Adolf Hiter: Rise to Power, Impact and Death

Adolf Hiter: Rise to Power, Impact and Death


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Adolf Hitler, the leader of Germany’s Nazi Party, was one of the most powerful and notorious dictators of the 20th century. Hitler capitalized on economic woes, popular discontent and political infighting to take absolute power in Germany beginning in 1933. Germany’s invasion of Poland in 1939 led to the outbreak of World War II, and by 1941 Nazi forces had occupied much of Europe. Hitler’s virulent anti-Semitism and obsessive pursuit of Aryan supremacy fueled the murder of some 6 million Jews, along with other victims of the Holocaust. After the tide of war turned against him, Hitler committed suicide in a Berlin bunker in April 1945.

Early Life

Adolf Hitler was born on April 20, 1889, in Braunau am Inn, a small Austrian town near the Austro-German frontier. After his father, Alois, retired as a state customs official, young Adolf spent most of his childhood in Linz, the capital of Upper Austria.

Not wanting to follow in his father’s footsteps as a civil servant, he began struggling in secondary school and eventually dropped out. Alois died in 1903, and Adolf pursued his dream of being an artist, though he was rejected from Vienna’s Academy of Fine Arts.

After his mother, Klara, died in 1908, Hitler moved to Vienna, where he pieced together a living painting scenery and monuments and selling the images. Lonely, isolated and a voracious reader, Hitler became interested in politics during his years in Vienna, and developed many of the ideas that would shape Nazi ideology.

Military Career of Adolf Hitler

In 1913, Hitler moved to Munich, in the German state of Bavaria. When World War I broke out the following summer, he successfully petitioned the Bavarian king to be allowed to volunteer in a reserve infantry regiment.

Deployed in October 1914 to Belgium, Hitler served throughout the Great War and won two decorations for bravery, including the rare Iron Cross First Class, which he wore to the end of his life.

Hitler was wounded twice during the conflict: He was hit in the leg during the Battle of the Somme in 1916, and temporarily blinded by a British gas attack near Ypres in 1918. A month later, he was recuperating in a hospital at Pasewalk, northeast of Berlin, when news arrived of the armistice and Germany’s defeat in World War I.

Like many Germans, Hitler came to believe the country’s devastating defeat could be attributed not to the Allies, but to insufficiently patriotic “traitors” at home—a myth that would undermine the post-war Weimar Republic and set the stage for Hitler’s rise.

Nazi Party

After Hitler returned to Munich in late 1918, he joined the small German Workers’ Party, which aimed to unite the interests of the working class with a strong German nationalism. His skilled oratory and charismatic energy helped propel him in the party’s ranks, and in 1920 he left the army and took charge of its propaganda efforts.

In one of Hitler’s strokes of propaganda genius, the newly renamed National Socialist German Workers Party, or Nazi Party, adopted a version of the ancient symbol of the hakenkreuz, or hooked cross, as its emblem. Printed in a white circle on a red background, Hitler’s swastika would take on terrifying symbolic power in the years to come.

By the end of 1921, Hitler led the growing Nazi Party, capitalizing on widespread discontent with the Weimar Republic and the punishing terms of the Versailles Treaty. Many dissatisfied former army officers in Munich would join the Nazis, notably Ernst Röhm, who recruited the “strong arm” squads—known as the Sturmabteilung (SA)—which Hitler used to protect party meetings and attack opponents.

Beer Hall Putsch

On the evening of November 8, 1923, members of the SA and others forced their way into a large beer hall where another right-wing leader was addressing the crowd. Wielding a revolver, Hitler proclaimed the beginning of a national revolution and led marchers to the center of Munich, where they got into a gun battle with police.

Hitler fled quickly, but he and other rebel leaders were later arrested. Even though it failed spectacularly, the Beer Hall Putsch established Hitler as a national figure, and (in the eyes of many) a hero of right-wing nationalism.

'Mein Kampf'

Tried for treason, Hitler was sentenced to five years in prison, but would serve only nine months in the relative comfort of Landsberg Castle. During this period, he began to dictate the book that would become "Mein Kampf" (“My Struggle”), the first volume of which was published in 1925.

In it, Hitler expanded on the nationalistic, anti-Semitic views he had begun to develop in Vienna in his early twenties, and laid out plans for the Germany—and the world—he sought to create when he came to power.

Hitler would finish the second volume of "Mein Kampf" after his release, while relaxing in the mountain village of Berchtesgaden. It sold modestly at first, but with Hitler’s rise it became Germany’s best-selling book after the Bible. By 1940, it had sold some 6 million copies there.

Hitler’s second book, “The Zweites Buch,” was written in 1928 and contained his thoughts on foreign policy. It was not published in his lifetime due to the poor initial sales of “Mein Kampf.” The first English translations of “The Zweites Buch” did not appear until 1962 and was published under the title “Hitler's Secret Book.”

Aryan Race

Obsessed with race and the idea of ethnic “purity,” Hitler saw a natural order that placed the so-called “Aryan race” at the top.

For him, the unity of the Volk (the German people) would find its truest incarnation not in democratic or parliamentary government, but in one supreme leader, or Führer.

"Mein Kampf" also addressed the need for Lebensraum (or living space): In order to fulfill its destiny, Germany should take over lands to the east that were now occupied by “inferior” Slavic peoples—including Austria, the Sudetenland (Czechoslovakia), Poland and Russia.

The Schutzstaffel (SS)

By the time Hitler left prison, economic recovery had restored some popular support for the Weimar Republic, and support for right-wing causes like Nazism appeared to be waning.

Over the next few years, Hitler laid low and worked on reorganizing and reshaping the Nazi Party. He established the Hitler Youth to organize youngsters, and created the Schutzstaffel (SS) as a more reliable alternative to the SA.

Members of the SS wore black uniforms and swore a personal oath of loyalty to Hitler. (After 1929, under the leadership of Heinrich Himmler, the SS would develop from a group of some 200 men into a force that would dominate Germany and terrorize the rest of occupied Europe during World War II.)

Eva Braun

Hitler spent much of his time at Berchtesgaden during these years, and his half-sister, Angela Raubal, and her two daughters often joined him. After Hitler became infatuated with his beautiful blonde niece, Geli Raubal, his possessive jealousy apparently led her to commit suicide in 1931.

Devastated by the loss, Hitler would consider Geli the only true love affair of his life. He soon began a long relationship with Eva Braun, a shop assistant from Munich, but refused to marry her.

The worldwide Great Depression that began in 1929 again threatened the stability of the Weimar Republic. Determined to achieve political power in order to affect his revolution, Hitler built up Nazi support among German conservatives, including army, business and industrial leaders.

The Third Reich

In 1932, Hitler ran against the war hero Paul von Hindenburg for president, and received 36.8 percent of the vote. With the government in chaos, three successive chancellors failed to maintain control, and in late January 1933 Hindenburg named the 43-year-old Hitler as chancellor, capping the stunning rise of an unlikely leader.

January 30, 1933 marked the birth of the Third Reich, or as the Nazis called it, the “Thousand-Year Reich” (after Hitler’s boast that it would endure for a millennium).

Reichstag Fire

Though the Nazis never attained more than 37 percent of the vote at the height of their popularity in 1932, Hitler was able to grab absolute power in Germany largely due to divisions and inaction among the majority who opposed Nazism.

After a devastating fire at Germany’s parliament building, the Reichstag, in February 1933—possibly the work of a Dutch communist, though later evidence suggested Nazis set the Reichstag fire themselves—Hitler had an excuse to step up the political oppression and violence against his opponents.

On March 23, the Reichstag passed the Enabling Act, giving full powers to Hitler and celebrating the union of National Socialism with the old German establishment (i.e., Hindenburg).

That July, the government passed a law stating that the Nazi Party “constitutes the only political party in Germany,” and within months all non-Nazi parties, trade unions and other organizations had ceased to exist.

His autocratic power now secure within Germany, Hitler turned his eyes toward the rest of Europe.

Hitler's Foreign Policy

In 1933, Germany was diplomatically isolated, with a weak military and hostile neighbors (France and Poland). In a famous speech in May 1933, Hitler struck a surprisingly conciliatory tone, claiming Germany supported disarmament and peace.

But behind this appeasement strategy, the domination and expansion of the Volk remained Hitler’s overriding aim.

By early the following year, he had withdrawn Germany from the League of Nations and begun to militarize the nation in anticipation of his plans for territorial conquest.

Night of the Long Knives

On June 29, 1934, the infamous Night of the Long Knives, Hitler had Röhm, former Chancellor Kurt von Schleicher and hundreds of other problematic members of his own party murdered, in particular troublesome members of the SA.

When the 86-year-old Hindenburg died on August 2, military leaders agreed to combine the presidency and chancellorship into one position, meaning Hitler would command all the armed forces of the Reich.

Persecution of Jews

On September 15, 1935, passage of the Nuremberg Laws deprived Jews of German citizenship, and barred them from marrying or having relations with persons of “German or related blood.”

Though the Nazis attempted to downplay its persecution of Jews in order to placate the international community during the 1936 Berlin Olympics (in which German-Jewish athletes were not allowed to compete), additional decrees over the next few years disenfranchised Jews and took away their political and civil rights.

In addition to its pervasive anti-Semitism, Hitler’s government also sought to establish the cultural dominance of Nazism by burning books, forcing newspapers out of business, using radio and movies for propaganda purposes and forcing teachers throughout Germany’s educational system to join the party.

Much of the Nazi persecution of Jews and other targets occurred at the hands of the Geheime Staatspolizei (GESTAPO), or Secret State Police, an arm of the SS that expanded during this period.

Outbreak of World War II

In March 1936, against the advice of his generals, Hitler ordered German troops to reoccupy the demilitarized left bank of the Rhine.

Over the next two years, Germany concluded alliances with Italy and Japan, annexed Austria and moved against Czechoslovakia—all essentially without resistance from Great Britain, France or the rest of the international community.

Once he confirmed the alliance with Italy in the so-called “Pact of Steel” in May 1939, Hitler then signed a non-aggression pact with the Soviet Union. On September 1, 1939, Nazi troops invaded Poland, finally prompting Britain and France to declare war on Germany.

