World War II started in 1939 with the rise of Nazi power. After World War I Germany was billed with the cost of the war and was in great dept. With many Germans living in poverty they turned to a powerful political parties to make ‘their nation great again’. Many Germans were fearful of communism taking over and were after a leader who would keep communism at bay. Hitler rose to power by becoming the chancellor of Germany with reluctance from the president. He was closely watched by the president of Germany to make sure he would follow the values of political party. Hitler now had the power in Germany to make the changes he wanted. Hitler’s speeches were filled with propaganda saying that he would make more jobs and increase Germany’s wealth again. Very few knew what he was really saying. When he gained power he began using minor religious and ethnicity groups like Jews, Gypsies, people of colour, homosexual and people with a disability as cheap labour to make goods for the ‘Aryan race’, Hitler’s perfect Germany.
Here are 5 reasons not to be a Nazi at the end of the war.
Banning of the Nazi Party
Many of the party members believed and followed Hitler’s morals and beliefs. After the war the Nazi party was banned which included anybody that followed the ideals of the party, wore or displayed the swastika or met as a group as Nazis was banned and could be punishable by death. If the organisation that people had been involved in since 1933 and for it to become illegal would make it hard for people to lose the friendships or goals they had achieved which would be devastating for those people who worked hard for it .
Though many Nazi leaders did kill themselves, others turned themselves in, but many escaped Germany and lived in South America. It was believed Hitler had escaped and was living in South America for some time but his body was found in his Berlin Bunker. Escaping sounded like the best idea to those who were involved in the worst crimes as they could live their life out and not be captured. Though some did manage to escape they did live in fear of being found for decades. Some leaders were found in the 1970’s and even as late as the 80’s. Living in hiding would mean a complete change of identity and having nothing to start with or wouldn’t know anybody. By living in fear the paranoia of trying to stay hidden can lead to serious health problems as the body is in a constant fight or flight system. The bodily functions are slowed like the immune system and the digestive system. The body can become very sick easily because the immune system is suppressed. By living in fear for so long can also lead to mental health problems.
Death before Dishonour
As World War 2 drew to a close Hitler had demanded that all Nazis should be issued with cyanide pills. The cyanide pills were to be used if a soldier was captured by the allies. This provided them with an escape route instead of bring dishonour onto themselves and their country. Before the allies took over Berlin, Hitler killed himself alongside his wife. He declared that he is to be cremate so his body couldn’t be made a spectacle of . Being a part of the Nazi party meant following the ideas and morals of Hitler. If he thought his cause was worth dying for he expected everybody else to which meant if a soldier was caught and leaked information he would be looked down upon by the German nation more than the allies. The closer the end of the war came the more mass suicides occurred. In one town 1,000 people committed suicide in under 72 hours because they heard the Red Army was approaching. Historians believe propaganda and Hitler’s death were the main reasons why people chose to self-murder than accept defeat .
The Nuremburg Trials
The Nuremburg trials started on the 18th of October 1945 and ended on October 1st 1946 almost a year later. 22 major Nazi leaders were put on trial for crimes against peace, war crimes, crimes against humanity and conspiracy to commit the crimes. 11 were executed, 2 were acquitted and 9 were give either a 10 year, 15 year or life sentence in prison. The allies left Germany to deal with Nazis which remained. As there were 8 million followers of the Nazi party it was too much for an international court to take on so it was left to the new German government to prosecute the people they thought were war criminals. Not everybody could be punished though as that would leave over half the country stripped of their civil rights which would leave the economy at a low and unable to rise again .
1 Denazification After
Hitler had died there were 8 million Nazis remaining. The allies took it upon themselves to arrest all officers in the SS, Gestapo and party officials. This was done as quickly as possible to stop an uprising and others trying to follow Hitler’s lead. All Germans were given a test to undertake. There were 131 questions about their relationship with the Nazis. Each person was ranked from 1 to 5. Five being a resistance fighter and one being involved in the worst crimes. This made it easy to give out sentences appropriately, and not wrongly accusing someone or missing someone. As allies had taken control of Berlin if you hadn’t escaped earlier there was no chance of escaping now which meant you were forced to take the test. This revealed your true nature towards the Nazi party and you were punished accordingly.
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