Hershel Grynszpan was a Polish Jew living in Paris in 1938. Angered by the limbo that his family was caught in after being deported by Nazi Germany but not allowed to re-emigrate to Poland, he murdered Ernst vom Rath, a low-level official in the German Embassy in Paris. Goebbels used this as the pretext for the looting and riots that we now know as Kristallnacht.
Saturday, December 28, 2013
Kristallnacht means "Night of the Broken Glass." This is a very literal naming of the horrific Nazi pogrom (which is Yiddish for destruction) against Jews on November 9, 1938. Synagogues were burned, German and Austrian Jewish businesses destroyed and looted and tens of thousands of German and Austrian Jewish men were arrested.
Thursday, December 26, 2013
In the midst of the controversy surrounding the Sudetenland, a military coup fomented. Led by Abwehr (German Military Intelligence) leadership (Canaris and Oster), members of the German army sought to use the outbreak of war as the opportunity to oust Hitler and the Nazis. They knew that the vast majority of the Generals did not want war and would support a coup if it meant the avoidance of war. However, when Chamberlain negotiated "peace in our time," the leaders of the coup lost their impetus for removing Hitler from power. It is interesting to think about what might have happened if Chamberlain had opposed Hitler, leading to a declaration of war, leading to a military coup within Nazi Germany in 1938.
Monday, December 23, 2013
The Czechoslovakian government vehemently opposed part of their country being annexed by the Germans. However, the decision was ultimately made without their opinion or even presence. The Prime Minister of Great Britain Neville Chamberlain called for a conference which was held in Munich. The Munich Agreement allowed Nazi Germany to annex the Sudetenland, and Hitler solemnly promised that he would not take any further aggressive action against Czechoslovakia. The President of Czechoslovakia Edvard Benes was not invited to the Munich Conference and had no say in the "Agreement" which gave away a huge portion of his country. The pic is of Chamberlain and Hitler.
Saturday, December 21, 2013
The international community did not find the annexation of Austria particularly troublesome. There was, however, quite a bit of controversy surrounding the German-speaking region of Czechoslovakia known as the Sudetenland. Persecution of these "ethnic Germans" was the pretext Hitler used for desiring/scheming to annex this region.
Thursday, December 19, 2013
In the spring of 1938, Austria held a plebiscite which resulted in being annexed by Nazi Germany. While it's true that the Nazi Party bullied its way in to power in Austria, it is also true that most Austrians saw themselves as German. Austria and Germany had long been a part of the same empire up until the Treaty of Versailles. For the most part, the annexation was met with elation among Austrians as seen in the picture.
Monday, December 16, 2013
According to the Treaty of Versailles, Germany was only allowed to maintain a small defensive army. Hitler, along with most Germans, found this provision of the Treaty unacceptable. He almost immediately set out to rebuild the German Army without any meaningful objections from other European powers.
Saturday, December 14, 2013
Hitler preached that Germany needed more lebensraum, "Living Space." He claimed that Germany was way too crowded. He used this doctrine of lebensraum to re-militarize the Rhineland (an area of Germany that had been demilitarized after WWI at the insistence of the French) in 1936. This was the first aggressive act of Nazi Germany.
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Two characters in Slow Boil, the Bloebaums, serve in part to illustrate the Nazi devaluing of human life. Joseph Goebbels, Minister of Propaganda, introduced the concept of "worthless eaters" to the German people. The poster below powerfully illustrates the idea of the strong German Aryan having to support others who are not making a "worthwhile" contribution to the Volk (the German word for people the Nazis effectively employed to convey the idea of a simple, pure German society). The poster also effectively dehumanizes the individuals being supported.
Sunday, December 8, 2013
Joseph Goebbels was the Minister of Propaganda for the Nazi regime. He was really gifted at his job; he understood the power of constant bombardment of false information. He introduced the concept of "total war" to the Germans advocating that every- literally every- German fight to the death rather than surrender. In his own warped way, he seemed to really believe this; he and his wife killed their six children before taking their own lives at the end of World War II in May 1945.
Friday, December 6, 2013
For many years my church utilized dramas and sketches during worship services and other special events. During that time I was frequently given the opportunity to write some of these. I loved it! I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to develop and hone my writing skills. I especially loved creating, writing and developing dramas with my friend Julie. She is insanely creative! We have so much fun working together! Here's a pic of us- in character.
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
The Nazis really were obsessed with physical fitness. They attached physical abilities to mental faculties believing that the latter could not exist without the former. The Nazi Party also opposed "unnecessary" education, so they attached strenuous physical tests to the normal high school and university academic requirements. None of those in top Nazi leadership (with the exception of perhaps Reinhard Heydrich) would have lived up to their own ideals of physical prowess.