world war one had left germany in a state of shock two million fatalities spiraling inflation and unpaid debts to the allied countries caused the nation to feel stripped of its identity and pride they felt that the allies had deceived.
Them had abandoned all notions of honor by treating them as a conquered people hitler was a war hero he won the iron cross first class the first world war turned a nobody into a somebody adolf hitler had survived the conflict and found a political home in the german workers party a right-wing organization with racist and anti-semitic roots.
Hitler like many others had to find some way of explaining it to himself unlike tens of thousands of others he blamed socialist marxist jews people who undermined germany from within climbing the ranks he changed the name to the national socialist german workers party and took control he was fulfilling a pre-figured role.
Which had always existed in german history and culture the man who would deliver germany from her enemies as leader he started plotting the takeover of munich and in turn germany the infamous spearhole push was a resounding failure it was built up into an iconic episode in the history of the movement hitler was arrested put on.
Trial hitler was later imprisoned his intentions however were still for total power and to return the nation to a state of pride hitler knew that he would need a different approach first of all he had to get the army police.
Civil service and business on his side and secondly he had to develop a propaganda apparatus which would win votes if we can't outshoot them without vote them and we'll do it by winning support he would fuse violent acts of terror with slick propaganda which would all fuel this fatal attraction.
in the late 1920s the nazi party found themselves with diminishing support as the german economy became stronger in 1928 germany was in quite reasonable circumstances there had been a recovery from the depression after the war.
Recovery from the inflation with the stabilization of the currency in 1924 the economy appeared to be booming this was largely because there was an enormous influx of american money the germans spent a lot of the loan money on things that were very desirable like concert halls and swimming pools and so on.
But they weren't productive so germany looked as if it was prospering unforeseen events in the world economy would end up having huge ramifications for germany post-war economic recovery under the weimar republic which.
Was genuine enough while it lasted that had collapsed that had gone into free fall as i had a direct result of the wall street crash in new york october 29 1929 black tuesday the new york stock exchange is in a panic frantic investors have scrambled to unload their stocks at any price everyone wants to sell no one.
Wants to buy suddenly even the most guilt-edged securities are practically valueless the stock market crash has come and the great depression has begun they just pulled the rug out from germany they just withdrew their investments american banks withdrew the loans on which a german recovery after the hyperinflation of 2023 had depended.
German banks collapsed they withdrew their money from businesses businesses collapsed so many of the loans particularly had been made on a 14-day basis they could just withdraw them so the german economy contracted very suddenly very quickly every european country was affected germany was disastrously affected.
There was a saying of the time new york sneezed london caught cold and germany nearly died of influenza it really was first and foremost a crisis of industrial society and the major unemployment was in industry particularly the building trade by 1932.
There was 35 to 40 unemployment in germany that is how catastrophic the depression was when you throw manual workers out of jobs of course the people who are the clerks in these occupations suffer as well.
The continuity of the great depression was absolutely critical and once you got the worker in the door queue you had him as a potential nazi a potential storm trooper the people of germany were down and out and the now called national socialist party had found a cause to champion that would increase their visibility and.
Popularity in that atmosphere of crisis when governments were only able to rule by decree because the parties couldn't get together and get behind a policy to deal with this massive economic collapse in that situation people voters.
Thought this is the last straw we've had hyperinflation we've had international humiliation we've got political chaos the nazis seem to be the one party that's led by youthful determined energetic individuals they promoted the party actually in 1930 particularly.
As the hitter movement the hitler between this of course was after hitler had had the ban on his public speaking lifted and so he had been going around speaking a great deal it's very difficult to find anything to which the party was willing to commit itself they were very very vague on what they intended to do they seem to have to.
Offer something to every constituency in germany of a worker the manager their middle class women what he was saying in one place wasn't necessarily compatible with what he was saying elsewhere in in terms of say economic detail we're going to make germany great.
Again we're going to recover we're going to have work for everybody we'll put germany back on the international scene we're going to rescue the german family we'll give german women a much better life.
