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Primary Sources: Germany in World War II

Nazi Germany in World War 2

Germany, during World War II, under the dictatorship of Adolf Hitler and the National Socialist German Workers' Party (Nazi Party), embarked on a path of aggressive expansionism, militarization, and genocide, fundamentally reshaping the global landscape. Hitler's rise to power in 1933 marked the beginning of a totalitarian regime characterized by the suppression of political opposition, state-controlled propaganda, and the implementation of racist policies aimed at creating a pure Aryan state.

The war officially began on September 1, 1939, when Germany invaded Poland, prompting Britain and France to declare war. Utilizing blitzkrieg tactics, Germany swiftly conquered much of Europe, including France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, and others. By 1941, Germany had also invaded the Soviet Union in what became one of the largest and deadliest theaters of war.

Under Nazi rule, Germany pursued the Holocaust, the systematic extermination of six million Jews, along with millions of others, including Romani people, disabled individuals, political dissidents, and prisoners of war. The regime established concentration camps and death camps, such as Auschwitz, where mass murder was industrialized.

Domestically, the war economy mobilized all sectors of German society. Men were conscripted into the military, while women and forced labor from occupied territories were used to sustain the war effort. Propaganda, led by Joseph Goebbels, was omnipresent, glorifying the regime and demonizing its enemies.

Despite initial successes, the tide turned against Germany after significant defeats, such as the Battle of Stalingrad in 1943. Allied forces began a relentless push towards Germany from both the east and west. The D-Day invasion in 1944 and the subsequent liberation of occupied territories further weakened German positions.

By May 1945, with Berlin surrounded by Soviet forces and Hitler dead by suicide, Germany unconditionally surrendered, marking the end of the war in Europe. The aftermath left Germany in ruins, leading to its division during the Cold War and a long process of denazification and reconstruction.


The purpose of this guide is to tell the story through the use of PRIMARY SOURCES and to aid the researcher in better understanding how the nation of Germany came to be led by a Fascism Regiem known as the Nazi Party and march off to what would become known as World War II and the Holocaust.