I disagree with the statement because I believe it was mainly the actions of Hitler that helped the Nazi party gain popularity, in this essay I will be explaining why.
Germany at the time was a very solemn place due to the economic struggle and aftermath of the First World War; this caused the country to be in Depression. American loans to help rebuild Germany’s economy had stopped, unemployment rose and reached nearly 30%; therefore support for the Nazi and Communist parties increased as they were promising to improve the situation. In this essay I will be talking about the reasons that caused the Nazis to rise to power.
In this paragraph I will look at one of the problems Germany faced, the Treaty of Versailles. The Treaty of Versailles was the contract forced on Germany by the Allied powers in 1920 after the end of World War I which demanded ridiculous reparations from the Germans. The main points were: Germany had to accept the blame for starting the war; Germany had to pay £6,600 million for the damage done during the war; Germany was banned from having submarines or an air force, only a navy of only six battleships, and an Army of just 100,000 men were allowed, also, Germany was not allowed to place any troops in the Rhineland, the strip of land, 50 miles wide, next to France; lastly, Germany lost land in Europe and Germany’s colonies were given to Britain and France.
This caused problems in Germany for clear reasons; firstly, the reparations expected led to the country’s economic collapse; secondly, Germans were outraged at the fact that the country had to take the blame for the war. Thirdly, the restrictions on Germany’s armed forces made the country vulnerable as they would not be able to defend themselves properly in the case of an attack from another country. This could have happened as because the blame was placed on Germany, countries that were suffering from the aftermath of the war or were just angry could have tried to take violent action on Germany knowing that they were very exposed. All of these problems also caused the public to be angry at the Weimar Republic as they were blamed for getting the country into that mess.
These problems would have helped the Nazis to rise to power because the Weimar Republic, Germany’s government at the time, was very weak, had failed to solve Germany’s troubles and the unemployment that came as a consequence to this caused people to be very angry and desperate. This meant that the German citizens would have voted for anyone else who told them that they would improve things, which Hitler did in a very powerful manner.
This leads to another reason- Nazi policies were appealing to the German citizens. Over-turning Versailles, scapegoating the Jews and promising to make Germany great again; what reason did despairing civilians have not to vote for them? People would have voted for these as they were opposing the Weimar Republic and the Treaty of Versailles, which German voters were angered by.
However, the Treaty of Versailles was not an efficient support source for the Nazis because it was not directly the fault of the Weimar Republic as it was brought in by other countries, therefore the Nazis wouldn’t necessarily have been able to abolish it.
In this paragraph I will look at the second problem Germany faced, the Great Depression. The Depression was a result of the economic trouble that the country was facing after the war and left the country hopeless; it started in 1930 and ended in 1939.
This caused problems in Germany as people were desperate for change and that is exactly what was promised to them by the Nazis. The unemployment rates left the country and its civilians desperate for a difference, also, lots of people placed the blame for the issues caused by hyper-inflation on the Weimar Republic so they wanted another leader and people were attracted by the idea of a single leader- Hitler.
This led to Hitler getting financial support from business who supported his approach, these businesses had confidence in Hitler and the Nazis and so they wanted to support him, believing that it would be returned when Hitler gained power.
However, the Depression was not really a help to the Nazis because they could not guarantee change as the economic situation was a consequence of the Treaty not poor control from the government. Consequently, it would be harder to rebuild the economy.
However, the problems faced by Germany aren’t the only reason the Nazis rose to power. In this paragraph I will look at the Nazi party’s direct input. The National Socialist German Workers’ Party (also known as the NSDAP) was founded in 1920 and disbanded in 1945; this party had fascist views that were reflected through racism and anti-Semitism.
Firstly, they dealt violently with opposition, causing both fear and admiration. This helped them because their competition would have backed down out of terror and they would have gained support as people would have respected their dedication and strength that they demonstrated by dealing with their opposition the way they did. Secondly, they were organised, uniformed and disciplined, this was appealing to voters because as the Weimar Republic were considered unorganised and the Nazis were the opposite of this, which would have caused people to side with them.
This is connected to the point that Hitler had been a solider in the Great War and had been injured and decorated for bravery. This would have helped them because Hitler was the leader of the party, so having a soldier as the leader would have shown people that they were dedicated to Germany and had shown this through their actions.
However, the Nazis disciplinary behaviour came in mainly after they came into power so this wouldn’t have been a very big contribution to them gaining power. Also, it could have made people afraid of getting in trouble with them, if this had happened; it would have most likely lost them votes.
However, the problems faced by Germany aren’t the only the Nazis rose to power. In this paragraph I will look at Hitler’s individual contribution. Adolf Hitler was born in Austria on the 20th April 1889 and died on the 30th April 1945, as a child he was a bright and outgoing boy but after the death of his younger brother, he became withdrawn and bitter and he constantly fought with his father and his teachers. Hitler was a vegetarian and said he saw vegetarianism as a future for Germany because of his fondness for animals. His beliefs were that the Jews were to blame for the Depression and he was also against many other large and minority groups such as communists, homosexuals, Jehovah’s witnesses and blacks. One of his characteristics that helped in getting the vote was that he was a very powerful speaker; this leads me onto my first point…
Hitler delivered many public speeches and these were considered to be very moving, influential and mesmerizing, this really gave the Nazi party a push as it made people listen to what he was saying and believe it. He also used the media to spread propaganda to German citizens, this was a great success because he already had people listening to him so the propaganda didn’t need to change people’s minds, it’s purpose was to push them and make them confident in Hitler’s message.
Similarly, his arrest and nine month imprisonment in n 1923 for attempting to take over the government of Bavaria by force put him in the media. This had two effects on people- firstly, it showed them Hitler’s dedication and strength in his aspiration to lead Germany, and secondly, it made people think about his message as he was in the media even more as his imprisonment gave him national publicity in papers, films and radio broadcasts; whilst in prison, he also wrote his book ‘Mein Kampf’.
These points resulted in people being more attracted to the idea of a single, strong leader as opposed to the coalition that was in place at the time, the Weimar Republic.
I have now come to the conclusion that Hitler had the most input in the Nazi’s rising to power because most of his actions were then publicised and as this was forced upon people, it made them more aware of him and appealed by him. Also, his personality, inspiring speeches and dedication to the country made people more inspired by him because it would have made them feel like he was doing it for them, rather than for power, which is what the actions of the Nazis displayed.