Blitzkrieg

After ordering the occupation of Norway and Denmark in April 1940, Hitler adopted a plan proposed by one of his generals to attack France through the Ardennes Forest. The blitzkrieg (“lightning war”) attack began on May 10; Holland quickly surrendered, followed by Belgium.

German troops made it all the way to the English Channel, forcing British and French forces to evacuate en masse from Dunkirk in late May. On June 22, France was forced to sign an armistice with Germany.

Hitler had hoped to force Britain to seek peace as well, but when that failed he went ahead with his attacks on that country, followed by an invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941.

After the attack on Pearl Harbor that December, the United States declared war on Japan, and Germany’s alliance with Japan demanded that Hitler declare war on the United States as well.

At that point in the conflict, Hitler shifted his central strategy to focus on breaking the alliance of his main opponents (Britain, the United States and the Soviet Union) by forcing one of them to make peace with him.














Concentration Camps

Beginning in 1933, the SS had operated a network of concentration camps, including a notorious camp at Dachau, near Munich, to hold Jews and other targets of the Nazi regime.

After war broke out, the Nazis shifted from expelling Jews from German-controlled territories to exterminating them. Einsatzgruppen, or mobile death squads, executed entire Jewish communities during the Soviet invasion, while the existing concentration-camp network expanded to include death camps like Auschwitz-Birkenau in occupied Poland.

In addition to forced labor and mass execution, certain Jews at Auschwitz were targeted as the subjects of horrific medical experiments carried out by eugenicist Josef Mengele, known as the “Angel of Death.” Mengele’s experiments focused on twins and exposed 3,000 child prisoners to disease, disfigurement and torture under the guise of medical research.

Though the Nazis also imprisoned and killed Catholics, homosexuals, political dissidents, Roma (gypsies) and the disabled, above all they targeted Jews—some 6 million of whom were killed in German-occupied Europe by war’s end.

End of World War II

With defeats at El-Alamein and Stalingrad, as well as the landing of U.S. troops in North Africa by the end of 1942, the tide of the war turned against Germany.

As the conflict continued, Hitler became increasingly unwell, isolated and dependent on medications administered by his personal physician.

Several attempts were made on his life, including one that came close to succeeding in July 1944, when Col. Claus von Stauffenberg planted a bomb that exploded during a conference at Hitler’s headquarters in East Prussia.

Within a few months of the successful Allied invasion of Normandy in June 1944, the Allies had begun liberating cities across Europe. That December, Hitler attempted to direct another offensive through the Ardennes, trying to split British and American forces.

But after January 1945, he holed up in a bunker beneath the Chancellery in Berlin. With Soviet forces closing in, Hitler made plans for a last-ditch resistance before finally abandoning that plan.

How Did Adolf Hitler Die?

At midnight on the night of April 28-29, Hitler married Eva Braun in the Berlin bunker. After dictating his political testament, Hitler shot himself in his suite on April 30; Braun took poison. Their bodies were burned according to Hitler’s instructions.

With Soviet troops occupying Berlin, Germany surrendered unconditionally on all fronts on May 7, 1945, bringing the war in Europe to a close.

In the end, Hitler’s planned “Thousand-Year Reich” lasted just over 12 years, but wreaked unfathomable destruction and devastation during that time, forever transforming the history of Germany, Europe and the world.

Sources

William L. Shirer, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich
iWonder – Adolf Hitler: Man and Monster, BBC.
The Holocaust: A Learning Site for Students, U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.


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Before embarking on a political career in September 1919 at the age of thirty, Adolf Hitler had been a nonentity. With no formal qualifications, he had become an aimless drifter and failed artist before joining the army on the outbreak of war in August 1914. There he was not considered worthy of promotion because of 'a lack of leadership qualities', although his award of the Iron Cross First Class showed that he did not lack courage.

Yet during the next 26 years he succeeded in gaining and exercising supreme power in Germany and, in the process, arguably had more impact on the history of the world in the 20th century than any other political figure. The explanation for this remarkable transformation lies partly in Hitler himself, in his particular personal qualities and gifts, and partly in the situation in which he found himself, with a nation in deep crisis.

Before embarking on a political career. Adolf Hitler had been a nonentity.

Hitler's political career began in Munich when he joined the German Workers' Party (DAP), a tiny group of extreme nationalists and anti-Semites who saw their role as trying to win over German workers from the internationalist Social Democratic Party and, in the aftermath of defeat and revolution, to persuade people that Jews were primarily responsible for Germany's plight.

In July 1921, he took over the leadership of the party, by then renamed the National Socialist German Workers' Party (NSDAP), and, less than 12 years later, it had become the largest party in Germany and Hitler was Reich Chancellor. Why then did Hitler choose to join the NSDAP and effectively adopt politics as a career, and what personal qualities, abilities and political opinions did he bring with him from his previous life, which may help to explain his choice and his subsequent career?


Contents

Adolf Hitler became involved with the fledgling German Workers Party – which he would later transform into the Nazi Party – after the First World War, and set the violent tone of the movement early, by forming the Sturmabteilung (SA) paramilitary. [1] Catholic Bavaria resented rule from Protestant Berlin, and Hitler at first saw revolution in Bavaria as a means to power. An early attempt at a coup d'état, the 1923 Beer Hall Putsch in Munich, proved fruitless, however, and Hitler was imprisoned for leading the putsch. He used this time to write Mein Kampf, in which he argued that effeminate Jewish–Christian ethics were enfeebling Europe, and that Germany was in need of an uncompromising strongman to restore itself and build an empire. [2] Learning from the failed coup, he decided on the tactic of pursuing power through legal means rather than seizing control of the government by force against the state and instead proclaimed a strictly legal course. [3] [4]

From Armistice (November 1918) to party membership (September 1919)

In 1914, after being granted permission from King Ludwig III of Bavaria, the 25-year-old Austrian-born Hitler enlisted in a Bavarian regiment of the German Army, although he was not yet a German citizen. For over four years (August 1914 – November 1918), Germany was a major participant in World War I. [b] After fighting on the Western Front ended in November 1918, [c] Hitler was discharged on 19 November from the Pasewalk hospital [d] and returned to Munich, which at the time was in a state of socialist upheaval. [5] Arriving on 21 November, he was assigned to 7th Company of the 1st Replacement Battalion of the 2nd Infantry Regiment. In December he was reassigned to a prisoner-of-war camp in Traunstein as a guard. [6] He remained there until the camp dissolved in January 1919, after which he returned to Munich and spent a couple weeks on guard duty at the city's main train station (Hauptbahnhof) through which soldiers had been traveling. [7] [e]

During this time a number of notable Germans were assassinated, including socialist Kurt Eisner, [f] who was shot dead by a German nationalist on 21 February 1919. His rival Erhard Auer was also wounded in an attack. Other acts of violence were the killings of both Major Paul Ritter von Jahreiß and the conservative MP Heinrich Osel. In this political chaos Berlin sent in the military – called the "White Guards of Capitalism" by the communists. On 3 April 1919, Hitler was elected as the liaison of his military battalion and again on 15 April. During this time he urged his unit to stay out of the fighting and not to join either side. [8]

The Bavarian Soviet Republic was officially crushed on 6 May, when Lieutenant General Burghard von Oven and his forces declared the city secure. In the aftermath of arrests and executions, Hitler denounced a fellow liaison, Georg Dufter, as a Soviet "radical rabble-rouser." [9] Other testimony he gave to the military board of inquiry allowed them to root out other members of the military that "had been infected with revolutionary fervor." [10] For his anti-communist views he was allowed to avoid discharge when his unit was disbanded in May 1919. [11] [g]

In June 1919, Hitler was moved to the demobilization office of the 2nd Infantry Regiment. Around this time the German military command released an edict that the army's main priority was to "carry out, in conjunction with the police, stricter surveillance of the population . so that the ignition of any new unrest can be discovered and extinguished." [9] In May 1919, Karl Mayr became commander of the 6th Battalion of the guards regiment in Munich and from 30 May the head of the "Education and Propaganda Department" of the General Command von Oven and the Group Command No. 4 (Department Ib). In this capacity as head of the intelligence department, Mayr recruited Hitler as an undercover agent in early June 1919. Under Captain Mayr, "national thinking" courses were arranged at the Reichswehrlager Lechfeld near Augsburg, [12] with Hitler attending from 10–19 July. During this time Hitler so impressed Mayr that he assigned him to an anti-Bolshevik "educational commando" as 1 of 26 instructors in the summer of 1919. [13] [14] [h] [i]

In July 1919, Hitler was appointed Verbindungsmann (intelligence agent) of an Aufklärungskommando (reconnaissance commando) of the Reichswehr, both to influence other soldiers and to infiltrate the German Workers' Party (DAP). The DAP had been formed by Anton Drexler, Karl Harrer and others, through amalgamation of other groups, on 5 January 1919 at a small gathering at the restaurant Fuerstenfelder Hof in Munich. While he studied the activities of the DAP, Hitler became impressed with Drexler's antisemitic, nationalist, anti-capitalist and anti-Marxist ideas. [15]

During the 12 September 1919 meeting, [j] Hitler took umbrage with comments made by an audience member that were directed against Gottfried Feder, the speaker, a crank economist with whom Hitler was acquainted due to a lecture Feder delivered in an army "education" course. [14] [k] The audience member (in Mein Kampf, Hitler disparagingly referred to him as the "professor") asserted that Bavaria should be wholly independent from Germany and should secede from Germany and unite with Austria to form a new South German nation. [l] The volatile Hitler arose and scolded the man, eventually causing him to leave the meeting before its adjournment. [16] [17]

Impressed with Hitler's oratory skills, Drexler encouraged him to join the DAP. On the orders of his army superiors, Hitler applied to join the party. [18] Within a week, Hitler received a postcard stating he had officially been accepted as a member and he should come to a "committee" meeting to discuss it. Hitler attended the "committee" meeting held at the run-down Alte Rosenbad beer-house. [19] Later Hitler wrote that joining the fledgling party ". was the most decisive resolve of my life. From here there was and could be no turning back. . I registered as a member of the German Workers' Party and received a provisional membership card with the number 7". [20] Normally, enlisted army personnel were not allowed to join political parties. However, in this case, Hitler had Captain Mayr's permission to join the DAP. Further, Hitler was allowed to stay in the army and receive his weekly pay of 20 gold marks. [21]

From early party membership to the Hofbräuhaus Melée (November 1921)

