To What Extent Was Hitler
’s Success In Coming To Power Due To The Depression? Essay, Research Paper
Hitler became chancellor in January 1933. By March he had full dictatorial power. There is no doubt that the impact of the depression on the German people gave way to the rise of Hitler. It was the single most important factor of Hitler’s coming to power, however it wasn?t the only factor. Hitler had remarkable speaking abilities, which helped him woo the public. His use of force with the SA and the inability of the Left wing political groups to combine, also contributed in his rise. Hitler also used the weakness of the constitution the signing of the Versailles treaty to bring down the Weimar Republic. With all these advantages on his side, and with the depression hitting Germany hard in 1929, it was just a matter of time before Hitler would “claim his throne”.
The Depression was the single most important factor in Hitler’s rise to power. In 1929 a shockwave began in New York the affected the entire world. Germany was affected the most. Many historians, including Mckibbin and Taylor, believed that the depression was the turning point for Hitler and the nazi party. Germany’s economy after World War I had been built on foreign loans, especially loans from the United States, and on world trade, which was also based on a system of loans. Thus when the depression hit, the German economy collapsed. By 1932, 6 million Germans were unemployed. The German people and lost all hope in the Weimar republic, and started looking for a radical change, brought forth party radical parties?the communists and the nazis. As a result of 1929, Hitler became remarkably popular. He made promises to the military and to industrialists saying that he would return Germany back to greatness once again. Hitler exploited the trust of the German public to its fullest during these times of hardship so he could gain the support he needed to gain full control of the German state.
The weakness of the Constitution of the Weimar Republic significantly helped Hitler establish and develop the Nazi party. Whilst the Weimar constitution was said to be one of the most democratic constitutions of all time, there were still major flaws in it. In the eyes of Howland and Barr, the section on proportional representation and article 48 considerably helped Hitler on his quest for absolute power. As a consequence of proportional representation, it made it easy for anyone to form a new party, and that is how a radical, anti-sematic party such as the nazi party could establish itself. After the fire in the parliamentary building in 1933 (to which many historians believed Hitler started), he took advantage of Article 48 ? which enabled him to pass the enabling act. Nevertheless, it was still the depression that gave him the support he needed to take advantage of the weaknesses in the constitution, particularly article 48.
The inability for the Left wing political parties to combine and provide competition against the Nazis helped Hitler gain power. The first attempted counter ? revolution the Weimar government faced was the Spartacists revolt, which was led by the communists. The Free Corps quickly and brutally disposed of the attempted coup. This was one of many revolutions that the army would suppress. Thus the army would only put down revolutions led by left wing parties, not by right wing parties. According to Bracher, this was due to the fact that the German military and public lived in fear of a communist uprising. This took the focus off the potentially dangerous right wing parties. It is possible that if the left had combined, their counter ? revolutions could have been successful. They also would of provided competition against the Nazi party when people were looking for a radical change during the depression.
Hitler was a very skilful orator who would intrigue, enthuse and motivate the German people. It was Bullock’s belief that Hitler’s speaking skills and his personality were crucial to his success. He would travel all over Germany speaking to people at rallies, in which the Nazi party would set up. He would arouse them into a frenzied hatred of Jews, communists and political enemies. As Rossel said, he would ‘tell the people that they had been betrayed by Jewish bankers and moneylenders; he warned those who would listen that the time had come to rebuild Germany’s army and prepare for war against the Communists.’ Thus Hitler’s capability to capture and audience gave him an acoustical advantage when the German people were looking for someone to act during the depression.
In Hitler’s book ‘Mein Kampf’, he talks about nazi ideology, organization of the party and successful methods in order to gain support. These methods were the use of propaganda; the use of education; and the use of force. The SA and Hitler’s use of force and terror again helped him come to power. By the early 1930’s, the SA had a force of 600 000 men ? six times the size of the German army. As Craig said “the SA would strike fear into the hearts of those who were not followers of nazi ideology or who where not part of the ‘Aryan Race’.” The “Brown shirts” would go around beating up communists and Jews. They would turn up uninvited to other political rallies and disrupt the meetings there. As a consequence of this, many people feared the Nazi party and wanted to join to be safe. People knew that if the Nazi party were to attempt a coup, they would most likely succeed. However, the depression once again gave Hitler the support in order for him to do this.
There were many reasons for Hitler’s success, the depression being the main one. However the depression alone would not give Hitler dictatorial power. The weakness of the Weimar republic, nazi ideology and his personality were all important factors. But the coloration with the advent of the depression and the rise of Hitler is inarguable. As Taylor said “the depression put the wind into Hitler’s sails.”