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Using all the sources and your own knowledge, assess how far Hitler was successful in creating a social revolution 

It was Hitler’s aim to create a genuine Volksgemeinschaft, a classless society of racially pure Aryan Nazism. Within Volksgemeinschaft people were expected to abandon ties of family, religion, class and region. In order to achieve this it was necessary to merge each segment of society to each other. Hitler set about first with the working class; he recognised that this would be his greatest domestic challenge. Although some skilled workers had supported the Nazi’s before 1933, most workers had been committed to the socialist SPD and communist KPD. Hitler was intent on creating a disciplined workforce which would not challenge his dictatorship or threaten his plans of re armament with excessive wage demands!In order to create this it was seen necessary to eliminate the trade unions, which in theory, had the prowess to resist Hitler. On the day after May Day 1933, the offices of trade unions were ransacked, and within a few days Nazi’s had control of 169 trade union organisations. This was a crucial step for Hitler as it now game him opportunities for mass propaganda. Source 2 gives us some idea of what may have been said to the working class in the drive to inspire and create Volksgemeinschaft. ” I desire and command you, that you take the people’s community, created by the leader, as an example, and that you become part of it- and that you count more valuable the poorest compatriot, than perhaps the richest and most prominent foreigner.”Accompanied with these harangues were great reward schemes and state paternalism, for example, “schonheit der Arbeit” (beauty of labour) that was set up to persuade employers to improve working conditions in factories. This was done by promoting schemes highlighting the benefits of better lighting, ventilation, cleanliness, and the potential benefits of giving workers wholesome meals! As more of these schemes came about it seemed like a social revolution was occurring, however, unsurprisingly these bonuses came at a cost, which led to much workers discontent and the other side of the working classes social revolution.Despite the repression and fall in unemployment there was some working class unrest. Most workers enjoyed real wage increases and skilled workers prospered with a return to full time employment, but both of these came at a cost. The average working week rose from 44 hours to 60 hours, industrial accidents and illnesses increased 150%. There were strikes at Russelheim and Berlin which showed an open defiance of Volksgemeinschaft and evidence that there was no social revolution within the working class. Other “resistenz” could be seen by an increase in boredom, mistrust and absenteeism!The next segment of society to deal with is the “Mittelstand” or the Middle Class. The Mittelstand comprising groups such as small business owners, traders, craft workers, clerks and shopkeepers, was Hitler’s most committed group of supporters. From the start the regime did attempt to fulfil some of its election pledges to the Mittelstand. For example the establishment of new department stores was banned on 12 May 1933, and the cut price competition between businesses was banned! So after 1933 the Mittelstand benefited from the return of business confidence. However, their status was not significantly raised during the pre- war years despite the examples above. Hitler’s main priorities were the creation of jobs and the maintenance of low prices, both of which were effectively provided by large firms! Small traders continued to be out priced by department stores and were continually squeezed between the Reich Food Estate, which controlled agricultural prices, and price freezes in the shops. By 1943 a quarter of a million small shops had gone out of business. Certainly this figure shows that there was to be no social revolution in the Middle Class.Things went from bad to worse for the Mittelstand with the policy of rearmament and autarky which heavily favoured big business as source 4 states “despite support for the Mittelstand and the peasantry, both groups came under enormous social and economic pressure, and instead it was the traditional elites which continued to prosper.” Craft industries could no longer compete with the wage rates of big business. The number of self- employed craft workers fell by half a million between 1936-9.The only evidence of a social revolution in the Mittelstand was that in fact they were completely squeezed out of society and therefore there was a change in class structure.The next segment is the Rural Volksgemeinschaft. Nazi ideology glorified the peasant farmer as decent, honest, uncorrupted and racially pure. The Nazi’s promoted a policy of “blood and soil” in an attempt to protect a healthy and economically secure rural community. At first many of the rural elite were hostile to the regime. Owners of large estates resented interference and they did not enjoy being forced to invite local Nazi leaders to their social gatherings. But the local elites succeeded in maintaining their economic and social status as the Nazi’s, to a certain extent, undertook a number of measures to protect the rural economy. Firstly after coming to power the Agricultural Minister Alfred Hugenberg attempted to honour election promises by increasing tariffs on importing food and by cancelling farmers’ debts. Secondly the regime attempted to safeguard small and middling sized farmers by the Reich Entailed Farm Law. The new law identified farms of around 30 acres as being hereditary farms which had to be passed on to the eldest son without being divided up! Farmers were often financially supported to stay on the land and many were made exempt from paying insurance.Thirdly farming was regulated by the Reich Food Estate which was a huge organisation. Its role was to supervise the country’s 3million farms. This organisation fixed prices and wages, set production targets and dictated crop rotation. These measures suggest a great effort at a social revolution in the countryside however with the consequences of autarky and re armament these measures didn’t really