Historians have debated the reasons behind the rise of Hitler in 1933, one reason for the rise of hitler was due to his charismatic personality and his reformation of the nazi party, this is argued by Martin Broszat, in addition, it could be also be argued that the rise of hitler was down to the failures of weimar and how they could not make decisions properly or keep coalition governments in charge, Historian E.J.
Feuchtwanger echoes this statement. Furthermore a main reason hitler rose to power, could have been due to the Wall Street Crash and the subsequent Great Depression that followed, Mary Fulbrook argues that the wall street crash led to hitler’s seizure of power.Many historians have concluded that the wall street crash was a crucial moment in german history and the lead up the rise of Hitler. Mary Fulbrook says that, ”The Nazis owed their spectacular success to … wider socio-economic conditions which created climates of opinion and sets of grievances on which the Nazis could prey” .Noakes and Pridham agree saying that nazis saw the wall street crash as their step to success, ‘the next turning point came in autumn of 1929… seen by the extreme right as an excellent opportunity to exploit growing discontent.’ , Historian Frank McDonough agrees, reiterating the statement that the wall street crash was a pivotal moment in German history, saying that ”during the period of ‘the great depression’ the electorate support for nazi germany grew remarkably”. This is supported by William Shirer who says that the ”The depression … gave adolf hitler his opportunity and he made the most of it. Like most great revolutionaries he could only thrive in evil times” this says the the effect of the wall street crash was greater than the affect.
Prior to the wall street crash, german workers benefited from an increase in real wages by 10%, ensuring that german workers were the best paid workers in europe, however the increase in real wages did not benefit the middle class as many of them had been bankrupted by the hyperinflation in 1923. By 1928 there were 184,000 members off the middle class who were unemployed, and half of them didn’t even qualify for the unemployment relief from the government. By 1929, the people of germany had experienced five years of prosperity, which was helped by the loans from the US.
the prosperity depended on USA. Then in october 1929 the wall street crash took place, which created huge consequences for germany, such as unemployment and a banking crisis . Bankers and financiers in the usa recalled loans made to germany in 1924. The economy of germany during this period was not ready for the retraction of capital. The banks struggled to give out money and credit.
During 1931, people with bank account in germany and austria decided to withdraw their deposits at the same time, which led to the banks folding. In 1930 The USA who at the time were the largest purchaser of industrial exports from Germany decided to put up tariff barriers to protect domestic companies.German exports and imports, like those of other great trading nations, suffered a sharp drop in the early years of the world depression. Exports fell from a total of 13,483,000,000 marks in 1929 to 5,739,000,000 marks in 1932, while imports declined from 13,447,000,000 marks in 1929 to 4,667,000,000 marks in 1932 This caused the the great depression to take place, unemployment started to rise, as employers sacked workers and factories soon closed down. Falling food prices affected german farmers as they had already been experiencing problems. Most of the german public thought the coalition that the weimar republic had put in place was weak and that they thought that they would not be able to solve the economic crisis they were experiencing.
Hitler used the fears of economic misery and realization of worse times to come alongside the impatience that came with the anger of the failures of the Weimar government to manage the crisis on their doorstep. During the years 1929-1933, nazis increased support through propaganda. By the early 1930s the nazis had 120 weekly or daily newspapers regularly read by hundred of thousands of people. During the 1930s-1932, during the time when germany descended into political chaos, Joseph Goebbels was able to present the Nazi party in local, regional, national, and presidential elections.
The nazi message was spreading due it to being everywhere. The impact of the wall street crash disrupted the political situation, the fact that unemployment hit all classes led to hitler and the naazi party trying to appeal to all sections of society. The message that the nazi party was trying to spread was that Weimar caused the economic crisis in germany and the weak coalition government had no real solutions to offer. Historian McKichan agrees with this saying that ”Hitler’s approach meant that when the economic disaster in 1929 sent many germans looking for a strong new leader, he had all the credentials”. Alfred Sohn-Rethel was a german marxist economist says that, “Only when things went economically wrong for Germany did the Nazi Party flourish, and vice versa” furthermore he goes onto say that ”During the years of prosperity between 1924 and 1928 the Nazis as good as disappeared from the political arena. But the deeper the economy subsided into crisis, the more firmly did the fascist party sit in the saddle.” Alfred Sohn-Rethel was a french born german marxist economist. He would’ve been able to tell how the economy was and whether it was doing well or if it was in a recession due to his knowledge of economics.
