Traumatization by war, defeat and revolution in 1918-19 is followed by mass poverty caused by inflation and the Great Depression. Social deprivation and longing for the nation’s resurgence pave the way for Adolf Hitler and the Nazis to power. They begin establishing a inhumane dictatorship in 1933. Whoever conforms and submits to the norms of the Nazi “racial national community” is able to profit from the new regime and have a successful career. Whoever fails to conform arouses suspicion and has to expect reprisals. Only a few dare to resist.
Jews are ostracized from the community from the outset. They are systematically disenfranchised and persecuted. The Nazis unleash World War II, which brings destruction and carnage to Bavaria as well. Bavaria is occupied by American troops in the spring of 1945 and incorporated in the American zone. Hardship amid the ruins causes people to starve, but also makes them resourceful: Anything lacking is “organized”. The integration of two million refugees and displaced persons who stream into the state after the war’s end proves difficult at first but gradually succeeds.
The denazification required by the Americans is discontinued, however. Public resistance and the need for labor for reconstruction are too great. The Americans have more success with their democratization initiative: The first free elections are already held shortly after the war’s end. At the close of 1946, the Free State of Bavaria has a new constitution and a newly elected State Parliament.