Neville Chamberlain was prime minister of the United Kingdom from 1937 to 1940. He is best known for his role in the Munich Agreement of 1938 which ceded parts of Czechoslovakia to Hitler and is now the most popular example of the foreign policy known as appeasement.
In 1918, Germany transitioned from a semi-authoritarian empire to the Weimar Republic, a democracy that protected individual rights and limited police power. During the Weimar Republic, police struggled to respond to a rise in crime, political violence, and high unemployment. The Nazis promised to fix these problems, which helped policemen to eventually accept the new Nazi regime in 1933.
As Allied troops moved across Europe in a series of offensives against Nazi Germany, they found tens of thousands of concentration camp prisoners in deplorable conditions. Malnutrition and disease were rampant, and corpses lay unburied. The soldiers reacted in shock and disbelief to the evidence of Nazi atrocities. In addition to burying the dead, the Allied forces attempted to help and comfort the survivors with food, clothing and medical assistance.
Field Marshal Paul von Hindenburg was a German general who gained renown during World War I and later as President of the Weimar Republic. He is most relevant to Holocaust history through his dealings with Adolf Hitler. Although he did not approve of Hitler or his politics, Hindenburg became the man who made him Chancellor of Germany, enabling the Nazis’ takeover of power.
The “Great Depression” is the term used for a severe economic recession which began in the United States in 1929. It had far-reaching effects around the globe, especially in Europe. Many factors, including World War I and its aftermath, set the stage for this economic disaster.
Adolf Hitler was the undisputed leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party—known as Nazis—since 1921. In 1923, he was arrested and imprisoned for trying to overthrow the German government. His trial brought him fame and followers. He used the subsequent jail time to dictate his political ideas in a book, Mein Kampf—My Struggle. Hitler’s ideological goals included territorial expansion, consolidation of a racially pure state, and elimination of the European Jews and other perceived enemies of Germany.
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