By early 1920, the DAP had grown to over 101 members, and Hitler received his membership card as member number 555. [m] Hitler's considerable oratory and propaganda skills were appreciated by the party leadership. With the support of Anton Drexler, Hitler became chief of propaganda for the party in early 1920 and his actions began to transform the party. He organised their biggest meeting yet, of 2,000 people, on 24 February 1920 in the Staatliches Hofbräuhaus in München. [23] There Hitler announced the party's 25-point program (see National Socialist Program). [24] He also engineered the name change of the DAP to the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei – NSDAP (National Socialist German Workers' Party), later known to the rest of the world as the Nazi Party. [n] [25] Hitler designed the party's banner of a swastika in a white circle on a red background. He was discharged from the army in March 1920 and began working full-time for the Nazi Party. [26]

In 1920, a small "hall protection" squad was organised around Emil Maurice. [27] The group was first named the "Order troops" (Ordnertruppen). Later in August 1921, Hitler redefined the group, which became known as the "Gymnastic and Sports Division" of the party (Turn- und Sportabteilung). [28] By the autumn of 1921 the group was being called the Sturmabteilung ("Storm Detachment") or SA, and by November 1921 the group was officially known by that name. [29] Also in 1920, Hitler began to lecture in Munich beer halls, particularly the Hofbräuhaus, Sterneckerbräu and Bürgerbräukeller. Only Hitler was able to bring in the crowds for the party speeches and meetings. By this time, the police were already monitoring the speeches, and their own surviving records reveal that Hitler delivered lectures with titles such as Political Phenomenon, Jews and the Treaty of Versailles. At the end of the year, party membership was recorded at 2,000. [30]

In June 1921, while Hitler and Dietrich Eckart were on a fundraising trip to Berlin, a mutiny broke out within the Nazi Party in Munich, its organizational home. Members of its executive committee wanted to merge with the rival German Socialist Party (DSP). [31] Hitler returned to Munich on 11 July and angrily tendered his resignation. The committee members realised that the resignation of their leading public figure and speaker would mean the end of the party. [32] Hitler announced he would rejoin on the condition that he would replace Drexler as party chairman and that the party headquarters would remain in Munich. [33] The committee agreed, and he rejoined the party on 26 July as member 3,680. [33] In the following days, Hitler spoke to several packed houses and defended himself, to thunderous applause. His strategy proved successful: at a general membership meeting, he was granted absolute powers as party chairman, with only one nay vote cast. [34]

On 14 September 1921, Hitler and a substantial number of SA members and other Nazi Party adherents disrupted a meeting of the Bavarian League at the Löwenbräukeller. This federalist organization objected to the centralism of the Weimar Constitution but accepted its social program. The League was led by Otto Ballerstedt, an engineer whom Hitler regarded as "my most dangerous opponent". One Nazi, Hermann Esser, climbed upon a chair and shouted that the Jews were to blame for the misfortunes of Bavaria and the Nazis shouted demands that Ballerstedt yield the floor to Hitler. [35] The Nazis beat up Ballerstedt and shoved him off the stage into the audience. Hitler and Esser were arrested and Hitler commented notoriously to the police commissioner, "It's all right. We got what we wanted. Ballerstedt did not speak". [36]

Less than two months later, 4 November 1921, the Nazi Party held a large public meeting in the Munich Hofbräuhaus. After Hitler had spoken for some time, the meeting erupted into a melée in which a small company of SA defeated the opposition. [27] For his part in these events, Hitler was eventually sentenced in January 1922 to three months' imprisonment for "breach of the peace", but only spent a little over one month at Stadelheim Prison in Munich. [37]

From Beer Hall melée to Beer Hall coup d'état

In 1922 and early 1923, Hitler and the Nazi Party formed two organizations that would grow to have huge significance. The first began as the Jungsturm Adolf Hitler and the Jugendbund der NSDAP they would later become the Hitler Youth. [38] [39] The other was the Stabswache (Staff Guard), which in May 1923 was renamed the Stoßtrupp-Hitler (Shock Troop-Hitler). [40] This early incarnation of a bodyguard unit for Hitler would later become the Schutzstaffel (SS). [41] Inspired by Benito Mussolini's March on Rome in 1922, Hitler decided that a coup d'état was the proper strategy to seize control of the German government. In May 1923, small elements loyal to Hitler within the Reichswehr helped the SA to illegally procure a barracks and its weaponry, but the order to march never came, possibly because Hitler had been warned by Army General Otto von Lossow that "he would be fired upon" by Reichswehr troops if they attempted a putsch. [42]

A pivotal moment came when Hitler led the Beer Hall Putsch, an attempted coup d'état on 8–9 November 1923. At the Bürgerbräukeller in Munich, Hitler and his deputies announced their plan: Bavarian government officials would be deposed and Hitler installed at the head of government, with Munich then used as a base camp from which to march on Berlin. Nearly 2,000 Nazi Party members proceeded to the Marienplatz in Munich's city center, where they were met by a police cordon summoned to obstruct them. Sixteen Nazi Party members and four police officers were killed in the ensuing violence. Hitler briefly escaped the city but was arrested on 11 November 1923, [43] and put on trial for high treason, which gained him widespread public attention. [44]

The rather spectacular trial began in February 1924. Hitler endeavored to turn the tables and put democracy and the Weimar Republic on trial as traitors to the German people. Hitler was convicted and on 1 April sentenced to five years' imprisonment at Landsberg Prison. [45] He received friendly treatment from the guards he had a room with a view of the river, wore a tie, had regular visitors to his chambers, was allowed mail from supporters and was permitted the use of a private secretary. Pardoned by the Bavarian Supreme Court, he was released from jail on 20 December 1924, after serving just nine months, against the state prosecutor's objections. [46]

Hitler used the time in Landsberg Prison to reconsider his political strategy and dictate the first volume of Mein Kampf (My Struggle originally entitled Four and a Half Years of Struggle against Lies, Stupidity, and Cowardice), principally to his deputy Rudolf Hess. [o] After the Beer Hall Putsch, the Nazi Party was banned in Bavaria, but it participated in 1924's two elections by proxy as the National Socialist Freedom Movement. In the May 1924 German federal election the party gained seats in the Reichstag, with 6.6% (1,918,329) voting for the Movement. In the December 1924 federal election, the National Socialist Freedom Movement (NSFB) (combination of the Deutschvölkische Freiheitspartei (DVFP) and the Nazi Party (NSDAP)) lost 18 seats, only holding on to 14 seats, with 3% (907,242) of the electorate voting for Hitler's party. The Barmat Scandal was often used later in Nazi propaganda, both as an electoral strategy and as an appeal to anti-Semitism. [47]

After some reflection, Hitler had determined that power was to be achieved not through revolution outside of the government, but rather through legal means, within the confines of the democratic system established by Weimar. For five to six years, there would be no further prohibitions of the party. [ citation needed ]

In the May 1928 federal election, the Nazi Party achieved just 12 seats in the Reichstag. [48] The highest provincial gain was again in Bavaria (5.1%), though in three areas the Nazis failed to gain even 1% of the vote. Overall, the party gained 2.6% of the vote (810,100 votes). [48] Partially due to the poor results, Hitler decided that Germans needed to know more about his goals. Despite being discouraged by his publisher, he wrote a second book that was discovered and released posthumously as the Zweites Buch. At this time the SA began a period of deliberate antagonism to the Rotfront by marching into Communist strongholds and starting violent altercations.

At the end of 1928, party membership was recorded at 130,000. In March 1929, Erich Ludendorff represented the Nazi Party in the Presidential elections. He earned 280,000 votes (1.1%), and was the only candidate to poll fewer than a million votes. The battles on the streets grew increasingly violent. After the Rotfront interrupted a speech by Hitler, the SA marched into the streets of Nuremberg and killed two bystanders. In a tit-for-tat action, the SA stormed a Rotfront meeting on 25 August and days later the Berlin headquarters of the Communist Party of Germany (KPD) itself. In September, Goebbels led his men into Neukölln, a KPD stronghold, and the two warring parties exchanged pistol and revolver fire. The German referendum of 1929 was important as it gained the Nazi Party recognition and credibility it had never had before. [49]

On the evening of 14 January 1930, at around ten o'clock, Horst Wessel was fatally shot in the face at point-blank range by two members of the KPD in Friedrichshain. [50] The attack occurred after an argument with his landlady, who was a member of the KPD and contacted one of her Rotfront friends, Albert Hochter, who shot Wessel. [51] Wessel had penned a song months before which would become a Nazi anthem as the Horst-Wessel-Lied. Goebbels seized upon the attack (and the weeks Wessel spent on his deathbed) to publicize the song, and the funeral was used as an anti-Communist propaganda opportunity for the Nazis. [52] In May, Goebbels was convicted of "libeling" President Hindenburg and fined 800 marks. The conviction stemmed from a 1929 article by Goebbels in his newspaper Der Angriff. In June, Goebbels was charged with high treason by the prosecutor in Leipzig based on statements Goebbels had made in 1927, but after a four-month investigation it came to naught. [53]

Against this backdrop, Hitler's party gained a significant victory in the Reichstag, obtaining 107 seats (18.3%, 6,409,600 votes) in the September 1930 federal election. [48] The Nazis thereby became the second-largest party in Germany, and as historian Joseph Bendersky notes, they essentially became the "dominant political force on the right". [54]

An unprecedented amount of money was thrown behind the campaign and political success increased the party's momentum as it recorded over 100,000 new members in the next few months following the election. [55] Well over one million pamphlets were produced and distributed sixty trucks were commandeered for use in Berlin alone. In areas where Nazi campaigning was less rigorous, the total share of the vote was as low as 9%. The Great Depression was also a factor in Hitler's electoral success. Against this legal backdrop, the SA began its first major anti-Jewish action on 13 October 1930, when groups of Nazi brownshirts smashed the windows of Jewish-owned stores at Potsdamer Platz. [56]

The Wall Street Crash of 1929 heralded worldwide economic disaster. The Nazis and the Communists made great gains at the 1930 federal election. [57] The Nazis and Communists between them secured almost 40% of Reichstag seats, which required the moderate parties to consider negotiations with anti-democrats. [58] "The Communists", wrote historian Alan Bullock, "openly announced that they would prefer to see the Nazis in power rather than lift a finger to save the republic". [59]

