Hitler S Rise To Power Essay, Research Paper
Adolf Hitler began his career as a starving artist in Vienna in 1908. He was later appointed, by the President of Germany, to Chancellor of Germany in 1933. However, from 1908 1922 is when he devised most of his propaganda that he used to become successful. He also developed his extraordinary oratory skills at this time (that he would later use on the German people). During these crucial years Hitler absorbed the necessary knowledge he felt he needed to become an effective leader. Hitler s rise to power was due in part to his ability to convince thousands of German people to join his regime. He was able to convince the German people through various tactics, such as his masterful use of propaganda and his superior oratory techniques that he used at mass meetings. In addition, he was able to attain power during a time of economic crisis and destitution of a nation.
Hitler used every way possible to attract the attention of the German people. Hitler felt the intelligence of ordinary people was small, and that all effective propaganda must be limited to a very few points and must harp on these in slogans until the member of the public understands what you want him to understand (Ellis and Elser, 779). Painting walls, and using signs and posters with simple Nazi slogans and images was a ploy that Hitler used as a weapon for appeal. He geared his programs toward the German working class, because he was aware that he could win their support and use them as material for political manipulation (Bullock, 75). His programs promised to end reparations, create jobs, and re-arm Germany. Since the people in these classes were frustrated, due to the state Germany was in, Hitler offered them their own brand of extremism, radical anti-semitism, and social respect and prestige of the past to win the minds of the people.
Hitler learned to lie with conviction, and he was not concerned with the objective truth of an idea. He was only concerned with what was politically useful to gain power. Consequently, most of the German people ignored the heinous side of Nazi rule because he preached what the people wanted to hear. Hitler spread his racial hatred, hatred towards democracy, and challenged the Versailles Treaty. He promised to rebuild Germany, and he appealed to nationalism to gain power. Hence, he successfully increased his popularity in Germany.
Hitler knew that a successful leader must gain the support of the masses. Through mass meetings he was able to appeal to the German peoples emotions rather than to reason and to eventually gain their trust and support. This he felt was the most important principle for political action. Hitler openly explains this in Mein Kampf, The movement must avoid everything which may lessen or weaken its power of influencing the masses, because of the simple fact that no great idea, no matter how sublime or exalted, can be realized in practice without the effective power which resides in the popular masses; . . . to be a leader means to be able to move the masses (Bullock, 69).
In 1920, Hitler was put in charge of the German Workers Party to organize its first mass meeting. This was just the beginning for Hitler. He used clever advertising, and he drew nearly two thousand people to attend the 1920 mass meeting (Bullock, 66). For example, he painted walls, and hung signs and posters appealing to the German people. The 1920 meeting was when Hitler announced the Party s new name along with its twenty-five-point program earning him support of the masses. Hitler s idea to go to the masses was ingenious because the mass meetings rallied German people to support the Nazi regime.
Hitler had the ability to move masses of people through his impressive speaking ability. He preferred the spoken over the written word , and in Mein Kampf he explains that, The broad masses of population are more amenable to the appeal of rhetoric rather than to any other force (Bullock, 71) . He deliberately used verbal violence, physical exertion, passion, zeal, and repetition when delivering his speeches to captivate his audience. However, he used repetition as the essential element in his table thumping deliverance believing, only constant repetition will finally succeed in imprinting an idea on the memory of the crowd (Bullock, 70) . The same style and elements are found in every one of his speeches and they all foster to the same effect. For instance, the speeches were always delivered at the same time of the day, had examples, and conjured up the fear of attack in the people.
Hitler lied to and deceived the German people, corrupted their minds with his views and beliefs, and brought them together as they longed. They longed to be led toward a simple resolution and goal. He knew how they were feeling, the problems they were facing, and that he would be the one to take control and convince them that there could be a way to get out of all their problems. He directed his negativity at Slavs and other inferior races. These lesser races, he believed, must bow to German needs. In his recipe for revival he took the appropriate steps to expand and gain living space for Germans, and he urged Germans wherever they lived to unite into one great nation. His goal was to bring all German speaking people into the Third Reich. He delivered a solution, and was aware that the German people would follow him. They were desperate for someone or something guaranteeing their survival – someone to become their savior.
Germans of all classes responded to Hitler s hypnotic speeches and programs that restored their national pride. He attained the attention of the German classes by promising to rebuild Germany, providing the Germans with someone to blame for their problems, and by influencing them with his remarkable oratory techniques. Hitler offered the German people a striking alternative to the weak and disordered Weimar Government which he despised. He offered strength, decisiveness, and order. He blamed Jews, politicians, and Marxists for Germany s loss of the war and Germany s economic crisis. Hitler s abuse of his ability to control the people was a move he was positive would be a success, because he was cognizant that the minds of the people could be easily convinced that what he wanted was right.
Economic problems in Germany during 1923, due to inflation, also contributed to Hitler s rise to power. However, ironically, his rise to power coincided with the rise and fall of the German economy. Due to the problem the German people were facing they looked for alternatives to solve their problems, which the government was unable to fulfil. The alternative guiding force they found was the Nazi Party. However, not long after the success of the Nazi party Hitler was arrested and imprisoned. Germany had made an amazing economic recovery, but while he was imprisoned the Nazi Party lost the interest of the German people. Upon Hitler s release from prison he regained control of the Nazi Party and slowly put the pieces back together but not completely as it was before. Not until 1930, one year after the Great Depression hit the United States, was the party rebuilt.
The results of the depression in the United States effected all countries (especially Germany, because Germany had taken foreign loans to help rebuild the economy from 1923). This crisis did not effect the working class alone in Germany. It also effected the middle class and lower middle class, as well, and their world was crumbling. Hitler knew this was the time for him to take control again and introduce his program and ideas once again. In such circumstances the demagogy of such Hitler began to attract a mass following as it have never been done before (Bullock, 153). The German people believed Hitler could supply the stable strong government that they needed.
To confront the Great Depression Hitler launched large public work programs. Thousands of German people were put to work building highways, housing, or replanting forests. He also began a crash program, in violation of the Versailles Treaty, to re-arm Germany. These plans increased Hitler s popularity with the German people and contributed to his rise to power, because he proved that he could transform Germany to the state it was at before. The demand for military hardware simulated business and helped eliminate unemployment. He preserved capitalism but brought big business and labor under government control. Few objected to this loss of freedom, because their standard of living rose. Hitler states in Mein Kampf his viewpoint on programs as, All programs were a means to an end, to be taken up or dropped as they were needed. Any idea may be a source of danger if it be looked upon as an end in itself, (Bullock, 75).
Adolf Hitler was a forceful, ruthless, immoral man with a charismatic personality. He organized brutal systems of terror, repression, and totalitarian rules to achieve his goals. He pursued his goals by bringing all German speaking people into the Third Reich. He knew how to appeal to the German people s baser instincts and made use of their fears and insecurities. He was a political genius and master propagandist. His success, however, was only because many German people were willing to be led. Although his program was one of hatred and violence his impact was completely destructive, and nothing of what he instituted and built survived. As Allan Bullock stated, The foundation of Hitler s success was his own energy and ability as a political leader (Bullock, 68).
Bullock, Allan. Hitler, Study in Tyranny, New York: Harper & Row, publishers, Incorporated, completely revised edition by Allan Bullock, 1964.
Ellis, Elisabeth Gaynor and Elser, Anthony. World History: Connections to today, Prentice Hall Simon & Schulster education group a Viacom Company, copyright 1997.