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The number one magazine for GCSE history

Volume 22 Number 2 January 2012

Were Stalin’s policies bad economics?

An explosion of

entertainment The USA in the 1920s

How to answer questions on the Iraq War

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Information Volume 22 Number 2

Editoral team: Paul Short and Dan Silverman


January 2012

The USA and the Jazz Age

How did the 1920s change US society? Hugh Jebson, Berkeley School, Tampa, Florida


Improve your grade A question on the Iraq War — and how to tackle depth study comparison questions. Nikki Christie


Stalin’s economic policies

How far were Stalin’s economic policies motivated by economic considerations? Rob Salem, Caterham School, Surrey

Student conferences…


…and intensive revision weekends. See


How the internet can help with your study of changes in British society between 1939 and the mid-1970s.

David McGill, Abingdon School, Oxfordshire How to subscribe For details of prices and ordering go to or contact Turpin Distribution, Pegasus Drive, Stratton Business Park, Bedfordshire SG18 8TQ. tel: 01767 604974 fax: 01767 601640 e-mail:


Was Britain’s failure to stop Hitler the result of a fatal misjudgement? David McGill, Abingdon School, Oxfordshire


For editorial enquiries e-mail Published by Philip Allan, an imprint of Hodder Education, an Hachette UK company, Market Place, Deddington, Oxfordshire OX15 0SE

Why did Britain fail to stop Hitler?

Haig vs Lloyd George

Who really won the Great War?

Mark Rathbone, Canford School, Wimborne, Dorset


Control in Nazi Germany

To what extent did the Nazis control Germany using terror between 1933 and 1939?

All website addresses in the magazine are correct at the time of going to press.

Matthew Hawkins, Blundell’s School, Tiverton, Devon



Publishing Editor: Cathy Harrison Artwork: White-Thomson Publishing Illustrations are reproduced with permission from Janine Wiedel Photolibrary and Photos 12 / Alamy, Fotolia, Getty Images, Illustrated London News, Peter Newark’s Pictures and American Pictures, and TopFoto. The front cover shows Charlie Chaplin as ‘The Little Tramp’ (Mary Evans / Classic Stock / American Stock Photography). Printed by Ian Allan Printing Ltd, Hersham. The paper on which H INDSIGHT is printed is sourced from managed, sustainable forests.

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Britain and the EEC

Why did Britain’s troubled relationship with the EEC have such a profound effect on British politics, 1957–97? Scott Reeves


File on…

A. Philip Randolph, 1889–1979

Mark Rathbone, Canford School, Wimborne, Dorset



2012 is the sixtieth anniversary of the death of George VI.

David McGill, Abingdon School, Oxfordshire

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Matthew Hawkins

Control in Nazi Germany Source A Hitler saluting Nazi Youth at a Nazi Party rally, 1934


ithin 18 months of assuming office, Adolf Hitler had become the leader of Nazi Germany. His tyrannical reign included the most devastating war the world has ever known, as well as the industrialised murder of over 6 million Jews. How could one man enforce his ideology across the land? How could he crush all opposition within the first few years of his time in power? How did the Nazis control Germany?

Background Following the humiliating Treaty of Versailles which held Germany responsible for the First World War, the 1920s were characterised by an initial period of political instability and bitter infighting before the Weimar Republic was eventually able to enjoy economic recovery and growth. However, the Wall Street Crash in October 1929 led to the Great Depression, devastating the German economy, reviving old suspicions and fears of the new democratic state. Adolf Hitler, the leader of the radical right-wing National Socialist German Workers Party (NSDAP, or Nazi Party), was a charismatic politician who


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promised not only employment, but also a return to the glory days before the Allies had forced democracy on Germany. Despite failing to secure a majority in the 1932 election, President Hindenburg appointed Hitler chancellor as the Nazis were the single largest party in the Reichstag. Hitler had a very simple message: ■■ the Weimar Republic, and thus democracy, had left 6 million Germans unemployed ■■ a return to a strong central government with a dynamic, decisive leader was needed

