NCERT Solutions for Social Science
Chapter 3 – Nazism and the Rise of Hitler
Activity 1. Read Sources A and B
“For this earth is not allotted to anyone nor is it presented to anyone as a gift. It is awarded by providence to people who in their hearts have the courage to conquer it, the strength to preserve it, and the industry to put it to the plough… The primary right of this world the right to life, so far as one possesses the strength for this. Hence on the basis of the right a vigorous nation will always find ways of adapting its territory to its population size
Hitler, Secret Book, ed. Telford Taylor.
“In an era when the earth is gradually being divided up among states, some of which embrace almost entire continents, we cannot speak of a world power in connection with a formation whose political mother country is limited to the absurd area of five hundred kilometers.”
Hitler, Mein Kampf, p. 644.
(a) What do they tell you about Hitler’s imperial ambition?
Answer The two texts tell that Hitler’s imperial ambition was to expand the boundaries of Germany till wherever they could possibly reach. He believed that an aggressive nation will find methods to adjust its territory to its population’s size. In source ‘B’ he was comparing Germany’s size to that of Russia and wanted Germany to become a world power of similar size.
(b) What do you think Mahatma Gandhi would have said to Hitler about these ideas?
Answer Mahatma Gandhi would have told Hitler to remove the idea of aggression against other nations from his mind, as violence begets violence.
Activity 1. What does citizenship mean to you? Look at Chapters 1 and 3 and write 200 words on how the French Revolution and Nazism defined citizenship.
Answer To me, citizenship means the right to live freely in the country of my birth or the country where I desire to live. The French Revolution defined citizenship in a way which was different from the way that the Nazism defined it.
The French people thought that all men have equal rights as they are born equal. The rights of a citizen include liberty, security, owning of property and resisting oppression. Also they believed in the freedom of expression, whether verbal or in writing, art, etc. They believed in the rule of law and that no one can be above it.
However, the Nazi definition of citizenship was quite different. It was defined with the perspective of racial discrimination against all except the ‘pure Aryan’ Nordic race. So they said that Jews and other ‘undesirable population would not be considered as citizens of Germany. These people were given very harsh treatment like death in the gas chamber or banishment to concentration camps. Many of them were forced to flee to other countries because of this.
Activity 2. What did the Nuremberg Laws mean to the undesirables’ in Nazi Germany? What other legal measures were taken against them to make them feel unwanted?
Answer Basically, the Nuremberg Laws meant that the ‘undesirables’ had no rights to live along with the other citizens. These included Jews, Gypsies, ‘Blacks’ and other nationalities like Polish and Russian people.
These laws, promulgated in 1935, stated
(i) Only persons of German or related blood would be German citizens, enjoying the protection of the German Empire.
(ii) Marriages between Germans and the ‘undesirables’ were forbidden. Extramarital relations between them also became a crime.
Other legal measures included
(i) Boycott of Jewish businesses.
(ii) Expulsion of Jews from government services.
(iii) Confiscation and forcible selling of the properties of Jews.
Activity 1. If you were a student sitting in one of these classes, how would you have felt towards Jews?
Answer 1 If I had been a student sitting in one of these classes, I would have felt very bad, as I would be missing my friends, who used to play with he earlier. I would have felt sympathetic towards them and would have hated the government for this action.
Activity 2. Have you ever thought of the stereotypes of other communities that people around you believe in? How have they acquired them?
Answer I have thought about the stereotypes of other communities the we believe in. They are usually acquired from their ancestors and the traditions and customs of the community to which they belong.
Activity 1. How would you have reacted to Hitler’s ideas if you were
(a) A Jewish woman
(b) A non-Jewish German woman
Answer 1 If I was a Jewish woman, I would have condemned these ideas as they were against our community and also against women.
If I was a non-Jewish German woman, I would have condemned them as being too restrictive to women’s roles in life. Also, I do not agree with Hitler about the idea of Jews being ‘undesirable’, as I have a number of Jewish women as my friends and 1 find them likeable, just like other human beings.They should not be called ‘undesirables’.
Activity 2. What do you think this poster is trying to depict?