These are all cliches and when you probe they really don't have any particular policies that they can actually present in a rational way to the general public much of it rest is simply on that germany will be rescued germany will become a great part and hit the leader person to achieve it electoral success would come to the.
Nazis at the beginning of the 1930s and their popularity continued to rise as the population grew more disillusioned with the established government i think that the electoral success of hitler's party in 1932 didn't necessarily reflect the strengths of the party itself or its ideological.
Appeal it really reflected the extraordinary crisis that germany had gone through as a result of the wall street crash and i think what a lot of german people did was they just looked around for some kind of messiah and that's how hitler was being sold to the public their appeal was many sided and of.
Course their vision was of what they called a fox mine shaft a folk community in which the party could represent all social classes and groups hitler stands for election as president in april 1932.
Against hindenburg who had been president since 1925 and he loses but he comes second he comes a pretty creditable second and given him a much higher profile than he'd previously had the propaganda continues and in the uh.
Election of july 1932 the nazi party gets 37 percent of the vote and is the largest single party in the reichstag with 230 seats more than doubling its 1930 total that's a tremendous success but hitler is not offered the chancellorship actually it was his.
Democratic right to be offered the chancellorship but he's not he's offered the vice chancellorship and he turns it down a large proportion of the middle class voted for the national socialist party in the july elections of 1932 as a protest to the hindenburg government by november they had retracted their.
Support there is another election in november and the nazi vote declines to 33 percent so i think 196 seats in in in the reichstag but uh it's a matter of considerable disappointment to a lot of followers so what they do they seem to be uh on the verge of that.
Death cough their death rattle there is now not such a pressing need to offer hitler the chancellorship the local election votes and so on at the time are showing a decline in the nazi vote i mean they might just have fizzled out there is then a minor election in the state of lippy and what the nazis do is flood it with their marketing resource.
They throw everything at this miniature state of lippy and they win and it's at that point that hindenburg finally invites hitler to be part of a coalition government the small country of conservative politicians decided they could manipulate hitler offered him the chancellorship.
And that was the start adolf hitler leader of the german national movement is made chancellor of germany and berlin goes wild in celebration of his victory having secured the role as reich chancellor it took one more twist of fate in favour of the national socialists to see the future of germany.
Take a deadly turn and hand hitler complete control the wall street crash had sent germany into economic crisis the nation was subjected to a second wave of spiraling inflation and soaring unemployment however it gave the national socialist party the means to win a large proportion of the vote in a relatively.
Short space of time in january 1933 hitler was appointed reich chancellor his plan of total power was almost tangible four weeks later on february 27 1933 at 9 25 pm an alarm call was taken in a berlin fire station fire had broken out in the reichstag.
Building the home of the german parliament by 11 30 pm the fire was extinguished but had left the building a gutted shell on searching the smouldering ruin a young dutch communist marinus vandalubo was found he was arrested for starting the fire according to police he acted out of rebellion a call for the german.
Workers to rise up against the oppression of fascism the nazis saw the communist party as a huge threat to national socialism and also knew that a large proportion of the german population was suspicious of the far left stalin having come to power late 1920s you have the first five-year plan.
In 1928 you have collectivization starting in 1929 word gets back about what it means and the last thing german peasants want is collectivization a lot of german peasants a lot of small holders they don't want collectivization neither do the big land owners the fire allowed hitler to pass two sets.
Of legislation the first of which was the reichstag fire decree this was drawn up the day after the incident and signed by president hindenburg the decree allowed the enforced imprisonment of anyone opposed to the nazi regime and action to be taken against any publication deemed critical of the cause the decree led to the enabling act.
Passed in parliament on march 23 1933 it gave the nazi party power to enforce laws without the intervention of the reichstag passing of the enabling act essentially handed power to hitler and the national socialist party they immediately let it be known throughout germany.
Fritz lustig a jewish immigrant who now resides in north london was living in berlin in 1933. i was born in 1919 i had a very happy childhood i was the youngest of four siblings and i had a very happy time at school although i experienced the.
Nazis coming to power we were rehearsing for a play at school and suddenly we heard martial music sounding and we looked out of the window and there was a nazi demonstration passing with lit torches and a band at the at the head of the procession we read in the papers the next day that.
