WALT: Did life get better or worse for workers in Nazi Germany?

WILFs: can identify (E) describe (D) and explain (C) the good and bad points for workers about life in nazi germany.... can come to a supported judgement whether workers were better off under the Nazis (A)

Lesson Development
1. Starter - connecting the learning... Round Table the following questions in teams of 6. Your teacher will have put a seperate question from the list below on 6 sheets of paper. In a rRund Table your have a minute to jot some thoughts then pass the sheets around  the circle until your original question comes back to you
a) What was in like to be a young person in Nazi Germany?
b) What were Hitler and the Nazis 9 main ideas and beliefs?
c) What was life like for women in Nazi Germany?
d) Give 9 valid reasons or causes for Hitler's rise to power?
e) What was it like to be a worker in Nazi Germany?
f) How did Hitler go from Chancellor to Fuhrer in 7 steps?
g) Why were the Reichstag Fire and the Night of the Long Knives important in Hitler's rise to power?


2. Watch the YouTube clip - Take notes... Did life get better or worse for the workers under the Nazis? Use columns like the ones below.


Evidence that life got better

Evidence that life got worse



Mini Plenary - Promenade your shoulder partner for 4 minutes and discuss - did life overall get better or worse? Be prepared to feedback to the class.

Microsoft Word document [38.0 KB]

3. Individual Work: Download the Worksheet above and complete.

4. With your Study Buddy, read the text below and come to a consensus answer to today's WALT question.

Evidence that the workers were worse off under the Nazis
One of the first measures introduced by Hitler was the abolition of all free trade unions. Even the radical Nazi free trade union the NSBO was first purged of all radicals then amalgamated into the Nazi controlled workers organisation the DAF Deutsche Arbeitsfront). Workers in Germany
were left with no organisational protection against their employers. This meant the balance of power between labour and capital shifted strongly to strengthen the hand of the employers (capital).
DAF was led by Robert Ley (a heavy drinker and womaniser) and was charged with the task of creating what the Nazis called 'class peace'. All strikes were forbidden and all union rights of collective bargaining over pay and conditions outlawed.
 By the terms of the Leipzig
agreement 1935 a wage freeze was imposed on all workers and social security benefits were greatly reduced. All workers were given 'work books' in which their work records and employer observations were noted. It was impossible to get a job without a work book. In the same year Hitler announced in was 'an iron law of National Socialism' that worker output not wages should increase.
In 1934 the 'Law on the Ordering of National Labour' was introduced. Through this law the Fuhrerprinzip was applied to all workplaces. Bosses were designated as 'Fuhrers' (leaders) and workers designated as Gefogschaft (followers). Obedience to a Fuhrer was expected at all times.
With the rise of Goring in charge of the economy from 1936 and the adoption of the Four Year Plan things got even tougher for the workers as the economy was put on a 'war footing'. Average weekly hours worked increased further and their was another squeeze on pay.
Evidence the workers were better off under the Nazis

The Nazis realised that they couldn't achieve al they wanted from the workers through repression and regulation alone and offered a number of perks and leisure activities to win worker support and as some compensation for their loss of rights, increased hours and reduced pay.
A sub group within the DAF called "Strength Through Joy" (KDF) was set up to order and structure the leisure activities of the working class. The KDF organised holidays, cruises and sports and cultural activities for the German workers. There was of course also a 'Volksgemeinschaft' role here as the Nazis attempted to regulate the private lives of citizens with a great emphasis on collective rather than individual activities. The KDF supplied subsidised holidays and cruises and reduced price entry to cinemas and concerts. All major activities such as cruises were run on a 'one class only' basis to encourage solidarity. All activities were heavily regulated with the Fuhrerprinzip again evident. This was not always successful however and there are many Gestapo reports available detailing drunken behaviour on KDF cruises.
A further sub group of the DAF the 'Beauty of Labour' (Schonheit der Arbeit) was dedicated to improving working conditions for workers. They offered tax breaks to companies to improve washroom facilities and canteen facilities. "Good" firms were incentivised by signed certificates from Hitler himself. It is debatable as to how much the Beauty of Labour benefited the workers as often it was they who had to pay fro any improvements with reductions from their wages or it was they who actually instigated the improvements through additional 'voluntary' work.


Plenary: Write your answer summary on a post it note and affix it to the main board under today's WALT - compare to the answers of others.

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Andy Walker 2015