** NAZI government - Volksgemeinschaft

NAZI Government: NAZI Volksgemeinschaft

Nazi Volksgemeinschaft
Figure 1.--This was described as a NAZI-style pillory. These Austrian women are having their hair cut off in public and being expelled from the Volksgemeinschaft (national community). Further details are unavailable, but we helieve the photograph was taken on Vienna after the Anschluss (March 1938) and the women were married to Jews. The signs read 'Ich bin aus der Volksgemeinschaft ausgestoßen." (I am expelled from the national community.) Notice that the young men cutting their hair are not crude NAZI bully boys, but look like well broughtup individuals, probanby university students who had been taught by some Jewish professors who were some of their best teachers. These and other young men would eventially have ti take in tiughter adversarues than defebsless women when their beloved Führer send them east into the Soviet Union.

A major NAZI goal was to build a Volksgemeinschaft (people's or national community). Notice the term Volk, when ever used this meant an exclusiuve, racially defined German people's community. It was an attempt to build a racially concious and unified community which to a large extent suceeded. [Wildt, Hitler's] And that community or Volk was being hierarchically organized by the NAZI Party under the Führerprinzship principle. And of particular importance would be the exclusion and eventual eliminination of non-Aryans, especially the Jews. Within the Volksgemeinschaft and the purification of the Volksgemeinschaft, the interests of individuals would be subordinated to the wider interests of the state, but commonly described as the Volk. The Volk were to be prepared like a finely tuned military unit and indeed boys would start their military training as soon as they entered the Hitler Youth at the age of 10 years. The Deutsche Volk had to prepare for war and accept military discipline. Hitler all this clear in Mein Kampf, expousing goals that coulld only be achieved in the East by invading the Soviet Union. This was not, however, what the German prople, battered like other Europeans by World War I, wanted to hear. So while directing vast sums into rearmanent and preparation for war, Hitler assured the German people that war was not his gol. And Goebbels used NAZI control of the media to focus on the more benign aspects of the NAZI Volksgemeinschaft. NAZI propaganda stressed that a wonderful new life could be achieved through NAZI policies and at the expense of racial and class enenies. The primary racial enemy was the Jews, but not the only one. NAZI racial theorists identified a whole host of Untermench, especially the Slavs. And there was the need for racial hygene to maintain the racial purity of the Volksgemeinschaft which also meant eliminating the physically and mentally handicapped--the first NAZI killing operation. And there were class enenies. The NAZis were a firm of socialism and thus capitalism came under attack and the NAZIs seized control of the economy. And to engage the German people, a whole cornucopia of tantalizing benefits were dangled before them. One histotian believes that Volksgemeinschaft was a major factor in Hitler's winning over the German people. [Wildt, Ambivalenz.] He coined the term 'Furcht vor dem Volk' -- 'Fear of the People'. It is a open question just how much Hitler wanted to improve the lot of German workers. He was, however, very concerned about national morale and the failure of nationasl morale and wrecked the World War I German war effort. Perhaps the most important NAZI effort was reducing unemployment and ensurung a steady job. This was done in a variery of ways, none involving expanding the production of non-military goods--and all done with borrowed money. Job opportunities opened by firing Jews. This mostly benefitted the middle class. An early action was the Law for the Encouragement of Marriage. A range of benbefits were available for families. The NAZIs had a vision for women--to get married and raise a large family. The NAZIs created financial incentives for young families. Loans of RM 1,000 were to married couples. This was a substantial sum, basically two-thirds of an annual salary. The wife had to quit her job. And there were additional stipends when and if children arrived. Each child reduced the principal of the loan by 25 percent. And then there were non-monetary awards sych as the Mother's Cross. One important benefit were low-cost radios -- the Volksempfänger. This may not sound like much to modern readers, but in the days before TV and the internet, it was a big deal for German workers. Radios were still expensive in the 1930s and many workers before the NAZIs could not afford a radio. The Deutsche Arbeitsfront (DAF) launched the Strength Through Joy Program. Hitler made a big promotion for Volkswagen, but not one German ever got one during the NAZi era. The NAZIs took over most humanitarian charities--Nationalsozialistische Volkswohlfahrt (NSV). Mothers with large families received help from Bund Deutscher Mädel (BDM) girls.


Wildt, Michael. Die Ambivalenz des Volkes: Der Nationalsozialismus als Gesellschaftsgeschichte (The Ambivalence of the People: National Socialism as a History of Society)

Wildt, Michael. Hitler's Volksgemeinschaft and the Dynamics of Racial Exclusion: Violence against Jews in Provincial Germany, 1919–1939.


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Created: 6:36 PM 8/2/2021
Last updated: 6:36 PM 8/2/2021