Risen Against Gravity


I've moved my blog and portfolio to http://fusedthought.com/en/blog. However, this site will still be kept as an archive...

Individual entires can still be accessed using their trackback links.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Hitler: rise of power

Check out an updated version at: http://fusedthought.com/2008/01/13/hitler-rise-to-power/

To my friend who asked for the Hilter Rise essay, here it is.


Hitler’s Rise to Power

Hitler rose to power in 1933 due to the unpopularity of the Weimar Government.

Hitler joined the German Workers’ Party in 1919 and became the leader in 1920 when it merged with the National Workers’ Party. He built up his party with his oratorical, organization skills and charisma. He created the Stormtroopers (SA) which broke up other parties’ meetings. He spread propaganda through publication of party newspapers and mass rallies.

The Nazi Party’s aims had appealed to the people. They propagated the “Stab in the Back” theory, accusing the government of betraying the state and the army by signing the armistice in 1919. They blamed the Treaty of Versailles for the loss of territories and reparations and the War Guilt Clause for disarmament. Hitler promised to ignore them and create a greater, stronger and authoritarian Germany when in power, through Anschluss between Germany and Austria and Lebensraum in Eastern Europe. He would introduce socialist measures, such as the nationalization of defense and public utilities, and increase old-age pensions. These aimed to stir up Nationalist feelings in the Germans and gain their support.

Weaknesses in the Weimar Government led to its downfall/rise of Hitler. For example, the government is based on proportional representation. This means that unstable coalitions will be formed as parties lack majority vote, making it hard to implement policies. Frequent collapse of these coalitions also led to democracy being rejected by the masses.

The President also has emergency powers to dissolve the Parliament and rule by decree. The government was also unable to maintain law and order. For example, it was unable to deal with the Spartacist Uprising staged by the left-wing on January 1919 and required the help of the Freikorps, a private force, to quell the violence.

The Weimar Government could not solve the economic problems. War expenses had almost bankrupted Germany. In 1923, Germany halted their consignment of goods, which led to the Ruhr Crisis when France and Belgium, invaded. The German government reacted to the invasion by printing more money leading to a massive inflation and the collapse of the Mark. There was a passive resistance by workers. People’s life savings were lost. Many turned to Hitler to solve their problems.

The Munich Putsch in November 1923 aimed to start a revolution to overthrow the government. He wanted to capitalize on the current failings of the state and thus seize power. However, it failed as he did not have the support he thought he had from the Bavarian Government. Hitler was caught and put on a trial which gave him and the Nazis publicity. The party was banned and Hitler decided never to seize power by force again. While he was in jail, the party was thrown into disarray, but he made use of Gobbels to spread Nazi propaganda.

Stresemann’s rule from 1923 to 1929 saw a decline in Nazi support. The Nazi Party seats fell from 32 in March 1924 to 14 in December 1924 and then to 12 in 1928. It was a period of economic and political stability. The Dawes Plan of 1924 successfully settled the reparations issue, convinced France to leave Ruhr, and secured US loans to stabilize finances. The Young Plan in 1929 reduced the reparation amount from ₤6600 million to ₤2000 million. Thus the Weimar Government gained popularity although Germany became dependent on US loans.

Stresemann restored Germany’s international status as a Great Power. He signed the Locarno Treaty in 1925 agreeing to western frontiers with France, Britain, Italy and Belgium, but failed to mention the eastern frontiers.

In the 1928 Kellogg Pact, Germany renounced the use of force and joined the League of Nations as a permanent member.

The Great Depression in 1929 was a critical factor for the rise of the Nazis. Stresemann, the best man to deal with the crisis had died, US loans were recalled. Wages declined, factories closed. Industrial production dropped by 42%. Currency collapsed. Unemployment rose from 1.4 million in 1928 to 6 million in 1932. The Communists got 120 seats, nearly 17%, in the November 1932 elections. The working class was unhappy as the government reduced social services, salaries and pensions of government officials and especially the unemployment benefit

The Nazis capitalized on dire conditions, spreading propaganda through films, recordings and posters of Hitler. Interest groups representing different sections of the population were set up to show that the Nazis understood their particular worries. Because of the unemployment, SA expanded as more people joined. Hitler promised to lead Germany out of its present misery and economic depression, maintain order, and get rid of Communism threat thereby restoring Germany to greatness again.

President Hindenburg tried to solve the problems from the Great Depression by suspending the constitution and ruling by decree. 5 successive coalition governments were appointed, but the problems still remained. This demonstrated a failure in democracy. Thus Nazis gained popularity.

In mid-1932, a group of Right-Wing politicians invited Hitler to power, hoping to capitalize on the Nazi support and gain popularity. By inviting Hitler into power, they also hope that it would be easier to control Hitler. Moreover, the feared another putsch. So, on January 30, 1933, Hitler legally rose to power.

If anyone else got comments on this essay, please do so. But please do not reproduce essay elsewhere without specific permission from me. Thanks.


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