materialise.The role of women and family was another key area for the Nazi’s it was also a very dubious one. Nazi ideology stressed that women should have a purely domestic role in society. Their duty was to produce healthy Aryan children, uphold conservative principals, and comfort their husbands in their service to the state. Source 1, Hitler’s direct address to Women in general across Germany clearly states these requirements “If the mans world is said to be the state, his struggle, his readiness, to devote his powers to the service of the community, then it may perhaps be said that the woman’s is a smaller world. For her world is her husband, her family, her children and her home” The first step towards creating this social revolution was the creation of the Women’s front in which all 230 women’s organisations in Germany were to expel their Jewish members and integrate into the community or face discipline!The regime wasted no time in shaping their negative policy towards women. Once again source 1 shows this negativity towards women. “We do not consider it correct for the woman to interfere in the world of man, in his main sphere. We consider it natural if these two worlds remain distinct.” The women under particular attack were educated women in professional jobs. In the years 1933 to 1939 women in employment fell massively most noticeably in the civil servants jobs where all 19000 jobs went! With these changes it is clear that a social revolution had taken place at this time. The war brought reversals in ideology with it becoming necessary for women to work despite Hitler’s ban on women conscription.The final area of society was the young people and their education. The importance of this segment is outlined in source 3, “the attainment of high intellectual standards will certainly continue to be urged upon the young people…of benefit to the national community.”Boys in particular were trained from a young age as Volksgemeinschaft was very much aimed as an ideal future. From 1933, boys as young as 10 were involved in the Hitler Youth projects. Parents were put under immense pressure to sign their children up. Girls at the age of 10 joined the League of Young Girls, and then at 14 became members of the BDM- League of German Girls. It was not compulsory to join but those who didn’t were frowned upon and ridiculed. Girls in the BDM were told to accept the role of mother and wife in their future.Nazi’s placed much importance on Education, and therefore everything had to be correct. This is when the purge of the education system began. Changing the curriculum to pursue Nazi values was necessary, Jewish teachers were sacked immediately as were all of suspect political views as source 3 states, “Jewish teachers and Jewish pupils have had to quit German schools.”The school curriculum was changed to fit Nazi ideology with males and females being taught completely separately. For the boys, the importance of sport was upgraded as was History, biology and German studies. Sport was the means by which a new military orientated youth could be engineered. The promotion of sport matched the anti academic nature of many Nazi leaders! History was studied as a means of politically indoctrinating Germans about their past.For the girls her education was all about how she could become the best mother and wife, a moral guardian of her children. Girls were also taught biology, in particular reproduction! They were also taught heavily in domestic science, all the qualities necessary to become the best housewife!Overall in analysing how successful Hitler was in creating a social revolution I would say that in the main he was successful. Reasons for why I believe he was successful are that in the countryside there was a return to the traditional values exactly what Hitler had wanted. Women were seen as the homemakers who raised the children and looked after the house, and farming became the subject of very positive propaganda. The racial policies are very much enforced, with Jews, blacks and gypsies all being sent to concentration camps. Similarly, the same goes for those who did not support the party. In reality, the majority of the people who were sent to camps first were not Jewish, but were communists or socialists. Additionally, the euthanasia projects of the late thirties ‘assisted’ those who were not able-bodied, leaving the country racially pure. Changes like this to society point directly to a social revolution. Support for the party and dictator increased with the introduction of the Nazi education system and the Nazi Youth. The Hitler youth promoted the Nazi ways and discipline style to the younger generations, and family values were promoted throughout Germany another change to social life and behaviour.However there are areas which suggest that Hitler was not successful in his quest for Volksgemeinschaft. First and foremost, Hitler needed the elites, big businesses, landowners, Junkers and the army. Without these elements supporting the party, Hitler would lose massive amounts of influence and control, and the sheer fact that they still existed, never mind in cahoots with Hitler, goes against the proposed classless society. Another point of Volksgemeinschaft was that Hitler would have complete control over the state, which he did not have. Due to Hitler’s need to pursue foreign policy targets, this scheme is a failure. The war effort and efforts of autarky led to many changes to an already disturbed society.Also it would be impossible for Hitler to exterminate everybody that does not match his Volksgemeinschaft criteria as they were imperative to the war effort. In contrast to the nationalistic point of Aryan workers was the fact that foreign workers were readily used on farms as all the able men were conscripted to the army. Not only does this oppose the opinion of German workers, it also contradicts the traditional way of life which Hitler had promised in Volksgenossen pointed out in source 6 “glaring contradictions”. Also due to the war effort, women were needed in the factories and this could not be avoided, once again opposing the traditional lifestyle and the proposed role of women in Volksgemeinschaft.

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