To What Extent Did the German People Benefit from Nazi Rule?
Jews, Gypsies, Homosexuals and mentally or physically disabled people were persecuted. The Nazis wanted to maintain the ‘Aryan’ race so German people were not allowed to interbreed with inferior races. Many ‘ordinary’ Germans shared these ideas and there was little evidence of opposition to persecution from German civilians.
There was also a public participation in persecution, if an ‘ordinary’ German believed someone to be racially impure they would turn them in to the Nazis.
Some ‘ordinary’ Germans even benefitted from the persecution of minorities, especially because the majority of Jews were earning a lot of money, and because of these persecutions the Jews were put out of jobs, and suddenly the ‘ordinary’ Germans had jobs. Limits of freedom of action for minority groups (for example, the right to marry an Aryan removed). Workers organisations such as Strength Through Joy and Kraft durch Freude (KDF). Subsidised cars, holidays and leisure activities. Real earnings figures for 1938 are the SAME as for 1928 (ie no better, no worse).
Unemployment fell from 6 million in january ’33 to 300,000 by January ’39. Working hours limit increased to 72 hours a week. Wages low – but 10x that of the dole. Trade unions banned which damaged workers’ rights, it meant a loss of power, and no huge wage increase. Hitler created the National Labour Service’ (Reichsarbeitsdienst or RAD) which hired unemployed people and they were mainly involved in public work schemes, for example, digging drainage ditches on farms, planting new forests and building schools and hospitals.
Men in the RAD were forced to wear military uniform and received no wages other than ‘pocket money’. However, meals were free which was better than a life with no work at all. Jews and women no longer counted in statitstics. The main reason for unemployment was re-armament. Family values. Role in home glorified. Womens role reverts to ‘traditional’. There was pressure on women to look the right way, they should have fair hair, blue eyes, athletic bodies, not slim and ruddy complexions. They should be heavy hipped. They should wear a flat skirt with flat heels and no makeup.
They should dress using home-produced substitutes for imported materials. They should never smoke in public, and they were to cook using leftovers. They were to bring up their children as loyal Nazis. However, many were happy because the situation they were in was much better than before. Invasion of SA. Patronising. Produce children. Nazis believed that women were made to be wives and should stick to their ‘natural’ occupations in the home. If women needed to work, the Nazis wanted them to have occupations that used their ‘natural’ talents such as nursing.
They wanted the amount of births of the ‘Aryan’ race to increase. Intrest free loans of 1000 marks were offered to youn married couples only if the wife gave up work. For the ‘normal’ German citizen freedom of speech removed, was increased stability worth this price? Limited availability of news as a result of censorship. Freedom of speech restricted, illegal to criticise the regime. Propaganda is limited in it’s effectiveness, people could SEE what things were like. Prior to the war, for many Germans, the outlook WAS good. Hitler youth did not get a good academic education. Intelligence not valued.
Expected to look a certain way. The female Hitler youth was the only youth organisation permitted in Nazi Germany. There were three groups 10-14 year olds, 14-18 and 17-21. The female Hitler youth only gained a large membership after the Nazis came to power in 1933. The members could only be ethnic Germans who did not have hereditary diseases. The members were only allowed to include unmarried and childless members because they were the people who the organisation sought to teach the values of having children and staying at home. Young Germans were in favour of the Nazis and their ideology.