Segment descriptions
Countries of the World Series
Germany, Part 2         

    Description: anti-semitism 1

Germany, Part 2    
sampler  210     (79 lecture)

Why did the partnership between government and business provoke violent anti-Semitism in Italy and
Germany but not in the Western democracies?

                  play sampler




Nazi Germany




Hitler in power.  Hitler, charismatic, is elected chancellor in 1932Rearming for war is a way out of the economic depression.  Nazis crush the Communists, Socialists, and organized labor.  His nationalistic appeal. 




Jews in Germany.  They are 1% of the population at 600,000 out of 60 million Germans, are a noticeable minority in the arts, education, and in religious dress, and become a scapegoat for Hitler.  1933 begins an exclusion policy is launched against Jews in a series of steps.   Attacks are organized against individuals and businesses culminating in Krystalnacht.  Some Jews leave but many who are assimilated are slow to react.  Efforts to leave to the U.S. are blocked by U.S. immigration laws.  Mexico and Canada are more open.   




Fascism and other industrial countries.  Fascism does not take hold because capitalists there feel more in control and do not  need fascists to hold down threats from below.  German industrial giants remain in partnership with the Nazis, making use of slave labor during the war. 




German gains in the 1930s.  Hitler is not a madman but a skilled diplomat who gets the most from his enemies and also benefits from luck. 


Spanish Civil War.  Francisco Franco rebels against the Spanish Republic.  The Republic's request to buy arms from the Western allies is turned down for fear of supporting Communism.  Germany supports the rebels who win.   



Prelude to World War II.  Hitler is emboldened, demands annexation of the Sudetenland, part of Czechoslovakia, which is acquiesced to by England and France.  Later, Hitler takes over all of Czechoslovakia. 



1939 Non-Aggression Pact between Germany and Soviet Russia stuns the world.  Poland is divided between them. 




World War II



World War II begins.  Germany attacks Poland September 1, 1939, followed by the "Phony War" until the spring of 1940. 




Nazi appeal to the upper classes.  Many share his values of a stable society favorable to capitalism, and his anti-Semitism.  Although Winston Churchill is from the upper classes, he is fearful of Germany, now a powerful war machine. 



German control of Europe.  Using blitzkrieg warfare Germany rapidly conquers Europe.  France surrenders. 



The "Final Solution"   There are 3 millions Jews in Poland.  The Wannsee Conference  decides to use technology, distribution resources, and the participation of many levels of people for a systematic wiping out of all Jews. 


The Holocaust.  Denmark saves its 50,000 Jews by ferrying them to neutral Sweden.  Although there are cases of individuals helping Jews, the rest of Europe fails to do so and often aids the Nazi effort.


The death camps.   Disguised to forestall panic. The experience of being rounded up, transported in boxcars, divided between healthy workers to slave labor camps and others to the gas chambers and crematoriums.  The systematizing of killing of people and harvesting of body products.  The meticulous records.  The medical experiments.  The daily violence. 




"Banality of Evil."  Adolph Eichmann's trial in Israel in 1960 reveals the Holocaust as a calm bureaucratic decision, and that ordinary people can do horrendous deeds under an authority which sanctions them for a high cause. 




The toll.  6 million Jews, 1/3 the world's population is murdered, plus 4 million other civilian murders of Communists, Socialists, Gypsies, homosexuals, and the disabled.  The ultimate goal of fascism is death. 




The invasion of Russia in the summer of 1941.  Germany's plan is to kill most Russians, enslave the rest.  Stalin is caught off guard.  The Germans push deep into Russia, coming close to Moscow.  Leningrad is surrounded, starved, as Germans push south to the oil area. 


The tide turns.  Stalingrad is the turning point in the winter of 1942-43.  The winter cold and the Red Army take its toll on the German army which is defeated and almost wiped out.  The Germans are pushed back out of East Europe into Germany.  The D-Day invasion of Normandy June 6, 1944.  German military leaders, as Germany is losing, attempt assassination of Hitler.  It fails to kill him, there is a purge, and the war continues.  Germany's last surprise offensive, the Battle of the Bulge, eventually fails.  The end.   In 1945, although the end is near and Germany is in rubble, Churchill decides to bomb Dresden.  Hitler and others commit suicide in his Berlin bunker.  Germany surrenders May, 1945.  The Nazi era ends after 12 years of enormous destruction. 




Post-War Germany.




German occupation.  Germany is divided into the West Zone occupied by the Western powers, and the East Zone occupied by Russia, with Berlin divided into 4 zones, U.S., British, French, and Russian.  The alliance between the East Zone and the USSR is not a Russian grab but is sanctioned by the Allies.  The Cold War fixes the division. 



U.S. attitude.  The Cold War begins at the end of World War II.  The Nazis are seen as resource against Communist Russia, are helped to escape to Argentina and elsewhere, and are funded. 



East Germany has Stalinist form of government, resists reform seen elsewhere.  Its economy develops and becomes a significant Communist power. 



West Germany rebuilds its economy more successfully than East Germany, becomes a bulwark against Russia and serves American business (similar to Hitler's time),. West German economy compared with U.S.  U.S. economy is a capital intensive war economy whose weapons have no further social value.  West Germany, free from military budgets, has a labor intensive economy adding to employment and further social value.  Berlin Wall.  The need to prevent people from leaving reflects the failure of the East German system.



Response to the Holocaust.  West Germany, East Germany and the U.S. all use ex-Nazis, especially for Cold War reasons.  Many in West Germany take responsibility for the Nazi era, but there is also significant resistance in both East & West Germany, denying knowledge of and responsibility for it.  The younger generation wants to examine it.    



Collapse of Communism in Russia and in Eastern Europe countries it controls.   Reunification of Germany.  Berlin Wall demolished.  The economic gap between the former West Germany and East Germany causes West Germans to expend billions to upgrade East Germans.  East Germans see it as a bitter pill.   Germany becomes a world power and a key player in European affairs and markets. 



Relations with U.S. Germany remains part of the American alliance but is hostile to American actions in the Middle East.   Neo-Nazi movement.  Appealing to the lower middle class, it is a significant minority, but is held in check by the government.  Anti-Semitism is a factor.  Immigration.  A great influx from poorer areas of the world.  They keep wage scales low, are greatly misused, a situation shared with other countries. 


Future.  There is an attempt to revitalize the military, which will result in a war economy and all its consequences.  Germany will continue to have a major role in Europe and the world.