Countries of Europe Series: Germany
Date: June 2006
Duration: 2 hours 40 minutes
Becoming Germany. Marauding Germanic tribes, in constant warfare, penetrating and then conquering the Roman Empire in 476 AD as it weakens and collapses. The Middle Ages, 1,000 year period of feudalism, a pyramidal structure of loyalty, with the king on the top. Stagnation of population and life. Christianity is its religion, with the Holy Roman Empire more concept than reality. German speaking principalities form alliances with England, France and Austria. (5.13.00) = Protestant Reformation. Martin Luther breaks away from the power of the popes in early 1500s. He is supported by the German princes for materialistic reasons. The masses rise up against the princes, are put down brutally. Brutal 30 Years War 1618 to 1648 between Catholics and Protestants, and its material destruction sets back the German people. (8.51.00) = The Enlightenment..1700s. New ways of looking at the world. Emphasis on science and education, religious tolerance. Frederick the Great of Prussia combines culture with militarism. (11.58.00) = The French Revolution's impact. The French monarchy is in control. The bourgeoisie rises and with it capitalism. European rulers are fearful of uprising of the lower classes, wage war against the French Revolution. (13.29.00) = Napoleon. The French army holds them off and Napoleon emerges. He wins major victories over the European powers, conquers and occupies Central Europe and Germanic Europe. Opposition to occupation includes German philosophic resistance and promotion of German nationalism and superiority. Napoleon is defeated in Russia, regroups, and is finally defeated at Waterloo. (18.17.00) = Congress of Vienna. in 1815 decides the future of Europe. England is a great industrial and naval power. The capitalism of the French Revolution is accepted, but future revolutions are opposed. (21.35.00) = Modern Germany. Prelude to a unified Germany. From the 1850s to 1870s Otto von Bismarck consolidates Prussia's power in a series of wars, results in a confederation of German states. The defeat of France in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-1871 brings mainly an expanded Prussia. (26.09.00) = United Germany. Kaiser Wilhelm II , king of Prussia, becomes Emperor of United Germany, dismisses Bismarck.
(28.32.00) = German industrial imperialism. Germany, with new technology, challenges and surpasses England by the early 20th century. England and other European powers retain their colonial empires, leaving Germany, the latecomer, dissatisfied in its capitalist quest for markets. Germanic Central Europe. Germany provides cultural leadership in music, literature, and science, reflecting the growing power of modern Germany.. (33.19.002) = Potential collision course with England. Alliance of England and France against Germany: the Entente Cordiale of 1904. It includes Russia to pin Germany in the middle. The Triple Alliance between Germany, Austro-Hungary, and Italy. Both sides arm to the teeth, ultimately leads to war (37.18.00) = World War I. The assassination of the Archduke Ferdinand in Sarajevo in 1914, and war is declared. Germany is prepared to fight on 2 fronts by following the von Schleiffen Plan: knock out France quickly and take on Russia later. The war is romanticized by young officers. The German advance is stopped 20 miles from Paris. (42.58.00) = Trench Warfare. It is now a war between the French trenches of the Maginot Line and the German trenches of the Siegfried Line. Enormous casualties on both sides caused mainly due to the new technology of the machine gun. The class attitude of officers who order suicidal attacks by lower class soldiers. After the slaughter Europe is never the same. (47.27.00) = The U.S. enters the war in 1917 after encounters with German submarine warfare, and public opinion turns against neutrality. American troops quickly move overseas. The German offensive of 1918 fails, their armies are pushed back to Germany, and the war ends November 11, 1918. The German Emperor abdicates and the Weimar Republic begins. Uprisings in Germany and elsewhere in Europe do not succeed, unlike the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia. (1.04.37.00) = The Treaty of Versailles. Despite President Wilson's positive vision, England and France enact a punitive treaty against Germany. Although all sides