Following the Treaty of Versailles and the end of World War I, Weimar Germany was forced to take responsibility for the war and pay burdensome reparations for damages to the Entente Powers. German civilians viewed the capitulation of their government with disdain considering no occupying force had yet set foot in the Rhineland. Adolf Hitler used this as an opportunity to announce his vision of a strong Germany and staged a coup (The Beer Hall Putsch) in Munich, however he was imprisoned for treason. During his imprisonment, he wrote his political manifesto “Mein Kampf”, which further spread his vision of the Third Reich.
After serving less than 9 months of a 5-year sentence, Hitler was released and a decade later, through propaganda, political maneuvering, and his vision of German lebensraum (living space), Hitler was elected Chancellor of Germany in 1933. Adolf Hitler immediately dismantles the government, sets up the Third Reich, and begins rebuilding the German military while his Minister of Propaganda, Joseph Goebbels, orchestrates the burning of all books, texts, and art deemed “Un-German.”
Germany allies with Italy in early 1938, while Austria writhes in political unrest, giving Germany the edge deemed necessary to annex Austria into Germany, known as the Anschluss.
That same year on the 9th of November, The Night of Broken Glass, German violence against the Jews broke out after the assassination of a German official in Paris by a Jewish teenager and ended with thousands of Jews being hauled off to various concentration camps including Dachau, the first constructed camp of its kind. The Night of Broken Glass (Kristallnacht) was named from the hundreds of Jewish storefronts destroyed by the Germans leaving the street filled with shards of glass.
Europe, knowing war is yet again at hand, watches and waits to see who will fall first.
“Das war ein Vorspiel nur, dort wo man Bücher verbrennt, verbrennt man auch am Ende Menschen.”
(“That was but a prelude; where they burn books, they will ultimately burn people as well.”)
– Heinrich Heine from his play, Almanso [Fan generated content by: Joe Arino]