There had been similar positions all over berlin and we just had been happening to watch the one which took place in that particular part of town the national election of march 1933 saw the national socialist party take 43 percent of the vote but they still failed to win a majority.
Unbeknownst to the german population this would be the last democratic election until world war ii so people still thought in march april 1933 that the democratic system was not dead but it was we look at it backwards we can see what happened people even say.
Why did all these people vote for a party that unleashed war and genocide well they didn't know that's what they were going to do the nazis had taken germany by lawful means hitler's plan had worked and although his party had still not managed.
To gain a majority they had total power they believed there was still an enemy who may stand in the way of this domination that would come from within the party itself the termination of this enemy would culminate on july 2nd 1934 the incident known as the night of the long nights would see the murder of ernst's room.
The head of the stamaptylum hitler and the party leadership had arrived at the point where they felt they had to take on the sa the sturm up thailand various senior paradigms of the reich feared the power of rome they coveted it for themselves specifically himmler and so they began to tell hitler that rome.
Was plotting against him which was not in fact true the army hated them because their rival source of power i think from hitler's point of view the real problem was that he he was worried that rome really would develop a popular following more popular perhaps in the end than the following for hitler there was a real distrust about rome's motives.
And romans political ambitions meteorom is very definitely number two to hitler and therefore is some sort of potential rival to his power and they had a ready-made weapon and that was the ss the shoots stuffle the ss were originally a small battalion of the much larger sa but in 1929.
Heinrich himmler was appointed leader and taking inspiration from rome began to rapidly expand the unit initially they were hitler's bodyguard but by 1933 after the seizure of power it became the internal security of the nazi regime by 1934 they were growing into a real and formidable private army equipped.
Famously with their black uniforms black helmets with their own weaponry and they did much of the business when hitler decided it was time to move against the sa using falsified evidence himmler had assembled a file which cited that rome had been paid 12 million deutsche marks.
By france to overthrow hitler in addition to this rome's homosexuality was used as a way of discrediting him he and others in the essay leadership were accused of acts of drunkenness and debauchery this was used as a way of excusing the action which hitler was about to take so it's an easy matter to set them up.
With allegations of internal corruption particularly of homosexuality and it was a chance to settle a lot of old scores on the morning of june 30th hitler with a large number of ss marched into the hotel in bardvisay where rome and many leaders of the sa were staying they were arrested at gunpoint and later executed it was a brutal business when the move.
Was made the sa were taken totally by surprise and much of their leadership was was wiped out with the brutal execution of rome and other potential opponents hitler sent a clear message to all that opposition would not be tolerated the jewish population and those on the left were already living with constant persecution.
Yet the nazi party's popularity amongst the german nation grew the threat of violence intelligent propaganda and the complete monopoly of all institutions in germany gave people no choice but to support the national socialist party had not won a majority in any of the elections of the early 1930s.
However the passing of the enabling act saw hitler gain complete control of germany in turn the night of the long night had killed off any potential political threat he may have had the german nation found themselves living under a dictatorship jews communists social democrats were.
All targeted as enemies of the state persecution imprisonment and systematic execution were all threats to these members of society working closely with hitler it was joseph goebbels who saw to it that the veneer of the nazi party would appeal to the masses this campaign intensified once power had.
Been consolidated but its roots were set long before the self-image that they wanted to create was of a movement of youth the existing politicians were all in their 50s and 60s the nazis were in their 20s and 30s the embodiment of all the energies of a new germany a new.
Uncorrupted generation the one party that's led by youthful determined energetic individuals the hitler young ant or hitler youth were the personification of the nazi image and gave the national socialists a vibrant youthful image.
because hitler believes that too much education is dangerous the young nazi gets his only schooling after working hours a daily lecture on germany's need for expansion and the triumph he will share when german armies march into the rich wheat fields of the russian ukraine.
The hitler youth eventually became almost compulsory the nazis market them very very heavily in other words what we'd imagine them to be as a rigidly hierarchical organization with cruel discipline and bullying and so forth is not actually how they're self-presented they're actually self-presented as a kind of adventure.
