The End of World War I leaves Germany in shambles after it came to an end with the Treaty of Versailles. Germany is stuck paying a lot of reparations and they are saddled with territory loss and debt because of this. The economy tanks; hyperinflation ensues; and political parties become extremely polarized.
Hitler offers a solution and promises work. He is virulently anti-Semitic and blames the Jews for legitimately every failure of the German people.
We begin with the day that Hitler ascended to his post as Chancellor of Germany: January 30th, 1933, the result of a contentious election and some maneuvering by the Conservative Party, has resulted in President Von Hindenburg appointing Hitler as Chancellor. The Conservative party had tried to use Hitler’s popularity to buttress their own party, but in the end the Nazi party would extinguish the Conservatives. With the swastika as their emblem, the National Socialist German Workers’ Party (NSDAP) began to oppress free speech immediately.
Less than one month later, on February 28, the Reichstag (German Parliament) was set ablaze overnight. Hitler declared a sort of martial law due to the state of emergency. To this day nobody can for certain say who started the fire: many thought the Nazis did it themselves, but ultimately a communist was blamed and murdered for it. This event is considered by many to be the beginning of the Holocaust because Hitler was able to establish himself as dictator. Three weeks later the Nazis put forth a new act called “Enabling Act,” which gave Hitler power to make laws without the approval of the parliament. Due to the fact that so much of the opposition was arrested already, there weren’t many who opposed the new law and it passed with flying colors. On April 1, 1933 the boycott of Jewish businesses started.
On April 1, 1933 the Nazis started the boycott of Jewish businesses. This was a response to an American boycott of German businesses to protest the maltreatment of Jewish peoples in Germany. On the designated day there were SS guards posted outside Jewish businesses to intimidate the patrons of businesses. While there were a few who shopped anyway, many caved under pressure and chose not to support the Jewish stores.
First law against Jewish Germans is enacted on April 7, 1933. Dubbed “The Law for the Restoration of Professional Civil Service” which excluded Jews and Communists from civil service.
Nazis issue a Decree on April 11, 1933. This decree defines a non-Aryan as “anyone descended from non-Aryan, especially Jewish, parents or grandparents. One parent or grandparent classifies the descendant as non-Aryan…especially if one parent or grandparent was of the Jewish faith.” This marks the beginning of the establishment of systematic discrimination of Jewish people based on race.
On April 25, 1933 Jews are limited in public schools. A small quota is established and many Jews are no longer able to use the public school system – further segregation.
April 26, 1933 we see the establishment of the Gestapo (the secret police,) the name would become synonymous with terror for Jews.
May 10, 1933 the students and the secret police organize a book burning to cleanse Germany of Jewish intellectual influence. This is the first time there has been a book burning since the middle ages.
On September 17, 1933 The Central Organization of German Jews (Reichsvertretung der deutschen Juden) was established. It is headed by a prominent Jewish-German lawyer named Dr. Julius Brodnitz and meant to represent a unified response to the new persecutions facing the Jewish people.
The Night of Long Knives occurs between June 30 – July 2 1934 and effectively purges Ernst Röhm and the SA from the Nazi Party.
August 2, 1934 President Paul von Hindenburg dies. Then, on August 19, 1934, Hitler combines the roles of President and Chancellor into one position that he now holds.
Hitler decides that the Army must triple its size from 100,000 to 300,000 by October 1, 1934. This is a clear breech of the Treaty of Versailles and Hitler ordered that it remain under wraps.
January 13, 1935. Germany re-annexes the Saar.
May 21 , 1935 the Nazi Government issues a decree, which stipulates that only Aryans could serve in the military and that all soldiers must also marry an Aryan partner.
September 15, 1935
The German government institutes the “Reich Citizenship Law” and the “Law for the Protection of the German Blood and Honor.” These laws were announced in Nuremberg and henceforward dubbed “The Nuremberg Race Laws.” They prohibited intermarriages and criminalized sexual relations between Jews and Aryans. The Gypsies (Roma) are also included in these laws as Hitler deems them racially inferior as well.
