Nazi Germany, 1933-1945

The Volksgemeinschaft

Readings: Spielvogel, p. 154 (the concept of the Volksgemeinschaft); pp. 168-178 (on youth and education); 178-190 (on women), 103-104 (on farmers), and 98-101 (on workers). Answer any two questions.

1. Identify the core components of the idea of a Volksgemeinschaft. What is the purpose of such a community? What is the role of the individual who belongs to this community? How is the community to be organized and governed?

2. According to Nazi ideology, youth had an important role within the Volksgemeinschaft.  What has this role?  How was different for boys and girls?  How as the school curriculum used to create the Volksgemeinschaft?  What sort of elite schools did the Nazis create and what was the purpose of the Napolas, the Adolf Hitler Schools, and the Ordensburgen?

3. According to Nazi ideology, women had an important role within the Volksgemeinschaft. What role or roles did the Nazis allot women? What are the male and female character traits identified by the Nazis? What is the nature of public life and why are women to be excluded? Refer to Hitler's September 1934 speech and to the Principles and Organizational Guidelines of the National Socialist Women's League.

4. According to Nazi ideology, farmers had an important role within the Volksgemeinschaft. What was this role? Why were the Nazis so interested in traditional farms? What was the purpose of the Erbhofgesetz.

5. Why did the Nazi pay such attention to workers? According to Robert Ley, what did the German Labor Front achieve? What did the Kraft durch Freude program seek to achieve (be specific)? What did it achieve?

The Nazi State and the SS State

Readings: Spielvogel, pp. 103-109, 277-278.

Answer Question 1 and one other question.

1. Read Himmler's 1936 speech and identify the nature and purpose of the SS. What were the specific functions of the following: the Death's Head Units and the Concentration Camps; the Security Service (SD); and the Race and Resettlement Office?

2. What was the Lebensborn program? How does this program fit within the overall ideology of the SS?

3. What was the role of the SS in the government of occupied territories in the East (see Hitler's Secret Conversations). What was the purpose of the Einstazgruppen and what did these units do? What does the testimony of Franz Ziereis reveal about how the SS operated concentration camps like Mauthasen?

This page is maintained by Robert W. Brown; last update: 17 March 2008.

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