a) Why did most German’s hate the treaty of Versailles? Even before the treaty of Versailles, Germany had been torn apart by war. This had depressed and possibly angered the people because Germany certainly weren’t the cause of the war, and they simply fought for defence and what they felt was right. The German’s knew that they would have to pay a price for ultimate peace but they didn’t expect it to be as costly as it was. They felt that because the Kaiser had been removed and democracy had been installed that the Allies would be more lenient.
The Social Democrats knew that they would have great problems settling the country down into a democracy and they expected some kind of help from the Allies. Essentially, most Germans felt that Germany was not to blame for the war and justice would punish all three countries equally. When the Allies convened at Versailles in 1919, it soon became clear that emphasis of the treaty would be to punish Germany. Supported by the Germany and the USA, France wished to weaken Germany so strongly that it would never be able to mount a belligerent force again.
Germany was not invited to the discussions, and they were made to sign the treaty with the threat of war as the alternative. The Allies were harrying Germany, using the threat of war to make the Germans pay. Effectively, they were kicking Germany when it was down. The German people saw this as a complete miscarriage of Justice. They were infuriated that the Allies were prepared to destroy the future of the country and the future of their children, simply because it would reassure them of safety in the future.
Article 231 of the treaty stated that Germany was to blame for the war, the people felt betrayed: they were not to blame; their children certainly weren’t; yet they would be made to suffer. One of the main focuses of the treaty was weakening Germany’s armed forces. For example: the German Air- Force had to be disbanded, the army was limited to 100,000 soldiers and the navy was restricted too. This may have been seen as an act of cowardice. The people may have understood if the Country had been weakened to lesser degree, but they felt that this was dragooning Germany to a point that it couldn’t even defend itself.
Germany lost about 13% of its land, which contained about six million of its people. The Germans felt that this was totally excessive and unnecessary, and that people would lose their homes. Probably the most destructive part of the treaty was the Reparations that Germany was made to pay as damages. A fixed sum of i??6600 million would be taken from Germany, and as the country had already lost 10% of its industry and 15% of its agricultural land, it was highly doubtful that they would be able to afford this. It would severely weaken the country’s economic position.
The Germans felt that they were been exploited and humiliated by the allies, this invoked anger and determination, and perhaps the treaty of Versailles was the reason, that ultimately Germany fought back so destructively. B) Why did the Nazi party have such little success before 1929? Before it became the Nazi party, it was the Germany worker’s party. Formed in 1919, it had very few members and was a party of little prowess. In 1929, the party was still relatively young and between 1919-1929 it had undergone a period of rapid change.
Normally parties have very little success until they have been long established, but because of the German situation, the Nazis rose quickly. However, before the 1929, they had relatively little success, in comparison to their post 1929 accomplishments. When Hitler takes over the party in 1920, he renames it the Nazi party. He has a great craving for power and success for his party, and a very strict ambition for the Nazis. Perhaps Hitler expected too much too soon. Hitler was too keen to seize power and it showed in the 1924- Munich Putsch. This was the first great event of the party.
Hitler, along with Goering and 600 Nazi storm troopers marched into a meeting of around 3000 businessmen in a Munich beer hall. Basically, Hitler managed to persuade, Kahr and the Bavarian government to join the Nazis in a siege of Munich organized for the next day. However, when the Nazis marched into Munich the army and police were already waiting. It was clear that the Bavarian government had alerted them. The Munich Putsch itself was a failure on the day but some may argue that over time- in the long term it brought success for the party. It made Hitler famous and gave him the stage he needed to impress Germany.
It was events like this that meant little success until 1929. Hitler was imprisoned but he learnt from his mistakes. He now focused on gaining power legally. This would be the more effective plan, but it certainly meant a slower and more laborious route to power. The aftermath of the Putsch brought further delay for the Nazis. Hitler left prison in 1925 and the party’s progression could continue. The party worked hard to make itself more effective in election- but it would take time. At this point Stresemann was chancellor of Germany. He was making the country prosperous again.
