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WWII Timeline – Fall 1933

I’m continuing my WWII Timeline series with a look at October – December 1933 in this post.

A Timeline of WWII, Fall 1933

October 4, 1933

The Nazis enacted a law to prohibit Jews from being journalists and all newspapers were placed under Nazi control.

October 14, 1933

Following Japan’s lead on March 27, Germany withdrew from the League of Nations.

November 16, 1933

In a diplomatic agreement, Moscow agreed to not sponsor Communist propaganda in the United States.

November 24, 1933

The Nazis passed a Law against “Habitual and Dangerous Criminals”, which allowed beggars, the homeless, alcoholics, and the unemployed to be sent to concentration camps.

Sources:

This series of posts is based on a compilation of timelines from:

The Holocaust Encyclopedia

The History Place:

The National WWII Museum Interactive Timeline

World War II Chronicle by the Editors of Publications International, Ltd.

Most recent post from the series:

Summer 1933

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2018

WWII Timeline – Summer 1933

I’m continuing my WWII Timeline series with a look at July – September 1933 in this post.

A Timeline of WWII, Summer 1933

July 1933

The Nazis enacted a law to allow forced sterilization of those found by a Hereditary Health Court to have genetic defects.

July 14, 1933

The Nazi Party was declared Germany’s only political party, which effectively outlawed all other political parties.

The Nazis enacted a law to strip Jewish immigrants from Poland of their German citizenship.

September 22, 1933

The Nazis established the government agency Reich Chamber of Culture as a professional organization of all German creative artists with the purpose to gain control over all cultural life in Germany, creating and promoting Aryan art consistent with Nazi ideals. All artists had to apply for membership on presentation of an Aryan certificate without which resulted in an occupational ban.

September 28, 1933

The Nazis enacted a law to prohibit all non-Aryans and their spouses from government employment.

 September 29, 1933

The Nazis enacted a law to ban Jews from all cultural and entertainment activities including literature, art, film and theater.

The Nazis prohibited Jews from owning land.

Sources:

This series of posts is based on a compilation of timelines from:

The Holocaust Encyclopedia

The History Place:

The National WWII Museum Interactive Timeline

Wikipedia

Most recent post from the series:

Spring 1933

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2018

WWII Timeline – Spring 1933

I’m continuing my WWII Timeline series with a look at April – June 1933 in this post.

A Timeline of WWII, Spring 1933

April 1, 1933

A week after Adolf Hitler became dictator of Germany, he ordered a boycott of Jewish shops, banks, offices and department stores. It was mostly ignored and called off after three days, but it was followed by a series of laws which robbed Jews of many rights.

April 7, 1933

“The Law of the Restoration of the Civil Service” was introduced. ‘Aryanism’ was made a necessary requirement in order to hold a civil service position. All Jews holding such positions were dismissed or forced into retirement.

In Nazi doctrine, Aryan meant a non-Jewish Caucasian, especially of Nordic stock.

April 11, 1933

The Nazis specifically defined non-Aryans with an official decree 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.”

April 22, 1933

The Nazis enacted a law in which Jews were prohibited from serving as patent lawyers and from serving as doctors in state-run insurance institutions.

April 25, 1933

The Nazis enacted a law against the overcrowding of German schools, which placed severe limits on the number of young Jews allowed to enroll in public schools.

April 26, 1933

Hermann Göring created the Gestapo, the secret state police, in the German state of Prussia. Göring was the Commander-in-Chief of the Luftwaffe, President of the Reichstag, Prime Minister of Prussia, Plenipotentiary (a person having full power to take independent action on behalf of his government) for the Implementation of the Four Year (economic) Plan, and designated successor to Hitler.

The Gestapo would later be taken over by Heinrich Himmler and terrorize the continent of Europe.

May 6, 1933

The Civil Service law of April 7 was amended to close loopholes in order to keep out Jewish honorary university professors, lecturers and notaries.

May 10, 1933

German students from universities formerly regarded as among the finest in the world, gathered in Berlin and other German cities to burn books with unGerman ideas. Books by Freud, Einstein, Thomas Mann, Jack London, H.G. Wells and many others went up in flames as students gave the Nazi salute.

