What Was the Third Reich?


Quick Answer

The Third Reich was the Nazi regime that rose to power in Germany from 1933 to 1945 under the leadership of Adolf Hitler. Its creation led to the dissolution of the previous democracy in Germany called the Weimar Republic.

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Full Answer

The Third Reich's early objective was to gain power of the citizenry by suspending civil rights. It seized the opportunity to reach this goal after a fire occurred in the German Parliament building, which it claimed was set by Communists attempting to signal opposition to the government. This allowed it to enact a decree that gave the Third Reich more legislative power, as the previous government had not been popular. It created a policy which abolished all other forms of government, uniting those who wanted to support the Third Reich and help them achieve their goals.

The Third Reich effectively earned the support of the nation's elite, skilled workers and politicians by promising to revitalize the economy, government and social systems through effective propaganda specifically intended to appeal to their interests. Hitler gained control over the military after the death of the German president in 1934. Once the Third Reich rose to power, it became responsible for playing a major role in World War II and the Holocaust, enacting policies and actions fueled by prejudice and racist doctrine.

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