Read the following articles about life in Nazi Germany. As you read, highlight the key points that discuss the notion of privacy and measures taken to ensure complete Nazi control.
Complete the table at the end of the articles to begin linking the context to examples in ‘1984’
THE NAZI TERROR BEGINS
After Hitler became chancellor of Germany, he persuaded his cabinet to declare a state of emergency and end many individual freedoms. Here, police search a vehicle for arms. Berlin, Germany, February 27, 1933.
After Adolf Hitler became chancellor of Germany in January 1933, he moved quickly to turn Germany into a one-party dictatorship and to organize the police power necessary to enforce Nazi policies. He persuaded his Cabinet to declare a state of emergency and end individual freedoms, including freedom of press, speech, and assembly. Individuals lost the right to privacy, which meant that officials could read people's mail, listen in on telephone conversations, and search private homes without a warrant.
Hitler also relied on terror to achieve his goals. Lured by the wages, a feeling of comradeship, and the striking uniforms, tens of thousands of young jobless men put on the brown shirts and high leather boots of the Nazi Storm Troopers (Sturmabteilungen).Called the SA, these auxiliary policemen took to the streets to beat up and kill some opponents of the Nazi regime. Mere fear of the SA pressured into silence other Germans who did not support the Nazis.
MARCH 31, 1933
NAZI GOVERNORS APPOINTED TO GOVERN GERMAN STATES Adolf Hitler replaces elected officials in state governments with Nazi appointees. One of the first steps in establishing centralized Nazi control in Germany is the elimination of state governments. Hermann Goering, a leading Nazi, becomes minister-president of Prussia, the largest German state. By 1935, state administrations are transferred to the central government in Berlin.
MAY 2, 1933
NAZIS SEIZE CONTROL OF TRADE UNIONS Storm Troopers (SA) and police occupy the offices of trade unions. Trade union officials and activists are terrorized. The trade unions' records are impounded and their assets seized. The unions are forcibly merged with the Nazi organization, the German Labor Front. Independent labor representation is thus abolished.
JULY 14, 1933
NAZI PARTY BECOMES THE STATE PARTY All political parties except the Nazi party are dissolved. The Nazi party is the only political party permitted in Germany, a situation that will last until the military defeat of Germany in 1945. Germany thus becomes a one-party dictatorship. Membership in the party increases to 2.5 million in 1935, and ultimately to 8.5 million by 1945.
JULY 20, 1933
ADOLF HITLER SIGNS CONCORDAT (AGREEMENT) WITH THE CATHOLIC CHURCH A treaty between the German government and the Vatican (the highest authority in the Roman Catholic church) guarantees Catholics the freedom of private religious practice, but dissolves Catholic political and trade union organizations. The Vatican (which had the status of a sovereign state) was the first state to recognize formally the legitimacy of Adolf Hitler's government. Despite the treaty, the Nazis continue to persecute Catholic religious and cultural organizations, priests, and schools.
Censorship was rampant throughout Nazi Germany. Censorship ensured that Germans could only see what the Nazi hierarchy wanted people to see, hear what they wanted them to hear and read only what the Nazis deemed acceptable. The Nazi police dealt with anyone who went outside of these boundaries. Censorship dominated the lives of the ordinary citizen in Nazi Germany.
The prime mover in censorship was the Minister of Propaganda, Joseph Goebbels. It was his responsibility to see that the German people were fed with material acceptable to the Nazi state. Newspapers, radio and all forms of media were put under the control of the Nazis. Even the film industry became controlled by the Nazis where the leading light was Leni Riefenstahl - who, though favoured by Hitler, did not enjoy a good relationship with Goebbels. Music was controlled by the Nazis. Music by Gustav Mahler and Felix Mendelssohn was banned as they were both Jews. Jazz was also banned. Even telling jokes about Hitler became a serious offence - one to send you to the concentration camps and potentially death.
Censorship was enforced by a number of methods. First, the secret police or the 'normal' police ensured that the rules were kept to. Secondly, anyone who wanted to go outside of the desired party norm faced the most serious of consequences. Third, people in general were expected to report anything unacceptable to their local party chief. Those who knew something but did not report it were deemed as guilty as those who went against the system. Censorship ensured that the Nazis had the German public in their grip as they bombarded them on a daily basis on how their lives had been improved from the day Hitler became Germany's leader.
"There was once a nanny-goat who said,
In my cradle someone sang to me:
"A strong man is coming.
He will set you free!"