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The Nazis: A Warning from History is a 1997 BBC documentary film series that examines Adolf Hitler and the Nazis' rise to power, their zenith, their decline and fall, and the consequences of their reign. It featured archive footage and interviews with eyewitnesses and was shown in six episodes:


1 - "Helped into Power"

How the Nazi party was formed and Adolf Hitler was able to rise to power. 

2 - "Chaos and Consent"

Examines how the Nazis consolidated power and how extreme and radical policies were formed a

3 - "The Wrong War"

Traces the path to war with Great Britain and the alliance with the Soviet Union

4 - "The Wild East"

Examines Nazi rule and 'ethnic cleansing' in occupied Poland.

5 - "The Road to Treblinka"

An account of mass killings in occupied territories after the invasion of the Soviet Union. 

6 - "Fighting to the End"

Explores why Germany fought on when military defeat was inevitable. 

Nazi's rule of Germany was based around the desire to control

Their tactics about how to create their Thousand Year Reich included different approaches to ensure the people did what they wanted 

They included : Fear; Persuasion; Social Engineering; Economy

Click right to see how and why they persecuted minorities...


iGCSE - Germany Depth Study






Fascism - Legacy of Hate





Fascism and 21st Century Italy




What is Fascism and how did it emerge in 1920s Italy?



Pact of Steel documentary



Nazi Ideology



Interactive BBC timeline - rise and fall Of Adolf Hitler






Fascism and Nazism 


 Both Benito Mussolini (1883-1945), duce (leader) of Italy, and Adolf Hitler (1889-1945), fuhrer (leader) of Germany, boasted that they would provide strength where weakness had before prevailed. The anti-democratic thought of the prewar, discontented, intellectual elite now became part of a popular ideology of brute force. Mussolini offered this definition: "The Fascist state is will to power and domination." A thought like this suggested how far European political considerations had declined from eighteenth-century liberal principles. The sacrifice of civil liberties for the communal promises of the mid-twentieth-century dictators was made without a whimper by large segments of the new masses and by equally impressive numbers of the old middle classes.


This development, a contradiction of nineteenth-century social trends and popular ideology, has provoked an impressive array of historical interpretations. Yet the major factors or conditions which explain the new phenomenon of dictatorship can be briefly assembled.

Public attitudes were affected by the seemingly oppressive problem of personal responsibility and individual freedom in a world of economic insecurity. The Enlightenment ideal of the self-sufficient man, capable of determining his own destiny, now seemed fraudulent, at complete variance with contemporary social and economic conditions. Liberty was seen to result in meaningless struggle, not self-improvement. Moreover, the individual seemed to be a victim of the many adversities created by a mass-production economy within a social order made up of masses of population. Like Charlie Chaplin's tramp, the individual seemed incapable of understanding or controlling the world in which he lived. The one obvious way out was to reject individual responsibility, hence the freedom of choice, in favor of having decisions made by others, by the "leaders" willing to assume political authority. "What this collectivist age wants, allows, and approves," wrote the German novelist Thomas Mann in 1935," is the perpetual holiday from the self."


Economically, there was the "purse string" argument. Fascism and Nazism are here seen to have gained popularity as defenders against an imposing Communist menace. With the successful advent of communism to power in Russia, and with the loudly made argument that the abolition of private property would sweep away class differences and create an equitable economy, much of European middle-classdom worked up a fear of the "Bolshevik menace," the possibility of the forceful overthrow or the subversion of the existing social and political order. Both Mussolini and Hitler made opposition to communism a major element of their ideologies. For Hitler, communism and Nazism were competing world systems, locked in mortal combat. As he stated in his closing speech to the Nazi party rally at Nuremberg in September 1936: "Bolshevism has attacked the foundations of our whole human order, alike in State and society; the foundations of our concept of civilization, of our faith and of our moralsÑall alike are at stake."


To many intelligent observers, even those of a traditionally liberal persuasion, Mussolini seemed to have provided in the 1920s a sound political compromise between an uncontrolled capitalism on one side and an uncontrollable communism on the other. Thus Fascist Italy was described as the middle term between two untenable social conditions. It supposedly provided the necessary amount of order and state control without severe interference with the old economic system. In sum, the dictators of Italy and Germany promoted their systems as the means to reconcile the profound problems existing between labor and management so that capitalism would not be destroyed.


Historically, the two dictators also posed as upholders of glorious tradition and followers of national destiny. Mussolini stood as the colossus of the New Rome, and Hitler donned the armor of a Teutonic knight. Both men had popular appeal as they promised both new national hope and glory.

In the interwar period, it was fashionable to speak of Italy and Germany as "have-not" nations, those without sufficient national resources or territory to enjoy the privileged position of France, England, or the United States. This notion was one that the dictators of these two states were most willing to foster. They frequently blamed their supposed national containment on the diplomatic intrigue of the "have" nations. To break out of encirclement or to once again seek an important place in the sun (the Nazi hymn, the Horst Wessel Lied, contains the words, "Europe Today, Tomorrow the World") became ideological objectives. The Nazis even encouraged the development of a theory of geopolitics, in which Germany was considered to be the heartland of a great "world island" (the Eurasian land mass) and therefore destined to be its ruler. To the south, Mussolini harped on the splendor of Imperial Rome and demanded that once again the Mediterranean become mare nostrum, "our sea." 


