Download Volksgemeinshaft and Lebensraum A Level Revision Notes
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• The idea of a community based on racially pure Germans.
• The Nazi Party used the concept to encourage voters to support them
• Volkgemeinshaft became the central issue in the Nazi Party.
• Hitler was attacking the Weimar Politicians, capitalists or businessmen and used the prominence of Jewish Ministers and financiers to collectively describe Weimar Jews as the volksfiend (folk enemy).
• Jews became the primary focus of volkisch aggression.
• Hitler made it simple – ‘German friend against Jewish enemy’ – he argued:
• Jewish weapons manufacturers had profited from WWI.
• The November Criminals were Jewish and had stabbed Germany in the back.
• Jews had actively encouraged the signing of the Treaty of Versailles.
• Jews were benefiting from the huge reparations being paid to the allies.
• It was Jewish financiers who were causing inflation in Germany.
• Jewish people were automatically Communists and would organize a Bolshevik Revolution in Germany if given the opportunity.
• Volksgemeinshaft & anti-semitism were not the main reasons why the Nazis eventually came to power in 1933 but it poisoned the minds of German people & played upon popular beliefs.
• When the Nazis assumed power in 1933 volkgemeinshaft and volksfiend was disseminated to the people by mass indoctrination.
• Between 1921 and 1925 Hitler developed the belief that Lebensraum was needed.
• Living space would come from Eastern Europe, Russia, formed the core of Hitler’s idea, and shaped his foreign policy after his take-over of power in Germany in 1933.
• Lebensraum was first created by German geographer, Friedrich Ratzel.
• During the 19th century Ratzel developed a theory where people’s success is primarily determined by their adaptation to geographic circumstances.
• Ratzel considered species migration as the crucial factor in social adaptation and cultural change.
• Species that successfully adapted to one location, he thought, would spread naturally to others.
• This process also applied to humans, who operate collectively in the form of ‘peoples’ (Völker), with one Völk effectively conquering another.
• Hitler used lebensraum to try and legitimately support his foreign and domestic policies towards the Soviet Union and the Jews.
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