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Nazi Rule in Germany 
1933 - 1945

2 Reichsmark 1937
2 Reichsmark 1937

Historical background 
of collectible items
issued during the German Nazi Rule


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History - Nazi Rule in Germany 1933 - 1945

One of the worst times in German and World history

1918 - 1933 The time before Nazi Rule

Kaiser Wilhelm II
Wilhelm II

The German Empire lost 1918 World War I. 
The German Emperor Wilhelm II abdicted and Germany adopted a democratic constitution, as did most of the other states restored or created after the war. 

The peace treaty of Versailles 1919 condemned Germany to pay high reparations. These were payments for war damages caused by Germany and its allies. The Treaty said that Germany was the main responsible country for the begining of World War I. Germany lost also large parts of its country like West Prussia, North Slesvig, the corridore to East Prussia, Danzig, Eupen and Malmedy, parts of Oberschlesien, Memel and so on.
Most Germans were angry about this Treaty. So this was not a good startup for the young german demoracy known as the Weimarer Republic. This not stable Republic went from one crisis to crisis.

In the 1920s in Europe the wave of the future appeared to be a form of nationalistic, militaristic totalitarianism known by its Italian name, fascism. Benito Mussolini established the first Fascist dictatorship in Italy in 1922.
A lot of European states followed with a nationalistic, militaristic totalitarianism governments:
1922 Turkey, 1926 Poland, 1926 Portugal, 1929 Yugoslavia, 1933 Germany, 1933 Austria, 1934 Bulgaria, 1934 Estonia and Lettland, 1936 Lietuva, 1936 Spain, 1936 Greece,  1938 Romania.

Mussolini & Hitler
Mussolini and  Hitler 1941

One of Mussolini's fans, Adolf Hitler, the Führer ("leader") of the German National Socialist Worker's Party (NSDAP = National Sozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei), preached a racist brand of fascism. Hitler promised to overturn the Versailles Treaty. He also wanted to secure additional Lebensraum ("living space") for the German people in the Eastern parts of Europe. 

He said that members of the German race are members of a superior race which should fight against inferior races. After winning of war the German superior race should rule over all inferior races which should be their slaves. 

It is hard to believe that anyone could believe in such a nonsense but there are still in present days persons who still believe in such things...

In the early 1930s, the depression and a high unemployment hit Germany. The moderate parties could not agree on what to do about it, and large numbers of voters turned to the Nazis and Communists. 
Since 1930 the german president operated the government by emergency decree. The first German chancellor of this period was Brüning who ruled Germany 1930 - 1932. He was followed by von Papen's "cabinett of barons" and at last by Kurt von Schleicher.

1933 - 1939

In 1933 Hitler became the German chancellor with the help of the former nationalist chancellor von Papen and the agreement of the very old German nationlist president General Feldmarschall von Hindenburg who had been the most famous general of World War I. 
Only a few months later Hitler was the dictator of Germany who ruled Germany alone and had banned all political parties except his own NSDAP. By the summer of 1933, the Nazi Party was in complete control of the country.

This was the startup of one of the worst times of German and World history. Under the rule of the tyrant Hitler and his followers millions of people lost their live in war. The Nazis also slaughtered millions of Jews, Sinti and Roma (Gypsies), Slavic peoples, and many others, all of whom they considered inferior or didn't agree to national socialist ideology. This period changed the World completely, brought the communists into the middle of Europe and formed the post World War II main powers USA and USSR.

President von Hindenburg

1934 died von Hindenburg the president and the last mighty german person who was not a Nazi. Hitler was now president and chancellor in one person. He was called The Leader (Führer) of the German Third Empire.

"Ein Volk, Ein Reich, Ein Führer"

One of the Nazi propaganda slogans was: " Ein Volk, Ein Reich, Ein Führer = One Nation, One Empire, One Leader". 

A few weeks before Hindenburg's death the leader of Nazi organization SA (Sturmabteilung) and some other people who would have become dangerous for Hitler's lonely rule were killed. This episode was called "Röhm Putsch". Hitler could now rule Germany without any competitor. 
In the 1930s Hitler and his Nazis were very successful solving some problems and conquer the whole life of Germany with their ideology. 
They overturned the Versailles Treaty. They solved the problem of unemployment. Existing social, economic, and professional organizations were quickly taken over by individuals either already in the party or who would quickly join it. For the most part, leaders of Germany's Protestant and Catholic churches rallied to the new government. Schools taught their Nazi ideology and filled German youth with enthusiasm.

Domestic Policy

One of the great successes of the Nazis was that they solved the problem of unemployment. They solved this problem with smaller wages, building of highways, unification of all labor unions under the German Labor Front under Nazi controll and with the process of German rearmament.
The economy, the media, and all cultural activities were brought under the authority of National Socialists. 1933 all books of anti-Nazis and jewish authors were burnt. Thousands of very important persons of cultural life and science left Germany. Some of these very important scientists helped some years later the USA to bulid the atom bomb. Thousands of anti-Nazis were taken to concentration camps and all signs of dissent were suppressed.
It was also a great triumph for the Nazis to celebrate 1936 the Olympic Games in Berlin.

