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Teaching Resources / Toward the Final Solution: A Timeline of Significant Dates

Toward the Final Solution: A Timeline of Significant Dates

30 Jan. 1933: Hitler named Chancellor of Germany

28 Feb. 1933: Enabling Act, passed after Reichstag fire, allows Hitler to rule by decree

1 April 1933: one-day boycott of Jewish businesses throughout Germany

early April 1933: first major set of anti-Jewish legislation expels most Jews from civil service jobs, some professions, limits number of Jews in schools and universities

October 1933: Germany withdraws from League of Nations, begins rearmament

September 1935: Nuremberg laws deprive Jews of German citizenship and forbid sexual relations and marriage between Jews and non-Jews. Precise definitions of Jews, half-Jews, and specific rules for treatment of each category.

March 1936: Hitler sends troops into demilitarized zone of Rhineland, demonstrating that Britain and France will not act to uphold Versailles Treaty.

Summer 1936: Olympic Games in Berlin. Temporary easing of measures against Jews so that visitors will have impression of peaceful and prosperous country.

July 1936-Jan. 1939: Spanish Civil War. Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany send troops and support to Franco forces; France and Britain remain neutral.

March 1938: Anschluss (annexation of Austria to Germany). In Vienna, Adolf Eichmann uses new and more brutal methods to force Jews to emigrate.

September 1938: Munich crisis. To ward off Hitler=s threat to attack Czechoslovakia, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain (with French cooperation) agrees to let Germany annex Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia. High point of policy of appeasement or concessions to Germany in attempt to rectify supposed injustices of Versailles settlement.

November 9-10, 1938: Kristallnacht. After Polish Jewish refugee in Paris shoots German diplomatic official, German government helps organize violent riots against Jews throughout Germany, marked by burning of synagogues and looting of Jewish property. Brutal methods of forcing emigration, first used in Austria in March 1938, now applied in Germany.

March 1939: Hitler annexes Czech territories of Bohemia and Moravia, showing that he will not respect Munich agreements. British and French governments realize that policy of appeasement has failed and begin to prepare seriously for war.

August 1939: beginning of euthanasia program in Germany, in which severely handicapped and mentally ill children and adults are gassed to death.

23 August 1939: Nazi-Soviet Pact between Germany and Soviet Union clears way for German attack on Poland.

1 Sept. 1939: Germany attacks Poland, starting European phase of World War II. Britain and France keep promise to Poland by declaring war on Germany. Poland defeated and occupied in 3 weeks; Soviet Union annexes eastern part of Poland and Baltic states in accordance with secret clauses of Nazi-Soviet pact.

fall 1939-spring 1940: mass killings of Polish >intelligentsia= and some Jews in occupied Poland. Jews in Polish cities forced into ghettoes.

May-June 1940: German blitzkrieg invasion of Netherlands, Belgium and France. British forces saved at Dunkirk. Collaborationist Vichy government established in France.

Fall 1940: despite failure of aerial attack on Britain, Hitler orders start of planning for Operation Barbarossa, invasion of the Soviet Union.

March 1941: German Army leaders informed that invasion of Soviet Union will include mass killings of civilians, in violation of normal rules of war.

May 1941: Einsatzgruppen (special squads) formed to carry out killings of Jews after start of invasion of Soviet Union.

22 June 1941: start of Operation Barbarossa, German invasion of Soviet Union. Mass killings of Jews start almost immediately in areas occupied by German troops. Killings carried out primarily by Einsatzgruppen, sometimes with assistance of regular troops.

August 1941: protests by clergymen in Germany lead to announcement of suspension of euthanasia program (which is actually continued in secret)

October 1941: probable date of decision to implement Final Solution, the systematic extermination of Jews throughout occupied Europe.

November 1941: start of gassings of Polish Jews at Chelmno

7 Dec. 1941: Japanese attack United States at Pearl Harbor. Germany declares war on US on 11 Dec. 1941.

January 1942: Wannsee Conference in Berlin, to plan details of Final Solution.

Early 1942: AOperation Reinhard@ death camps opened at Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka.

April 1942: Auschwitz, earlier used as concentration camp for Polish and Russian prisoners, expanded to function as death camp for Jews. Final Solution is now in full operation.