People confided in Stresemann, finally someone was leading the country strongly and decisively and through his alliances and treaties with other countries, such as the Locarno treaty- he was showing that democracy could work for Germany. Germany managed to pull itself out of financial crisis, mainly due to the help of the Dawes plan- a huge loan of 800 million marks from the USA. In 1928, industrial production finally surpassed pre-first world war levels. By 1930, Germany was one of the leading exporters of manufactured goods. All these factors lead to the basis of people’s opinions in the late 1920s.
People were reasonably confident in the Weimar republic and therefore were not as keen to accept Nazi views and provide support for the party. So therefore there was great progression for the nazi party; as they coordinated a new plan for gaining power. However- politically they were fairly unsuccessful. In 1928, they were the smallest party in the Reichstag and won just 2. 6% of the votes at the election. This may have been because; the party was setback after the Munich Putsch and then following that event, people were confident in Weimar republic.
It was not until after 1929, when certain events shook the Weimar republic that the Nazis began to progress rapidly. C) Was the depression the most important reason why the Nazis were able to come to power in 1933? There were many reasons why Hitler became chancellor in 1933. In many ways the Depression was the most important reason why Hitler came to power in 1933. The Depression derived from the Wall Street Crash, when people rushed to sell their shares because they realised the companies were doing badly. Thousands of businesses and people were ruined.
This affected Germany because America withdrew its loans and the German economy collapsed. Millions were left unemployed. The new Weimar government broke down and people were ready to listen to groups like Hitler’s Nazis, who promised a strong government and a better way of life. People who had never been interested in politics before found themselves listening to extremist groups because the government had collapsed. The Depression was a tremendous piece of good luck for the Nazis, because it enabled them to get the majority of the vote in Germany (43. 9%).
Hitler also became chancellor due to the actions of Franz Von Papen, the existing chancellor in 1932. Von Papen wanted to win the support of the Nazis because he saw them as potential supporters who he could use to strengthen his own position with backing from the Nazis, Von Papen believed he would have the majority of the support in the cabinet. Hitler did not co-operate with Von Papen because he was set on becoming chancellor In December 1932 President Hindenburg made general Schleicher chancellor of Germany. Von Papen wanted a return to power so he struck a deal with the Nazis.
The deal was that Hitler would be chancellor and Papen would be vice-chancellor. After a lot of persuasion Hindenburg made Hitler chancellor. Von Papen reported, “We’ve hired him”. This was an important reason but not as important as the Depression for Hitler coming to power because even though Hitler got the power he always craved, he would not have succeeded without the effects of the Depression. Another reason how Hitler achieved his aims was through his political tactics and Nazi propaganda. Nazi propaganda made Hitler as the only leader who could save Germany and said he was destined to become national leader.
Many Germans liked the Nazis’ anti-Communist views. Goebbels manipulated propaganda very well, he modified many effective posters with clever slogans such as, “Work, freedom and bread”. He also organised mass parades and rallies so everyone in Germany would know the Nazis. Many Germans were impressed by the Nazis dedication and so they earned respect. The Nazis cleverly delivered the idea that if they came to power there would be something for everyone. For example farmers were promised higher prices for their goods and shopkeepers were offered protection against big businesses.
The pledges were deliberately vague though. This was not a very important reason for Hitler becoming chancellor, for it did not give much support during the period before the Wall Street clash – although it did deliver the message of the Nazis very clearly. During the Depression the German public were not so concerned with the detailed aims of the Nazis when in power. They just wanted a new government and leader who could help Germany from the great Depression. Nonetheless no one reason can explain why Hitler gained power in Germany in 1933. Many of the reasons are inter-linked.
The Depression led to high unemployment because factories had closed down, and farmers and many businessmen could not sell their goods. The Depression led to millions supporting parties that worked to end the Weimar republic. Many businessmen then looked to Hitler to defend them from the communists. The deal with Von Papen led to Hitler gaining office as chancellor and eventually becoming a dictator. Goebbels’ intelligent propaganda then built on the anti-Communist and anti-Semitic views that already existed in Germany. This in turn further increased the popularity of the Nazis.