At the Berlin book burning, which was accompanied by the singing of Nazi songs and anthems, Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels gave a speech to the students, stating…

…The era of extreme Jewish intellectualism is now at an end. The breakthrough of the German revolution has again cleared the way on the German path…The future German man will not just be a man of books, but a man of character. It is to this end that we want to educate you. As a young person, to already have the courage to face the pitiless glare, to overcome the fear of death, and to regain respect for death – this is the task of this young generation. And thus you do well in this midnight hour to commit to the flames the evil spirit of the past. This is a strong, great and symbolic deed – a deed which should document the following for the world to know – Here the intellectual foundation of the November (Democratic) Republic is sinking to the ground, but from this wreckage the phoenix of a new spirit will triumphantly rise…

Included in the book burning were works by German-Jewish poet Heinrich Heine. One-hundred ten years earlier in 1823 in his work, Almansor: A Tragedy, Heine had predicted,

Where books are burned, human beings are destined to be burned too.

June 2, 1933

The law of April 22 was amended to prohibit Jewish dentists and dental technicians from working with state-run insurance institutions.

Sources:

This series of posts is based on a compilation of timelines from:

The Holocaust Encyclopedia

The History Place:

The National WWII Museum Interactive Timeline

Most recent post from the series:

Winter 1933

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2018

Hitler’s Enabling Act

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about events leading up to WWII in the Winter of 1933. One of the most significant events of that time was the passage of Hitler’s Enabling Act.

On March 23 of that year, the newly elected members of the Reichstag (German Parliament) met in the Kroll Opera House in Berlin to consider the Act, which was officially called the “Law for Removing the Distress of the People and the Reich.” They were meeting in the opera house because on February 27, the Nazis had burned the Reichstag building and blamed the fire on the Communists. The fire caused the “distress” and an atmosphere of crisis in Germany as the German people were led to believe an uprising was coming.

The next day, March 24, the vote to pass Hitler’s Enabling Act was held. Nazi Storm Troopers intimidated those who might oppose Hitler, glaring menacingly and chanting “Full powers – or else! We want the bill – or fire and murder!” They had gathered around the opera house, in the hallways, and lined the aisles.

Just before the vote, Hitler addressed the group. He said,

The government will make use of these powers only insofar as they are essential for carrying out vitally necessary measures…

The number of cases in which an internal necessity exists for having recourse to such a law is in itself a limited one.

Hitler made other promises he did not intend to keep, to end unemployment and to promote peace with France, Great Britain and the Soviet Union. But he said in order to do these things, he needed the Enabling Act.

To pass his Act, Hitler needed a two thirds majority as the law would change the German Constitution. He had the Nazi vote, but he needed thirty-one non-Nazi votes, which he would get that day from the Center Party by making a false promise to restore some basic rights that had been taken away.

Before the vote, Otto Wells, leader of the Social Democrat party, bravely spoke before the group, addressing Hitler.

We German Social Democrats pledge ourselves solemnly in this historic hour to the principles of humanity and justice, of freedom and socialism. No enabling act can give you power to destroy ideas which are eternal and indestructible.

An enraged Hitler responded,

You are no longer needed! – The star of Germany will rise and yours will sink! Your death knell has sounded!

When the vote was taken, four hundred forty-one voted for the Enabling Act. Only eighty-four, the Social Democrats, voted against it. With well over two thirds of the vote, the Nazis achieved what Adolf Hitler had wanted to do for years, legally end democracy in Germany and claim dictatorial powers. The passage of Adolf Hitler’s Enabling Act paved the way for the Nazi takeover of Germany.

These events happened eighty-five years ago this week. It seems like a very long time ago, and then again, it doesn’t.

For many of us, our parents were school children during this time in history. Merely a decade later, our fathers, who were in their late teens or early twenties, and should have been chasing girls, were chasing Nazis instead.

Sources:

The History Place

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2018

Dachau Opens Near Munich

In March 1933, as the Police President of Munich, SS leader Heinrich Himmler, and the Nazis open the Dachau concentration camp near Munich for political enemies of the Third Reich. It was constructed at an unused munitions factory located twelve miles northwest of Munich on the Amper River. Himmler chose Theodor Eicke to organize Dachau, which became the model for all future SS concentration camps. Eicke became known as the “Father of the Concentration Camp System.”

