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Germany Political and Economic Reunion Section 3 pg.315 Geography 7th Grade Germany’s Dark History • After losing WWI in 1918, the German government had to pay billions of dollars as punishment for attacking other countries. • During this time, the German economy collapsed and prices increased. Germans everywhere felt desperate. Hitler and World War II • Adolf Hitler was upset and bitter in 1918 when he learned that Germany had lost the war. • He promised himself that his country would never suffer such a defeat again. • He became deeply involved in politics, and in all his speeches he promised to make Germany great again. – In 1933 he becomes dictator of Germany. • Hitler blamed the economic problems on the Jews. • He spread hateful theories about Jews, gypsies, and other ethnic groups in Germany (he thought they were inferior or not as good as Germans). • He is responsible for the start of WWII in 1939. • Great Britain, the Soviet Union, and the United States joined other nations to stop Hitler and the Germans. • By the end of the war, Europe was in ruins. • It wasn’t until towards the end of the war that the allies discovered the death camps and what Germans were doing to the Jews, gypsies and other groups. – This horrible mass murder of six million Jews is called the Holocaust – The deliberate murder of a racial, political, or ethnic group is called genocide. The Cold War • At the end of the war, the Americans, the British, the French, and the Soviets divided Germany. • The American, British, and French sections were joined into a democratic country called West Germany. • The Soviet Union created communist East Germany • Berlin was in the Soviet part of Germany, but the western half of it, called West Berlin, became part of democratic West Germany. • The Berlin Wall divided the two halves of the city, but it divied more tha Berlin. It was a symbol of a divided world. Conrad Schumann – a soldier of East Germany whose responsibility was to prevent other citizens from escaping into West Berlin. The Communists Weaken -East German economy was falling further behind the West German economy. *West Germans had a better life than East Germans. So, to keep East Germans happy, the government allowed some of them to VISIT West Germany. -In the late 1980’s, changes in the Soviet Union helped to cause the collapse of East Germany. -The soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev made it clear that he would not use force to protect communism in Eastern Europe. The Fall of the Berlin Wall • On November 9, 1989, crowds of Germans began climbing over the wall. Some people raced to see friends and relatives, others just wanted to enjoy a different life. • People helped each other over the wall and crowds tore at the wall and took it apart block by block. • Less than a year later, the governments of East and West Germany united. Germany had become a single country again.