Germany During World Wars

First World War

The causes of the First World War can be found in the contradictions between the countries of the Entente (France, Great Britain and Russia) and the Triple Alliance (Germany, Austria- Hungary and Italy), which sought to carry out a new division of the world. The pretext used to spark the confrontation was the murder of the Austrian imperial heir Francisco Fernando in Sarajevo and his wife by a Serbian student.

As a country that is a member of European Union defined by, Germany spread to three continents: Europe, Asia and Africa, and for the first time the United States emerged as a power in a world-wide contest. Of the 65 million people who participated, 8 million died and another 34 were injured, missing or affected by famines, epidemics and massacres. In this conflict, new war technologies were tested.

Germany, as part of the Central Powers, suffered defeat against the Allied Powers in one of the bloodiest conflicts of all time. The November Revolution broke out in 1918, and Emperor Wilhelm II abdicated. An armistice that ended the war was signed on 11 November and Germany was forced to sign the Treaty of Versailles of 1919.

In its negotiation the defeated powers were excluded in contradiction with the traditional postwar diplomacy. The treaty was perceived in Germany as a humiliating continuation of the war by other means and its harshness is often cited as a factor that facilitated the subsequent rise of Nazism in the country.

The first great holocaust of the century on European soil cost humanity between 10 and 14 million lives. Hundreds of thousands of soldiers from 38 countries marched into combat ready to die deceived by non-existent ideals, because, in reality, the war was unleashed due to inter-imperialist contradictions, when the powers had practically finished the division of the world and Germany, which had remained outside, he tried by means of arms a new territorial distribution of the planet.

Weimar Republic (1919-1933)

The Weimar Republic was the political regime and the historical period that took place in Germany after its defeat at the end of the First World War and lasted between 1919 and 1933. The name Weimar Republic is a term applied by later historiography, since the country retained its name from Deutsches Reich (‘German Empire’). The name comes from the homonymous city, Weimar, where the National Constituent Assembly met and the new constitution was proclaimed, which was approved on July 31 and entered into force on August 11, 1919.

In 1933, the Weimar Republic ended, since, although the 1919 constitution was not repealed until the end of World War II, the triumph of Adolf Hitler and the reforms carried out by the National Socialists (Gleichschaltung) greatly invalidated it. before, establishing a totalitarian dictatorship, the so-called Third Reich.

Nazi Germany

In Germany, the European nation most affected by the economic crisis, the conditions were created so that through a campaign of demagogy and due to the support of the German industrial bourgeoisie, Adolf Hitler could come to power, a sinister character who carried an anti-communist and fascist ideology but that demagogically knew how to capitalize on the discontent of workers, peasants, artisans and small owners who sought a change in the situation that Germany was experiencing as a result of the consequences of the economic crisis and the conditions imposed by the imperialist powers that were victorious in Germany at the end of the First World War.

With the arrival of Adolf Hitler to power in 1933, a fascist dictatorship was established in Germany, an expression of the most recalcitrant reactionary thought, which would take care of the interests of the German industrial and banking monopoly bourgeoisie, which in turn was favored by the international monopoly bourgeoisie, whose purpose was for Germany to become a spearhead against the USSR, that is, to be used to destroy the world’s first proletarian state.

The fascist ideas of Hitler’s followers emphasized the unity of all Germans, the search for a “living space” outside the borders of Germany, the superiority of the Aryan race, the military conquest of territories, the repression against the Jews., the communists and above all he manifested a fierce hatred against the USSR.

On February 27, 1933, the Reichstag was burned down. Some fundamental democratic rights were later abrogated by virtue of an emergency decree. A Hitler Act gave the government full legislative power. Only the Social Democratic Party of Germany voted against it; the communists could not present opposition, since their deputies had been assassinated or imprisoned. A centralized totalitarian state was established by a series of initiatives and decrees, making Germany a one-party state. Industry was regulated to shift the economy toward a war production base.

Second World War

Hitler’s policy of annexing neighboring lands to seize Lebensraum (“living space”) which included Austria and Czechoslovakia annexing the Czech side and establishing a puppet government in Slovakia, led to the outbreak of World War II on September 1, 1939., when it attacked Poland. Initially Germany obtained military successes quickly (hence the term Blitzkrieg – “lightning war”) and gained control over the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, north and west of France and later over Denmark, Norway, Yugoslavia and Greece in Europe, and Tunisia and Libya in North Africa.

It also had as firm allies the Empire of Japan (which made its own invasion of Asia and Oceania) and Italy (which had already invaded Albania, Ethiopia, controlled Libya together with the Germans and attacked Malta and British Egypt). His allies, rather vassals, were the Vichy Government (Southern France controlled by Marshal Petâin and all its African and Asian territories: Morocco, Algeria, Syria…), Finland, Slovenia, Croatia, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria.

Other states collaborated with the Germans so that there would be no reprisals, these states were Sweden, Andorra, Monaco, Switzerland, Liechiestein, San Marino, the Vatican and Turkey. In the summer of 1941 an army of more than three million men invaded the Soviet Union, breaking the non-aggression treaty signed two years earlier, which started the Great Patriotic War.. The USSR paid more than 20 million lives to defend its sovereignty and liberate, incidentally, many of the European and Asian nations engulfed by the military and racist machinery of the Hitlerites.

There were three armies that went, one in the direction of Leningrad, another to Moscow and the other to Ukraine and reaching Stalingrad and the oil fields of Maykop and Grozny. The Germans were supported with huge troops from Finland, Bulgaria, Italy, Romania and Hungary among others. The failures of the Nazi army in the Russian campaigns of 1941 (reaching Moscow and cutting off supplies from Siberia) and 1942 (reaching the Caspian Sea to get oil), as well as the entry of the United States (in December 1941) into the conflict, took a turn that led to the destruction of the country under the bombardments perpetrated by the allies, which were only stopped after the capitulation of the Nazi regime on May 8, 1945.

In what later came to be known as the Holocaust, the Nazi regime enacted government policies to subjugate various sectors of society: Jews, Communists, Gypsies, homosexuals, Freemasons, political dissidents, priests, preachers, religious opponents, and the people. with disabilities, among others. During the Nazi era, some eleven million people were methodically murdered by the Holocaust. The World War II and the Nazi genocide were responsible for about 50 million dead, including six million Jews and three million Poles.

Occupation (1944-1949)


  • France
  • United Kingdom
  • USA
  • Soviet Union
  • Netherlands
  • Luxembourg

In the Nuremberg trials (the first conception of “crimes against humanity” occurred between 1945 and 1946).

Germany During World Wars