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Germany

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Index
  1. Germany Main Page
  2. The Rise of Bismarck and the Birth of the Second German Reich
  3. Adolf Hitler and WWII
  4. Post-War Germany Is Disarmed, Demilitarized, and Divided
  5. Federal Republic of Germany
  6. Democratic Republic of Germany
  7. Berlin Wall Falls, Germany Reunifies
  8. Centrist Gerhard Schroder Elected Chancellor
  9. Germany's Unemployment Rate Reaches 12%
  10. Germany Takes Major Role in Managing Euro Debt Crisis
  11. New Island Emerges Off the Coast
  12. Merkel Elected to a Third Term; Spying Scandals Sour Relationship with U.S.
Adolf Hitler and WWII

Adolf Hitler, an Austrian war veteran and a fanatical nationalist, fanned discontent by promising a Greater Germany, abrogation of the Treaty of Versailles, restoration of Germany's lost colonies, and the destruction of the Jews, whom he scapegoated as the reason for Germany's downfall and depressed economy. When the Social Democrats and the Communists refused to combine against the Nazi threat, President von Hindenburg made Hitler the chancellor on Jan. 30, 1933. With the death of von Hindenburg on Aug. 2, 1934, Hitler repudiated the Treaty of Versailles and began full-scale rearmament. In 1935, he withdrew Germany from the League of Nations, and the next year he reoccupied the Rhineland and signed the Anti-Comintern pact with Japan, at the same time strengthening relations with Italy. Austria was annexed in March 1938. By the Munich agreement in Sept. 1938, he gained the Czech Sudetenland, and in violation of this agreement he completed the dismemberment of Czechoslovakia in March 1939. His invasion of Poland on Sept. 1, 1939, precipitated World War II.

Hitler established death camps to carry out “the final solution to the Jewish question.” By the end of the war, Hitler's Holocaust had killed 6 million Jews, as well as Gypsies, homosexuals, Communists, the handicapped, and others not fitting the Aryan ideal. After some dazzling initial successes in 1939–1942, Germany surrendered unconditionally to Allied and Soviet military commanders on May 8, 1945. On June 5 the four-nation Allied Control Council became the de facto government of Germany.

(For details of World War II and of the Holocaust, see Headline History, World War II .)

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