The Weimar political parties failed to stop the Nazi rise. Germany's Weimar political system made it difficult for chancellors to govern with a stable parliamentary majority, and successive chancellors instead relied on the president's emergency powers to govern. [60] From 1931 to 1933, the Nazis combined terror tactics with conventional campaigning – Hitler criss-crossed the nation by air, while SA troops paraded in the streets, beat up opponents, and broke up their meetings. [4]

A middle-class liberal party strong enough to block the Nazis did not exist – the People's Party and the Democrats suffered severe losses to the Nazis at the polls. The Social Democrats were essentially a conservative trade union party, with ineffectual leadership. The Catholic Centre Party maintained its voting block, but was preoccupied with defending its own particular interests and, wrote Bullock: "through 1932–3 . was so far from recognizing the danger of a Nazi dictatorship that it continued to negotiate with the Nazis". The Communists meanwhile were engaging in violent clashes with Nazis on the streets, but Moscow had directed the Communist Party to prioritise destruction of the Social Democrats, seeing more danger in them as a rival for the loyalty of the working class. Nevertheless, wrote Bullock, the heaviest responsibility lay with the German right wing, who "forsook a true conservatism" and made Hitler their partner in a coalition government. [61]

The Centre Party's Heinrich Brüning was Chancellor from 1930 to 1932. Brüning and Hitler were unable to reach terms of co-operation, but Brüning himself increasingly governed with the support of the President and Army over that of the parliament. [62] The 84-year-old President von Hindenburg, a conservative monarchist, was reluctant to take action to suppress the Nazis, while the ambitious Major-General Kurt von Schleicher, as Minister handling army and navy matters hoped to harness their support. [63] With Schleicher's backing, and Hitler's stated approval, Hindenburg appointed the Catholic monarchist Franz von Papen to replace Brüning as Chancellor in June 1932. [64] [65] Papen had been active in the resurgence of the Harzburg Front. [66] He had fallen out with the Centre Party. [67] He hoped ultimately to outmaneuver Hitler. [68]

At the July 1932 federal election, the Nazis became the largest party in the Reichstag, yet without a majority. Hitler withdrew support for Papen and demanded the Chancellorship. He was refused by Hindenburg. [69] Papen dissolved Parliament, and the Nazi vote declined at the November election. [70] In the aftermath of the election, Papen proposed ruling by decree while drafting a new electoral system, with an upper house. Schleicher convinced Hindenburg to sack Papen, and Schleicher himself became Chancellor, promising to form a workable coalition. [71]

The aggrieved Papen opened negotiations with Hitler, proposing a Nazi-Nationalist Coalition. Having nearly outmaneuvered Hitler, only to be trounced by Schleicher, Papen turned his attentions on defeating Schleicher, and concluded an agreement with Hitler. [72]

On 10 March 1931, with street violence between the Rotfront and SA increasing, breaking all previous barriers and expectations, Prussia re-enacted its ban on Brownshirts. Days after the ban, SA-men shot dead two communists in a street fight, which led to a ban being placed on the public speaking of Goebbels, who sidestepped the prohibition by recording speeches and playing them to an audience in his absence.

When Hitler's citizenship became a matter of public discussion in 1924 he had a public declaration printed on 16 October 1924,

The loss of my Austrian citizenship is not painful to me, as I never felt as an Austrian citizen but always as a German only. . It was this mentality that made me draw the ultimate conclusion and do military service in the German Army. [73]

Under the threat of criminal deportation home to Austria, Hitler formally renounced his Austrian citizenship on 7 April 1925, and did not acquire German citizenship until almost seven years later therefore, he was unable to run for public office. [74] Hitler gained German citizenship after being appointed a Free State of Brunswick government official by Dietrich Klagges, after an earlier attempt by Wilhelm Frick to convey citizenship as a Thuringian police official failed. [75] [76]

Ernst Röhm, in charge of the SA, put Wolf-Heinrich von Helldorff, a vehement anti-Semite, in charge of the Berlin SA. The deaths mounted, with many more on the Rotfront side, and by the end of 1931 the SA had suffered 47 deaths and the Rotfront recorded losses of approximately 80 killed. Street fights and beer hall battles resulting in deaths occurred throughout February and April 1932, all against the backdrop of Adolf Hitler's competition in the presidential election which pitted him against the monumentally popular Hindenburg. In the first round on 13 March, Hitler had polled over 11 million votes but was still behind Hindenburg. The second and final round took place on 10 April: Hitler (36.8% 13,418,547) lost to Paul von Hindenburg (53.0% 19,359,983) while the KPD candidate Thälmann gained a meagre percentage of the vote (10.2% 3,706,759). At this time, the Nazi Party had just over 800,000 members.

On 13 April 1932, following the presidential elections, the German government banned the Nazi Party paramilitaries, the SA and the SS, on the basis of the Emergency Decree for the Preservation of State Authority. [77] This action was prompted by details uncovered by the Prussian police that indicated the SA was ready for a takeover of power by force after an election of Hitler. The lifting of the ban and staging of new elections were the price Hitler demanded in exchange for his support of a new cabinet. The law was repealed on 16 June by Franz von Papen, Chancellor of Germany as part of his agreement with Hitler. [78] In the federal election of July 1932, the Nazis won 37.3% of the popular vote (13,745,000 votes), an upswing by 19 percent, becoming the largest party in the Reichstag, with 230 out of 608 seats. [48] Dwarfed by Hitler's electoral gains, the KPD turned away from legal means and increasingly towards violence. One resulting battle in Silesia resulted in the army being dispatched, each shot sending Germany further into a potential civil war. By this time both sides marched into each other's strongholds hoping to spark a rivalry. The attacks continued and reached fever pitch when SA leader Axel Schaffeld was assassinated on 1 August.

As the Nazi Party was now the largest party in the Reichstag, it was entitled to select the President of the Reichstag and were able to elect Göring for the post. [79] Energised by the success, Hitler asked to be made chancellor. Hitler was offered the job of vice-chancellor by Chancellor Papen at the behest of President Hindenburg but he refused. Hitler saw this offer as placing him in a position of "playing second fiddle" in the government. [80]

In his position of Reichstag president, Göring asked that decisive measures be taken by the government over the spate of murders of Nazi Party members. On 9 August, amendments were made to the Reichstrafgesetzbuch statute on "acts of political violence", increasing the penalty to "lifetime imprisonment, 20 years hard labour[,] or death". Special courts were announced to try such offences. When in power less than half a year later, Hitler would use this legislation against his opponents with devastating effect.

The law was applied almost immediately but did not bring the perpetrators behind the recent massacres to trial as expected. Instead, five SA men who were alleged to have murdered a KPD member in Potempa (Upper Silesia) were tried. Hitler appeared at the trial as a defence witness, but on 22 August the five were convicted and sentenced to death. On appeal, this sentence was commuted to life imprisonment in early September. They served just over four months before Hitler freed all imprisoned Nazis in a 1933 amnesty.

The Nazi Party lost 35 seats in the November 1932 election, but remained the Reichstag's largest party, with 196 seats (33.1%). The Social Democrats (SPD) won 121 seats (20.4%) and the Communists (KPD) won 100 (16.9%).

The Communist International described all moderate left-wing parties as "social fascists" and urged the Communists to devote their energies to the destruction of the moderate left. As a result, the KPD, following orders from Moscow, rejected overtures from the Social Democrats to form a political alliance against the NSDAP. [81] [82]

After Chancellor Papen left office, he secretly told Hitler that he still held considerable sway with President Hindenburg and that he would make Hitler chancellor as long as he, Papen, could be the vice chancellor. Another notable event was the publication of the Industrielleneingabe, a letter signed by 22 important representatives of industry, finance and agriculture, asking Hindenburg to appoint Hitler as chancellor. Hindenburg reluctantly agreed to appoint Hitler as chancellor after the parliamentary elections of July and November 1932 had not resulted in the formation of a majority government—despite the fact that Hitler had been Hindenburg’s opponent in the presidential election only 9 months earlier. Hitler headed a short-lived coalition government formed by the NSDAP and the German National People's Party (DNVP).

On 30 January 1933, the new cabinet was sworn in during a brief ceremony in Hindenburg's office. The NSDAP gained three posts: Hitler was named chancellor, Wilhelm Frick Minister of the Interior, and Hermann Göring, Minister Without Portfolio (and Minister of the Interior for Prussia). [83] [84] The SA and SS led torchlit parades throughout Berlin. It is this event that would become termed Hitler's Machtergreifung ("seizure of power"). The term was originally used by some Nazis to suggest a revolutionary process, [85] though Hitler, and others, used the word Machtübernahme ("take-over of power"), reflecting that the transfer of power took place within the existing constitutional framework [85] and suggesting that the process was legal. [86] [87]

Papen was to serve as Vice-Chancellor in a majority conservative Cabinet – still falsely believing that he could "tame" Hitler. [88] Initially, Papen did speak out against some Nazi excesses. However, after narrowly escaping death in the Night of the Long Knives in 1934, he no longer dared criticise the regime and was sent off to Vienna as German ambassador. [89]

Both within Germany and abroad, there were initially few fears that Hitler could use his position to establish his later dictatorial single-party regime. Rather, the conservatives that helped to make him chancellor were convinced that they could control Hitler and "tame" the Nazi Party while setting the relevant impulses in the government themselves foreign ambassadors played down worries by emphasizing that Hitler was "mediocre" if not a bad copy of Mussolini even SPD politician Kurt Schumacher trivialized Hitler as a Dekorationsstück ("piece of scenery/decoration") of the new government. German newspapers wrote that, without doubt, the Hitler-led government would try to fight its political enemies (the left-wing parties), but that it would be impossible to establish a dictatorship in Germany because there was "a barrier, over which violence cannot proceed" and because of the German nation being proud of "the freedom of speech and thought". Theodor Wolff of the Frankfurter Zeitung wrote: [90]

It is a hopeless misjudgement to think that one could force a dictatorial regime upon the German nation. [. ] The diversity of the German people calls for democracy.