play a role leading up to the war, Germany is held to be solely responsible, with harsh reparations imposed. John Maynard Keynes sees the economic consequences of this as disastrous. (1.08.06.00 = The Rise of Fascism. Weimar Republic. Shaky democracy. Long history of autocracy in Germany and especially Prussia. Major left wing revolutionary parties emerge. Karl Marx and the Communist Manifesto. Long history of social legislation in Germany, predating some Western democracies. Strong Socialist Party calling for gradual evolution. Russian Bolshevik Revolution impact. Strong working class and disciplined Communist Party. (1.10.58.00) = The Nazi Party. Ultranationalist parties opposed to the Treaty of Versailles emerge in Germany. An attempted putsch in the 1920s by the Nazi Party led by Adolph Hitler fails. Hitler is given a light jail sentence where he writes "Mein Kampf," his blueprint for the future. There is considerable support for the Nazi Party from the bitterness and humiliation of the peace treaty. There is a huge world-wide inflation and the Great Depression in the 1930s, creating economic havoc. (1.16.07.00) = Fascism. . Started by Benito Mussolini in Italy who comes to power in 1927. Fascism is shared by Hitler and others. The concept of the all- powerful leader. Not just dictatorship but totalitarianism, total control. The image of the masses as undifferentiated and to be told what to do. The celebration of violence. Virility as a culture. Women are just for breeding. Racist ideology. Existing European anti-Semitism is greatly exploited by the Nazis, with disastrous consequences. (1.31.01.00) = Hitler in power. Hitler, charismatic, is elected chancellor in 1932. Rearming for war is a way out of the economic depression. Nazis crush the Communists, Socialists, and organized labor. His nationalistic appeal.
Nazi Germany. Jews in Germany They are 1% of the population at 600,000 out of 60 million Germans, are a noticeable minority in the arts, education, and in religious dress, and become a scapegoat for Hitler. 1933 begins an exclusion policy is launched against Jews in a series of steps. Attacks are organized against individuals and businesses culminating in Krystalnacht. Some Jews leave but many who are assimilated are slow to react. Efforts to leave to the U.S. are blocked by U.S. immigration laws. Mexico and Canada are more open. (4.17.00) = Fascism and other industrial countries. Fascism does not take hold because capitalists there feel more in control and do not need fascists to hold down threats from below. German industrial giants remain in partnership with the Nazis, making use of slave labor during the war. (6.25.00) = German gains in the 1930s. Hitler is not a madman but a skilled diplomat who gets the most from his enemies and also benefits from luck. (8.55.00) = Spanish Civil War. Francisco Franco rebels against the Spanish Republic. The Republic's request to buy arms from the Western allies is turned down for fear of supporting Communism. Germany supports the rebels who win. (11.05.00) = Prelude to World War II. . Hitler is emboldened, demands annexation of the Sudetenland, part of Czechoslovakia, which is acquiesced to by England and France. Later, Hitler takes over all of Czechoslovakia. (13.33.00) = 1939 Non-Aggression Pact. between Germany and Soviet Russia stuns the world. Poland is divided between them. (15.09.00) = World War II. Germany attacks Poland September 1, 1939, followed by the "Phony War" until the spring of 1940. World War II begins. (16.18.00) = Nazi appeal to the upper classes. Many share his values of a stable society favorable to capitalism, and his anti-Semitism. Although Winston Churchill is from the upper classes, he is fearful of Germany, now a powerful war machine. (17.39.00) = German control of Europe. Using blitzkrieg warfare Germany rapidly conquers Europe. France surrenders. (22.09.00) = The "Final Solution" There are 3 millions Jews in Poland. The Wannsee Conference decides to use technology, distribution resources, and the participation of many levels of people for a systematic wiping out of all Jews. (29.22.00) = The Holocaust. Denmark saves its 50,000 Jews by ferrying them to neutral Sweden. Although there are cases of individuals helping Jews, the rest of Europe fails to do so and often aids the Nazi effort. (30.42.00) = The death camps. Disguised to forestall panic. The experience