Legal measures On becoming chancellor, Hitler immediately took steps to strengthen his position and to establish Nazi control over Germany. Rather than using force, legal steps were taken. In a calculated move, Hitler ensured that the Reichstag passed the Enabling Act in March 1933 following the Reichstag fire (for which the Communists were blamed) of the previous month. This granted the chancellor emergency powers without consulting the Reichstag, effectively ending parliamentary democracy in Germany. Hindsight

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Two further acts were passed within the first 6 months of Hitler’s time as chancellor which helped secure the Nazi party’s grip on Germany: ■■ In May, trade unions were banned and all German workers were obliged to join the German Labour Front (DAF). ■■ In July, Germany became a one-party state as other political parties were banned. It had not taken long for Nazism to control the key mechanisms by which opposition could voice its disapproval.

Propaganda While much attention has been devoted to the Nazis’ use of fear and terror to control the population, the role of propaganda cannot be ignored — masterminded by the minister for the department of propaganda and enlightenment, Joseph Goebbels. Hitler wanted the German population to conform to his vision of the future.

Source B Melita Maschmann recalling a Nazi parade in 1933:

The horror it inspired in me was almost imperceptibly spiced with an intoxicating joy. ‘We want to die for the flag’, the torch-bearers had sung. I was overcome with a burning desire to belong to these people for whom it was a matter of life and death…I wanted to escape from my childish, narrow life and I wanted to attach myself to something that was great and fundamental. From The Coming of the Third Reich by Richard J. Evans

Posters of the chancellor appeared on every street corner, while mass rallies projected images of Nazi organisation and power to impress the gathered spectators. Yet perhaps most crucial to spreading the Nazi message was their use of the radio. Partly because they were cheap, radios were used effectively to enable the Nazis to reach a much larger audience. With the Nazi message dominating the airwaves, the printed press (there was no free press; only Nazi newspapers were permitted) and the education system, it was difficult for anyone in Germany to escape the Nazi attempts to brainwash the populace.

Use of terror However, while propaganda undoubtedly played a significant role in establishing a Nazi dictatorship, no study of the Third Reich is complete without consideration of its use of terror. The fact that the SA was involved in street fighting against the Communists, among others, during the late 1920s and early 1930s was a warning that worse was to come once the Nazis had seized power. And while it did not take long for the Nazis to stamp their authority on Germany, it was not due to the efforts of the SA.

The SS, Himmler and the first concentration camps As soon as Hitler took office, the SS — Hitler’s elite and devoutly loyal bodyguards — was authorised to fulfil the functions of an auxiliary police force. Using the Emergency Power Decree of February 1933, the SS was permitted to take suspects into ‘protective custody’. The following month, on 20 March, Heinrich Himmler, the head of the SS, announced that a ‘concentration camp for political prisoners’ would be opened at Dachau, just outside Munich. The initial objective was to intern political opponents, although as time passed the remit was

1 Study Source B. What does Maschmann’s account tell you about the effectiveness of Nazi propaganda?

2 Study Source C. What symbols are used to appeal to the German people?

Source D Dachau Commandant Theodor Eicke’s Regulations for Discipline and Punishment, issued 1 October 1933:

Tolerance means weakness. In the light of this conception, punishment will be mercilessly handed out whenever the interests of the fatherland warrant it. The fellow countryman who is decent but misled will never be affected by these regulations. But let it be a warning both to the inciting politicians and to intellectual agitators, no matter which: watch out that you are not caught, for otherwise it will be your neck and you will be dealt with according to your own methods.

Source C Nazi propaganda poster with the caption ‘Long live Germany!’ January 2012

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Edited extract from Nazism 1919–1945: A Documentary Reader edited by J. Noakes and G. Pridham, 1994


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extended to include anyone deemed either an opponent of or a threat to the regime; most notably, of course, Jews. By the end of 1933, 130,000 members of the Communist Party alone had been arrested and imprisoned (an additional 2,500 had been murdered). By the end of 1933, 50 concentration camps had been created across Germany. For Himmler, the concentration camp was not simply a detention centre in which political opponents were to be imprisoned: he believed that the camps would, by their very existence, terrorise the people and deter them from even contemplating any resistance to Nazi rule.

