User:TRAJAN 117/Greater German Reich

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Greater German Reich
Großdeutsches Reich
National Insignia
National Insignia
Ein Volk, Ein Reich, Ein Führer
"One People, One Reich, One Leader"
"Song of Germany"

Party anthem
The Greater German Reich in 1942.
Capital Berlin
Languages German
Religion Protestant
Government Totalitarian Dictatorship
President / Führer
 •  1933–1934 Paul von Hindenburg
 •  1934–1945 Adolf Hitlera
 •  1945 Karl Dönitz
 •  1933–1945 Adolf Hitler
 •  1945 Joseph Goebbels
 •  1945 Johann von Krosigkb
Legislature Reichstag
 •  Imperial Council Reichsrat
Historical era Interwar Period / WWII
 •  Machtergreifung 30 January 1933
 •  Gleichschaltung 27 February 1933
 •  Enabling Act 23 March 1933
 •  World War II 01 September 1939
 •  Death of Adolf Hitler 30 April 1945
 •  Instrument of Surrender 08 May 1945
 •  1942 696,265 km2 (268,829 sq mi)
 •  1942 est.[1] 72,620,000 
     Density 104/km2 (270/sq mi)
Currency German Reichsmark
Preceded by
User:TRAJAN 117/German Reich (1919–1933)
^a Adolf Hitler titled himself "Führer und Reichskanzler".
^b Johann von Krosigk used the title of "Leading Minister".

The Greater German Reich (German: Großdeutsches Reich), was the official name for Germany[2] while governed by Adolf Hitler and the NSDAP from 1933 to 1945. The common name; Third Reich (German: Drittes Reich) denotes the German state as a historical successor to the Holy Roman Empire (Erstes Reich), and the German Empire (Zweites Reich).


On 30 January 1933, Adolf Hitler legally became Chancellor of Germany, appointed by Paul von Hindenburg. Although he initially headed a coalition government, he quickly made Hindenburg a figurehead and eliminated his non-party partners. The regime restored economic prosperity and ended mass unemployment using heavy military spending while suppressing labor unions and strikes. The return of prosperity gave the regime enormous popularity, and no serious opposition ever emerged to serve as a challenge to its rule, apart from the 20 July Plot in 1944. The Gestapo (secret state police) under Heinrich Himmler destroyed the Liberal, Socialist and Communist opposition and persecuted the Jews, attempting to force them into exile while taking their property. The Party took control of the courts, local government, and all civic organisations except the Protestant and Catholic Churches.[3] All expressions of public opinion were controlled by Hitler's propaganda minister, Joseph Goebbels, who made effective use of film, mass rallies, and Hitler's hypnotic speaking.[4] The German state idolised Hitler as its Führer ("Leader"), centralising all power in his hands. National Socialist propaganda was centred on Hitler and was quite effective in creating what historians call the "Hitler Myth" – that Hitler was all-wise and that any mistakes or failures by others would be corrected when brought to his attention. In reality, Hitler had a narrow range of interests and decision-making was diffused among overlapping, feuding power centres; on some issues he was passive, simply assenting to pressures from whoever had his ear. All top officials still reported to Hitler and followed his basic policies, but they had considerable autonomy on a daily basis.[5]

Hitler's foreign policy during the 1930s used a diplomatic strategy of making seemingly reasonable demands, threatening war if they were not met. When opponents tried to appease him, he accepted the gains that were offered, then moved on to his next goal. This aggressive strategy worked as Germany pulled out of the League of Nations (1933), rejected the Treaty of Versailles and began to rearm it's military (1935), won back the Saarland (1935), remilitarised the Rhineland (1936), formed an alliance ("axis") with Benito Mussolini's Italy (1936), sent massive military aid to Francisco Franco in the Spanish Civil War (1936–1939), annexed Austria in the Anschluss (1938), annexed portions of Czechoslovakia after the British and French appeasement of the Munich Agreement of 1938, formed a peace pact with the Soviet Union (Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact) in August 1939, and finally invaded Poland in September 1939. Great Britain and France declared war, resulting in the start of World War II – somewhat sooner than the Germans had prepared for or expected.[6][7]

During the war, Germany conquered or controlled most of Europe and Northern Africa, intending to establish a "New Order" in Europe and elsewhere of complete German hegemony and its elevation to superpower status, but its ultimate intention was total German mastery of the entire world and a world government under German control.[8] The Germans also persecuted and killed millions of Jews, Poles, Romani and others deemed racially inferior in the Final Solution (now known as The Holocaust). Despite its Axis alliance with other nations, mainly Italy and Japan, by 08 May 1945 Germany had been defeated by the Allied Powers, and was occupied by the Soviet Union, the United States, Great Britain and France.


The German national borders in 1933 were those mapped out by the victors in World War I, at the Treaty of Versailles (1919). To the north, Germany was bounded by the North Sea, Denmark, and the Baltic Sea; to the east, it was divided into two and bordered Lithuania, Danzig, Poland, and Czechoslovakia; to the south, it bordered Austria and Switzerland, and to the west, it bordered France, Luxembourg, Belgium, the Netherlands, and the Saarland. These borders changed after Germany regained control of the Saarland, turned itself into a Greater Germany by annexing Austria, and also gained control of the Sudetenland, the remainder of Bohemia and Moravia, and the Memel Territory before the war. Germany expanded further by annexing even more territory during World War II, which began on 01 September 1939.


  1. ^ Demographics of Germany, Jan Lahmeyer. Retrieved on 22 December 2013.
  2. ^ Reich is difficult to translate into English; often rendered as "empire" or "nation", the closest English term is perhaps "realm". Whereas explicit references to the German Empire, incorporating the words Kaiser ("emperor") or Kaiserliche ("imperial"), disappeared in 1919, Deutsches Reich, from 1943 Großdeutsches Reich (~"German Realm", "Greater German Realm" or "Nation"), remained in use until 1945.
  3. ^ Evans, Richard J. The Third Reich in Power (2005) Ch. 1.
  4. ^ Albert Speer asked "why was I willing to abide by the almost hypnotic impression Hitler's speech had made upon me?"; Inside the Third Reich: Memoirs (1980) p. 19. William L. Shirer, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: a History of Nazi Germany (1960) makes the hypnotic point four times (pp. 109, 371, 840, 1039). Correlli Barnett states "Hitler too possessed until the end a similar hypnotic power of personality which enabled him to brain-wash the sceptical and disillusioned" Hitler's Generals (1989) p. 2.
  5. ^ Kershaw, Ian. The "Hitler Myth": Image and Reality in the Third Reich (2001) p. 253.
  6. ^ Leitz, Christian (2004). Nazi Foreign Policy, 1933–1941: the Road to Global War
  7. ^ Flynn, Matthew J. First Strike: Preemptive War in Modern History (2008) p. 105.
  8. ^ Haffner, Sebastian (1979). The Meaning of Hitler. Macmillan Publishing Company Inc., p. 100.