How Important Was the Role of Hitler in the Rise to Power of the Nazis

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How important was the role of the leader in the rise to power of the Nazis in Germany On the 30th January 1933 Adolf Hitler became Chancellor of Germany. Hitler came to power as the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party, more commonly known as the Nazi Party. In the July election of 1932 the Nazis received the highest vote ever achieved by any party in Weimar History with 13.7 million votes. This is a crucial point in history as it was Hitler who led the world into World War II which resulted in the death of 60 million people. Many questions are asked as to how such a man could legitimately come to power and create a totalitarian dictatorship in a modern country such as Germany. One popular reason for Hitler coming to power is the role he played himself and the widespread appeal for the Nazis. Historian Feuchtwanger says: ‘’The personality of the Fuhrer became a significant historical factor. He had a combination of demagogic gifts and political instinct.’’ Many believe it was the decreasing support for the Weimar Republic, which led to its collapse, helped Hitler take power. Historian Ardagh backs this up by saying ‘’Gloom was such that already by the mid 1920s many Germans were losing faith in the very principle of parliamentary democracy; this was above all he cancer that killed Weimar... A growing number of politicians... came to feel that democracy was unworkable’’. The third reason commonly believed to have played a major role in the Nazis coming to power is the Miscalculation of the Conservative Elites. Historian Salmon is a believer of this as he said: ‘’Nazism came to power as a result of a miscalculation by the conservative politicians and the military after a large number, but by no means a majority, of the electorate had put it in a position to contend for power.’’ However, clearly the most important reason that allowed the Nazis to rise to power was the Weimar’s failure to deal with Germany’s economic problems which led to the Great Depression. Historian Holtfrerich rightly said ‘’The Nazi rise to power was essentially linked to the Great Depression which was a world-wide phenomenon and had little to do with the domestic conflict.’’

Hitler held fantastic election campaigns with his remarkable ability to sense the mood of the crowd in front of him and appeal to them. Not only did he inspire the people of Germany, he also inspired his fellow Nazis. During Nazi election campaigns huge Nazi rallies would take place in cities such as Berlin. Patriotic music would play as the SA paraded the streets in smart brown uniforms sporting swastikas. This gave the image of class and authority to those watching. Hitler would travel by aeroplane all over Germany to hold election meetings in what was known as Hitler über Deutschland (Hitler Over Germany). This was something no other politician had done. The ‘’Whistle Stop’’ campaign showed Hitler was up to date with the latest technology and was going to lead Germany into the future. It also meant he was able to gain support and votes from areas in Germany that had very little or no Nazi influence at all. The Nazi party had a widespread appeal as they promised to benefit all areas of society not just one. They promised the workers jobs and a fairer share of the national wealth. They promised the middle classes a strong government and improvements to the economy and promised to alleviate any other problems in society. This gave them an advantage straight away as their opponents, the Communists, only appealed to one area of society. The Nazi party were also very effective at using propaganda. This job was delegated to Dr Josef Goebbels who famously said, ‘’If you tell a lie, tell a big lie and tell it often. People will believe you.’’ This clearly shows that despite promising all they had to society, a lot of it may have been unrealistic to achieve and only promised to gain support. The Nazis were also adamant that they would destroy communism and this gained...
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