The National Socialist Regime in Germany

The National Socialist Regime in Germany
The German National Socialist Party came to power in 1933 by democratic means and with the support of a large majority of the population. The Party leader, Adolf Hitler, was made Chancellor. The Nazis abrogated basic democratic rights by seemingly legal means and Germany soon became a single-party totalitarian State. Terror against the population commenced – with political assassinations and the incarceration of politically undesirable persons in concentration camps.

The Nazi ideal was to achieve the dominance of a superior race – the German and other Germanic peoples – in Europe and around the world. The Jews were seen as being representative of a lesser race and as enemies of Germany, and as the embodiment of both the hated capitalists and Communists. The Jews were denied German citizenship, forbidden to work in state institutions, and forbidden to marry Germans. With the beginning of the Second World War, the policy of anti-Semitism became more extreme and a large-scale extermination of Jews was initiated.

In their foreign policy the Nazi goal was to secure a living space (Lebensraum) for all Germans and, to re-establish and to extend the borders of Germany. In violation of the Versailles Peace Treaty, Germany had started to build up an army and began to re-arm. The Western countries became reconciled to this, which only served to embolden Hitler. In 1936 the German military entered the de-militarised Rhineland. In 1938 Germany annexed Austria and the Sudetenland. In 1939 Germany occupied and annexed both Czechoslovakia and the Klaipeda (Memel) region of Lithuania. Hitler's further aggressive intentions expressed themselves continuously during the course of World War II.

The defeat of Germany in World War II ended the Nazi regime. The Nuremberg International War Tribunal tried the remaining Nazi leaders for war crimes and for crimes against humanity. It also declared the Nazi party as a criminal organisation. The Nazi party was banned in Germany.