Adolf Hitler: Chancellor of Germany in 1933

Topics: Adolf Hitler, Weimar Republic, Nazi Party Pages: 9 (2629 words) Published: March 30, 2011
Adolf Hitler became Chancellor of Germany in 1933.
What were the events during 1918-1933, that enabled Hitler achieve that position?

In the words of George Orwell, ‘…Hitler has said to them ‘I offer you struggle, danger and death,’ and as a result a whole nation flings itself at his feet.’[1] 1918 saw Germany faced with mounting defeats on the battlefields along with political and economic pressures after four long years during the Great War. Their efforts in the Great War were coming to a close. German generals made armistice negotiations with the allies in November of 1918 which effectively ended the conflict. As a result the emperor, Kaiser Wilhelm II abdicated that same month. The Weimar Republic succeeded which made Germany a democratic style of government. Apart from the humiliation of losing the war, these events brought about immense change to not only the German government structure but also the German citizens in the ideologies they formed after years of suffering through the tragedy of war. A strong leader was what the German people desired. Adolf Hitler and his party, The National Socialist German Worker's Party (Commonly abbreviated to Nazis) gradually built up support from the voters and in 1933 was officially appointed Chancellor of Germany. The way in which Hitler achieved his commanding government role as Chancellor involved aspects including propaganda, initiating violence and deceit.

The loss of the Great War came as a shock to many German people. The blame had to be pointed at somebody and in this case the government was to blame. Under the terms outlined after the armistice in the Treaty of Versailles, the German army was not forced to admit defeat by surrendering.[2] As a result Germans believed that their army was not defeated on the battlefields but surrendered due weak politicians and anti war activists who caused friction and weakened the German Armies morale. This was called the ‘Stab in the Back’ theory and was instrumental in the uncertainty that developed in German attitudes towards their leaders. Hitler however thrived on this notion and blamed the Republic for Germany’s surrender. It was from these events Hitler rose quickly to the position of the Nazi party’s theorist and chief propaganda officer.[3]

However by 1921, Germany was about to face financial ruin. England and Germany, part of the victorious Allies of The Great War, demanded payment for damages which Germany instigated. A bill totaling the equivalent of 33 billion dollars was presented to Germany. The payment for the war compensation ‘…had the immediate effect of causing ruinous inflation in Germany.’[4] Devaluation had already begun during the war but the steep costs in associated damage payments caused significant inflation. Germany overprinted paper money eventually caused the mark to collapse in ‘…November 1923 to 16,000 million to the pound.’[5]

By mid 1921, Hitler was eventually elected Party Chairman in July. Hitler, fueled by an even greater sense of confidence and power decided to demonstrate the message that the Nazi party was completely different from every previous party’s before them. The inflation throughout Germany was causing desperation and Hitler’s Nazi party sounded plausible given the circumstances. The German people were attentive to anything that could possibly help change the situation they were suffering through. The official statement from the newspaper of the Nazi party the ‘Volkischer Beobachter’ read ‘to develop in the hearts of our young supporters a tremendous desire for action.’[6] The idea was to gain the support of opposition leader, Gustav von Kahr and his armed forces. ‘In November 1923, 600’[7] supporters under Hitler’s direction imposed themselves upon a major meeting being addressed by Kahr. It was unsuccessful and created a dangerous situation. Even under gunpoint, Kahr refused to support the Nazi party and placed Hitler on trial for treason. It was in prison where Hitler was to...
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