Nazism In Germany: Selected Topics

A History 112 Research Assignment


A Selection of terms particular to Nazi Germany:

Führer: German word meaning “leader” or “guide”. This is typically a political title and most commonly associated with Adolf Hitler.

Kristallnacht: Often called the “night of the broken glass”, this term denotes a period in which Nazi forces invaded the Jewish-owned businesses, literally destroying their glass window-fronts but also effectively destroying their livelihoods.

Luftwaffe: Generic term for a German Air Force. Founded in 1935, the Luftwaffe was a branch of the German Wehrmacht military focused on aerial warfare. According to BBC History, the Luftwaffe under the command of Hermann  Goering “became the largest and most powerful in Europe” by WWII. [1]

Nazi: Shortened term for the National Socialist German Worker’s Party (NSDAP), which was founded in 1919 but lost power at the end of the Second World War.

Oberster Befehlshaber der Wehrmacht: A term denoting the supreme commander of the armed forces.

Operation Barbarossa: This was the code name used to denote the 1941 German invasion of the Soviet Union.

The Blitz: So-named by the British press, The Blitz was a particularly heavy spell of direct bombing raids in Britain by the Nazis from September 1940 to May 1941.

The Final Solution: Adolf Hitler’s proposed plan for Jewish peoples. Namely, he intended to ensure their extermination in order to (supposedly) purify his nation.

[1] Overy, Richard. “Misjudging Hitler”. In Martel, Gordon. The Origins of the Second World War Reconsidered (London: Routledge, 1999), 9.


A Brief, Non-Inclusive Timeline:

1870- The Second German Reich [1]

1918- End of The Great War and the surrender of the Reich

1919- Treaty of VersaillesAdolf Hitler becomes the leader of the NSDAP

1923- Das Dritte Reich is published by Arthur Moeller van den Bruck; Hitler attempts a coup in Munich, which ultimately fails, resulting in his imprisonment; Hitler writes Mein Kampf while imprisoned

1924- Adolf Hitler is released from prison

1933- Adolf Hilter is appointed as Chancellor of the German Reichstag; Passing of the Enabling Act (transforms the Weimar Republic into Nazi Germany); Germany withdraws from the League of Nations and the World Disarmament Conference [2] ; Country-wide book burning in German universities

1934- Adolf Hitler becomes Führer of Nazi Germany; The Night of the Long Knives (From June 30 to July 2); Hitler appoints Reichsbank President Hjalmar Schacht as Minister of Economics

1935- Hitler appoints Hjalmar Schacht as Plenipotentiary for War Economy; Creation of the Anglo-German Naval Agreement (AGNA); Forced biological segregation according to the Nuremberg Laws; Founding of the Luftwaffe

1936- Germany hosts the Olympic Games; Unemployment rates in Germany plummet to 1/6 of what they were in 1932 [3] ; Hitler orders the implementation of the Four Year Plan, intended to prepare Germany for war [4]

1938- Hitler appoints himself as Oberster Befehlshaber der Wehrmacht

1939- German invasion of Poland, causing Britain and France to declare war on Germany

1940- In August, German air forces begin The Blitz

1941- Hitler orders the invasion of the Soviet Union, which ultimately fails; The Blitz ends in May

1945- The Battle of Berlin; End of Adolf Hitler’s reign as Führer (committed suicide alongside his wife in order to escape the Red Army)


1.1 Guido Preparata, Conjuring Hitler: How Britain and America Made the Third Reich (London: Pluto Press, 2005), 90.

2 Ian Kershaw, Hitler: A Biography (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2008)

3 William Shirer, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1960)

4 Chris McNab, The Third Reich (London: Amber Books, 2009)