Nazis maintaining power popular policies

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  • Strength Through Joy: Programme which allowed workers perks such as leisure activities and cheaper VWs.

  • Hitler Youth – Little Maidens and Little Fellows; allowed children to go on camping trips, days out & got a uniform.

  • Employment: promised 6 million jobs when unemployment at its highest and he provided employment for most.

  • This was effective in enabling Hitler to maintain power because people appreciated the benefits they were given through this scheme. Large numbers of people participated – 7 million per year – which shows that people supported Hitler’s policies and wanted to participate. Highlighting the level of support for Hitler from working people. However, this statistic is not entirely positive because it makes up only 33% of the working population of Germany suggesting that many people did not participate because they did not want to be part of a Nazi scheme. Thus showing that this was not the most important reason for Hitler maintaining power.

  • This was important for Hitler maintaining power because it allowed him to gain support of the young and parents were also grateful for their children gaining these experiences. However, 40% of children were not part of Hitler Youth prior to it being made compulsory. The mere fact that it had to be made compulsory shows that Hitler was forcing upon people and people did not join because of popular support. Rather than being used as a popular policy, it helped Hitler maintain power because he crushed opposition in the young by brainwashing them to believe in his ideas. Children were also used to spy on their parents. As such, Hitler Youth became more effective as fear than a popular policy.

  • Initially, people were grateful that they had work following a time of such high unemployment. This helped Hitler maintain power because many believed he was responsible for low unemployment and wanted to keep him in power. However, the jobs available were only in industries such as road building and so did not benefit everyone. Also, many women were forced out of work to make way for men. Additionally, Hitler introduced new employment laws which made workers work long hours and removed trade unions so that workers could not strike. Therefore, people had no way of showing their discontent with Hitler’s regime.




  • Joseph Goebbels was appointed Minister of National Enlightenment & Propaganda e.g. radio stations were controlled by Goebbels and they encouraged people to listen by selling cheap radio sets; ‘Peoples sets’ 75DKE. Also broadcast from loud speakers in the street.

  • Mass rallies: Nuremberg rally lasted a week. One arena could hold 4000 people.

  • The ‘Hitler Myth’: Propaganda was used to make people see Hitler as the ‘saviour of Germany’. By 1930s, 90% of Germans admired him.

  • The radio ensured that people didn’t know what was going on. Only reliable news came from foreign radios which were banned.

  • Propaganda glossed over the negative impact of Nazi policies on many groups and promoted positive impact of the regime.

  • However, propaganda wasn’t the only way the Nazis hid their mistakes and convinced Germans to support them. Successes in foreign policy showed that Hitler was fulfilling his promise of smashing the Treaty of Versailles. In March, 1936 he remilitarised the Rhineland and in 1938 the Anschluss. No action was taken by France or UK making Hitler seem powerful and strong.




  • SS intimidation to secure Enabling Act – troops stationed around Reichstag building = 444 voted for and only 94 voted against it.

  • Political opposition to the Nazi regime was outlawed in 1933. It was an offence to criticise the Nazis so legal opposition was impossible.

  • All individual states were ruled directly from Berlin – no political voice of their own to stop any possible legal opposition. Night of the Long Knives (1934) – removes opposition from within party = warning to others of how Hitler deals with opposition.

  • Concentration Camps also used for Jews and other ‘asocials’ who opposed Hitler. Set up in 1933, Dachau was intended originally for political opponents e.g. Communists & Social Democrats.

  • This meant that they not only instilled fear in the people but also carried out brutal acts of repression which discouraged people from opposing the Nazis.

  • Even though opposition was outlawed, the scope of resistance was impressive which shows that totalitarianism was only partly successful. E.g. 4000 Germans fled the country for political reasons, 12000 were convicted of treason and 40000 imprisoned for political offences.

  • Despite this, the level of fear and intimidation created in Nazi Germany meant that opponents could never create a united front against Hitler as the Gestapo kept watch on anyone against Hitler e.g. informers.

  • Of course, fear and intimidation worked so well, not just because of its own merits but because the Nazi regime was supported by a tight legal system which banned all opposition.

CONTROL: Legal etc.



  • Formation of ‘People’s Court’ in 1934 replaced all anti-Nazi judges and police officers with Hitler’s supporters. This was further supported by the ‘Acts Hostile to the National Community’ allowed Hitler to punish those who he believed to deserve punishment, quietly and quickly e.g. concentration camps.

  • Hitler tried to set up a Reich Church in an attempt to control those Christians who spoke out against him.

  • ‘Coordination’ of all school teachers forced teachers to become Nazis. In 1937, 97% had joined the National Socialist Teachers’ League.

  • Goebbels controlled all forms of media by censoring all aspects and shut down many opposition newspapers. Books such as those by Marx & Freud were banned. Books also burned e.g. Geobbels convinced students to destroy 20,000 books in a bonfire outside Berlin uni. Entertainment which was deemed unsuitable was also censored e.g. jazz music because of African American origins.

  • This was important to the Nazis maintaining power because it caused alarm amongst German people – the fear they experienced was often enough to stop them opposing Hitler.

  • Despite Hitler’s ability to control most areas of German life, it was generally agreed that the Reich Church was a failure and some churches continued to speak out against him. It is important to note, however, that protestant churches were absorbed by the Reich Church. Furthermore, statistics show that opposition from the church was low because only in December 1941 only 12 people were arrested from the Protestant Church compared to over 7000 arrested for refusing to work.

  • This meant that children would be effectively taught – or indoctrinated - the Nazi messages and more likely to support the regime.

  • Thus, all potential criticism to the regime was banned and the negative impact of policies was well concealed. As such, those who opposed Hitler would have no way to openly air their opinions. Importantly, is the fact that many simply did not know the truth about the regime and genuinely supported the Nazis.

  • As such, legal control was important but without force there would have been no way to fully implement Nazi laws and policies.

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