Hitler Became Chancellor in January 1933 Because He Was Leader of the Most Popular Party in Germany.’ How Far Do You Agree with This Opinion?

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Hitler’s assumption of power on the 30th of January 1933 was seemingly due to the mass popularity of the Nazi party. However it was far off achieving the 50% majority it needed to put Hitler automatically in power. As well as popularity, backstairs intrigue and the short-sightedness of those in power enabled Hitler to become Chancellor. The weaknesses of Germany’s political leadership were fundamental to Hitler’s success. In some senses the popularity of the party only provided an opening, available for exploitation. Undoubtedly, Nazi popularity placed pressure on government and on President Hindenburg to make Hitler Chancellor. Their astonishing rise in votes since 810 000 in 1928 to 13.75 million in July 1932 was extraordinary. Disregarding 37% of the electorate would not only have been undemocratic, but unworkable in a time where no party other commanded such a mass movement. Rallying voters from other nationalist parties, the Nazis in 1930 took half of the DNVP’s seats and a third of the DVP’s. It signified unity and support behind a cause – unseen since the beginning of the Great War. No longer were nationalists vying for the implausible return of a Kaiser, but joining behind Hitler.Furthermore Nazi support far exceeded that of the parties on the fragmented Left. Whilst in 1930 the SPD retained their lead on the NSDAP by two million votes, in 1932 the Nazi vote was almost double of the SPD’s, with 7 million more votes. By leading the most popular party, Hitler had the confidence of almost 14 million people which was an undeniable force. Then again, Hitler had not gained the 50% majority needed to become Chancellor. Democracy did not bring Hitler to power and 63.6% of Germans had not voted for Hitler. Debatably, it was only a protest vote. The loss of two million votes from the July to the November 1932 elections demonstrates how the popularity of the party was perhaps more a symbolic façade which Hitler took advantage of. Some would argue that it was not...
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