From this brief review, the major elements of appeal that were gathered around the swastika or the fasces can be seen. As guarantors of order and economic security, as defenders against the threat of an impending bolshevism, as upholders of sacred national purpose, Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany offered an alternative to the supposed indecision and immediate ineffectiveness of parliamentary democracy. That the alternative would prove to be both false and horrendous was not anticipated by many of those who followed the flags of these new systems.








Benito Mussolini, February 1939 


Mussolini was the founder of Fascism and leader of Italy from Mussolini was the founder of Fascism and leader of Italy from 1922 to 1943. He allied Italy with Nazi Germany and Japan in World War Two.


Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini was born on 29 July 1883 in Predappio in northern central Italy. His father was a blacksmith. Employment prospects in the area were poor so in 1902 Mussolini moved to Switzerland, where he became involved in socialist politics. He returned to Italy in 1904, and worked as a journalist in the socialist press, but his support for Italy's entry into World War One led to his break with socialism. He was drafted into the Italian army in September 1915.


In March 1919, Mussolini formed the Fascist Party, galvanising the support of many unemployed war veterans. He organised them into armed squads known as Black Shirts, who terrorised their political opponents. In 1921, the Fascist Party was invited to join the coalition government.


By October 1922, Italy seemed to be slipping into political chaos. The Black Shirts marched on Rome and Mussolini presented himself as the only man capable of restoring order. King Victor Emmanuel invited Mussolini to form a government. Mussolini gradually dismantled the institutions of democratic government and in 1925 made himself dictator, taking the title 'Il Duce'. He set about attempting to re-establish Italy as a great European power. The regime was held together by strong state control and Mussolini's cult of personality.


In 1935, Mussolini invaded Abyssinia (now Ethiopia) and incorporated it into his new Italian Empire. He provided military support to Franco in the Spanish Civil War. Increasing co-operation with Nazi Germany culminated in the 1939 Pact of Steel. Influenced by Hitler, Mussolini began to introduce anti-Jewish legislation in Italy. His declaration of war on Britain and France in June 1940 exposed Italian military weakness and was followed by a series of defeats in North and East Africa and the Balkans.


In July 1943, Allied troops landed in Sicily. Mussolini was overthrown and imprisoned by his former colleagues in the Fascist government. In September, Italy signed an armistice with the Allies. The German army began the occupation of Italy and Mussolini was rescued by German commandos. He was installed as the leader of a new government, but had little power. As the Allies advanced northwards through Italy, Mussolini fled towards Switzerland. He was captured by Italian partisans and shot on 28 April 1945.




Adolf Hitler, 1939


Adolf Hitler was born on 20 April 1889 in Braunau-am-Inn on the Austrian-German border. His father was a customs official. Hitler left school at 16 with no qualifications and struggled to make a living as a painter in Vienna. This was where many of his extreme political and racial ideas originated.


In 1913, he moved to Munich and, on the outbreak of World War One, enlisted in the German army, where he was wounded and decorated. In 1919, he joined the fascist German Workers' Party (DAP). He played to the resentments of right-wingers, promising extremist 'remedies' to Germany's post-war problems which he and many others blamed on Jews and Bolsheviks. By 1921 he was the unquestioned leader of what was now the National Socialist German Workers' Party (NSDAP or Nazi Party).


In 1923, Hitler attempted an unsuccessful armed uprising in Munich and was imprisoned for nine months, during which time he dictated his book 'Mein Kampf' outlining his political ideology. On his release he began to rebuild the Nazi Party and used new techniques of mass communication, backed up with violence, to get his message across. Against a background of economic depression and political turmoil, the Nazis grew stronger and in the 1932 elections became the largest party in the German parliament. In January 1933, Hitler became chancellor of a coalition government. He quickly took dictatorial powers and began to institute anti-Jewish laws. He also began the process of German militarisation and territorial expansion that would eventually lead to World War Two. He allied with Italy and later Japan to create the Axis.


Hitler's invasion of Poland in September 1939 began World War Two. After military successes in Denmark, Norway and Western Europe, but after failing to subdue Britain in 1941, Hitler ordered the invasion of the Soviet Union. The Jewish populations of the countries conquered by the Nazis were rounded up and killed. Millions of others whom the Nazis considered racially inferior were also killed or worked to death. In December 1941, Hitler declared war on the United States. The war on the eastern front drained Germany's resources and in June 1944, the British and Americans landed in France. With Soviet troops poised to take the German capital, Hitler committed suicide in his bunker in Berlin on 30 April 1945.





- Mussolini: Italy`s nightmare - unavailable

(Mussolini Biography link as a repalcement)




http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-21260072 - I & F

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-21226464 - B & F

http://www.tes.co.uk/Download.aspx?storycode=6092567&type=X&id=6167522 - fascism




Hitler's Rise : The Colour Films - NSDAP beginnings


Hitler's Rise : The Colour Films - NSDAP success




BBC The Story of the Third Reich - eps 1-3 of 15 - How Hitler seized power

BBC The Story of the Third Reich - eps 4-15 - How Hitler extended power and then lost it in WW2




BBC Learning Zone - Life in Hitler's Germany 1&2 - first hand account of Nazi Germany through British eyes





Nazis : A Warning from history - BBC landmark series:

- ep 1 Helped into power

- ep 2 Chaos + Consent



http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-21178079 - warsaw ghetto

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-21521060 - white rose nazi resistance