Although the Nazi regime spanned from 1933 to 1945 and within that time numerous atrocities were committed, there are some key events which shaped the regime as a whole.
Under the rule of Hitler, Germany saw a transformation into a totalitarian state which controlled its people’s lives in pretty much every aspect. This was able to happen through the Gleichschaltung legal process. The official name of the state as it was then, translates to the German Reich. This was the case until 1943 when the name shifted to the Greater German Reich until 1945. You may also have heard it referred to as the Third Reich, meaning the Third Empire.
In this guide, we are going to be looking at a timeline of the key events of the Nazi regime, all of which worked to promote evil and the genocide of millions of people across occupied Europe.
9th of November 1918
The abdication of Kaiser Wilhelm. The Weimar Republic declared and take his place.
28th of June 1919
The Treaty of Versailles is signed by the “big three” and Germany.
- David Lloyd George – British Prime Minister
- Georges Clemenceau – French Prime Minister
- Woodrow Wilson – President of the United States of America
All having different aims, there was much discussion as to how to deal with the Germans after World War I.
Georges Clemenceau wanted revenge and to do this, he believed that the treaty had to be designed in order to weaken Germany so much so that they would never have the power to start another war.
Woodrow Wilson had a different approach. He did not want the allies to seem cruel towards the general German population as he believed this would invite cause for war. Many historians believe his approach to less harsh because the USA was more detached from the effects of the war than that of Britain or France.
Llyod George wanted a middle ground. He did not wish to unsettle Germany too much as to trigger a revenge war, but he also felt they should be reparations for war damages to all Britain and France to help rebuild the cities which were destroyed. In short, he wanted justice rather than revenge.
5th of January 1919
German Workers’ Party was formed.
12th of September 1919
Adolf Hitler was sent by the German Army to spy on the German Workers’ Party. During his time spying, he found that he connected with their political ideas so much so that he became a member.
24th February 1919
German Workers’ Party changes their name to National Socialist German Workers’ Party, Nazi for short.
29th of July 1921
Adolf Hitler became the leader of the Nazi Party with the title Führer.
8th of November 1923
The Munich Putsch. Hitler and the Nazis fail at an attempt to overgrow the Bavarian government. He was asserted and charged with treason. He was later sentenced to prison for 5 years, but only served 10 months. During this time, he wrote Mein Kampf.
4th of July 1926
Hitler Youth formed.
The Great Depression hit and many Germans faced unemployment and poverty. As a result, the Nazi party saw a surge in popularity and membership.
In September 1930, the Nazis gained 18.3% of the vote in the Reichstag election to become the second largest party and growing.
Nazis gain 37.4% of the vote, becoming the largest party.
30th of January 1933
Hitler appointed Chancellor of Germany by President Hindenburg. Only a few days later, Hitler drew up the Nazi foreign policy which focussed on securing lebensraum (living space) for the German “master race”.
27th February 1933
The Reichstag Fire, which broke out at the Reichstag building as was blamed on the Communist party. As a result, they were banned which gave the Nazis a clear majority in government. Many historians believe this to have been a set up due to overwhelming amounts of evidence.
26th of April 1933
The Gestapo, the Nazi secret police, formed.
10th of May 1933
25,000 ‘un-German’ books burned as an act of Propaganda.
14th of July 1933
All political parties, bar the Nazis, banned.
24th of August 1934
President Hindenburg dies, Hitler takes a combined post of President and Chancellor.
Conscription introduced for boys & men.
15th of September 1935
Nuremberg Laws drawn up to define German Citizenship. Relationships between Aryans and Jews outlawed.
7th March 1936
The re-occupation of the Rhineland, despite this going against the Treaty of Versailles.
Hitler Youth membership made compulsory for all boys.
30th of September 1938
Munich Agreement. The Allies agreed that Germany could have the Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia in return for peace.
Kristallnacht or “the night of broken glass”. This was where Jewish shops, businesses and synagogues were destroyed. Following this, the Jewish population faced a fine for the destruction.
31st of March 1939
Britain released a statement that guaranteed Polish independence. If Germany were to invade, Britain would intervene.
(23rd) Nazi-Soviet Pact – an alliance between Hitler and Stalin which stated that the two nations would spilt Poland.
(25th) Anglo-Polish Common Defence Pact.
Hitler invades Poland on the 1st and the poles are defeated and occupied by the Nazis. On the 3rd, Britain and France declare war on Germany as a result.
April & May 1940
Denmark, Norway, Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg and France invaded and occupied.
11th of December 1941
Hitler declares war on the United States. Following Japans attack on Pearl Harbour, the Us declared war on Japan which meant that Hitler had to retaliate in such a way as part of the Anti-Comintern Pact.
20th of January 1942
The plans for the ‘Final Solution’ approved.
2nd of February 1943
German 6th Army defeated at Stalingrad.
4th of March 1943
First allied bombing raids on German cities
6th of June 1944
D Day – allied invasion of Normandy.
20th of July 1944
July Bomb Plot – a failed attempt to assassinate Hitler
30th of April 1945
Hitler commits suicide in his bunker alongside his wife.
2nd of May 1945
Germany surrenders which ends the Second World War.
20th November 1945
War crime trials begin against the Nazis, known as the Nuremberg Trials.
16th October 1946
10 prominent members of the Nazi party were hanged for war crimes