Gleichschaltung

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The Nazi regime practiced Gleichschaltung, a system of total control and coordination of all aspects of society. The government's desire for total control required it to be the only influence on society. This required the elimination of any other form of influence. The period from 1933 to around 1937 was characterized by the systematic elimination of organizations that could influence people, such as unions and political parties. Organizations that could not be eliminated, such as the schools, were brought under direct control. The influence of the churches was also assailed. The government assumed direct control of all economic activity as well.

Not all influences are domestic, however. Total control required the elimination of influences from abroad. This led the German government to become increasingly aggressive in its foreign policy, annexing parts of Czechoslovakia, and the whole of Austria, before launching all out a full scale war in 1939.

Gleichschaltung is the German word for consolidation (well, close enough); or converting alternating current (AC) to direct current (DC).


See also Totalitarianism