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Question-1

Trace the events that led to the birth of the Weimar Republic.

Solution:
In the 20th century Germany was a powerful Empire. During the First World War Germany took up the cause of Austria against the Allies. Many countries joined the war hoping to gain something, without realizing the fact that the war would prolong and drain Europe of its resources. Though Germany made initial gains by occupying France and Belgium, the Allies became stronger when the US joined them in 1917 and defeated Germany and the Central Powers.

The defeat of Germany resulted in the abdication of the German Emperor. This gave an opportunity for the parliamentary parties to bring in a change, in German politics. A democratic constitution with a federal structure was formed by the National Assembly, which met at Weimar and the Weimar Republic came into existence.

Question-2

What was the out come of the Versailles treaty?

Solution:
At the end of the First World War, in which Germany lost, a peace treaty was signed at Versailles with the Allies. The Versailles treaty was harsh and humiliating, for the Germans. Germany lost its
* Over seas colonies
* One tenth of its population
* 13% of its territories
* 75% of its iron and
* 26% of its coal to France, Poland, Denmark and Lithuania.
The Allied powers demilitarized Germany to weaken its power.
The War Guild Clause held Germany responsible for the war and damages the Allied countries suffered.
Germany was forced to pay a compensation of £ 6 billion.

The Allied armies occupied the resource- rich Rhineland.

Question-3

What was the impact of the war on the European Society and politics?

Solution:
The impact of the war on the European Society was devastating. It affected the economic, social and political fibre of Europe.

The soldiers were placed above the civilians.

Politicians and publicists emphasized on the need for men to be aggressive, strong and masculine.

Trench life was glorified by the media though in actual practice the soldiers led a miserable life in the trench with rats feeding on the corpses and faced poisonous gas.

Though war and national honour was brought to the fore front, people were in support of the conservative dictatorship.

Due to the instabilities of war, European democracy could not survive, as it was a new idea.

Question-4

Write a short note on the Spartacist League.

Solution:
Germany had to pay war reparation after its defeat in the First World War. But Germany refused to pay the reparation and France occupied Ruhr to claim Germany’s coal. In retaliation Germany printed paper currency recklessly. As a result, the value of German mark collapsed and prices of goods soared.

In December 1923, 1 US dollar was equal to 98,860,000 marks. People had to carry a cart load of currency to buy a loaf of bread. This crisis is known as hyperinflation.

Question-5

What brought about the Great Economic Depression?

Solution:
There was some financial stability between 1924 and 1928. Short term loans from the USA helped industrial recovery in Germany. In 1929, when the Wall Street Exchange crushed, the US withdrew all the loans. People rushed in to sell their shares as they thought that the prices would go down drastically. It was said that on the 24th October alone about 13 million shares were sold. This brought about the Great Economic Depression.

The national income of the US fell by nearly 50% between 1929 and 1932. The factories were shut down, exports fell, farmers were affected badly and the speculators withdrew their money from the market. All these affected not only the US but the entire world.

Question-6

How did the Great Economic Depression affect Germany?

Solution:
As in the USA and the rest of the world, the Great Economic Depression had adverse effect on Germany and its people. The industrial production came down to less than 40% compared to 1929. 
Workers either lost their jobs or were paid less. 
About 6 million people were left without any employment. 
As jobs disappeared the youth took to criminal activities. 
Total despair, a deep anxiety and fear became common place in people.  
The saving of salaried people and the pensioners began to diminish when the value of money went down. 
Small businessmen, self employed and the retailers were ruined. 
Big business was not possible. 
The sharp fall in agricultural prices affected the peasants to a great extent. 

Women were in deep despair as they could not feed their children properly.

Question-7

What were the powers that were given to the Police Forces in the Nazi State?

Solution:
The newly organised Police Forces , in the Nazi State, were given so much powers that people could be detained in Gestapo torture chambers, they could be rounded up and sent to concentration camps, or be deported or arrested without any legal procedure. The police force could function with such unwieldy authority that the Nazi state was known as the most dreaded criminal state.

Question-8

What were Hitler’s Foreign Policies?

Solution:
Hitler’s Foreign Policies were a great success. He pulled out of the League of Nations in 1933. He reoccupied the Rhineland , which was confiscated by the French ,in 1936. In 1938 Hitler integrated Austria and Germany under the slogan, One people, One empire, and One leader.

He then captured the German-speaking Sudetenland from Czechoslovakia, and soon gobbled up the entire country.

In all of his foreign activities Hitler had the unspoken support of England, which had considered the Versailles verdict too harsh. These quick successes Hitler had at home and abroad reversed the destiny of the country.

Question-9

What was the historic blunder Hitler committed in 1941?

Solution:
In June 1941, Hitler attacked the Soviet Union. The German western front was exposed to British aerial bombing and the eastern front was crushed by the powerful Soviet Red Army at Stalingrad. Thus the Soviet established its leadership over entire Eastern Europe for the next 50 years. This was the historical blunder committed by Hitler.

Question-10

What was the reaction of the common people to Nazism?

Solution:
The common people reacted positively to Nazism. They saw the world through Nazi eyes and spoke their mind in the Nazi language. The common man felt anger and hatred when he saw the Jews. They marked the houses of the Jews and reported about suspicious neighbours.

They believed that Nazism would bring prosperity and general well-being.
A large majority of Germans were passive onlookers and were scared to differ or protest.

Question-11

What were the terms given by the Nazis when they wanted to convey the words ’kill’ or ‘murder in their official communications ?

Solution:
The Nazis used the wordsspecial treatment or final solution’ to convey mass killing of the Jews. The words , ‘selection or disinfection’ was used for the elimination of the disabled and to deport people to the Gas Chambers the Nazis used the word ‘evacuation’.

Gas Chambers were called ‘disinfection areas’. These chambers looked like a bath rooms with fake showerheads.

Question-12

How were women treated in Nazi Germany?

Solution:
Women in the Nazi Germany were treated as important citizens. Motherhood was glorified, but not all mothers were not treated equally. The women who bore desirable children were awarded. They were given favoured treatment in hospitals and concessions in theatres and shops. Those who bore undesirable children were condemned and punished severely.

Honour Crosses were given to women who produced more children. Women with 4 children were given a  Bronze cross, women with 5 were given a Silver cross , while women who bore 8 children and more were given a Gold cross.

Aryan women who deviated from the given code of conduct were severely punished .

Question-13

What was expected of the youth in Nazi Germany?

Solution:
All the young men above the age of 18 years were expected to serve in the armed forces and enter one of the Nazi organisations.

At the tender age of 10 they had to join ‘Jungvolk’ – Nazi youth groups for children below 14 years of age. At 14 years of age they enrolled in the Nazi Youth Organisation called ‘Hitler Youth’.

The German youth were educated in the spirit of National Socialism by these youth organisations. They were taught to worship war, glorify aggression and violence , condemn democracy , hate Jews, communists, gypsies and all those who were called ‘undesirable’.

Question-14

Why did the Nazis hate the Jews?

Solution:
Traditionally the Jews were considered as the killers of Jesus Christ. It was this traditional hostility and the fact that were basically money lenders charging excessive interest that made the Nazis hate the Jews.

Question-15

Why did the German Mark collapse?

Solution:
Germany had to pay war reparation after its defeat in the First World War. But Germany refused to pay the reparation and France occupied Ruhr to claim Germany’s coal. In retaliation Germany printed paper currency recklessly. As a result, the value of German mark collapsed and prices of goods soared. 

In December 1923, 1 US dollar was equal to 98,860,000 marks. People had to carry a cart load of currency to buy a loaf of bread. This crisis is known as hyperinflation.

 




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