Germany - Hitler’s Germany, 1929–1945


End of World War I

11 November 1918

In Autumn 1918, the Allies won WWI, leaving Germany in a state of chaos - Ebert (socialist leader) became leader and signed an armistice with the Allies, promising freedom of speech and worship and better working conditions.

Treaty of Versailles

June 28, 1919

Treaty of Versailles was announced in June 1919. In this treaty, 10% of land + all overseas colonies lost, 12.5% of population lost, 16% of coal and 48% of iron lost. They also had to have a reduced army and navy, no Air Force, has to accept blame and pay reparations of £6600 million.

Most Germans were appalled to them - Ebert and the Weimar Republic were to blame for treaty - believed German army has been 'stabbed in the back' by politicians who has signed the armistice.

Kapp Putsch

March 1920

In March 1920, Kapp led 5000 Freikorps into Berlin in the Kapp Putsch and the army refused to fire on them. However, industrial workers declared a strike, bringing the capital to a halt and forcing Kapp to flee.

Hitler elected as leader of the Nazi Party


In 1921, Hitler became leader of the Nazi Party. He had a clear and simple appeal, stirred Nationalist passions in his audiences and gave them scapegoats to blame for Germany's problems: the Allies, the Treaty of Versailles, the 'November Criminals', the Communists and the Jews.

Invasion of the Ruhr

January 1923

Germany had been lagging in payments - French and Belgian troops entered the Ruhr and took goods + raw materials. The government encouraged passive resistance - but French killed over 100 and expelled over 100,000 from the region. Led to a halt in industrial production caused the collapse of the German currency.



As there were no goods to trade, the government printed off money and debts were paid off in worthless marks. With so much money in circulation, prices and wages rocketed - but money was worthless. The middle classes whose savings had become worthless suffered the most.

Stresemann becomes leader

August 1923

In August 1923, a new government under Stresemann formed. He called off passive resistance in the Ruhr, burned worthless notes and introduced the Rentenmark, negotiated American loans through the Dawes plan and negotiated reparations payments.

Munich Putsch

November 1923

By November 1923, Hitler believed that the moment had come for him to topple the Weimar government, who were preoccupied with the economic crisis. On 8th November, Hitler hijacked a local government meeting and announced he was taking over the state of Bavaria - he was joined by old war hero Ludendorff. He got off very lightly - only got 5 years in prison and only served 9 months.

May 1924 elections

May 1924

They won 32 seats in the Reichstag elections.



In 1925, Hitler enlarged the SA, and set up the SS - he also appointed Joseph Goebbels to take charge of Nazi propaganda.

Hindenburg elected


Hindenburg elected as leader in 1926.

1928 election


Hitler's Nazis gained less than 3% of votes in the 1928 election.

1929 election


Nazis gained 12 seats

Wall Street Crash

October 1929

In 1929, the American stock market crashed and sent the USA into a disastrous economic depression - Germany especially felt the effect of this.

Bruning's economic policy


In 1930, Bruning pursued a tough economic policy - he raised taxes and implemented wage cuts and spending reductions. They were rejected by Reichstag - he was backed by President Hindenburg to rule by emergency decree.

1930 elections


Nazis gained 107 seats.

1932 Presidential elections

March 1930

Hitler ran for President against Hindeburg - Hindenburg won with 49% of the vote but Hitler still achieved 30%

July 1932 elections

July 1932

Nazis gained 230 seats - the largest party in the Reichstag.

November 1932 elections

November 1932

Von Papen called another election in November 1932. Although the Nazis came out on top, they has lost 2 million votes and 38 seats - also started to run out of funds.

Von Sleicher becomes Chancellor

December 1932

In December 1932, Hindenburg elected Von Speicher (his advisor) to the chancellorship, in the hope that he could form a working coalition wth the Nazis.

Hitler becomes Chancellor

30 January 1933

On 30 January 1933, Hindenburg offered Hitler the position of Chancellor - they believed that he wouldn't be able to make major decisions due Nazis being a majority in the Cabinet, but that he would be able to gain support in the Reichstag and control the Communists.

