History of Germany

nsequent emergency decree abrogated basic citizens' rights. An enabling act passed in parliament gave Hitler unrestricted legislative power. Only the Social Democratic Party voted against it, while Communist MPs had already been imprisoned. Using his powers to crush any actual or potential resistance, Hitler established a centralised totalitarian state within months. Industry was revitalised with a focus on military rearmament.

In 1935, Germany reacquired control of the Saar and in 1936 military control of the Rhineland, both of which had been lost in the Treaty of Versailles. In 1938, Austria was annexed, and in 1939, Czechoslovakia was brought under German control. The invasion of Poland was prepared through the Molotov–Ribbentrop pact and Operation Himmler. On 1 September 1939 the German Wehrmacht launched a blitzkrieg on Poland, which was swiftly occupied by Germany and by the Soviet Red Army. The UK and France declared war on Germany, marking the beginning of World War II. As the war progressed, Germany and its allies quickly gained control of most of continental Europe and North Africa, though plans to force the United Kingdom to an armistice or surrender failed. On 22 June 1941, Germany broke the Molotov–Ribbentrop pact and invaded the Soviet Union. Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor led Germany to declare war on the United States. The Battle of Stalingrad forced the German army to retreat on the Eastern front. In September 1943, Germany's ally Italy surrendered, and German troops were forced to defend an additional front in Italy. D-Day opened a Western front, as Allied forces advanced towards German territory. On 8 May 1945, the German armed forces surrendered after the Red Army occupied Berlin.

In what later became known as The Holocaust, the Third Reich regime had enacted policies directly subjugating many dissidents and minorities. Millions of people were murdered by the Nazis during the Holocaust, including approximately six million Jews,