However Sohn-Rethel is a marxist, so naturally he would have been against the whole idea of the nazi party and has the opposite view of Hitler who has fascist view compared to sohn-Rethel who has a marxist view. Historian Frank McDonough agrees with the previous source by saying ”during the period of ‘the great depression’ the electorate support for nazi germany grew remarkably”. McDonough is a British Historian, so his knowledge will be accurate and he is a Historian of the third reich, also known as Nazi Germany.
Historian William Shirer says that, ”The depression … gave adolf hitler his opportunity and he made the most of it. Like most great revolutionaries he could only thrive in evil times”Source 1 shows that from 1928, just before the start of the wall street crashUnemployment was at 1.25 million, then at the end of 1929 was at 3.218 million and from there to 1932 only grew to 5.
7 million in 1932, which is when the nazi party took over with 33.09% of the vote. However I know that in 1932 the weimar republic held two votes.
One in July and one in November. In both votes the nazi party won but i know that in the november elections the nazi party won with less votes than they had done in july.Sources 2 & 3 show that in the july election of 1932, the nazi party win by gaining 230 seats in the reichstag and 37.
4% of the vote, then 4 months later in the november elections, the nazi party win again but this time with considerably less amount of seats and they lose 4.3% of the vote as seen by the drop in the percentage of the public who voted for the nazi party went from 37.4 to 33.1. This is significant as it shows that in the space of four months the german public started to change their view. On the other hand, It can also be argued that the rise of hitler and the nazi party could be attributed to his political skills and his individuality. Historians Kershaw agrees with the statement by saying that Hitler, ”was more adept than any other nazi leader- even Goebbels – at giving voice to grassroots anger and popular prejudice in the most down to earth black and white colours”.
In addition Historian Kolb talks about how powerful Hitler was as a person and how the nazi party’s, ”servience to a charismatic leader distinguished the NSDAP from both the socialist and bourgeois parties of the Weimar period”.In 1920, Hitler and drexler wrote what became known as the 25 point programme. Which was a political manifesto, which hitler kept to for most of his life. In 1920 the party grew rapidly and this was mainly due to hitler and his public speaking, which attracted hundred to the meetings of the NSDAP. The increased membership meant that the party was able to buy its own newspaper allowing them to spread their ideas over the whole of germany.
Due to his influence over the party he soon became the leader in 1921. He soon became known as the Fuhrer, which for him meant that he would have absolute power and authority in the party and he was answerable to no-one. Hitler, after his release from prison after the munich putsch, hitler decided to take power by political force instead of rebellion, he then made a number of reforms to the nazi party. The NSDAP made a society for women, the young children and even, the forgotten factory workers.
They set up soup kitchen for the poor and the homeless, which was a lot of people at the time in germany. Hitler and Goebbels realised the strength behind the use of propaganda, and decided to use it. Hitler was aware that after the Munich Putsch he had to present himself and the NSDAP party as law abiding and democratic, he also knew that he had to offer something to every group in germany society if he was to succeed in any elections. His policies did work, as by 1930 they became the second largest party in the reichstag, by gaining 18% of the votes, which won them 107 seats.In support of this argument, that it was Hitler’s strength and his personal appeal that led to his rule over Germany.
Otto Strasser talks about how ”Hitler’s words go like an arrow to their targets, he touches each private wound on the raw, liberating the mass unconscious, expressing its innermost aspirations, telling it what it most wants to hear”. Otto Strasser opposed the views of hitler, and was his harshest critic. It was common knowledge at the time that Hitler’s speeches were powerful at gaining public support. Frau Luise Solmitz, a teacher at a hamburg school teacher tells us how when it was announced that Hitler had arrived, all she could see was,”hand raised in a Hitler salute”. Which tells us how strong the propaganda techniques that Hitler used were, and and the same time his popularity among the population. Furthermore Solmitz goes on to say how when Hitler ends his speech, ”the crowd looked up to Hitler as their helper, their saviour(…)the rescuer of the scholar, the farmer, the worker and the unemployed”. This source is written by a member of the public in a diary, so it can be held as an honest review.
Another person talks about how Hitler “was holding us under a hypnotic spell. I forgot everything but the man; then, glancing around, I saw that his magnetism was holding these thousands as one.”.