Holiday at 18 every young man must serve six months in the arbeitz teams there was one boy in my form whom i quite liked who was in the hitler youth i was very keen on associating with him i think he was less keen to associate with me the man who was first given charge of it.
Baldur fonshira was an able organizer good at recruiting but the real take-off was only after the nazis took power within 18 months they were able to claim three and a half million members and that doesn't count of course the women's and girls organizations that were set up in parallel too.
The girls organization was called bund deutsche medal the league of german girls a lot of young people who gravitated to the hitler movement actually then influenced their parents not the other way around it wasn't just youth groups that were monopolized by the nazi party all organizations were in turn.
The nazis forced every single voluntary society organization in germany to join the nazi party become part of the nazi apparatus that meant all orchestras opera houses singing clubs amateur dramatic societies all of that they had to become part of the reich chamber of culture which is under the propaganda ministry and of.
Course if you wanted to practice art and exhibit your work you had to be admitted to the chamber of culture and if you're jewish you wouldn't be admitted if you're a modern artist you wouldn't be admitted so this is a way of imposing control all aspects of life were effectively.
Taken over by the national socialists these changes were witnessed by the school child fritz lustig we had a new headmaster our current headmaster was not jewish but he was a social democrat and therefore his politics were not acceptable to the.
Nazis and a new headmaster was appointed he introduced several new measures one of them was that the weekly monday morning assembly was completely transformed after everybody had sat down one of the boys who was stationed at the entrance door shouted achton attention.
And then the headmaster walked in along the central aisle all through the hall with his arm outstretched in the hitler salute turned smartly around when he reached the podium shouted tile hitler and the whole school had to answer with the same.
I suppose i must have outstretched my hand in the hitter salute because not to do that would have drawn attention to me i didn't want to draw attention to myself by raising the question of whether i was excluded today the nazi propaganda machine is seeking to make adolf hitler the only god of the german people.
How to destroy every established religion as the party took control of all areas of society and permeated into the lives of every german citizen the need for greater more effective propaganda became paramount there was uh nothing which wasn't propaganda of one sort or another every.
Surface was interrogated for its propaganda potential the press was censored and nazi newspapers really had the lion's share of circulation the folk semfinger the people's radio was an affordable device manufactured on the orders of joseph goebbels.
More people owning radios meant a larger audience for propaganda the propaganda to confuse to make them lose faith to divide and conquer to lull the fears of the little neutrals propaganda minister goebbels told them germany didn't want a war at all it was britain and france that caused.
All the trouble radio was taken over and there was a right broadcasting company and radio of course was dominated completely by state output 70 percent of german homes owned a radio by 1939. there were loudspeakers installed on.
Lamp posts and trees and when any of these features took place of course you were expected to stand still and listen to them film production was taken over by the nazis as well jose goebbels was very much aware of the fact that people would get bored very quickly if they were.
Subjected to constant barrage of propaganda about how wonderful the nazis were he was rather upset when hitler commissioned a propaganda film at the nuremberg party rally of 1934 from the young actress leni riefenstahl triumph of the will was a film directed.
By lenny riefenstahl which documents the 1934 nuremberg rally its main themes are unity and returning power to germany it was no mistake that nazi symbolism and imagery are prominent throughout the film hitler understood the power of the nazi brand you actually have a core brand symbol system you have obviously the swastika.
You have the stylized eagle uh you have the other things like the oak leaves the acorns then of course the uniforms i once counted up the number of uniforms in nazi germany are about 150. these uniforms are highly symbolic for example the ss uniforms were vaguely modeled on the death's head hazards.
Of german history which was a black uniform with the scarlet crossbones and the stark silver this was a way of boosting morale of boosting identity of of priming solidarity the brown shirts were the first organization uh to be costumed by hugo boss and it's just impossible to imagine in fact almost any other.
Historical leader in history going to a catwalk showing of new clothes for researchers only hitler and for reasons unique to him and unique to the third reich the national socialists found success in running both well-planned propaganda and brutal acts of violence simultaneously however it was the olympic games of 1936.
