Chapter 3

NCERT
Class 9
History
Solutions
6. In what ways did the Nazi state seek to establish total control over its people?

Question:

In what ways did the Nazi state seek to establish total control over its people?

Answer:

After acquiring the power, Hitler started to break down the structure of democratic rule. This move of Hitler was further facilitated by a mysterious fire that broke out in the German Parliament in February.

  • The Fire Decree: The Fire Decree of 28 February 1933, suspended civic rights like freedom of speech, press, and assembly that had been guaranteed by the Weimar constitution. These rights were given importance in the Weimar Republic.
  • Elimination of Communists: The communists were the arch-enemies of Hitler. He turned on the communists after the suspension of civil rights. He sent most of them to the newly established concentration camps. The repression of the Communists was severe. In the small city of Duesseldorf with a population of 5 million, out of surviving 6808 arrest files, 1440 were the communists alone. Nazis not only targeted communists but there were also 52 other types of victims persecuted by the Nazis across the country.
  • The Enabling Act: The enabling act was passed on 3rd March, 1933. This Act established a dictatorship in Germany. This act gave Hitler all the power to overshadow all the powers of parliament and rule by decree. Hitler banned all trade unions and political parties except the Nazi party and its affiliates.
  • Special Surveillance and Security Forces: He established control over the media, army, judiciary, and economy, and for special surveillance, he created security forces to control and maintain order in society in ways the Nazis wanted. Apart from the already existing police and the Storm Troopers, these included the Gestapo (secret state police), the SS (the protection squads), criminal police, and the Security Service (SD). People now could be detained in Gestapo torture chambers and sent to concentration camps arrested without any crime. The police forces acquired the power to rule.
  • The art of Propaganda: The Nazi Party used media and language with the utmost care to create a great effect. They used various terms which are not only deceptive but also chilling. They never used the terms ‘kill’ or ‘murder’ in their official communications. They termed ‘mass killing’ as special treatment, final solution (for the Jews), euthanasia (for the disabled), selection, and disinfections. ‘Evacuation’ meant transporting people to gas chambers. The gas chambers were labeled as ‘disinfection areas’ and looked like bathrooms with fake showerheads. These ideas were spread through images, films, posters, radio, slogans, and leaflets. In posters, groups were identified as the Germans’ enemies. They were mocked, abused, and described as evil. They represented socialists and liberals as weak, degenerated, and attacked as nasty foreign agents.

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