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Germany – Nazi Germany, 1933-45

3. Establishing a Dictatorship

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In this module, we explore the question of how Hitler came to power, focusing in particular on: (i) the series of crises that characterised 1920s Germany – political, economic and cultural; (ii) the impact of the Treaty of Versailles, particularly the War Guilt Clause and the issue of reparations; (iii) the shifts in political allegiances in this period, driven to some extent by the rise of the Communist left; (iv) Hindenburg’s attempt (and failure) to solve the political crisis through the appointment of three increasingly authoritarian Chancellors between 1930-32; (v) Hitler’s appointment as Chancellor in 1933 and the ways in which he removes alternative centres of power – the Reichstag Fire, the Enabling Act, the banning of political parties, the Night of the Long Knives, the death of Hindenburg; and (vi) the question of where (and why) Germany crossed the point of no return. At what point was it too late to stop Hitler?


In this course, Professor Neil Gregor (University of Southampton) explores several aspects of Nazi Germany, 1933-45. In the first module, we think about the ideology of the Nazi Party, before turning in the second module to consider Hitler’s rise to power. In the third module, we think about the nature of the Nazi government, before moving on in the fourth module to consider Nazi foreign policy in the period 1933-41. In the fifth module, we think about German opposition to the Nazi regime, while in the sixth module we consider the role of terror in overcoming this opposition. In the seventh module, we think about the extent to which ordinary Germans supported Hitler and the Nazi regime, before turning in the eighth module to consider the role of treatment of women in Nazi Germany. In the ninth module, we think about Nazi education and culture and its importance in promoting Nazi ideology, before turning in the tenth module to the Holocaust.


Neil Gregor is Professor of Modern European History at the University of Southampton. His research interests range widely across twentieth-century German history, and have encompassed, at various points, aspects of business history, social history, cultural history and literary studies, along with historiography. His recent publications include (as editor) Dreams of Germany: Musical Imaginaries from the Concert Hall to the Dance Floor. (2019) and How to Read Hitler (2014).

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Gregor, N. (2020, August 31). Germany – Nazi Germany, 1933-45 - Establishing a Dictatorship [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Gregor, N. "Germany – Nazi Germany, 1933-45 – Establishing a Dictatorship." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 31 Aug 2020,

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