Which would see a halt to the terror and the suppression of anti-semitism hitler understood the power of the games and exploited them in order to show europe and the rest of the world a false image of a peaceful tolerant germany captain eric brown was a spectator at the games along with his father it was clear that the nazi propaganda.
Machine was sending out the message it desired but it was a black american athlete who stole the show i was 17 when we went to the olympics it was a wonderful occasion of course to me the highlight of that time was to.
See this wonderful athlete jesse owens 200 meters 100 meters relay and the long jump quite incredible he was poetry and mercy the lanky star from ohio state shatters.
All existing records as he takes the gold medal in the men's broad jump with a sensational leap of 26 feet 5 and 5 16 owns in particular was staggered by his reception in germany as he got off the boat wherever he went the crowds chanted ovens owens all over the place and for a brief time an.
American black man was more popular in nazi germany than adolf hitler himself the olympics had placed hitler in a favorable light throughout the world however once the games were over the nazis would renew their persecution the jewish population would soon face a greater terror than they had ever previously suffered.
the 1936 olympics allowed hitler to project to the world a vision of a tolerant progressive nation his popularity within germany was also rising those parts of the nation who were not seen as a threat were being shown that the nazi party would deliver on the promises they made.
But as with all aspects of the regime there was a more sinister subplot the thing that had led people to vote had been the unemployment problem of the early 1930s and the promise that the nazis would solve that well they did with a vengeance.
If anybody was unemployed or they were rounded up and made for example to chop wood which was given to the elderly or the very poor certainly by 1938 there were 400 000 unemployed in germany i mean it is nothing but there were.
Always offers to tempt them to join the nazi party you join the ranks be paid be uniformed seemed quite attractive although it seemed that the whole nation was behind them the main anti-semitic.
Message of the jewish conspiracy was still being played out by the department of propaganda the idea of a jewish world conspiracy was not one that was present in more than a very tiny fragment of the german population they were successful in business up to a point they controlled.
Some of the big departmental stores in germany but in no sense were they in control of the life of the weimar state in every village in every town and city are stormtroopers from whose headquarters the local party leader directs his district's campaign of terror.
Marks victims for persecution hitler is keen on keeping the suppression of jews at the forefront of nazi policy as germany and the german nation were historically not known for their anti-semitism it had been the place that many jews had gone to from countries that genuinely.
Were anti-semitic a strong anti-semitic tradition in in austria strong anti-semitism and romanian surveyed anti-semitism was always kept under wraps but it was certainly there and of course polish anti-semitism where a very large proportion of europa students lived.
A young eric brown teaching in germany could see from an objective point of view the effect of the nazis anti-semitic policies i was very aware of the fact that the nazi regime was building up into a very very glamorous political body.
And a very ruthless political body too the nazis began to unroll and their own brand of anti-semitism radical anti-semitism there was an evil aspect if you like to put it that way to the nazi regime on november 7th 1938 ernst von rust a german diplomat in paris was shot by herschel grinspan.
A young german jewish man his motive was a direct response to nazi anti-semitism days later von wrath was pronounced dead orders were given to the sa and ss to take to the streets and destroy all jewish-owned property and businesses and arrest all jewish men the following two nights were an.
Orchestrated and systematic series of attacks on jews throughout germany it would become known as crystalnact 91 jews died and 300 000 were arrested and sent to concentration camps on november 9th after a chamber music performance in which he was playing cello fritz lustig returned home when i reached home i saw that there was.
A great crowd in front of the entrance to the uh building where our flat was situated the window had been smashed and the people outside the shop was having themselves freely to any our home alcoholic drinks that were there i went up to our flat unmolested was told by my parents that this crowd had been there for some time.
And they hadn't said in fact set fire to the shop fritz and his father found hideouts at two different houses in the suburbs of berlin neither faced arrest but the events of kristallnacht were immediately felt there were too many jewish men in berlin to arrest them all because in the.
Provinces we knew that there had been no exemptions i went to my office the next morning it was a jewish jewish-owned firm and when i arrived i was told that both our boss and his two sons had been arrested and put into conversation camps when i went to the bank the cashier.
