|Full Name||4 Greater German Empire|
|Alliance||Axis - Major Member Nation|
|Entry into WW2||1 Sep 1939|
|Population in 1939||79,800,000|
|Military Deaths in WW2||5,500,000|
|Civilian Deaths in WW2||2,000,000|
|- Civ Deaths from Holocaust||160,000|
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
ww2dbaseOn 27 Feb 1933, the Reichstag was set on fire, generally believed to be started by a Dutch communist. The propaganda machine of the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei, the National Socialist German Workers' Party or Nazi Party for short, seized the opportunity to claim their importance in a Germany now influenced by the dangerous expansionist philosophies of communism. Slowly, Germany became a single-party republic, and Adolf Hitler became a practical monarch with absolute power over the nation. For the most part, Germany welcomed the dictatorship. Many considered the Versailles Treaty a gross violation of German sovereignty, and the economic depression that hit Germany left the German people thirsting for a strong leader who could bring Germany to the world stage again. Hitler manipulated politics and popular opinion with the total control of media and a powerful propaganda machine so that he could fill that role. Over the course of the 1930s, he courted industrial leaders and established a strong war production base, while he also charmed military leaders with visions of glory through conquest. The first military move took place in 1936 when German troops marched into Rhineland. In 1938, Hitler's native country Austria was annexed within German borders, followed by Czechoslovakia and Memel in 1939. Finally, the European War broke out in 1939. One by one, Poland, the Low Countries, and France fell. In Jun 1941, even Germany's recent ally Russia was invaded. In Dec 1941, after Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor, Germany boldly declared war on the US as well. The illusion of Germany Army's invincibility soon fell apart, however, when the attack on Moscow, and then Stalingrad, grinded away German strength. In Jun 1944, the Normandy campaign eroded the Western Front as well. The pressures of a two-front war finally led to the total collapse of the German military. Hitler committed suicide on 30 Apr 1945, and Germany surrendered a week later.
ww2dbaseThe Nazi German period is sometimes referred to as the "Third Reich", which was a name used in Nazi propaganda. It was meant to create a sense of connection between Nazi Germany and the first two great empires in German history, the Holy Roman Empire and the German empire under Kaiser Wilhelm I and Kaiser Wilhelm II.
ww2dbaseA heinous legacy was left with the departure of the Nazi regime. The Holocaust, or the systematic extermination of Jews, Slavs, homosexuals, the disabled, communists, and many other groups, left 11 million dead all across Europe. Of that total, more than half were Jews. Majdanek, Natzweiler-Struthof, Dachau, Buchenwald, Auschwitz, and so many other concentration camps horrified those who found them. German industries such as I. G. Farben and Fried. Krupp, too, joined in on the pillage of Europe, illegally seizing industries in the conquered nations and employed slave labor from the concentration camps. Advocates such as Simon Wiesenthal dedicated their efforts in finding those responsible for the murders and bringing them to justice.
ww2dbaseAfter the war, Germany was divided into occupation zones, which led to the division of East and West Germany during the Cold War.
* Planned only; not actually built
|Territories, Possessions, and Nations Under the Influence of Germany|
Germany in World War II Interactive Map
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Joachim von Ribbentrop, German Foreign Minister, Aug 1939