Even within the Jewish German community, in spite of Hitler not hiding his ardent antisemitism, the worries appear to have been limited. In a declaration of 30 January, the steering committee of the central Jewish German organization (Centralverein deutscher Staatsbürger jüdischen Glaubens) wrote that "as a matter of course" the Jewish community faces the new government "with the largest mistrust", but at the same they were convinced that "nobody would dare to touch [their] constitutional rights". The Jewish German newspaper Jüdische Rundschau wrote on 31 Jan: [91]

. that also within the German nation still the forces are active that would turn against a barbarian anti-Jewish policy.

However, a growing number of keen observers, like Sir Horace Rumbold, British Ambassador in Berlin, began to revise their opinions. On 22 February 1933, he wrote, "Hitler may be no statesman but he is an uncommonly clever and audacious demagogue and fully alive to every popular instinct", and he informed the Foreign Office that he had no doubt that the Nazis had "come to stay". [92] On receiving the dispatch Robert Vansittart, Permanent Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, concluded that if Hitler eventually gained the upper hand, "then another European war [was] within measurable distance". [93]

With Germans who opposed Nazism failing to unite against it, Hitler soon moved to consolidate absolute power.

At the risk of appearing to talk nonsense I tell you that the National Socialist movement will go on for 1,000 years! . Don't forget how people laughed at me 15 years ago when I declared that one day I would govern Germany. They laugh now, just as foolishly, when I declare that I shall remain in power!

Following the Reichstag fire, the Nazis began to suspend civil liberties and eliminate political opposition. The Communists were excluded from the Reichstag. At the March 1933 elections, again no single party secured a majority. Hitler required the vote of the Centre Party and Conservatives in the Reichstag to obtain the powers he desired. He called on Reichstag members to vote for the Enabling Act on 23 March 1933. Hitler was granted plenary powers "temporarily" by the passage of the Act. [95] The law gave him the freedom to act without parliamentary consent and even without constitutional limitations. [96]

Employing his characteristic mix of negotiation and intimidation, Hitler offered the possibility of friendly co-operation, promising not to threaten the Reichstag, the President, the States or the Churches if granted the emergency powers. With Nazi paramilitary encircling the building, he said: "It is for you, gentlemen of the Reichstag to decide between war and peace". [95] The Centre Party, having obtained promises of non-interference in religion, joined with conservatives in voting for the Act (only the Social Democrats voted against). [97]

The Act allowed Hitler and his Cabinet to rule by emergency decree for four years, though Hindenburg remained President. [98] Hitler immediately set about abolishing the powers of the states and the existence of non-Nazi political parties and organisations. Non-Nazi parties were formally outlawed on 14 July 1933, and the Reichstag abdicated its democratic responsibilities. [99] Hindenburg remained commander-in-chief of the military and retained the power to negotiate foreign treaties.

The Act did not infringe upon the powers of the President, and Hitler would not fully achieve full dictatorial power until after the death of Hindenburg in August 1934. [100] Journalists and diplomats wondered whether Hitler could appoint himself President, who might succeed him as Chancellor, and what the army would do. They did not know that the army supported Hitler after the Night of the Long Knives, or expect that he would combine the two positions of President and Chancellor into one office. Only Hitler, as head of state, could dismiss Hitler as head of the government. All soldiers took the Hitler Oath on the day of Hindenburg's death, swearing unconditional obedience to Hitler personally, not to the office or nation. [101] A large majority approved of combining the two roles in the person of Hitler through the 1934 German referendum. [102]


18 Major Events During Adolf Hitler’s Rise to Power

Born in Austria-Hungary on April 20, 1889, the man who became the Fuhrer experienced a difficult and somewhat peripatetic childhood, beaten by his father, doted on by his mother, and after the death of a younger brother from measles became withdrawn from friends and classmates and rebellious to his father and teachers. He later wrote in Mein Kampf that his poor performance in the school his father insisted he attend was deliberate, in the hope that his father would let him withdraw and study art instead. His father died in 1903 and he changed to a secondary school in Steyr, where his grades improved, and he completed his exams and left the school without graduating in 1905.

Adolf Hitler in the early 1920s, when he was rising in the ranks of the Nazi Party. Wikimedia

After attempting to study art and being rejected, and lacking the academic credentials to study architecture, which was a lifelong interest of his, Hitler lived in Vienna, supporting himself with day jobs and through selling watercolor paintings of Vienna sights, while living in flophouses and shelters. Vienna of the day was a hothouse of antisemitism, and Hitler read anti-Jewish propaganda in newspapers and magazines, the works of Martin Luther, and in the pamphlets of the day. But many of his watercolors were sold to Jewish customers, and Hitler did not openly express the rabid antisemitism which would later punctuate his public persona. He served in the army during the First World War (enlisting in Munich), was decorated for bravery twice, and was temporarily blinded by mustard gas less than a month before the war ended. In early 1919 he was again in Munich, with few prospects for the future.

Here are some of the events in the rise of Adolf Hitler from a homeless veteran to the creation of the Third Reich, leading to the most costly war in terms of casualties in human history.

Adolf Hitler, seated at left during the First World War, in which he was gassed and decorated twice for bravery in the field. National Archives

1. Hitler remained in the Army for a time after the war ended

In the summer of 1919 Adolf Hitler was assigned as an intelligence agent to insinuate his way into the German Workers Party, considered to be dangerous by the German government. Hitler soon found himself intrigued by the ideas he heard expressed by party leaders, particularly accusations of the treacherous manner in which Jewish capitalists had betrayed Germany and contributed to its defeat. He began to take an active role in meetings, and his speaking style impressed the party leaders. In a letter written by Hitler on September 16, 1919, Hitler for the first time expressed his views on the Jewish question in writing when he wrote to Adolf Gemlich that the German government&rsquos goal should be, &ldquothe removal of the Jews altogether&rdquo. The German Worker&rsquos Party was centered in Munich, and in February 1920, to increase its appeal throughout Germany, the word national was added to its name.

The party was then known as the National Socialist German Workers Party (Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei in German), abbreviated NSDAP and referred to as the Nazi Party. Its emblem of a black swastika on a white circle in a red banner was designed by Hitler, who left the army and went to work for the Nazis in the spring of 1920. Throughout the remainder of 1920 and into early 1921, Hitler traveled the country, giving speeches which excoriated the Treaty of Versailles, the Jews and other &ldquoundesirables&rdquo, and becoming well-known for his polemics, though to some in power he remained little more than a doss-house tramp. After convulsions within the party leadership Hitler engineered a summer campaign which saw him elected party chairman by a vote of 533 &ndash 1 in July, 1921, granting him absolute power over party policies and its platform.


June 28, 1919
Treaty of Versailles ends World War I

In the Treaty of Versailles, which followed German defeat in World War I, the victorious powers (the United States, Great Britain, France, and other allied states) impose severe terms on Germany. Germany, under threat of invasion, is forced to sign the treaty. Among other provisions, Germany accepts responsibility for the war and agrees to make huge payments (known as reparations), limit its military to 100,000 troops, and transfer territory to its neighbors. The terms of the treaty lead to widespread political discontent in Germany. Adolf Hitler gains support by promising to overturn them.

October 24, 1929
Stock market crash in New York

The plummet in the value of stocks that is associated with the New York stock market crash brings a rash of business bankruptcies. Widespread unemployment occurs in the United States. The "Great Depression," as it is called, sparks a worldwide economic crisis. In Germany, six million are unemployed by June 1932. Economic distress contributes to a meteoric rise in the support for the Nazi Party. As a result, the Nazi Party wins the votes of almost 40 percent of the electorate in the Reichstag (German parliament) elections of July 1932. The Nazi Party becomes at this point the largest party in the German parliament.

November 6, 1932
Nazis lose support in parliamentary elections

In the Reichstag (German parliament) elections of November 1932, the Nazis lose almost two million votes from the previous elections of July. They win only 33 percent of the vote. It seems clear that the Nazis will not gain a majority in democratic elections, and Adolf Hitler agrees to a coalition with conservatives. After months of negotiations, the president of Germany, Paul von Hindenburg, will appoint Hitler chancellor of Germany in a government seemingly dominated by conservatives on January 30, 1933. Hitler stayed in power from 1933 until he died by suicide in 1945.


Pivní sál Putsch

Večer 8. listopadu 1923 se členové SA a další dostali do velké pivní haly, kde se k davu promlouval další pravicový vůdce. Hitler, který měl revolver, prohlásil začátek národní revoluce a zavedl demonstranty do centra Mnichova, kde se dostali do přestřelky s policií.

Hitler rychle uprchl, ale on a další vůdci rebelů byli později zatčeni. Přestože Pivní sál Putsch neobyčejně selhal, ustanovil Hitlera jako národní postavu a (v očích mnoha) hrdinu pravicového nacionalismu.


& apos การต่อสู้ของฉัน & apos

ฮิตเลอร์ถูกตัดสินจำคุก 5 ปีในข้อหากบฏ แต่จะรับใช้เพียงเก้าเดือนในความสะดวกสบายของปราสาท Landsberg ในช่วงเวลานี้เขาเริ่มที่จะกำหนดหนังสือที่จะกลายเป็น การต่อสู้ของฉัน '(“ My Struggle”) ซึ่งเป็นเล่มแรกที่ตีพิมพ์ในปีพ. ศ. 2468

ในนั้นฮิตเลอร์ได้ขยายความคิดเห็นเกี่ยวกับชาตินิยมและต่อต้านชาวยิวที่เขาเริ่มพัฒนาในเวียนนาเมื่ออายุยี่สิบต้น ๆ และวางแผนสำหรับเยอรมนีและโลก - เขาพยายามสร้างขึ้นเมื่อเขาขึ้นสู่อำนาจ

ฮิตเลอร์จะจบเล่มที่สองของ 'Mein Kampf' หลังจากที่เขาได้รับการปล่อยตัวในขณะที่พักผ่อนในหมู่บ้านบนภูเขา Berchtesgaden ตอนแรกขายได้พอประมาณ แต่ด้วยการเพิ่มขึ้นของฮิตเลอร์ทำให้หนังสือที่ขายดีที่สุดของเยอรมนีรองจากพระคัมภีร์ไบเบิล ภายในปีพ. ศ. 2483 มียอดขาย 6 ล้านชุดที่นั่น

หนังสือเล่มที่สองของฮิตเลอร์“ The Zweites Buch” เขียนขึ้นในปี 2471 และมีความคิดของเขาเกี่ยวกับนโยบายต่างประเทศ ไม่มีการเผยแพร่ในช่วงชีวิตของเขาเนื่องจากยอดขายเริ่มแรกของ“ Mein Kampf” ไม่ดี การแปลภาษาอังกฤษครั้งแรกของ 'The Zweites Buch' ไม่ปรากฏจนถึงปีพ. ศ. 2505 และได้รับการตีพิมพ์ภายใต้ชื่อ 'Hitler & aposs Secret Book'


Hitler’s Early Career

Adolf Hitler was born on 20th April 1889 in the village of Braunau am Inn, Austria-Hungary.