The first discriminatory laws against Jews came in 1933. These laws barred Jews from government employment and restricted their admission to universities. In subsequent years, the anti-Semitic laws became increasingly harsh. At the end the Jews were rightless and nearly all was forbidden for them. So they didn't have the right to own pets, drive a car or to use the train.
These events culminated in Kristallnacht (the "Night of Broken Glass"), the night of November 9, 1938, when Nazi mobs killed dozens of Jews, smashed thousands of windows in Jewish neighborhoods, and set fire to almost all Jewish houses of worship throughout Germany. Following Kristallnacht, the Nazis sent more and more Jews to concentration camps. Hundreds of thousands of others fled the country.
Also 1938 Hitler got the German army totally under his control. The military minister Blomberg and the chief of the German army von Fritsch had to resign after Nazi intrigues.

Foreign Affairs

Starting in 1933, Hitler began the process of German rearmament and militarization.
The Nazis introduced 1935 universal compulsary military service. One year later the German Army (Wehrmacht) marched into the german not militarized zone left of the river Rhine. 
The reaction of France and Great Britain was very low. If the response of the France would have been a military response then the small German army would have retreated within a few hours. This would perhaps have caused the end of the German Nazi rule. This low reaction was the greatest mistake of the Eurpoean democracies. Hitler told later these hours his most exciting hours of his whole life.
1936 Hitler formed a Military Alliance with Mussolini's facism Italy called the Axis. In 1940 the Rome-Berlin Axis was extended to include Japan and became the Rome-Berlin-Tokyo Axis.

Annex of Austria 1938

By 1937 Hitler was openly threatening the Austrian government and massing troops along the Austrian border. In March 1938 the Austrian Schuschnigg chancellor and dictator resigned and was replaced by the member of the Austrian Nazi Party Seyss Inquart. On March 12, Hitler ordered his army to march into Austria. They met no resistance, and the following day in Vienna, Hitler proclaimed the official union of Austria and Germany.

Annex of Sudetenland, Böhmen & Mähren, Memel 1938 / 1939

Annexion of Sudetenland

The Munich Pact in September 1938 signed by Germany, Italy, France and Great Britain allowed Germany to annex the Czech Sudetenland where lived a sizeable ethnic German population.France and Great Britain didn't want a war at this time so they signed this pact. Hitler had warned before to start a war with Czechoslovakia because he portrayed ethnic Germans in Czechoslovakia as victims of repression and discrimination at the hands of the Czechs.

Böhmen und Mähren
Protektoriat Böhmen und Mähren

Germany's broke the Munich Pact by occupying the Czech part of Czechoslovakia in March 1939.
The western part of Czechoslovakia became the German protectoriate Böhmen und Mähren and the eastern Slovakia became an independant satellite state of Germany.

"Memelland ist frei"

The formerly-German region of Memel, which had been ceded to
Lithuania after World War I, was also annexed in March 1939.

Threats against Poland

Also in March 1939 Hitler demanded an exterritorial connection between the German East Prussia and the German Empire. Both parts of Germany were seperated by a corridore which was part of Poland.
The Poles didn't accept this and were unwilling to surrender without a fight.
The Nazis now portrayed ethnic Germans in Poland like a year before in Czechoslovakia as victims of repression and discrimination at the hands of the Polands. 
Britains and French said they would declare Germany war if it would attack Poland. 
So German diplomacy made a deal with Stalin's USSR. The USSR had only to remain neutral in case of a German conflict with another nation. Both planed also to split eastern Europe between Germany and the USSR. This treaty was signed on August 23, 1939.
Now the Nazis had free hands to attack Poland.

1939 - 1941 Begin of World War II - The Blitzkrieg

Occupation of Poland 1939

Stamp of  German occupied Poland 
called General Gouvernement

On Hitler's orders, the invasion of Poland began in the morning of September 1, 1939 without any declaration of war. Only three days later Britain and France declared war on Germany. World War II had begun. 
The modern german army with independent acting tanks and an very active air force conquered Poland within only four weeks. The antiquated Polish army had no chance. Poland surrendered on September 27, 1939.

France made during this time only some small symbolic attacks at the German west front.
The war between France and Germany felt nearly asleep for months after the occupation of Poland.

Occupation of  Denmark and Norway 1940

In spring 1940 the German army occupied Denmark and Norway. Britain planed also an action against Norway because it was of so large strategic importance. But Germany was faster than Britain.
British troops also invaded Norway a few days after German invasion but were defeated by german troops.

Occupation of  Netherlands, Luxembourg, Belgium and France 1940 - The greatest victory of the German army

On May 10, 1940 the German troops started the invasion of France and the neutral countries Netherlands, Luxembourg  and Belgium. Netherlands had to surrender after only five days. 

