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It is, of course, very hard to describe an entire nation for a period of six years. Let us look at a few of the major characteristics of pre-war Nazi Germany.
First, it was a state that was dedicated largely to rearming and becoming a military power once again. The Treaty of Versailles had prohibited Germany from having a large army and had prohibited it from having certain kinds of offensive weapons. After the Nazis took over, they repudiated the Treaty of Versailles’s limits on the military and started to rearm. Much of their economic effort was aimed at accomplishing rearmament.
Second, it was a state in which Jews were continually being hit with more and more forms of oppression. These took the form of laws that tried to push Jews as far out of mainstream society as possible. The laws did things like prohibiting marriages between Jews and non-Jews and banning Jews from participation in many professions. The oppression also took more violent forms, such as in the Kristallnacht attacks on Jewish businesses.
Finally, it was a totalitarian state that attempted to shape its people completely. It attempted to use such things as the Hitler Youth to remake the thinking of young people. It tried to change attitudes towards religion. It used a secret police to try to enforce conformity. All of these things and more were meant to make all Germans as nearly homogeneous in their thoughts and actions as possible.
Thus, Nazi Germany before the war was a totalitarian nation that was focused on military power and what it saw as racial purity.
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