of being rounded up, transported in boxcars, divided between healthy workers to slave labor camps and others to the gas chambers and crematoriums. The systematizing of killing of people and harvesting of body products. The meticulous records. The medical experiments. The daily violence. (37.55.00) = Banality of Evil." Adolph Eichmann's trial in Israel in 1960 reveals the Holocaust as a calm bureaucratic decision, and that ordinary people can do horrendous deeds under an authority which sanctions them for a high cause. (37.55.00) = The toll. 6 million Jews, 1/3 the world's population is murdered, plus 4 million other civilian murders of Communists, Socialists, Gypsies, homosexuals, and the disabled. The ultimate goal of fascism is death. (44.22.00) = The invasion of Russia in the summer of 1941. Germany's plan is to kill most Russians, enslave the rest. Stalin is caught off guard. The Germans push deep into Russia, coming close to Moscow. Leningrad is surrounded, starved, as Germans push south to the oil area. (46.34.00) = The tide turns. Stalingrad is the turning point in the winter of 1942-43. The winter cold and the Red Army take its toll on the German army which is defeated and almost wiped out. The Germans are pushed back out of East Europe into Germany. The D-Day invasion of Normandy June 6, 1944. German military leaders, as Germany is losing, attempt assassination of Hitler. It fails to kill him, there is a purge, and the war continues. Germany's last surprise offensive, the Battle of the Bulge, eventually fails. The end. In 1945, although the end is near and Germany is in rubble, Churchill decides to bomb Dresden. Hitler and others commit suicide in his Berlin bunker. Germany surrenders May, 1945. The Nazi era ends after 12 years of enormous destruction. (51.24.00) = Post-War Germany. German occupation. Germany is divided into the West Zone occupied by the Western powers, and the East Zone occupied by Russia, with Berlin divided into 4 zones, U.S., British, French, and Russian. The alliance between the East Zone and the USSR is not a Russian grab but is sanctioned by the Allies. The Cold War fixes the division. (53.55.00) = U.S. attitude. The Cold War begins at the end of World War II. The Nazis are seen as resource against Communist Russia, are helped to escape to Argentina and elsewhere, and are funded. (56.26.00) = East Germany has Stalinist form of government, resists reform seen elsewhere. Its economy develops and becomes a significant Communist power. (59.11.00) = West Germany rebuilds its economy more successfully than East Germany, becomes a bulwark against Russia and serves American business (similar to Hitler's time),. West German economy compared with U.S. U.S. economy is a capital intensive war economy whose weapons have no further social value. West Germany, free from military budgets, has a labor intensive economy adding to employment and further social value. Berlin Wall. The need to prevent people from leaving reflects the failure of the East German system. (1.06.52.00) = Response to the Holocaust. West Germany, East Germany and the U.S. all use ex-Nazis, especially for Cold War reasons. Many in West Germany take responsibility for the Nazi era, but there is also significant resistance in both East & West Germany, denying knowledge of and responsibility for it. The younger generation wants to examine it. (1.10.08.00) = Collapse of Communism in Russia and in Eastern Europe countries it controls. Reunification of Germany. Berlin Wall demolished. The economic gap between the former West Germany and East Germany causes West Germans to expend billions to upgrade East Germans. East Germans see it as a bitter pill. Germany becomes a world power and a key player in European affairs and markets. (1.13.18.00) = Relations with U.S. Germany remains part of the American alliance but is hostile to American actions in the Middle East. Neo-Nazi movement. Appealing to the lower middle class, it is a significant minority, but is held in check by the government. Anti-Semitism is a factor. Immigration. A great influx from poorer areas of the world. They keep wage scales low, are greatly misused, a situation shared with other countries (1.17.21.00) = Future. There is an attempt to revitalize the military, which will result in a war economy and all its consequences. Germany will continue to have a major role in Europe and the world.