March 3, 1936. Jewish doctors barred from practicing medicine in German institutions.
March 7, 1936. Germans march into the Rhineland unopposed, despite the fact that they were not allowed to occupy the demilitarized zone according to the Treaty of Versailles.
August 1, 1936. Berlin Olympics start up and Hitler and the Nazis put on a big show for the world to see how great their country is.
September 9, 1936. Four-year plan is set in motion in Germany. The plan is the beginning of the project to rearm the military and transform the economy into something more suited for war.
October 10, 1936. The Association of Jewish War Veterans is forbidden from engaging in any activity apart from dealing with disabled Jewish veterans of the world war.
October 25, 1936. Germany-Italy alliance. Although they were both fascists and ideologically similar, Italy and Germany avoided an alliance for political reasons (mainly Italian fears of German expansion.) Mussolini was not anti-Semitic and Italians are known to have been extremely decent people during the war. Italian anti-Semitic laws were only adopted when Hitler’s power eclipsed Mussolini’s.
November 25, 1936. The anti-Comintern pact was concluded as an agreement between Japan and Germany in an effort to fight communism.
July 15, 1937 Buchenwald Concentration Camp opens in Germany – soon to become one of the largest concentration camps within Germany.
November 8, 1937 Josef Goebbels and Julius Streicher open the antisemitic exhibition Der Ewige Jude (The Eternal Jew) at the library of the German Museum in Munich, Germany.
January 12, 1938 The German War Minister Field Marshal Werner von Blomberg marries Eva Gruhn in Berlin; Hermann Göring is best man at the wedding. He would later resign on January 27, 1938 due to a scandal that erupted upon the revelation that his new wife had posed for pornographic photos.
February 4, 1938 The German cabinet meets for the last time. Hitler sacks political and military leaders considered unsympathetic to his philosophy or policies. General Werner von Fritsch is forced to resign as Commander of Chief of the German Army following accusations of homosexuality, and replaced by General Walther von Brauchitsch. Foreign Minister Baron Konstantin von Neurath is sacked and replaced by Joachim von Ribbentrop.
February 12, 1938 Chancellor Kurt von Schuschnigg of Austria meets Adolf Hitler at Berchtesgaden and, under threat of invasion, is forced to yield to German demands for greater Nazi participation in the Austrian government.
March 12, 1938 Anschluss. German troops march into Austria. Austria becomes part of the German Reich in this bloodless coup.
April 26, 1938. The German government requires all Jews to register assets over 5,000 Reichsmarks. Those assets are later given to Hermann Göring, the “Commissioner for the Four Year Plan,” for use in the interests of the German economy.
May 3, 1938. Flossenburg Concentration Camp is opened in Norther Germany/Bavaria.
May 29, 1938. WIth no incitement from Hitler, the Hungarian government enacted a set of comprehensive anti-Semitic laws that would segregate Jews from civilian life.
July 6-15, 1938. 32 countries are represented at the Evian Conference to discuss the refugee crisis that Germany has created. Almost all of the countries refuse to let in more Jewish refugees.
July 23, 1938. Jews are required to carry identification cards.
August 8, 1938. The S.S. opens up a concentration camp to deal with the influx of people from newly annexed Austria – it is called Mauthausen and was located near Linz, Austria.
August 11, 1938 Nuremberg Synagogue is destroyed.
September 30, 1938 The Munich Pact is signed by French; German; Italian; and English representatives. This treaty essentially gave Hitler all of the Sudentenland (Czechoslovakia) in exchange for peace. This also gave Hitler a majority of the Czech coal supply and left them fairly helpless.
October 15, 1938. Nazi Germany banned Jews from practicing law after November 30 of that year.
November 9, 1938 Kristallnacht The beginning of a 2-day period of looting, arrests, and murders that was inspired in retaliation for the shooting of a German official by a Jew in France.