Account for Hitler's rise to power; with extensive historiography.

Topics: Adolf Hitler, Nazi Germany, Weimar Republic Pages: 5 (1651 words) Published: August 24, 2004
Hitler, and his Nazi parties rise to power was one of chance and circumstance. His alternative views struck a chord with the people; he was able to channel Germany's hatred for the Weimar Republic, Treaty of Versailles and minority groups into support for his National Socialist Party. Hitler was a powerful orator capable of winning entire audiences to his views and ideologies. Hitler was able to manipulate the truth to gain widespread popularity. He controlled power by installing fear and sustained a myth about his leadership fuelled by propaganda.

Hitler's initial attempt at gaining power via revolution in Bavaria in 1919 was a fiasco. Resulting in his brief imprisonment, he was able to gain national prominence through the Medias attention of his Beerhall Putsch, and while imprisoned wrote "Mein Kampf" in which Hitler listed his ideological views and received some new support.

The Treaty of Versailles signed by the Germans in 1919, while leaving the Germans feeling betrayed did nothing did nothing for the popularity of the Nazi Party in the short-term as between 1918 and 1928 the Nazi's failed to gain a seat in the Reichstag. However, the long-term repercussions of the treaty helped the Nazi's gain appeal as by the late Twenties, Germany had suffered the worse effects of the Depression more so than any other country due to treaty's callous terms. Specifically, it was the presence of excessive reparation demands that left the German economy venerable; and the inclusion of the 'War Guilt Clause'. Hitler learned to exploit the nation's resentment by asserting that he would abrogate the terms of the Treaty. Thus, although the Treaty played no direct part in Hitler's popularity early on, it did catalyse it in the long run.

The Weimar's ineffective government also contributed to the rise of Hitler because it created a discontented populace which he was able to exploit. "The nation was in turmoil under the leadership of the Weimar Republic, which was associated with all things wrong with post-war Germany" wrote Mason. The turmoil was the poor economic and political conditions of the nation, with hyper inflation, a weak currency, widespread unemployment and the inability to attract public allegiance were the main reasons for the Weimar's lack of support. To capitalise this disapproval, Hitler would use his rousing orating ability to declare that he would dissolve German democracy in favour of his Fascist-style dictatorial government, through existing legal conduits. As a result of anti-Weimar sentiment, Hitler was able to manipulate the masses into supporting his totalitarian views. Thus, the discontentment regarding the Weimar Republic was vital in Hitler's coming to power.

Undoubtedly the single most influential event to Nazi power was The Great Depression. From 1924 until 1928, Germany experience economic boom as a result of loans from the United States under the Dawes Plan. In 1929 however the Stock Market crashed heralding a world wide economic depression. The effects of the Depression were most hard felt in Germany, where unemployment reached 40 percent; the savings of the middle class disappeared, and with the collapse of five major banks went twenty thousand businesses. These turn of events mobilised the people for extremist parties, with the Nazi vote augmenting from 2% in 1928 to 38% in 1932. As A.J.P. Taylor said, "The Depression put the wind into Hitler's sails". The Depression allowed Hitler to reinforce support for his party while at the same time still professing the same doctrines as before the Depression.

Also Hitler's popularity lay in his ability to gain support by all levels of society. To the lowest class, the farmers, he promised he would redistribute land, end debt and protect them from foreign competition. The working class represented a group torn between communism and the Nazi's, to them he promised quick reform, and would later win their support through fallacies. To the Junker class,...
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