Answer The poster is making fun of Jews, by depicting that they are only interested in making money, by whatever means at their disposal. It is trying to show that Jews are greedy. The fatness of the man depicted indicates that the poster maker felt that the greed of Jews is excessive.
Activity 1. Look at Fig. 29 and 30 and answer the following
What do they tell us about Nazi propaganda? How are the Nazis trying to mobilise different sections of the population?
Answer The first poster is addressed to the German farmer, while the second one is addressed to the German worker. This tells us that through this kind of propaganda, the Nazis were trying to win the support of the working classes. The second poster is telling them to vote for Hitler, who has fought on the front line in the First World War. The first poster is condemning the Capitalists and the Bolsheviks, because they are the enemies of Nazism. By this method, the Nazis tried to mobilise different sections of the population to their cause.
Activity 1. Why does Erna Kranz say, I could only say for myself? How do you view her opinion?
Answer She said this because at that time, she personally felt that the economy was being revived. However, since she was not able to see the conditions of others at that time, being too young to go out and see what was happening elsewhere.
Her opinion may be correct as far as she was concerned, but as she had no idea about what was happening in the rest of the country, it is difficult to say whether others felt similarly.
Activity 1. Write a one page history of Germany
(a) as a schoolchild in Nazi Germany
(b) as a Jewish survivor of a concentration camp
(c) as a political opponent of the Nazi regime
(a) As a Schoolchild in Nazi Germany : I have been conditioned to behave in a particular manner since I was three years old. First I was given a flag to wave, to show my patriotism. I was told that men’s and women’s roles in life were totally different. We were told that the fight for equal rights of men and women was a thing of the past as it would destroy our society today. We boys were taught to be aggressive, masculine and steel hearted, while the girls were told that they had to become good mothers and rear pure-blooded Aryan children.
The girls had to maintain the purity of the race, distance themselves from Jews, look after the home, and teach their children Nazi values.They had to be the bearers of the Aryan culture and race.
I had to take an oath of loyalty to Hitler, proclaiming him as the savior of the country. I have been told that after finishing school, I will join the Hitler Youth Organisation. This will be followed by military service, which is compulsory.
(b) As a Jewish Survivor of a Concentration Camp : Thanks to the Lord for saving my life. I am happy to have survived three years of torturous life in the concentration camp. Of course, I am now very weak and ill, but I am still alive.
So many of my friends, relatives and even family members died before my eyes due to the bad treatment meted out to them in the camp. They were regularly beaten, left to starve and worked in very harsh conditions. Many of them were sent to the gas chambers and l was always afraid of my number coming next. Luckily I have survived to tell this tale.
(c) As a Political Opponent of the Nazi Regime : Since the Nazis have captured power, they are making life hell for all people who do not follow their doctrine. I do not understand what they will gain by trying to conquer other nations.
The bombing by the British on our homes has killed many of my relatives and friends. Aggression on other countries will definitely cause war with them and we will also lose men and property in war. The way the Nazis are going about increasing their power, I feel, in the long run, we will lose out, as this war will make all other nations to go against us. I hope Hitler sees sense and stops this war soon.
Exercise Question 1. Describe the problems faced by the Weimar Republic.
Answer 1) The Weimar Republic formed the German Government after the First World War, which Germany lost. The republic faced two kinds of problems
(i) Economic Crisis : The war had been very costly for all concerned. The damage and human casualties, along with post-war depletion of resources, consequent debts and war compensation led to this crisis.Hyperinflation made the German Mark valueless and caused immense hardship to the German people.
(ii) Political Crisis : Although the National Assembly framed a democratic Constitution, it was too weak. Proportional representation and Article 48 resulted in the creation of a political crisis and finally the death of the Weimar Republic.
Exercise Question 2. Discuss why Nazism became popular in Germany by 1930.
Answer 2) Nazism became popular for the following reasons
(i) After defeat in the First World War, Germany was forced to sign the harsh and humiliating Treaty of Versailles, in which it was made to accept the guilt for the war. The Germans felt disgraced and humiliated. Consequently, they were made to believe, by Hitler’s oratory, that he would restore Germany to its former glory.
(ii) Political parties like the Communists, Socialists, Democrats, etc were not united. There were conflicts between them and the government became weak. The Nazi Party took advantage of the situation and captured power.
