Seducing the nation

kDF

It is easy to blame the German civilians for being complacent during World War II and especially the Holocaust, and to an extend this blame is understandable.

But I have my doubts if this complacency  would be different in any other country. After World War I Germany was engulfed in internal conflicts and even an internal revolution, which was basically a civil war.

civil war

After this political upheaval and social uncertainty followed by economical woes,partially caused by the repayments as laid out by the treaty of Versaille and partially caused by the great depression, the country was facing an uphill struggle. There was poverty,famine and a hyper inflation. Money was worth nothing,  people would sometimes use  paper money  to fire up the stove.

stove

It is not hard to understand that in those times it didn’t take much for people to follow a party who not only promised things but also delivered on those promises, at least temporarily . We now know of course that these promises eventually only served one reason, which was for the NSDAP to get to power.

These promises coupled with a well functioning propaganda machine proved to be a very powerful weapon.

In the early 1930s the Nazis started setting up programs like “Kraft durch Freude” Strength through Joy which was was a large state-operated leisure organization which worked in conjunction with the German Labour Front . The KdF provided affordable leisure activities such as concerts, plays, libraries, day trips and holidays. Large cruise ships, like the  Wilhelm Gustloff, were built specially deigned  for KdF cruises.

Ship

Beach resorts were also built, resorts like Prora , which facilitated beach holidays on a massive scale. An enormous building complex on the island of Rügen, located off the Pomeranian coast in the Baltic Sea. It was built between 1936 and 193 by the KdF as a beach resort to accommodate affordable beach holidays.

Prora

The Nazis promised that every family should have a family car. Designed by Ferdinand Porsche , the KdF cars were known as the People’s car or Volkswagen. Porsche developed the Type 12,  the concept f the or “Auto für Jedermann” (car for everybody) for Zündapp in 1931. On 26 May 1938, Hitler laid the cornerstone for the Volkswagen factory in Fallersleben.

VW

The Nazis made sure that everyone in the country would get a radio, the so called “Volksempfänger” or People’s receiver. Of course people were delighted with this. This bit of technology would connect them with the wider world, They did not realize then that this was also a toll for mass propaganda, a brainwash device for in the living room.

radio

The Nazi regime even attempted to provide families with their own airplanes, the so called Volksflugzeug (people’s airplane) was never fully implemented though.

plane

The keyword in many of these technologies was “Volk” or ‘People’. It created the illusion that the Nazis only had the best intentions for the People, There were People fridges and even People gas masks.

This combined with the creation of employment, a new found prosperity was created in Germany. This prosperity after the years of hardship and poverty worked nearly as a drug, and people believed what Hitler and his cronies told them, because for a while they did what they promised.

It was relatively easy to find a scapegoat to blame for the poverty they had endured, and to ensure this wouldn’t happen again and  people fell for it.

Of course their eyes should have been opened when they saw what was really happening to the Jews,disabled and other groups which the Nazis had deemed as subhuman, but at that stage so many were brainwashed and believed the lies they were fed, because life was good.

Sometimes when a politician keeps his promise is not necessarily a good thing.

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Hitler’s promise of prosperity.

eco germany

A question people often ask me is “Why did so many Germans believe Hitler and the NSDAP?”

Hitler did not keep his hate for Jews and other groups e deemed unworthy a secret. In fact he wrote about it in Mein Kampf and other political publications.So why did so many Germans endorse him and his policies?

eco hitler

That question is actually not so hard to answer.

There were a few factors and it also came down to timing.One of the reasons te Nazis cited for the woes of the German people was the treaty of Versailles. Te treart had caused undue hardships for Germany after WWI,but by 1924 the allied had realized that. The hyper inflation  in Germany causing simple daily things like bread and milk to cost millions of reich marks, had not gone unnoticed.

versailles

The Dawes Plan (as proposed by the Dawes Committee, chaired by Charles G. Dawes) was an initial plan in 1924 ease the World War I reparations that Germany had to pay.

The years 1924 to 1929 became known as the ‘Golden Years’, Germany had crawled out of poverty, at least for a big part, and by 1928 unemployment had gone down from a 15% to 8%.By this stage the Germans did not see the Nazis policies as viable policies for the country.

The event that brought changes to that was the  Wall Street Crash of October 29, 1929,which started the great depression.

crash

Strapped for cash, the United States began to recall loans from Europe. As one of the consequences unemployment started to rise. The economy of Germany, relied heavily on investment from the US, and suffered more than any other country in Europe.

Germany’s unemployment rate rose to 30% by 1932. Hitler promised to get the nation back to full employment, and he succeeded but it came with a price tag.Although by the 1933 elections the economy had already started to pick up somewhat.

The Nazis introduced policies to increase manual labour and banned the introduction of some labour-saving machinery.If a company wanted to reduce its workforce it needed permission from the government.

Gradually Jews were forcibly removed from the labour force and they were replaced by non Jewish Germans.

Women were encouraged to give up their jobs to become homemakers.

The army and the armament industry was rebuild.

Massive infrastructure projects like the motor ways were built.

autobahn

The mass production of radios was encouraged, this wasn’t only to reduce unemployment but also to ensure everyone had a media for propaganda.

Hitler had a vision for every German family to own a car, he was influenced by Henry Ford.

ford.PNG

The Nazis abolished tax on cars . Ferdinand Porsche, a well-known designer for high-end vehicles and race cars, had been trying for years to get a manufacturer interested in a small car suitable for a family. In 1934 Hitler became involved and ordered the production of the ‘People’s car’ Volkswagen.

ah vw

Especially the Jews and also the disabled were used as scapegoats for the economical hardships of the past.

By 1937 German unemployment had fallen from six million to one million.

It is nor surprising that the Germans fell for Hitler’s promises for he delivered on some of them, and especially the promise on the recovery of the economy

The standard of living though had not improved like it had done in the 1920s. Eventually this new ‘prosperity’ came at a high price,millions were slaughtered and Germany was once again left in ruins during WWII.

An important lesson is to be learned here. If election promises are kept, what is the price tag that comes with it.

 

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I am passionate about my site and I know you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2 ,however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thanks To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the paypal link. Many thanks

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