Again telling us how strong hitler’s words were, and how he captivated an audience. We do not know who said this source for all we know it could have been a senior Nazi official so the reliability of it is in question, but however, it is widely known that Hitler could hold the focus of thousands of people whilst he was talking so the source is quite true. Whilst evaluating the pieces of evidence it is clear to see that hitler was a remarkable orator in the way how he hypnotized the attendants of his speeches into making them see things from the same perspective as him.
Nonetheless, it can be argued by certain historians that the Hitler rose due to the Another reason for the rise of hitler could have been due to the failure of the Weimar government in Germany at the time, Historian E.J.Feuchtwanger says that ‘The weimar constitution and the way it functioned did not in the end ensure its own survival’, this is supported by Alison Kitson who says that the people of germany felt that the, ‘weimar democracy had meant only national humiliation, economic disaster, social conflicts and personal uncertainty”, she goes onto say how the nazis promised a ”new, national community, which would make germany great again … proved a powerful vision to large numbers of desperate, frightened Germans.”. In addition Historian Roderick Gordon argues that,”in the end one of hitler’s greatest advantages was the inability of the german political system to invest genuine power in its elected government and legislature”Since the start of the weimar democracy, there have been many issues that lead to the public wanting a radical pioneer. From 1919 to 1933 the weimar republic had 20 coalition governments, none of which stayed in power for very long.
This portrayed the Weimar government as powerless and inconsistent. While Ebert and Scheidemann were trying to form a new government, all over the country there was political turmoil. The Weimar republic face threats from both, the left and the right, leading to several uprisings throughout germany, which threatened the existence of the Weimar government. The politicians of weimar were criticised for their involvement in ending the war and the signing of the treaty of Versaille, the latter of which imposed harsh economic, military and territorial restrictions on Germany. The harshest term they had to accept was the War-Guilt clause, this meant that the germans had to take the blame for starting the war in 1914.
The acceptance of the treaty of Versaille meant that the germans had to pay reparations to the Allies and the way they sought to raise the funds was to increase taxes for the people in society who are better off. The German people thought, that after the Bolshevik revolution in Russia, germany would become a socialist country. In fear of a revolution the leader of the Weimar Government, Ebert made a deal with the newly appointed army leader, Groener. The deal was that the German army would support the government against the revolution if there was one, and in return the army would be supported by Ebert.
This is significant as it shows that the Weimar Government at the time was reliant on the Army, which shows it be anything but strong. In january of 1919 the spartacists, who had previously held demonstrations against the weimar government, attempted to overthrow Ebert and his Government in order to create a communist state, but within a few days the uprising was over. Ebert had used the Reichswehr and the Berlin Freikorps to silence the rebellion. The leader Liebknecht and Luxemburg were eventually found and killed soon after the rebellion failed.
Ebert had to face the right wing opposition in 1920, the leader of the Berlin Freikorps, Ehrhardt alongside politician, Wolfgang Kapp formed a plan to form a new right wing government with Kapp as the leader. This was all done in response to the reduction of the armed german forces, which were done to comply with the treaty of versaille. The commander of the Reichswehr at the time, General Luttwitz backed the idea of a right wing government. On the 12th of march 1920, Kapp and von Luttwitz marched to Berlin, in order to overthrow the Weimar government.
The new General, von Seeckt, had been asked to put down the Kapp Putsch, but he simply replied, ”the Reichswehr does not fire on the Reichswehr”. The Kapp Putsch ultimately failed, due to the government asking people to go on strike and to not support it, and since the trade unionists and civil servants supported the weimar government, the act of the german public had weakened the Putsch.In addition it could also be argued that another reason Hitler came to power was because of the economic difficulties the weimar government faced, and not the instability that it caused. The collapse of the germany currency could be blamed on the harshness of the treaty, as it led to the germans paying £6.
6 billion in annual installments of £50 million from 1921 onwards. After german claimed they could not pay the reparation payments it led to Belgium and France invading the Ruhr, which was the most industrialised area of Germany. The occupation of the Ruhr was not met with violent resistance, but the opposite, but soon after the workers in the Ruhr decided to strike, as a protest to the invasion. The strikers became heroes of Germany, due to them being portrayed as standing up to the Treaty of Versaille, and the government decided to print more money and pay the workers who had decided to strike.
This was not a good policy for the government as it would eventually lead to Inflation. But at the same, as the workers on strike were not producing any goods, so the printing of money coupled with the production of no goods, would lead to inflation turning into hyperinflation.