Before the formal concentration camp system began, conventional prisons were becoming overwhelmed with political prisoners of the Nazis and early crude camps known as “wild” concentration camps were quickly constructed. They were often simply stockades surrounded by barbed wire. Prisoners were subjected to military-style drills, beatings, and torture. Often, prisoners were held for ransom and were released upon payment.

At Dachau, each prisoner passed through an iron gate, arriving under the Nazi slogan, “Arbeit Macht Frei.” Work sets you free. The prisoners were presented with another slogan painted inside the camp. “There is one way to freedom. Its milestones are: obedience, zeal, honesty, order, cleanliness, temperance, truth, sense of sacrifice and love for the Fatherland.”

In the early days of Dachau, most were political prisoners who were not told how long they would be imprisoned. For most, it was the first time they had ever been in trouble with the police or arrested. Upon being detained, they were told, “Based on Article One of the Decree of the Reich President for the Protection of People and State of 28 February 1933, you are taken into protective custody in the interest of public security and order. Reason: suspicion of activities inimical to the State.”

The prisoners worked twelve-hour days in a camp workshop or outside along the camp grounds. Their health declined quickly due to the long work hours, poor nutrition, and inadequate sanitation.

The harsh forced labor system became the model for all subsequent concentration camps as Himmler and the SS took advantage of a ready supply of slave labor.

Under Theodor Eicke, SS guards at Dachau underwent rigorous military training in addition to their camp guard duty. Eicke convinced them to treat all inmates as dangerous enemies of the state and to not harbor any sympathy for the prisoners. The guards had to witness or participate in acts of cruelty against the prisoners, who were treated as numbers, not persons, stripped of everything human.

The existence of Dachau and other early concentration camps instilled fear in all Germans and effectively suppressed any political opposition to Hitler and the Nazi regime.

 Source:

The History Place World War II in Europe

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2018

WWII Timeline – Winter 1933

I’m continuing my WWII Timeline series with a look at January – March 1933 in this post.

A Timeline of WWII, Winter 1933

 

1933

In 1933, Germany’s Jewish population is estimated to be more than 500,000, but less than 600,000, or about three-quarters of one percent of the total German population.

January 30, 1933

German President von Hindenburg names Adolph Hitler Chancellor of Germany.

February 22, 1933

In Germany, forty thousand SA (Sturmabteilung) and SS men are sworn in as auxiliary police.  (The SA was eventually replaced by Himmler’s SS).

February 27, 1933

The Nazis set the Reichstag building, the seat of the German government, on fire and it burns. This creates a crisis atmosphere which enables Adolf Hitler to seize power under the pretext of protecting the nation from threats to its security.

February 28, 1933

The Nazis’ plan works and as a result of the Reichstag fire, emergency powers are granted to Hitler.

March 12, 1933

The Oranienburg Concentration Camp opens as one of the first detention facilities established by the Nazis. The camp was located in the state of Prussia and held political opponents of the Nazis, mostly members of the Communist Party of Germany and social-democrats, as well as homosexual men and other so-called “undesirables.”

March 21 or 22, 1933

The Nazis open the Dachau concentration camp near Munich for political enemies of the Third Reich. The opening of other camps follows in later years:  Sachsenhausen (July 1936) in northern Germany near Berlin, Buchenwald (July 1937) near Weimar in central Germany, and Ravensbrück (1939) for women in northern Germany north of Berlin.

March 23, 1933

The newly elected members of the Reichstag (German Parliament) meet in the Kroll Opera House in Berlin to consider passing Hitler’s Enabling Act. The Act was officially called the “Law for Removing the Distress of the People and the Reich.” Passage of the Act would effectively mean the end of democracy in Germany and would establish the legal dictatorship of Adolf Hitler.

March 24, 1933

The Reichstag passes the Enabling Act giving Hitler dictatorial powers.

March 27, 1933

Japan withdraws from the League of Nations.

Sources:

This series of posts is based on a compilation of timelines from:

The Holocaust Encyclopedia

The History Place:

The National WWII Museum Interactive Timeline

And other information from Wikipedia

Most recent post from the series:

The Early 1930’s

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2018