Hitlers early career did not suggest he would become so successful and achieve such prominence in politics as his interests lay initially in the arts.

Hitler’s early life saw him struggle at school some of which he would later claim was to spite his father as he wished to become an artist, an idea his father was against.

Alois Hitler, his father, worked as a customs official and wanted him to also work in the civil service, an idea Hitler was repulsed by.

It is believed that 3 key events shaped Hitler’s life as he grew up:

  • The first was the death of his father Alois Hitler in 1903 which brought him much closer with his mother.
  • The second was the death of his mother in 1907. This is believed to have affected him greatly as on his mother’s deathbed, the doctor is believed to have said

“I have never seen anyone so prostrate with grief as Adolf Hitler”.

From 1908-13, Hitler spent a meaningless existence spending his inheritance and then living rough, earning a living by selling his own hand-painted postcards.

In 1913, he fled to Munich in Germany to avoid military service in the Austrian army. When the First World War occurred, he volunteered to join the German army as he felt this could provide him with a purpose in his life. There was a problem however as Hitler was not actually German. To enable him to join the German army, a special dispensation had to be provided to enable him to sign up.

Hitler served in the 16th Bavarian Reserve Infantry Regiment and saw action at the Western Front which included the Battle of the Somme. He was seen to be a brave soldier and awarded the Iron Cross Second Class in 1914 and First Class in 1918. He went on to achieve the rank of Lance Corporal (Gefreite).

By the end of the First World War, Hitler was hospitalised due to temporary blindness caused by a gas attack. He was incredibly angry at Germany’s surrender and blamed the politicians and the Weimar Republic for stabbing the army in the back.

Hitler Joining the German Worker’s Party

After the end of the First World War, there was political chaos in most of Germany and this was most evident in Bavaria and Munich. In 1919, the communists had seized power in Munich, however, the Freikorps, under orders from Friedrich Ebert, quickly put this uprising down.

At the beginning of 1919 amid the atmosphere of political chaos, Anton Drexler founded the German Workers’ Party, also known as Deutsche Arbeiterpartei, DAP.

The party was right-wing and one of many founded in Bavaria during this period. The party was the precursor for what would later become the Nazi Party.

Anton Drexler and his followers were socialistic in their ideas and wanted to restrict the profits of companies, achieve a classless yet nationalistic society and also stressed the idea of having a nation of pure German people, also known as the völkisch movement.

With no formal qualifications and career prospects, Hitler attempted to remain in the army as long as possible. In July 1919 he was appointed an intelligence agent and instructed to infiltrate the DAP in September 1919.

While attending a DAP party meeting at a beer hall on 12th September 1919, Hitler was involved in a heated debate with another visitor, Professor Baumann, who questioned the sense in going against capitalism and proposed Bavaria should break away from Prussia and should create a new German nation with Austria.

Hitler replied with such a strong performance in response that Drexler encouraged him to join the party as he was impressed with Hitler’s oratory skills.

As Hitler was undercover as an intelligence agent, his superiors encouraged him to join.

In less than a week, Hitler had joined the German Workers Party and was officially a member. He had taken the first step in a journey which would see him become the leader of Germany in just fourteen years from this point.

While at the DAP, Hitler discovered he was a good public speaker and his efforts were rewarded with him becoming responsible for recruitment and propaganda. Hitler spoke at various meetings and his standard themes were:

  • The Dolchstoss
  • His hatred for the Treaty of Versailles
  • His hatred for the November Criminals and the Weimar Republic
  • His belief in a Communist-Jewish conspiracy intent on destroying Germany.

The Growth of the Nazi Party

In February 1920, Hitler and Anton Drexler wrote what became known as their Twenty-Five Point Programme. This was a political manifesto and Hitler would keep to most of these ideas throughout his life.

The manifesto was announced at a key meeting in Munich and the party’s name was amended to include “National Socialist”. The party, therefore, became known as The National Socialist German Workers Party, abbreviated as NSDAP.

In 1920, the party began to grow rapidly and this was mostly due to Hitler as his public speaking was attracting hundreds of people to meetings the NSDAP held.

The party began to increase in membership which meant it was now able to publish its own newspaper – the Völkischer Beobachter which translates as The People’s Observer.

By 1921, Hitler’s influence had grown so much he became the leader of the party and began to consider ways in which he could lead the party’s direction.

Within the party, he had the title of Fuhrer which translates as meaning “leader” however Hitler would gradually develop the word to have a much more powerful meaning. In Hitler’s mind, the title of Fuhrer meant he had to have absolute power and authority and answer to no one. This was part of his leadership principle aka the Fuhrerprinzip.

Hitler’s 25 Point Programme

The Role of the Sturmabteilung (SA)

The Sturmabteilung were also known as the SA. But who were they?

The members of the SA were originally a protection squad.

Political meetings in Munich during this period saw great violence and in order to protect the Nazi speakers at rallies and assemblies, protection squads had to be formed.

The colour of the Sturmabteilung uniform meant they were often referred to as the Brownshirts”.The meaning of Sturmabteilung is “Storm Division”.

The SA would go on to be Hitler’s own private army pledging obedience and loyalty. They would later be used to disrupt the rallies and gatherings of rival political parties as well as fight against the paramilitary units of rival parties, especially the Red Front Fighters League of the Communist Party of Germany (KPD).

Members of the SA generally comprised of the unemployed and working class.

Members would have to pledge an oath as follows:

As a member of the NSDAP, I pledge myself by its storm flag to:

  • Be always ready to stake life and limb in the struggle for the aims of the movement.
  • Give absolute military obedience to my military superiors and leaders.
  • Bear myself honourably in and out of service.

The Sturmabteilung were officially referred to as the Gymnastic and Sports Division within the Nazi party and this is possibly because they wanted to avoid trouble with the government seeing them as a private army. At their highest level of membership, it is estimated that the SA comprised of over 3 million members by the end of 1933 under Ernst Rohm (pictured right).

The group’s membership had exploded under Rohm and after Hitler and the Nazi party came to power, the SA was eager for power itself.

Germany also had a cap of only 100k army personal due to the Treaty of Versaille and Rohm’s initial plan was to absorb the army into the SA. This offended the army as it would mean mixing untrained “thugs” with the SS which often comprised of middle-class members. Rohm’s vision also conflicted with Hitler’s view.

More concerningly for Hitler and the Nazi leaders, they also posed a threat to the Nazi leadership now as they had become incredibly powerful. This increased power under Ernst Rohm and the SA is in part what led to the Night of the Long Knives.

The Munich Putsch

What was the Munich Putsch?

The Munich Putsch, also known as the Beer Hall Putsch, was a failed attempt by Hitler and his supporters to overthrow the Weimar Government between November 8th 1923 to November 9th, 1923. The word “Putsch” is literally defined as “coup“, which is a violent and illegal seizure of power.

The putsch included Erich Ludendorff who was the former quartermaster general during the First World War until October 1918. He was known for the Ludendorff offensive which helped the Germans advance 64km and within the range of Paris. It was believed his presence would add prestige and credibility to the rebellion. He is pictured on the far right looking at the camera.

Other supporters and critics of the Weimar government also joined Hitler including Göring who is the person Hitler is facing in the picture above.

The Munich Putsch involved over 2000 Nazi supporters including the SA and Hitler, marching to the Feldhernhalle, in the city centre in an attempt to incite a revolt.

Initially, over 600 members of the SA had surrounded the Bürgerbräukeller, which was a large beer hall in Munich and where the coup also got its alternative name. At the Bürgerbräukeller, Gustav von Kahr, Otto von Lossow and Hans Ritter von Seisser were giving a speech to over 3000 people.

Gustav Von Kahr was the state commissioner, Otto von Lossow the Reichswehr (army) General and Hans Ritter von Seisser was the Bavarian State Police Chief. Together the 3 formed a triumvirate (a group of 3 men holding power).

When Hitler and his supporters stormed the beer hall, all 3 were held at gunpoint and ordered to support the coup.

After some time, they agreed to support Hitler (being held at gunpoint can be quite persuasive) and were released later that evening.

The next day, Seisser and Lossow changed their minds and organised troops and police to resist Hitler’s planned armed march through Munich.

Immediately following the release of Kahr, Lossow and Seisser however, there was confusion and unrest among government officials, armed forces, police units, and people trying to figure out where their allegiance lay.

At 3 am that morning, a skirmish occurred as Röhm’s men were leaving a beer hall and a local garrison of the Reichswehr spotted them as they left. There were no fatalities however Röhm’s men were forced to retreat due to heavy resistance. The Reichswehr subsequently put the whole garrison on alert and called for reinforcements.

The next morning, Hitler realised his coup was beginning to fall apart.

Members of the putsch did not know what to do and morale was dropping so Ludendorff shouted out “We will march!”

Röhm combined his forces with Hitler’s and together, 2000 men began to march but with no clear direction on where they were going.

The Nazi’s eventually met a force of 130 soldiers under the command of State Police Senior Lieutenant Baron Michael von Godin. The two groups exchanged fire and 16 Nazi’s and 4 state police officers were killed.

The battle resulted in the Nazi group scattering. Göring was shot in the leg but managed to escape while Hitler fled, He was captured and arrested 2 days later.

Hitler was charged with high treason along with Rudolf Hess and other conspirators. Göring had managed to escape to Austria however his injury would result in him becoming heavily addicted to Morphine.

The Nazi headquarters was raided and their newspaper, Völkischer Beobachter was banned.

The trial would eventually turn out to be the propaganda victory Hitler needed to catapult him to national attention. Combined with economic unrest and a number of other factors which we will explore, this would raise his profile enough to see him become Germany’s Chancellor and Dictator.

Why did the Munich Putsch Happen?

There are a number of reasons for the Munich Putsch happening.

