What was the most important reason for Hitler's rise to power? - History Essay Example

Hitler rose to power because of a combination of factors - What was the most important reason for Hitler's rise to power? introduction. Some were deep rooted and some were triggers. When asked for the most important each factor can be debated for their relative importance. In the end each factor has a relationship to the next and they interlink. The treaty of Versailles was a real problem in German society. The Germans disliked the treaty for many reason such as the guilt clause, disarmament and the loss of their land.

However in the peaceful years of the 1920s things were quieting down with Strasemann in power, the Dawes plan in 1924, Germany joining the League of Nations in 1926 and the Locarno agreement in 1925 all meant that Germany society was settling down, but was it really? In 1929 with the Wall Street crash Germany has to pay back the loan, which the Dawes plan had provided. This was too much for the German people to bear. The Weimar republic collapsed and Hitler gained popularity. Hitler then bought back the hatred of the Treaty of Versailles and blamed the people who signed it for Germanys problems.


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S. Lee says, “First the Nazis revived talk of the Stab In The Back of 1918 and betrayal through the treaty of Versailles in 1919″ Hitler said, ” The peace treaty which Germany signed is unfair. It must be cancelled, the land which it took away must be returned and France must be destroyed. ” The Treaty Of Versailles is an important cause because if Germany had not been so dependant on America then the Wall Street crash would not have been so catastrophic. However if the Wall Street Crash did not happened then the German democracy would have had a better chance of surviving.

Hitler certainly used the hatred of the treaty as a tool to gain power. Hatred of the Weimar Republic is also a factor in Hitler’s rise to power and its eventual collapse gave Hitler his opportunity. The Weimar republic formed in 1919 after the abdication of the German Kaiser had to sign the treaty. This act was always held against it. In the 1920s the Weimar Republic was coping fairly well but in the aftermath of the Wall Street Crash the German people again lost hope and turned to extremist. This shows that one reason cannot be singled out as they all inter-twine.

The Wall Street Crash rocked all democracies but the fledgling Weimar Republic had no chance of survival. Britain had a democracy for over 300 years but there was still need for a national government. There were also two flaws with the Weimar constitution. The first was article 48 which allowed a chancellor to rule without parliament if he thought the situation was an emergency. Hitler then said that Germany was going through a crisis and everything is an emergency. Parliament was never called again. The second flaw was the voting system of proportional representation, which allowed coalition governments.

Hitler never had a clear majority but he came to power in a situation where no one could control the Reichstag. The perfect democracy and the chaos and disruption caused by the Wall Street Crash gave Hitler his opportunity and are therefore an important cause, but links with Germany losing the war and the reparation bill for without the war reparations would never have had to be paid but without the reparations the Wall Street Crash would not have been so catastrophic for Germany. In Broman’s book he says “The weakness of the Weimar Republic was obvious.

There were too many political parties and they were unable to form an enduring majority in the Reichstag that could back a stable government” In 1919 there was a Spartacist coup. This coup was unsuccessful but it just showed how instable the government was at that time. In the early 1920s when people were better off the Weimar republic entered a period of stability. However after the Wall Street Crash people had no money and were declining into poverty, they started turning to extremists such as the Communists and Nazis. To stop the communist being elected him Hitler set fire to the Reichstag and blamed it on the communists.

Also the rich people supported Hitler, as he was very outspoken against communism. This is important as they gave him money to spread his message and produce propaganda to reinforce that message. However this would not have been an issue if prosperity had continued as the rich wouldn’t have feared anything and not have supported Hitler. After 1929 it became an issue because poverty loomed again. Therefore there is a direct link between Wall Street Crash and Fear of Communism. Hitler was watching the growing instability in Germany and then decided to take over power by force in Bavaria, but he failed.

After the Munich Putsch in 1923 he decided to take over power legally. The Weimar system allowed this to happen. This reason is important but cannot be over estimated because it is not as important as the Wall Street Crash and The Reparations. Without these other reasons Hitler would never have had an opportunity to take over power ad he would have remained an extremist party as people would not vote for him if they had enough money. For example in 1928 [1 year before the Wall Street Crash] the Nazis had 12 seats in the Reichstag. In 1930 the Nazis had 196 seats in the Reichstag.

Propaganda is one of the most important tools in anyone’s rise to power but not the most important factor in Hitler’s rise to power. There are two types of persuasion a person can use. The first is propaganda, which involves telling people it will be better once one is in power. The other is fear, which involves telling people you will die if you don’t support one. These tools are only useful if people are paying attention. This is proved by the facts that Hitler was putting out propaganda and he still had his Brownshirts intimidating people in 1920s but no one was paying attention and he never got to power until people listened to him.

Terror is a factor. Hitler used the SA storm troopers to frighten people into supporting him. Brovman says “Between 1925-1930 24 Nazis were killed in street fighting. The violence was planned and encouraged by Nazi leaders. They believed that violence convinced the middle class voters that the Nazis were Germanys toughest and most determined anti-communists” A Hamburg schoolteacher recalls a Nazi meeting in 1932. “It was nearly 3PM. The Fuhrer is coming. A ripple went through the crowd. When his speech was over there was a roaring of applause and enthusiasm.