Source E Heinrich Himmler, head of the SS

3 Study Source F. What message is Hitler sending, and to whom?

Source F Extract from Hitler’s address to the Reichstag, 13 July, 1934:

Everyone will know in future that if he lifts his hand against the state certain death is his fate, and every National Socialist will know that no rank and no position allows him to escape punishment…If anyone reproaches me and asks why I did not resort to the regular courts of justice for conviction of the offenders, then all I can say to him is this: in this hour I was responsible for the fate of the German people, and thereby became the Supreme Judge of the German people… From Weimar and Nazi Germany by John Hite and Chris Hinton

Eicke and the expansion of the concentration camp network Following the purge of the SA in June 1934 (The Night of the Long Knives), responsibility for the camps was passed to the SS. Guard duty was handed over to the Death’s Head unit, made up of the fiercest Nazis. The commander of the Death’s Head and first commandant of Dachau, Theodor Eicke, was put in charge of the concentration camp system. In addition to Dachau, some of the more infamous camps included Buchenwald, near Weimar, Sachsenhausen, near Berlin, and Ravensbrück in Mecklenburg (a camp exclusively for women). The network of concentration camps that began in 1933 expanded rapidly during the next 6 years, although ultimately Eicke centralised the facilities to the extent that only Dachau, Sachsenhausen, Buchenwald and Ravensbrück remained as concentration camps. Dachau was the prototype: the daily routine, the methods of punishment and the duties of the SS guard were applied to all the concentration camps. Answerable only to the SS, no other judicial or administrative authorities were able to review the camp system. Prisoners had no right of appeal, while the camp guards merely obeyed the orders of their commandant. Yet the ‘official’ line was, of course, that the camps were there to keep the public at large safe from dangerous elements in society: initially these were identified as Communists and Jews, and later came to include all those who dared challenge the Nazi regime, including homosexuals, Jehovah’s Baltic Sea

North Sea DANZIG


Neuengamme Ravensbrück Sachsenhausen NETHERLANDS GERMANY POLAND BELGIUM

Buchenwald N

LUXEMBOURG Flossenbürg



Source G Nazi concentration camps, 1939


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Source H Sachsenhausen concentration camp survivor, Edward Alder:

One particular incident I recall like it was yesterday. An old gentleman with the name of Solomon, I’ll never forget. He must have been well in his seventies, he simply couldn’t run. He couldn’t run, he had to walk. He couldn’t run and he collapsed, and he laid in the road, and one of the Storm Troopers, a tall, young fellow, very slender, very tall, stepped on his throat. This is true. Unbelievable, but true, ‘til the man was dead. We had to pick up his body and throw him to the side of the road, and we continued on into the camp, where we was [sic] assembled in a courtyard, and a strange incident happened at that time. We faced a barrack, a door on the right, a door on the left. People went in the left door, came out the right door, entirely different people. Their hair was shaven off, they had a prisoner’s uniform on, a very wide, striped uniform. My number was 6199. From the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum website,

Witnesses, so-called ‘asocials’ and habitual criminals. Camps were also portrayed as centres of re-education: even the sinister banner over the gates at Dachau, Arbeit Macht Frei (Work brings freedom) was designed to suggest that if prisoners obeyed the rules, they would eventually be released. Yet nothing could have been further from the truth. Brutality and harsh treatment was the norm. The camp commandant and the SS Death’s-Head Battalion personnel were responsible for constant ‘unofficial’ cruelty that often led to ‘unofficial’ killings. These deaths each had to be reported to the Security Police. They were often written up as ‘suicides’, ‘accidental deaths’, and ‘justified killings’ of prisoners who were ‘trying to escape’, ‘assaulting a guard’, ‘sabotaging production’, or ‘inciting prisoners to revolt’.

