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Section: Life in Nazi-controlled Europe

Life in Nazi-controlled Europe

A propaganda image of the Vienna boys' choir and Austrian children giving the Nazi salute during Adolf Hitler's first official visit to Austria after the Anschluss, 1938. The sign reads: 'We sing for Adolf Hitler!'
A propaganda image of the Vienna boys' choir and Austrian children giving the Nazi salute during Adolf Hitler's first official visit to Austria after the Anschluss, 1938. The sign reads: 'We sing for Adolf Hitler!' © 2011 United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

On 30 January 1933 Adolf Hitler was made Chancellor of Germany. A leading politician, Franz von Papen, had persuaded President Hindenburg that Hitler could be kept under control. He had boasted that: “in two months, we will have pushed Hitler so far into a corner that he squeaks”.

However, just one day after taking office, Hitler called for new elections to be held on 5 March 1933. Very soon after Hitler persuaded President Hindenburg to give him emergency powers that took away people’s rights. On 24 March 1933, the Reichstag passed an ‘Enabling law’, giving the Nazi party the power to make laws without parliamentary approval. The Nazis very quickly began a campaign of violence and terror against Communists and other opponents. Their campaign also involved banning opposition newspapers, leaflets and meetings.

The Nazis’ campaign also involved anti-communist and antisemitic propaganda, using the radio, newspapers, leaflets, rallies and all other methods at their disposal. The events of the first two years were only a hint of things to come. Once the Nazis had developed a series of policies and measures that enabled them to consolidate power over Germany, they would seek to aggressively impose control over much of mainland Europe.

Topics in this section

Controlling everyday life
Controlling everyday life
Jewish communities in Nazi Germany
Jewish communities in Nazi Germany
Nazi occupation
Nazi occupation
Nazi treatment of non-Jewish minorities
Nazi treatment of non-Jewish minorities
Ghettos: an overview
Ghettos: an overview
Lodz ghetto
Lodz ghetto
Warsaw ghetto
Warsaw ghetto
Theresienstadt
Theresienstadt
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What were the camps?

What were the camps?

What happened in February