Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party’s tyrannical 12-year raid over Germany has gone down as some of the most horrific times in human history. From failed experiments to a cruel prank against one of Hitler’s best buddies. These are 10 things you probably didn’t know about Nazi Germany.
Germany’s economy was severely crippled by the Treaty of Versailles after World War I. After being stripped of countless millions by the allies, inflation increased dramatically. Money was no more valuable than the paper it was made of. Hitler decided, it was time for a coup, known as the Munich Beer Hall Putsch. After marching his way to Munich where the squad of armed goons by his side. His plans were thwarted after a violent clash with police. He was subsequently arrested for treason. Strangely Hitler’s jail time was pretty lax, for one thing. He was given permission to leave his cell, be visited by his allies and could freely move around the prison. It also gave him a chance to persuade the media and public that he was the country’s only hope for economic salvation, by writing his autobiography, Mein Kampf.
9: Hitler’s Prank
Adolf pulled off a prank that went too far. The Fuhrer himself pulled a nasty one of one of his own former best friends. One that would even make a YouTube prankster shudder. German businessman Ernst Hanfstaengl befriended the great dictator in 1922. Yet a bitter argument with the minister for propaganda Joseph Goebbels in 1933 Hanfstaengl was out of Hitler’s good books for good. Later Hitler on some of his advisers established a complex practical joke.
Hanfstaengl was given fake orders to parachute into Spain and fight alongside General Franco against the communists. Hanfstaengl was miffed when he discovered that the pilot dropping him off was actually just cycling over Germany. Pretending that they were heading closer to the red zone. As a result, Hanfstaengl defected to the United States. In retaliation against Hitler, he went on to write a comprehensive book of sensitive information regarding his former friend for President Roosevelt.
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8: Campaign to Stop Smoking
It’s foolish to think about smoking any sort of drug harbors no downsides. What people don’t know is that Advanced Nazi Research first discovered the link specifically between smoking tobacco and lung cancer. They also disputed about smoking didn’t help with looks, health or fertility. Admittedly they did exaggerate by saying cigarettes corrupt the “German Germ Plasm”. However, they were correct about the dangers of passive smoking, a term that they first coined. This led to a country wide campaign to stop smoking, with mostly disappointing results. Even after banning tobacco advertisements and unfolding the nation of its harmful qualities via pamphlets? Tobacco consumption in Germany rapidly increased between 1933 to 1937. Still, when it came to tobacco regulation Nazi Germany pioneered in that field.
7: The Storm Rifle
Assault rifles are a staple of almost any army these days. Though it was Nazi Germany who invented the first of its kind. The Sturmgewehr translated to the storm rifle or the STG 44, was fully automatic. It was sometimes padded with telescopic sights for long range combat. In 1943, Germany researched and manufactured the Krummlauf or curved barrel. The attachment was made of a 30-mm curved barrel and a periscope for shooting around corners and from safety. Unfortunately, not only was it bulky and heavy, the Krummlauf would be destroyed after firing between 60 to 150 rounds. That’s just a handful of clips right there. While they were intended to be mass produced. They were discontinued after a short period of time. Thanks to its dubious reliability in combat.
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Goebbels decided to mass produce cheap radios for the masses. So that they could hear the furious charismatic speeches from their homes. These were to be the sole things to listen to on the airwaves. Hitler himself thought this was a rubbish idea. He thought who would want to listen to nothing but politics. In Nazi Germany, any and all radio stations that were not German descent were outlawed. Anyone caught in the act of listening to foreign stations, jazz music or the like were sent to concentration camps. They were even sent to the firing squad. Some shops deliberately sold radios that could pick up these broadcasts. So that the Gestapo, the German secret police could root out any traitors. Nevertheless, some stuck with their reliable pre-war radios and listened into allied broadcasts in secret.
5: German Mothers
Women who gave birth to numerous children during the Second World War were praised by the nation. They were offered additional funding and medals. Those with ten or more children were bestowed a golden cross of honor of the German mother. And they were given a salute from the Hitler Youth. It wasn’t what you’d call a rousing success. Daria extracts from German mothers of the time revealed that some women merely took their gifts. But with noble patriotic than beforehand. Some still secretly expressed doubts about the government despite conforming to the country’s expectations.
4: Kidnapping Children with Aryan Qualities
The Aryan insisted that physically fit blonde-haired blue-eyed men and women were genetically superior compared to other races. In 1939, Heinrich Himmler was given the task to mastermind the kidnapping of children with Aryan qualities from Poland and Europe, believing they were descendants of Germany. After a checkup by doctors, warily scanning for any Jewish features like hooked noses or disproportionate faces, the children would be taken away without warning. Packs of them were shoved into tight train carriages with no food and water. It would undergo a fierce process called Germanization where they were indoctrinated into German culture by force. Abusive parents and cruel children would punish or bully them for speaking anything but German. In one shocking case, they were forced to witness a young boy to be executed. He was executed with a butcher’s knife for simply refusing to comply.
3: Final Era of Nazi Germany
Many people do not know just how desperate the situation was for Nazi Germany in its final months of existence. Hitler in a heinous act was not given enough attention by history. He ordered the use of the Hitler Youth Child soldiers. In April 1945, Soviet Russia was already deep in Germany. Hitler did not expect such a colossal retaliation from Stalin’s army after invading the Soviet Union 2 years prior. Children as young as 8 were armed with anti-tank weapons. A famous film reel even shows the dictator shaking the hands of some of these youths. Yet the Red Army showed no mercy. Those who weren’t killed in combat were either captured and executed or some to labor camps.
2: Space Travel Technology
If the Nazis had the chance to construct space planes, things may have turned out differently. Eugen Sänger’s concept for the Silbervogel or silver bird was unique because it was designed to travel beyond the air and into suborbital flight. A lot of work was done on paper for the Silbervogel in 1942. The plan was to have a vessel drop a nuclear payload upon either New York or Washington. Then land in a Japanese base. London was also a considered target. However, a miscalculation resulted in the late discovery.
The vessel would be destroyed by extreme temperatures if it re-entered orbit. This combined with the fact that Soviet Russia was retaliating after being invaded by Germany resulted in the project’s cancellation. As for Sänger after moving to France for a while, he moved back home. He continued to research into space travel technology until his passing in 1964. You have him to thank for vital mechanical concepts like engine coolants.
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1: Panzerkampfwagen VIII Maus
The Panzerkampfwagen VIII Maus, better known as ironically the Mouse, was a prototype tank constructed in 1943. It weighed in a monumental 180 tons. Bridges would’ve crumbled under its mass. So it was constructed to be watertight, allowing its travel through rivers as deep as 25 meters. It was 11 feet tall, 12-foot-wide and over 30 feet in length. The Mouse is thick 200-mm armor rendered it theoretically invulnerable to tank shells. Meanwhile, it’s cannon was intended to pierce even the toughest of tanks and over 3500 feet distance. It was not without its flaws. Its size made it difficult to conceal, making a big target for artillery and airstrikes. Only a few costly prototypes were made, one of which was destroyed. While the others have made their way to modern day museums.
So, that was today’s list of 10 things you didn’t know about Nazi Germany? What do you guys know more about Nazi Germany? Let us know in the comments below. Don’t forget to check out our other lists and thanks for staying with us for a while.