The Third Reich is the name of the Nazi administration and governance of Germany from 1933 to 1945. It was a totalitarian dictatorship – members of the armed forces swore an oath of allegiance to Hitler himself – and a single party fascist republic; no political opposition was allowed and attempts to create one were violently suppressed. Two key features of the Nazi regime were the desire for a ‘pure’ Aryan race, and the perceived need for more lebensraum or ‘living space’. This resulted in the persecution and murder of groups such as Jews, Slavs and Roma, as well as homosexuals, Jehovah's Witnesses and the mentally and physically disabled. Hitler's expansionist beliefs led to the occupation of countries such as Poland (which caused Britain to declare war on
Germany) and France. He also annexed countries he saw as having considerable ethnic German populations, such as Austria and the then-called Sudetenland, covering part of Czechoslovakia. In can be argued that the Third Reich ended when Hitler committed suicide in his Berlin bunker on the 30th April 1945, as German forces unconditionally surrendered a few days later.