Belgish stamp issued 1943 during German occupation

Now followed a Blitzkireg against Belgium, France and British troops in France and Belgium. France, Britain and Belgium had much more troops, air planes and tanks but Germany's modern army was much better organized and they used a better strategy.

The best German tanks made an attack through the difficult passable Ardennes. The Allies didn't think that there could be made a tank attack. After the Germans tanks had passed the Ardennes they advanced very fast to the Channel Coast. Now all allied troops with hundred of thousands soldiers north of this attack were encircled. They withdrawed to Dunkerque. The British Navy rescued with much effort large parts of this troops. They evacuated them to Britain with each ship they could get. But Germany had won this campaign. The Germans conquered in the following weeks French capital Paris and the most part of France until France surrendered on June 22.

On June 10 Italy declared war to France and Britain. Now Italy was partner of Germany in this cruel war.

War in Africa 1940 / 1941

Hitler and Mussolini on a stamp of Italian Lybia

Italy had colonies in Africa with borders to British African colonies. So the war was brought to Africa. Fights started in East Africa between the Italian colony Ethopia / Somalia and the British colonies Sudan and British Somali Land. Italy had to surrender against British troops in East Africa at the end of 1941.
The second African war took place in North Africa between Italian Lybia and British protected Egypt.

Until February 1941 British troops could conquer large parts of Lybia. But then the German "Afrikakorps" a small modern army with a lot of tanks helped Italy. The general of the Afrikakorps was the famous German general Erwin Rommel also known as "Wüstenfuchs". The Aftrikakorps attacked the British army and advanced very fast to the border of Egypt where the British army stopped them.

German Air Attack against Britain 1940 /1941

Lord Dowding with a Hurricane
British stamp, issued 1986

Before Germany could invade Great Britain they had to defeat the British Royal Air Force. But Germany lost this battle with a lot of casualities.
The skilful British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who said  as he started as Prime Minister "I have nothing to offer than blood, sweat an tears" tempted the German Air Force to bomb civil targets in London and not air places of the British Air Force.

First German air planes bombed these air places. This became very dangerous for the Royal Air Force (RAF) . It was the idea of Churchill to bomb civil targets of the german capital Berlin. This was not very effective and Britain lost a lot of bombers but Hitler was silly enough to become so angry about this that he ordered to attack civil targets in London. So got the RAF the breather that it needed so much and won this battle in the end.

At the end of 1940 Hitler stopped his plans of invasion of the British islands. His next target was Russia.
But Italy attacked Greece..

Occupation of  Yugoslavia and Greece 1941

At the end of 1940 Mussolini wanted to imitate the so successful attacks of Germany. Since 1939 Albania was part of Italy. Mussolini wanted to annex parts of Greece. So he declared war to Greece and attacked Greece with his army. But the Greece army repulsed and conquered large parts of Albania.
The Britains began now to support Greece. This became dangerous for the Romanian oil resources which were needed so much by Germany. So Hitler decided to attack Greece in spring 1941.

Stamp issued by German occupied Serbia which was a state of Yugoslavia
The South Eastern European states Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania agreed to support Germany in this war against Greece.
But a pro British coup in Yugoslavia in March 1941 changed the situation. 
Now Germany had to attack Yugoslavia and Greece. Germany started with the help of Italy and the other allies again a Blitzkrieg and occupied Yugoslavia within a few days and Greece only after a few weeks.

War against the USSR 1941

Be continued...

1942 German Nazis on the Height of their Might and the Change

Be continued...

1943 - 1944 The big Defeats of Germany and the Cruelties of Holocaust

Be continued...

1945 The end of World War II and a new Begin

Be continued...


Gallery of German banknotes issued during German Nazi Rule

5 Reichsmark issued 1942
100 Reichsmark issued 1935 - 1945
10 Reichsmark issued by the German Army during war
10 Kronen. 
Issued in German protectoriate Böhmen & Mähren (part of Czechoslovakia)



Gallery of German coins issued during German Nazi Rule

5 Reichspfennig 1939
10 Reichspfennig 1938
1 Reichspfennig 1941, zinc
Issued during World War II
50 Reichspfennig 1940, aluminium
The former nickel 50 Pfennig coins were melted for military economy
2 Reichsmark 1937
Potrait of President von Hindenburg
20 Mark issued in the Jewish Ghetto Litzmannstadt (Lodz) in german occupied Poland


Gallery of German stamps issued during German Nazi Rule

12 Reichspfennig with president Hindenburg , issued 1933/36
12 Reichspfennig with Hitler , issued 1942
Mussolini & Hitler , issued 1941
40 Reichspfennig, issued 1943
15 Reichspfennig, issued 1944


Adolf Hitler in WIKIPEDIA Information about Hitler in WIKIPEDIA
World War II Information about WWII in WIKIPEDIA


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