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 Geschichte Bayerns > Review > Coping with National Socialism
Coping with National Socialism

Despite the connections between the church and the monarchy, 43 percent of the Bavarian population voted for Adolf Hitler as Chancellor on March 5, 1933. As a result, Bavaria lost the remainder of its independence and became a Reich province.

Memories of the Nazi dictatorship are connected with several places in Bavaria. Dachau, near Munich, was the site of the first ever concentration camp, where at first political opponents and discriminated individuals were taken without a trial. Later the camp in Dachau became an Arbeitslager, or work camp, with numerous subsidiary camps around it where prisoners and POWs of many nations were subjected to forced labour to support the Nazi war effort.

The Nazis made Nuremberg the centre of their Reichsparteitage, or "Reich Party Days", and Munich into "the capital of the (Nazi) movement". The "Berghof", Adolf Hitler's private residence, was situated up on the Obersalzberg near Berchtesgaden.

From 1946 onwards the Allied powers placed the main culprits of the Nazi regime on trial at the War Crime Trials in Nuremberg. The Berghof was dynamited in 1946, and since 1999 the site has featured a permanent exhibition on the history of the Obersalzberg and the Nazi dictatorship, entitled "Dokumentation Obersalzberg".

The experience of war and totalitarianism, of genocide and ideological enticement played a crucial role in the clear support for a new democratic beginning, and in the strong urge to make amends that characterized post-war Germany in 1945.

The preamble of the Bavarian Constitution of 1946 runs as follows: "In view of the pile of rubble created by a state and social order devoid of God, devoid of conscience and devoid of respect for human dignity, and of a firm decision to secure the blessings of peace, of humanity and rectitude in the long-term for the German peoples to come, the Bavarian people... gives itself the following democratic constitution."