The German economy in 1923 was in turmoil and a number of political crises had hit the country in recent years.

Hyperinflation had made the German currency almost worthless and the French had invaded Ruhr due to non-payment of reparations.

Workers were also on strike and there was political chaos with attempts during the 1920s by the Freikorps and Spartacists to overthrow the Weimar government unsuccessfully.

In Italy, Benito Mussolini had attempted and succeeded with a coup in October 1922 and Hitler felt this could be recreated in Germany at the right time. The backdrop of political and economic uncertainty seemed appropriate in Hitler’s mind and it was seen as an ideal time to try overthrow the weak Weimar Government which was proving unpopular.

The Nazi’s membership base of over 55� members also made them stronger than they had ever been before. Hitler also believed his army of SA would be uncontrollable if he did not give them direction and focus on something to do.

Hitler also believed he would be supported by important nationalist politicians in Bavaria.

In the midst of this chaos, Hitler saw what he thought was an opportunity to strike and overthrow the government.

Why did the Munich Putsch fail?

The Beer Hall Putsch failed for a number of reasons some of which were tactical mistakes by Hitler and his men.

Hitler assumed incorrectly he could simply replicate a coup similar to what Mussolini did in Italy the year before, however, the situation between Italy and Germany was very different.

In Italy, the King supported Mussolini’s power grab as did many of the establishment such as the army as there was a greater fear of civil war breaking out which they wanted to avoid. Mussolini also had 30� men supporting him which was significantly higher than Hitler.

Hitler also made the tactical mistake of leaving the Bürgerbräukeller as Ludendorff would later let Kahr, Lossow and Seisser leave after they “pledged” their support.

Once safely away they went on to renege on this pledge allowing them to recruit reinforcements to prevent Hitler’s march. This allowed them to alert the military and reinforcements were called in.

Hitler also tried to enlist the help of Crown Prince Rupprecht of Bavaria. He sent the communications officer of the Kampfbund, Max Neunzert, to gain his support however he failed in this task.

In the middle of the chaos they made the decision to march but without a clear direction on where or a tactical plan on what they hoped to achieve. They were almost hoping to gather enough support that this would pressure the Weimar Republic into standing down however they stood firm and the Nazi’s didn’t get the widespread support they thought they would.

Why was the Munich Putsch a success for Hitler?

The Munich Putsch was a success for Hitler because of 3 primary reasons all of which contributed to him gaining and remaining in power.

  • The Putsch resulted in him getting arrested and facing a trial. This trial gave him a platform and brought him to national attention and as he was a good public speaker, he was able to publicise his agenda to Germans across the nation through the newspapers following his trial. This would lead to even greater support for him ultimately as he put across his nationalist views and criticisms of the Weimar Government and the Treaty of Versailles. Many Germans were able to relate to his beliefs and views, particularly the unemployed as the level of people not working was significantly high throughout the 1920s.
  • The second benefit of the Putsch was the production of his book Mein Kampfwhich was written while in prison. Hitler would serve only 9 months in prison but he would dedicate almost all his time to writing this book. It would become a bestseller once he came to power although initial sales were slow.
  • The third benefit of the Munich Putsch was Hitler’s realisation that he could not succeed through a coup and that he needed to gain power democratically. Hitler had thought he could replicate Mussolini’s seizure of power in Italy but the climate in Germany was different. After the Putsch had failed, Hitler would dedicate himself to gaining power through elections and furthering Nazi propaganda which would be crucial in him ultimately becoming Chancellor.

The consequences of the Munich Putsch

Hitler and his fellow Nazi’s were charged with treason. The Nazi party’s headquarters was raided and their newspaper, the Völkischer Beobachter, was banned. Hitler’s trial began on the 24th of February 1924 and lasted one month.

Hitler denied the charge of treason and at his trial, gave long speeches on how he was simply attempting to restore Germany’s greatness and resisting the weak Weimar government.

He criticised the government calling them the November Criminals as they betrayed the German people and agreed to the Treaty of Versailles after agreeing to the armistice.

Every opportunity was used to put across his political viewpoint and attack the Weimar Government. The judges were sympathetic towards him and his speeches were then reported in the national press raising his profile and making him famous in Germany.

On 1st April 1924, Hitler was sentenced to 5 years in Landsberg Prison. He would only serve 9 months before being released and he would use most of this time to write his book, Mein Kampf.

The time he spent in prison would allow him to reflect on what went wrongin the Munich Putsch. It is believed it was during his time in prison that he realised that gaining power democratically was the only way to become the leader of Germany.

While in prison, Hitler had a relatively easy time in gaol. He was permitted as many visitors as he wanted and receive mail as well as access whatever books he wanted.

While inside the prison, the Nazi party experienced a decline in the short-term however over the longer term they benefited.

The trial had been a propaganda success and Hitler was now known nationally and won support across the country from nationalists.

Reasons for limited support for the Nazi Party, 1924-28

Between 1924 to 1928, the Nazi party experienced a decline in popularity which resulted in Hitler ultimately reorganising it.

The decline was in part due to Hitler, who was quite famous at this point, being in prison and out the public spotlight. The new leader of the party during this time, Alfred Rosenberg, lacked leadership qualities and this resulted in the party splitting into rival groups.

Additionally, after the failed coup, the Nazi party was also banned which further limited its support as they could not openly canvass for members or publish their newspaper.

The Weimar government was also enjoying some success thanks to Stresemann’s economic policies which made it difficult for the Nazi’s to criticise them as it seemed their economic policies were working.

Hitler went on to be released from Landsberg Prison on 20th December 1924.

Shortly after his release Hitler convinced the Bavarian authorities to lift the ban on the party on 16th February 1925 and it was “refounded” on 26th February 1925 with Hitler as the leader.

Hitler began reorganising the party’s structure and created branches called Gaue (plural) or Gau (single) with each led by a Gauleiter.

To ensure control, he made sure only his closest associates helped run the party from Munich and they pushed the idea of the Führerprinzip (meaning leadership principle).

The Bamberg Conference of 1926

The Bamberg Conference was convened by Hitler on Sunday 14th February 1926 to achieve the following goals:

    • To prevent further dissent that had happened among its northern branches and create unity based solely on the Führerprinzip.
    • To cement his role as the ultimate authority in the party whose decisions are final and non-appealable.
    • To eliminate any notion the party was democratic or a consensus-based institution.
    • To eliminate any rivalries between the northern and southern factions over goals and ideology.
    • To establish the Twenty-Five Point Programme as the party’s immutable programme.

    Challenges to Hitler’s leadership from Gregor Strasser and Josef Goebbels were addressed. Strasser was appointed propaganda leader while Goebbels was made Gauleiter of Berlin.

    Other opponents such as Ernst Röhm, the leader of the SA, was forced to resign as Hitler was concerned the SA would continue to be a violent group. He was replaced by Franz Pfeffer von Salomon.

    The SS, also known as the Schutzstaffel were created as his own bodyguard unit. The Hitler Youth, also known as the Hitlerjugend, was set up to rival other youth groups.

    Hitler’s reorganisation of the party at the Bamberg conference would produce results. In 1925, the party had 27� members however by the end of 1928, this had increased to 100�.

    Hitler was seen as the undisputed leader and endless propaganda was used to win over the voters and attract members. Prior to 1928, the party focused on urban voters however rural voters were now the new target at a time when farmers began to experience economic problems making the Nazi party an attractive option.

    In 1928, despite the increased membership, the party won only 12 seats in parliament which were less than the 32 seats held in 1924.

    The party made further changes targeting poorer voters and in the late 1920s, he replaced Strasser with Josef Goebbels as the head of party propaganda.

    The party would likely never have come to power if it were not for key political and economic crises. The economic events that occurred in 1929 such as The Great Depression, were seen to be key in helping the Nazi Party become one of the leading parties in the country.

    The growth of unemployment – it’s causes and impact

    Stresemann’s economic policy had brought 5 years of prosperity and the economy began to recover however there were still groups of people, such as farmers, who experienced problems.

    The loans from the USA helped to prevent inflation and there was an investment in industries which increased economic output.

    However, this all changed in October 1929 when the Wall Street Crash happened.

    Germany was dependent on US loans to stimulate its economy and aid its recovery. The US stock market crashed in an event known as the Wall Street Crash which resulted in a period known as The Great Depression”.

    This meant US lenders recalled the loans they had made to Germany under the 1924 Dawes Plan. International trade began to contract and German exports began to drop.

    Factories in Germany began to close resulting in workers being sacked so unemployment rates began to rise. German farmers were already experiencing problems before the crash however the crash resulted in even lower food prices which worsened their plight.

    Other German’s could no longer pay their rents which resulted in them becoming homeless.

    To make matters worse, Gustav Stresemann died on 3rd October 1929 and he was seen as the only one able to navigate Germany through such a difficult period.

    Successive Weimar governments such as the Brüning government of 1930-1932 were unable to deal with the problem of rising unemployment and proved incredibly unpopular.

    When the depression first struck, the Müller government was in power during 1928-1930. The members of the government were split on whether to increase unemployment contributions from 3% to 3.5%.

    Müller subsequently resigned on March 1930.

    The new Chancellor was Heinrich Brüning who thought the best way to deal with the depression and high levels of unemployment was to reduce spending and increase taxes.

    In March 1930, he cut civil servant wages by 2.5% which was initially blocked but pushed through by President Hindenburg. He would further cut wages by 23% by the end of 1931.

    Brüning also raised taxes on income, beer, sugar and also introduced various other new taxes which would prove unpopular. Unemployment benefit was also cut by up to 60%.

    Poverty increased making the crisis deeper and more businesses began to fail. Brüning was nicknamed the “Hunger Chancellor” and the unemployed and hungry wanted solutions he couldn’t provide. This resulted in them looking to other political parties to relieve their suffering.

    By January 1932, over 6 million people were unemployed which meant 4 out of 10 Germans were without jobs. During 1923, the fear was inflation however during this period, it was now unemployment and people wanted someone that could provide jobs.

    As unemployment increased, the middle class feared a Communist revolution similar to the one that happened in Russia in 1917. The German Communist Party (KPD) was growing during this period as they promised a way out of the economic depression.

    The failure of successive Weimar governments, 1929-33

    The new Chancellor was Heinrich Brüning who thought the best way to deal with the depression and high levels of unemployment was to reduce spending and increase taxes.