Reichstag Fire

27 February 1933

On the 27 February 1933, a destructive fire occurred at the Reichstag and destroyed it within 2 hours. Police arrested Marinus van der Lubbe for the crime and blamed it on the Communists. 4000 Communists and opponents were arrested.

Emergency Decree

28 February 1933

Hitler seized upon the Reichstag fire as a means of extending his power - he asked Hindenburg to invoke Article 48 - effectively allowed the Nazis to define their own legal rights.

March 1933 elections

March 1933

Nazis gained 44.5% of the vote - few people thought Hitler's power would last long. Hindenburg allowed Hitler dictatorial powers - KPD candidates arrested and vows to 'exterminate German Communists' - the Nazis had their largest evert share of 288 seats.

Enabling Act

March 23 1933

Nazis introduced the Enabling Act - Hitler could pass decrees without the President - made him a legal dictator.

Trade unions banned

2 May 1933

Hitler saw trade unions as exercising more power over the workers than he could - they also supported socialism/Communism. On the 2nd May 1933, police units occupied all trade union Has, arrested leaders/officials and confiscated their funds - this lessened the threat of the working class movement.

Law against the Establishment of New Parties

14 July 1933

Declared that the Nazis were the only political party in Germany - all other parties were banned and the leaders arrested.

Concordat with Catholic Church

20 July 1933

In July 1933, Roman Catholic Church signed the Concordat with Hitler - Church agreed not to oppose political and social aims of Nazi Party - Pope had hoped the Church could operate without interference.

Night of the Long Knives

30 June 1934

The SA, who had played an important role in Hitler's elevation to power, were badly-disciplined and leader Röhm talked of making it into a second German army. On the weekend of the 29-30 June, SS squads broke into Rohm and other leading figures' homes, accusing them of plotting to overthrow and murder Hitler - Röhm and 400 others were executed.

Death of Hindenburg and Der Fuhrer

2 August 1934

Hindenburg died of lung cancer in 1934 - clearing the way for Hitler's political supremacy. Shortly after, Hitler decreed the presidency and chancellorship were to be combined into a new office; the Fuhrer would act as head of state, head of government and commander of the armed forces.

1936 Olympics in Berlin


At the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, no expense was spared and visitors were amazed by the scale and efficiency - but appalled by the fanatical devotion of people to Hitler. To the majority of German people, the Games presented a grand vision: efficiency, power, strength and achievement.


November 9, 1938

In November 1938, a young Jew shot a German diplomat in Paris - Goebbels urged a wide-scale brutal retaliation in Germany in which 91 Jews were murdered, 200 synagogues were burnt and down and 20,000 Jews were taken to concentration camps.

Rationing began

September 1939

Rationing began shortly after war broke out in September 1939 (food) and November (clothing)

WWII starts

September 1939

The Final Solution

January 1942

In the summer of 1941, Goering ordered Himmler (head of the SS) and Heydrich (SS general) to carry out the 'final solution' - they met again in January 1942 to discuss the most efficient method of destroying a race of people and began building 'death camps.'

RAF bombing raids

March 1942

In March 1942, the RAF started major bombing raids - by 1943, 43 German cities were repeatedly bombed especially in the Rhineland and Ruhr areas.

Stauffenberg Bomb Plot

July 1944

The July Bomb Plot of 1944 was an attempt by senior German army officers to kill Hitler and end WWII - although the bomb exploded, Hitler miraculously survived and 5000 were executed.

Execution of Edelweiss Pirates

November 1944

An association of youth movements across Germany, the Edelweiss Pirates were primarily working-class youths opposed to the way Hitler Youth had taken over young people's lives. However, attitudes changed to them in WWII when authorities believed they were spreading anti-Nazi propaganda -during December 1942, over 700 pirates were arrested and sent to 're-education camps.' In November 1944, 12 Pirates were publicly hanged in Cologne.

End of WWII

May 1945