NCERT Class 9 History Chapter 3 - Nazism and the Rise of Hitler

Chapter 3 - Nazism and the Rise of Hitler

Question and Answers
Question 1: Mention terms and conditions of Treaty of Versailles.

• The peace treaty at Versailles with the Allies was a harsh and humiliating treaty.
• Germany lost its overseas colonies, a tenth of its population, 13 per cent of its territories, 75 per cent of its iron and 26 per cent of its coal to France, Poland, Denmark and Lithuania.
• The Allied Powers demilitarised Germany to weaken its power.
• The War Guilt Clause held Germany responsible for the war and damages the Allied countries suffered. Germany was forced to pay compensation amounting to £6 billion.
• The Allied armies also occupied the resource-rich Rhineland.

Question 2: Describe problems faced by Weimar Republic.

• The defeat of Imperial Germany and the abdication of the emperor gave an opportunity to parliamentary parties to recast German polity.
• Deputies were now elected to the German Parliament or Reichstag, on the basis of equal and universal votes cast by all adults including women.
• This republic, however, was not received well by its own people largely because of the terms it was forced to accept after Germany’s defeat at the end of the First World War.
• The infant Weimar Republic was being made to pay for the sins of the old empire.
• The republic carried the burden of war guilt and national humiliation and was financially crippled by being forced to pay compensation.

Question 3: “The First World War left a deep imprint on European society and polity”. Explain.
The First World War left a deep imprint on European society and polity.
• The war had a devastating impact on the entire continent both psychologically and financially.
• Soldiers came to be placed above civilians.
• Politicians and publicists laid great stress on the need for men to be aggressive, strong and masculine.
• The media glorified trench life. The truth, however, was that soldiers lived miserable lives in these trenches, trapped with rats feeding on corpses.
• Aggressive war propaganda and national honour occupied centre stage in the public sphere, while popular support grew for conservative dictatorships that had recently come into being.
• Democracy was indeed a young and fragile idea, which could not survive the instabilities of interwar Europe.

Question 4: What events led to economic crisis in Germany in 1923?

• Germany had fought the war largely on loans and had to pay war reparations in gold. This depleted gold reserves at a time resources were scarce.
• In 1923 Germany refused to pay, and the French occupied its leading industrial area, Ruhr, to claim their coal.
• Germany retaliated with passive resistance and printed paper currency recklessly.
• With too much printed money in circulation, the value of the German mark fell.
• As the value of the mark collapsed, prices of goods soared. This crisis came to be known as hyperinflation, a situation when prices rise phenomenally high.

Question 5: Explain the impact of Great Depression in Germany.

• The German economy was the worst hit by the economic crisis. By 1932, industrial production was reduced to 40 per cent of the 1929 level.
• Workers lost their jobs or were paid reduced wages. The number of unemployed touched an unprecedented 6 million.
• Unemployed youths played cards or simply sat at street corners, or desperately queued up at the local employment exchange.
• As jobs disappeared, the youth took to criminal activities and total despair became commonplace.
• The middle classes, especially salaried employees and pensioners, saw their savings diminish when the currency lost its value.
• Small businessmen, the self-employed and retailers suffered as their businesses got ruined.
• The large mass of peasantry was affected by a sharp fall in agricultural prices and women, unable to fill their children’s stomachs, were filled with a sense of deep despair.

Question 6: What steps did Hitler take to systematically destroy democracy in Germany?

• On 30 January 1933, President Hindenburg offered the Chancellorship, the highest position in the cabinet of ministers, to Hitler.
• A mysterious fire that broke out in the German Parliament building in February facilitated his move.
• The Fire Decree of 28 February 1933 indefinitely suspended civic rights like freedom of speech, press and assembly that had been guaranteed by the Weimar constitution
• On 3 March 1933, the famous Enabling Act was passed. This Act established dictatorship in Germany. It gave Hitler all powers to sideline Parliament and rule by decree.
• All political parties and trade unions were banned except for the Nazi Party and its affiliates.
• The state established complete control over the economy, media, army and judiciary.