How many look up to him with touching faith as their helper, their saviour, their deliverer from unbearable distress. ” The British ambassador in Berlin in 1932 said “There were, between 1st June and 20th July, in Prussia alone, 322 clashes involving 72 deaths and 497 injured. ” The use of terror was a factor. People voted for Hitler because they were afraid for themselves and their families. The use of terror only translated into seats after the Wall Street Crash however. Therefore it is less important than other factors, such as The Wall Street Crash.

Hitler’s personality is also a factor but it is less important than other factors because Hitler was still a good speaker before the Wall Street Crash. Before The Wall Street Crash the Nazi party didn’t have many seats because people were doing OK in Germany and weren’t listening to him. Hitler’s personality cannot be discounted completely. Said about Hitler, “As a speaker, Hitler exercises astonishing sway over a German audience. He has sized up the people with incredible accuracy. This and an undeniable political instinct have bought him to the top of the tree. ” Appeal of the Nazis is a factor of importance.

The Nazis appealed to the middle classes because they were very against communism and were appealing to the working classes because they promised improved living and working conditions. He also appealed to society as a whole because he provided scapegoats such as the Weimar Government, the Communists and the Jews and people like having someone to blame. Political scheming is an important factor because it is mostly by chance that Hitler came to power. Papen couldn’t control the Reichstag and had to ask for article 48 to be passed so he could do what he wanted. Papen, Franz von (1879-1969), German politician.

A member of the Catholic Centre Party, he had little popular following, and his appointment as Chancellor (1932) came as a surprise. To gain Nazi support he lifted the ban on the Brownshirts, but Hitler remained an opponent. Attempts to undermine Nazi strength failed and he resigned. He persuaded Hindenburg to appoint Hitler (January 1933) as his Chancellor, but as Vice-Chancellor he could not restrain him. He became ambassador to Austria (1934), working for its annexation (Anschluss) in 1938, and to Turkey (1939-44). He was tried as a war criminal (1945) but released.

Schleicher used this to his own advantage and called for Papen’s removal. He got his wish and Hindenburg gave him Papen’s position. , but he also could not control the Reichstag. He called for article 48 but because he called for Papen’s removal for doing this, he was also removed. Hitler was now in power. The first thing he did was to declare every situation an emergency. Parliament was never called again. Hindenburg, Paul von (1847-1934), German general and statesman. He fought at the battle of Koniggratz (Sadowa) and in the Franco-Prussian War (1870-1) and retired in 1911.

He was recalled to active service at the outbreak of World War I and crushed the Russians at Tannenberg in east Prussia (August 1914). In 1916 he became chief of the general staff. After the failure of Germany’s offensive (1918) he advised the need to sue for peace. After the war he came to tolerate the Weimar Republic and in 1925 was elected as President in succession to Ebert. Re-elected (1932), he did not oppose the rise of Hitler, but appointed him as Chancellor (January 1933) on the advice of Franz von Papen. Hindenburg never trusted Hitler, but because the rich supported Hitler, and he had to allow him in.

Fritz Thyssen and Alfred Hugenberg heavily financed the nazi party. If Germany had not lost the war and have to pay the huge reparations bill the Wall Street Crash wouldn’t have been as disastrous. Stock Market Crash (USA) (1929), also known as the ‘Great Crash’, the ‘Wall Street Crash’, the ‘Great Panic’. During the first half of 1929 an unprecedented boom took place on the New York Stock Exchange. Prices, however, began to fall from late September and selling began. In less than a month there was a 40 per cent drop in stock value, and this fall continued over the next three years.

Its causes were numerous. Although the post-war US economy seemed to be booming, it was on a narrow base and there were fundamental flaws. The older basic industries, such as mining and textiles, were weak; agriculture was depressed; unemployment at four million was unacceptably high; international loans were often poorly secured. A new rich class enjoyed a flamboyant life-style, which too many people tried to copy by means of credit and stock-market speculation, with an unsound banking system. Once the business cycle faltered, a panic set in.

The effects of the crash were hugely to accelerate a downward spiral: real estate values collapsed, factories closed, and banks began to call in loans, precipitating the world-wide Great Depression. After The Wall Street Crash people were suffering the effects of the depression and turned to extremist such as the Nazis or communists. The Wall Street Crash hit Germany especially hard because they had borrowed 800 million gold marks to pay back the reparations. After The Wall Street Crash America wanted the money they had lent back. This shows how The Wall Street Crash links with the reparations.

Therefore there is no most important factor in the rise of Hitler. There are different degrees of importance but all factors link. For example if the reparations hadn’t had happened The Wall Street Crash wouldn’t have been so disastrous. On the other hand if The Wall Street Crash had never have happened Germany would have been able to continue paying reparations. If communism wasn’t so feared the rich wouldn’t have supported Hitler and the Second World War may have been avoided. There are numerous links between each of the factors and one cannot be singled out as the most important.

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