Asked me whether it was true as he had heard that my boss had been arrested and i suggested it was true and he shook his head and said and i always thought he was an honest man i think the german population obviously knew it because it was there happening in front of their eyes but to them.
The stakes were so high in getting their pride back i think about 80 percent of them were prepared to put up with anything if they could become what it wants to be a proud nation once again hitler commanded his popularity amongst the german nation through a series of.
Non-violent territory gains in the latter half of the 1930s most germans are terribly anxious they do not want another war they're afraid that their cities will be bombed they don't want to go through another first world war so there's huge relief when the various crises of the uh re-militarization of the rhineland in.
1936 when the angelus of austria 1938 the czechoslovak crisis they're all sold basically without without bloodshed that gains hitler a reputation in popularity in germany but not because he's being militaristic his idea is to re-fight this first world war but on a better basis so his aim very early on is.
To conquer eastern europe use it as a kind of breadbasket it's a source of supplies because one of the reasons why germany lost in 1914 to 18 is because germany did not have enough supplies more than half a million germans died from starvation on malnutrition in the.
First world war so he wants to right that wrong although hitler was re-militarizing at an unprecedented rate the german nation nor the rest of the world could see war on the horizon we did not know how close war was going to be we did know that the nazis had started.
Re-arming very soon after they came to power all the other great powers realized that germany was rearming in the 1930s it was secret of course until 35 and declared openly they had good intelligence on what was going on but on the other hand i think a great many politicians abroad i thought it was a bad idea to disarm.
Germany anyway a modest friend might satisfy german ambitions they would allow germany back into the family of nations again everybody who was anti-nazi thought that the allies would take steps to prevent further rearmaments but they never did the only reason i can think of.
Why they didn't do it because there was a great anti-war feeling in all those countries none of the populations in britain france or poland wanted the war to happen i knew there'd be trouble but not i certainly didn't think all that more after the events of kristallnacht.
Thousands of jews had been forced to emigrate and those that hadn't realized it was time to leave after the events of november 1938 it became obvious to everybody including my parents that to stay in germany might be termed suicide because one could no longer be.
Sure that was one's life was not in danger fritz lustig's parents managed to find refuge in portugal where his eldest sister lived as war became inevitable eric brown had no choice in leaving i was asleep on sunday morning at the 3rd of september.
When there was a thunderous knock at the door when i opened it there were two ss officers said our countries are at war which was technically incorrect at six o'clock in the morning because it wasn't until eleven o'clock we were at war but they didn't think that was a very strong.
Point to argue and um the ss chaps said uh you'll have to come with us so get dressed and um get ready eric brown was detained for three days and then dropped at the swiss border from here he made his way back to britain where he immediately signed up.
To the war effort having stayed in england in 1936 fritz lustig found refuge with the quaker family with whom he had lodged when i emigrated that was on a transatlantic stream up which was going from hamburg via sherborough and france and southampton in england we interlanded and shared and this was.
The first time i was able to walk about without being aware of having to look over my shoulder to see whether anybody was listening to what i said in other words to feel free that that was a marvelous feeling which i remember to this day.
in just 10 years hitler and the nazis had moved from a marginal fascist party with a small following into a military dictatorship ready to wage full-scale war the promise of rebuilding germany and reinstating pride to the nation fueled hitler's popularity despite acts.
Of savage violence that left thousands dead and a great deal more seeking refuge in other countries when the curtain was raised on the theater of combat germany rallied behind their fuhrer the victory over poland was certainly welcomed because it it righted the wrong as.
People saw it of the territorial settlement at the end of the first world war i think most germans would have been very happy to leave it at that the high point of hitler's popularity was undoubtedly in the summer of 1914. after the very rapid conquest with relatively little bloodshed the victories of 1939 1940 created what.
Proved to be a short-lived period of absolute mass euphoria in germany one victory after another all of this is ecstasy because the prophet is what he says he is he is real he is an earthly god by this stage and of course the trouble is he begins to believe his own mythology.
The beginning of the second world war would see the decline of nazi support it would take a costly and bloody war to end this horrific regime you