What was Nazi Germany?


Nazi Germany was the totalitarian regime that ran Germany, countries and regions annexed by Germany, and countries occupied by Germany during World War II, between January 30, 1933, when Adolf Hitler was named Chancellor of Germany, and May 8, 1945, when Germany surrendered to the Allied troops led by the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union.

One of the central aspects of Nazi Germany was its racist ideology, especially its virulent antisemitism, based on the concept that the German, or Aryan, race was superior to all others, and that the presence of Jews and certain other groups such as the Roma and Sinti, polluted and threatened German society. In its efforts to “purify” German society, it also persecuted thousands on the basis of their sexuality or physical and mental disabilities.

Key Terms:

Totalitarian: seeking to control every aspect of the population’s existence according to ideological principles.

Antisemitism: hatred of Jews. Efforts to define this remain controversial but the definition and examples devised by the *International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance* are widely used by governments and other organisations

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