(ii) Democracy in Germany was relatively new and it was not strong. It did not appeal to the Germans. They wanted a party and a system that would re-establish the glory and prestige of Germany. So, they were attracted to the Nazi Party.
(iv) Hitler was a great orator and with his speeches he was able to sway the masses and win their confidence, He was able to convince them that he would undo the injustice done and bring back the glory and dignity of the German people. He promised employment for those looking for work. He won over the youth by promising them a secure future.
(v) He got the support of the Army, the industrialists and the landlords because he opposed communism and socialism, which these people also opposed.
Thus, Hitler and the Nazi Party were able to win the support of all sections of Germans and so become popular.
Exercise Question 3. What are the peculiar features of Nazi thinking?
Answer 3) The peculiar features of Nazism were
(i) Nazis believed in the idea of one people, one empire and one leader.
(ii) It did not tolerate other parties and tried to crush all other organisations and parties and wanted to remove socialism, communism and democracy from Germany.
(iii) According to Nazism there was no equality between people. In this view, the blue eyed Nordic German Aryans were at the top while the Jews were located at the lowest rung.
(iv) It was propagated that the Jews were responsible for the economic misery of the Germans.
(v) Nazis propagated war and glorified aggression.
(vi) Nazis believed in the idea of Lebensraum on living space. i.e., new areas should be acquired so that more space is available for the Germans to settle.
(vii) Nazis wanted to create a separate racial community of pure Germans by physically eliminating all those who were seen as undesirable by them.
(viii) The Nazis believed that Jews were inferior and the cause of German misery and therefore should be totally eliminated.
(ix) The Nazi argument was simple. The strongest race would survive and the weak ones would perish.
(X) The Aryan race was the finest. It had to retain its purity, become stronger and dominate the world.
Exercise Question 4. Explain why Nazi propaganda was effective in creating a hatred for Jews.
Answer Nazi propaganda was effective in creating hatred for the Jews for the following reason:
(i) The Jews were stereotyped as killers of Christ. They had been barred since medieval times from ownership of land.
(ii) They were already hated as usurers or money-lenders. Violence against Jews, even inside their residential ghettos, was common. Hitler’s race theories fanned this hatred. He wanted all Jews to be eliminated from Germany.
Exercise Question 5. Explain what role women had is Nazi society. Return to chapter 1 on the French Revolution. Write a paragraph comparing and contrasting the role of women in the two periods.
Answer 5) Role of women in Nazi society was modelled on the principles of a largely patriarchal or male-dominated society. Hitler hailed women as most important citizens, but this was limited to only Aryan women who bred pure-blood, ‘desirable’ Aryans. Motherhood was the only goal they were taught to strive for, in addition to performing the duties of managing the household and being good wives.
This was in total contrast to the role of women in the French Revolution, where women led movements and fought for the right to education and the right to equal wages as men. They could not be forced to marry against their will. They could also train for jobs, become artists or run small businesses. Schooling was made compulsory for them.
Exercise Question 6. In what ways did the Nazi state seek to establish total control over the people?
Answer 6) Hitler, after coming to power, emerged as an all powerful dictator. He destroyed democracy in Germany.
(i) The First Fire decree in 1933 suspended the civic rights like freedom of speech, press and assembly and thus controlled the German population.
(ii) The Enabling Act was passed. It gave all powers Hitler to Sideline Parliament and rule by decree.
(iii) All political parties except the Nazi Party were banned. All political opponents were imprisoned or assassinated.
(iv) The communists were suppressed and sent to concentration camps.
(v) Special security forces such as the SA, SS, SD and Gestapo were created to control and order society in ways that the Nazis wanted.These forces were given extra constitutional powers.
(vi) In schools children were taught to be loyal and submissive hate Jews and worship Hitler.
(vii) Nazi youth organisations, the like ‘Jungvolk’ and ‘Hitler Youth’ were created where the youth were taught to worship war and Hitler and hate democracy, communism and Jews.
(viii) Media was used carefully to win the support for Hitler and Nazism. Nazi ideas were spread through visual images films, radio, posters and catchy slogans and leaflets.