Hitler becomes President of the Reich

In the summer of 1934, after Hindenburg's death, Hitler quickly took over the office of Reich President. Now he held power over Germany in his hands alone!

And that was visible everywhere: From now on, a picture of the "Führer" was emblazoned on the wall in classrooms, offices and in most of the living rooms. Instead of "Hello", most people said "Heil Hitler". And from 1939 all children were obliged to join the so-called Hitler Youth (HJ) or the Association of German Girls (BDM) to join the youth organizations of the Nazis.

There boys and girls were brought up in the spirit of National Socialism - they should learn to "think German and act German". Hitler once said: "A youth will grow up that will frighten the world."

  • Nazis they called the National Socialists, the supporters and members of the NSDAP, in short.

The Jews are discriminated against

But children of Jewish origin were excluded from the HJ and BDM - even though they were also Germans! Hitler hated the Jews and had a plan to expel all Jewish people from Germany.

He and his party's supporters made them the scapegoats for all problems; they blamed them, among other things, for unemployment and poverty in the country - although of course they couldn't help it at all. Hitler later forbade them to use the tram or to go to the swimming pool. They weren't allowed out of the house in the evening. Jewish children were kicked out of "German" schools.

  • As synagogue one designates a Jewish house of God and meeting place. Synagogues are, so to speak, the churches of the Jews.

The hatred of Jews reached its climax in 1938

On the night of November 9-10, 1938, hatred of Jews reached another high point: all over the country, Nazis set fire to synagogues and dragged Jewish families out of their homes. A large part of the non-Jewish German population let this happen.

Many people of Jewish faith were arrested and deported to concentration camps, where they had to work hard, were barely fed, tortured and killed: by Germans - whom Hitler called "master men" because they were supposedly worth more than other people.

  • In concentration camp The Nazis banned people who did not suit them, for example because they had a different political opinion or because they were of Jewish origin. The prisoners had to work hard, were tortured, tortured, and starved.

Many people died of exhaustion or disease, and many were killed. From 1941 there were also camps that were only used to kill the people in them en masse.

The second World War

Hitler was a megalomaniac dictator. So megalomaniac that he believed he could usurp power not only in Germany, but in the whole world. The bad thing is: the majority of Germans seemed to believe that. On September 1, 1939, the Wehrmacht, the German army, invaded Poland. With this raid the Second World War begins.