Question 7: What were the promises made by Hitler to the people of Germany?
Hitler was a powerful speaker.
• He promised to build a strong nation, undo the injustice of the Versailles Treaty and restore the dignity of the German people.
• He promised employment for those looking for work, and a secure future for the youth.
• He promised to weed out all foreign influences and resist all foreign ‘conspiracies’ against Germany.

Question 8: What were the inherent defects of Weimar Constitution which made it unstable and vulnerable to dictatorship?

• The Weimar Constitution had some inherent defects which made it unstable and vulnerable to dictatorship.
• One was proportional representation. This made achieving a majority by any one party a near impossible task, leading to a rule by coalitions.
• Another defect was Article 48, which gave the President the powers to impose emergency, suspend civil rights and rule by decree.
• Within its short life, the Weimar Republic saw twenty different cabinets lasting on an average 239 days, and a liberal use of Article 48.
• Yet the crisis could not be managed. People lost confidence in the democratic parliamentary system, which seemed to offer no solutions.

Question 9: How was Nazi ideology synonymous with Hitler’s world view?

• Nazi ideology was synonymous with Hitler’s worldview. According to this there was no equality between people, but only a racial hierarchy.
• In this view blond, blue-eyed, Nordic German Aryans were at the top, while Jews were located at the lowest rung.
• Hitler’s racism was borrowed from thinkers like Charles Darwin and Herbert Spencer.
• Darwin was a natural scientist who tried to explain the creation of plants and animals through the concept of evolution and natural selection.
• Herbert Spencer later added the idea of survival of the fittest.
• According to this idea, only those species survived on earth that could adapt themselves to changing climatic conditions. However, Darwin never advocated human intervention in what he thought was a purely natural process of selection.
• The Nazi argument was simple: the strongest race would survive and the weak ones would perish.
• The other aspect of Hitler’s ideology related to the geopolitical concept of Lebensraum, or living space. He believed that new territories had to be acquired for settlement. This would enhance the area of the mother country, while enabling the settlers on new lands to retain an intimate link with the place of their origin.

Question 10: How was Nazi ideology taught to children?

• All schools were ‘cleansed’ and ‘purified’. This meant that teachers who were Jews or seen as ‘politically unreliable’ were dismissed.
• Children were first segregated: Germans and Jews could not sit together or play together. Subsequently, ‘undesirable children’ - Jews, the physically handicapped, Gypsies were thrown out of schools. And finally they were taken to the gas chambers.
• School textbooks were rewritten. Racial science was introduced to justify Nazi ideas of race.
• Stereotypes about Jews were popularised even through maths classes.
• Children were taught to be loyal and submissive, hate Jews, and worship Hitler. Even the function of sports was to nurture a spirit of violence and aggression among children. Hitler believed that boxing could make children iron hearted, strong and masculine.

Question 11: How did the world came about the holocaust?

• Information about Nazi practices had trickled out of Germany during the last years of the regime.
• But it was only after the war ended and Germany was defeated that the world came to realise the horrors of what had happened.
• While the Germans were preoccupied with their own plight as a defeated nation emerging out of the rubble, the Jews wanted the world to remember the atrocities and sufferings they had endured during the Nazi killing operations - also called the Holocaust.
• This indomitable spirit to bear witness and to preserve the documents can be seen in many ghetto and camp inhabitants who wrote diaries, kept notebooks, and created archives.
• Yet the history and the memory of the Holocaust live on in memoirs, fiction, documentaries, poetry, memorials and museums in many parts of the world today.

Question 12: List the factors that led to rise of Hitler in Germany.
The factors that led to rise of Hitler in Germany are
• Germany’s defeat in World War 1 and abdication of Emperor.
• The distrust of people over the Treaty of Versailles and popular propaganda about Hitler in such a condition helped in acquiring power.
• During the Great Economic Depression, Hitler made promises to build a strong nation and undo the justice which gave him support from people.
• He was a powerful speaker and his words moved people.
• The Weimar Republic had inherent defects which made Germany unstable and vulnerable to dictatorship.

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