Effect of the concentration camps The effect of these concentration camps was significant: ■■ between 1933 and 1939, approximately 225,000 Germans were convicted and imprisoned for political crimes

Source I Historian Jacques Delarue:

Never before, in no other land and at no other time, had an organisation attained such a comprehensive penetration (of society), possessed such power and reached such a degree of ‘completeness’ in its ability to arouse terror and horror, as well as in its actual effectiveness. Quoted in Germany: The Third Reich 1933–45 by Geoff Layton, 2005

January 2012

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by 1939, an additional 162,000 were in ‘protective custody’ without trial A clear message was sent to the German people: oppose the Nazi regime at your peril. Any hint of dissent could result in arrest and imprisonment, possibly in one of the concentration camps. Detention might only last for a year, but the belief was that concentration camps would ‘shock’ opponents into conforming. Opposition did occur, but it was not sustained, and was often brutally suppressed. As a consequence, fear throughout Nazi Germany was pervasive.


The Gestapo and the German people Yet historians have been quick to point out that the Nazi grip on society was not as tight as once believed. The state secret police, the Gestapo (another organisation that came under the jurisdiction of the SS), for example, only had a total of 30,000 officers at its peak. Although the popular image is of sleek black leather jacket wearing Gestapo officers able to snatch dissenters and opponents off the street seemingly at will, there is enough evidence to suggest that the Gestapo was not as powerful as has been believed. Indeed, there is a view that the Gestapo — and the SS and, therefore the Nazi state — would not have had such control of the population without the tacit cooperation of the German people. Richard Grunberger, for example, argues that ‘indifference to the [concentration] camps was not solely due to the public’s fear and partial ignorance’. There were many instances where citizens would voluntarily denounce others for a variety of reasons, thereby further strengthening the security apparatus that Himmler had established. Terror alone could not — and cannot — explain how Hitler and the Nazis were able to control German society during the 1930s.

Conclusion Much has been written about how Hitler was able to come to power and then establish and secure the Nazi dictatorship, and it is difficult to escape the conclusion that the use of terror played a pivotal role in this. While it is important to acknowledge that the public were not totally silenced by the climate of fear that developed (a vibrant economy helped quell some potential dissent), there is no denying that the SS in particular maintained a firm grip on German society. The use of concentration camps, originally conceived as a means by which political opponents — and later other ‘undesirables’ — were contained, was an effective way to ensure that there were no substantial challenges to Nazi dominance. HS

4 Research the role of the Gestapo and the SS in Nazi Germany. How far do you agree with Delarue’s claim (Source I)? 5 To what extent was the use of terror the most important reason that enabled the Nazis to control Germany between 1933 and 1939?


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6 February 1952 Sixtieth anniversary

The death of George VI The recent success of the Hollywood film, The King’s Speech (2010), has drawn attention to one of Britain’s most successful monarchs. Having taken over the throne following the abdication of his elder brother (Edward VIII), Albert struggled with a stammer and shyness when he became king under the title of George VI. However, he was an effective and popular monarch throughout the Second World War and helped to manage Britain’s difficult withdrawal from its imperial commitments afterwards. He died in 1952 and is interred in the George VI Memorial Chapel in Windsor castle.

Source C

Source A Extract from an article in a British newspaper:

As the news of the King’s death spread, all cinemas and theatres closed, and BBC programmes were cancelled except for news bulletins. Flags in every town were at half-mast, and sports fixtures were cancelled. A crowd began to gather outside Buckingham Palace during the afternoon, as diplomats from around the world arrived in official cars to write their condolences in the visitors’ book.


From The Times, 6 February 1952

Source B President Truman in a formal statement from the White House:

He shared to the end of his reign all the hardships and austerities which evil days imposed on the brave British people. In return, he received from the people of the whole Commonwealth a love and devotion which went beyond the usual relationship of a King and his subjects.

Source C A poster for the film The King’s Speech


Study Source A. What can you infer from the source about the popularity of George VI? ■■ Study Source B. How useful is this source to a historian studying George VI? ■■ Study Source C. How accurate an interpretation of George VI do you think the film presents? ■■

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