    In March 1930, he cut civil servant wages by 2.5% which was initially blocked but pushed through by President Hindenburg. He would further cut wages by 23% by the end of 1931.

    Brüning also raised taxes on income, beer, sugar and also introduced various other new taxes which would prove unpopular. Unemployment benefit was also cut by up to 60%.

    Poverty increased making the crisis deeper and more businesses began to fail. Brüning was nicknamed the “Hunger Chancellor” and the unemployed and hungry wanted solutions he couldn’t provide. This resulted in them looking to other political parties to relieve their suffering.

    By January 1932, over 6 million people were unemployed which meant 4 out of 10 Germans were without jobs. During 1923, the fear was inflation however during this period, it was now unemployment and people wanted someone that could provide jobs.

    Brüning did not have a majority and he was increasingly relying on President Hindenburg and Article 48 to pass reforms. This meant the Reichstag was used much less frequently. In hindsight, historians believe this is what caused the death of the Weimar Republic as democracy was being bypassed frequently.

    The growth of the communist party

    As unemployment increased, the middle class feared a Communist revolution similar to the one that happened in Russia in 1917. The German Communist Party (also known as the KPD or Kommunistische Partei Deutschlands) was growing rapidly during this period as they promised a way out of the economic depression.

    In 1923, the new KPD leader Ernst Liebknecht had abandoned the goal of instigating a revolution since the failure of the Spartacist Revolt and instead had been contesting elections from 1924 with some success.

    During the Weimar government’s tenure, The German Communist Party was the largest communist party in Europe. It was seen as the “leading party” for a communist movement outside of Russia and maintained a solid electoral performance averaging over 10% of the vote.

    Rich landowners and the middle class feared communism because they feared once communists such as the KPD were in power, they would take their wealth from them and redistribute this.

    The growth of communist parties such as the KPD made this a realistic possibility so an alternative party needed to be backed by the rich and middle class that would protect their interests.

    This is why the Nazi party became an attractive alternative option for many people with some level of influence and wealth. To stop communism which threatened their wealth and position in society, the rich backed the Nazi’s and they already had strong support from the poor and unemployed as well as farmers.

    Growth in support for the Nazis

    The economic problems faced after the Great Depression had spread to Germany and caused huge political discontent. Extreme parties were able to use this to their advantage and started to gain more support in elections.

    Between 1929-1933, the Nazis became the biggest political party in Germany due to their simple messages and slogans which appealed to all classes within society.

    The effects of propaganda

    Between 1929-33, the Nazi party increased its support and one of the key reasons for this was its effective use of propaganda.

    Tactics involved holding mass rallies as well as using posters and banners in prominent places. It was made to seem like the Nazis were everywhere.

    The mastermind behind this was Josef Goebbels.

    Goebbels understood the mass media and how this could be used to manipulate huge audiences. He ensured the Nazi message was simple and repeated regularly.

    By the 1930s, the Nazis owned over 120 newspapers which were read by hundreds of thousands of people across Germany. When the political and economic crises struck, Goebbels was able to get coverage for the Nazis in local, regional, national and presidential elections.

    This enabled the Nazis message to be heard everywhere, particularly on the radio too.

    Nazi electoral success

    In 1930, Chancellor Brüning called a general election in an attempt to secure a majority for his Centre Party (ZP).

    Unfortunately for him, the Wall Street Crash, the contracting economy and depression disrupted the political situation.

    Unemployment increased across all classes of people and the Nazis were appealing to all sections of society as a credible alternative.

    They blamed the “weak” coalition Weimar government for the economic crisis stating they had no credible solutions to the country’s problems.

    Through propaganda and rallies, the Nazis played on the resentment of the Treaty of Versailles and blamed the “November Criminals” to reopen old wounds.

    The Nazis message was they were the only party able to return Germany to its former glory.

    The Jews were also blamed for a number of country’s problems:

    • Hitler blamed the Jews for being involved in communism as well as the evils of capitalism.
    • The Jews were blamed for the high levels of unemployment
    • They were blamed for conspiring in Germany’s defeat during World War 1.
    • Jews were blamed for the Bolshevik revolution in Russia.
    • They were also accused of trying to cause a revolution in Germany which would mean all private wealth would be seized by the state.

    After the 1930s general election, the Nazis had a breakthrough securing 12 seats. For Brüning, this meant he was forced to rely on other parties and, moreover, Hindenburg and Article 48.

    Many historians believe this over-reliance on Article 48 which bypassed the Reichstag to pass the law was the death of the Weimar Republic.

    The work of the SA in the growth of the Nazis

    As Hitler and the Nazis attempted to increase their support, they used the Sturmabteilung as protection for their meetings but also to disrupt the meetings of their opponents, particularly the Communist Party.

    Hitler reappointed Ernst Röhm as the leader of the SA in January 1931 when its membership stood at 100�. Within 12 months, the membership had increased to 170� members.

    The Communists also had their own private militia known as the Red Front Fighters, RFB or Roter Frontkämpferbund.

    There were countless fights between the Sturmabteilung and the Roter Frontkämpferbund many of which resulted in fatalities.

    Hitler wanted to show the German people that he could stamp out the Bolshevik violence and threat of revolution that many feared.

    The SA was also used to attack and intimidate any overt rivals or critics to the Nazis.

    Political developments in 1932

    In 1932, during the presidential elections, Hitler ran for president against Hindenburg and Thälmann (KPD).

    The Nazis were quick to use modern technology and travelled to speak in as many as 5 cities within the same day by aeroplane.

    Goebbels worked to ensure mass rallies were held and the Nazi message was being spread across Germany with Hitler recognised as a national political figure.

    Goebbels had mastered the art of using the mass media and with Hitler’s message spread across films and the radio.

    Hindenburg did not campaign himself but still managed to secure more votes and lost out on a slight margin falling short of the required 50 per cent of the vote. This meant there had to be a second round.

    Hitler increased his vote share but still fell short of Hindenburg in the second round.

    How Hitler Became Chancellor, 1932-33

    In 1933, political instability and the eventual reluctant support of President Hindenburg enabled Hitler’s rise to power as he became the Chancellor of Germany in 1933.

    A series of key events led up towards this being possible.

    After Hitler’s success in the presidential elections in March and April 1932, he was now not only famous and well known, but he was also the leader of the second largest party in the Reichstag.

    Brüning had been Chancellor since 1930, however, his economic policies were proving very unpopular.

    He had little support from the Reichstag and relied on ruling by presidential decree through Hindenburg (who was the President at the time).

    Brünings dependance on Hindenburg and bypassing the Reichstag was seen to seriously undermine the Weimar Republic.

    By May 1932, Brüning had lost Hindenburg’s support as the economy showed little sign of improvement. A general election was called for on 31st July 1932.

    The results of the 1932 German General Election are on the right above.

    The Nazis were incredibly successful and won 230 seats effectively becoming the largest party in the Reichstag.

    Despite not having the most seats, Franz von Papen (pictured left) of the Centre Party did not immediately resign as Chancellor. Instead, he schemed with Hindenburg believing the Nazis (and Hitler) could be manipulated.


    Rise of the Nazi Party

    The grim atmosphere of the early 1930s greatly contributed to the rise of Hitler’s Nazi Party as it left the Germans desperate for a strong leader. They considered the German government to be weak and the actions of Bruning, the chancellor only added to the bitterness of the German nation. They suffered due to the harsh conditions of the Treaty of Versailles and the Great Depression left many with huge financial problems, which were only worsened by the chancellor’s decision to cut unemployment pay and wages. Thanks to a very successful propaganda campaign focused on the poor and the suffering, the Nazi Party rose from only 12 seats in Reichstag in 1928 to becoming the largest party in 1932 with 230 seats.


    Hitler’s Antisemitism

    Looking at the horrible way Jews were treated during the Holocaust, Hitler’s hate for them must have been really extreme and apparently there were enough Germans supporting his notion that Jews needed to be eradicated. But what caused all of this?

    Historians today still debate the reasons for the Nazi hate for Jews, as there are many factors that might have played a role.

    Factors That May Have Contributed

    Religious Conflict

        – Conflicts between Christianity and Judaism have existed for years, which partly helped create an atmosphere of anti-semitism in Europe.

      Anti-semitism in Vienna

          – Hitler spent a part of his youth in Vienna, Austria, where anti-semitism was very prevalent and highly advocated. He may have been influenced by some of the ideological ideas of that environment.

        Jewish Economic Power

            – At the time when World War 1 broke out, a majority of financial institutions, banks and large companies were controlled by Jewish people. Hitler blamed the loss of the war, the economic downfall of Germany and the bad decisions of the Weimar Republic on Jewish capitalism.

          Conspiracy theory

              – Hitler believed that the Jewish had some conspiracy to control the world and that they would stab Germans in the back whenever it would suit them.

            Biological differences

              – Hitler and many Nazis believed in the superiority of the Aryan (German) race and that Jews were inferior to such an extent that they were almost non-human in his eyes. He felt that he would be doing the world a favor by wiping out the Jewish race.

            These factors are only explain part of the answer to the question. For more information on this topic, we recommend listening to an interview with European History Richard Weikart, who discusses the religious beliefs of Adolph Hitler. A cursory look at Hitler’s value system goes a long way toward explaining why he thought it was in the best interest of the German people to murder millions of its own fellow citizens.


            Hitler’s Takeover

            Although the Nazi Party had become very powerful, they lost close to two million votes in the November 1932 Reichstag elections, which meant that they only had 33 percent of the vote, and not the majority they needed. Papen, who wanted the position of vice chancellor and thought he could control Hitler, convinced Hindenburg to form a coalition with the Nazis and appoint Hitler as chancellor. Hindenburg finally gave in and appointed Hitler as chancellor. Hitler’s final grab for power was when he negotiated with the Reichstag members to give him temporary “emergency” powers for four years, enabling him to act without the consent of parliament or the German constitution. While negotiations were taking place, his large military force was surrounding parliament with the threat of war, should they refuse. They didn’t have much of a choice but grant him what he wanted and Hitler became absolute ruler of Germany.

            This article is part of our larger selection of posts about Adolph Hitler. To learn more, click here for our comprehensive guide to the life of Adolph Hitler.


            Watch the video: How did Hitler rise to power? - Alex Gendler and Anthony Hazard


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