The Rise of Hitler and the Nazi Party
The world today still remembers the name Adolf Hitler. In any academic forums, where dictatorship is discussed, the name shall seldom appear in the context of the subject (Kershaw 2010, p. 546). Hitler in the first place was not of the German origin. He gained his German-ship through the enrollment in the German army. Hitler is of the Austrian origin and was granted a permission to join the army by King Ludwig III of Bavaria.
Hitler was in the Germany army that fought the World War. At the end of the war, he returned to Munich with no job. Hitler had no extra skills to engage in other civilian activities; he was handed a meagre job during the winter of 1918-1919, but at the end of it was re-absorbed in the army at the Army’s Political department.
It is at this time that Hitler attended classes on national thinking, where he sharpened his oratory skills (Rees 2013, p. 200). He was later appointed to be a trainer, and he further gained more experience on public speaking. Due to his aggressiveness, he was given the membership of the DAP, which he later on changed to the popularly known Nazi party meaning (National Socialist German Workers’ Party)
Using the popularity as the spokesperson of the party, Hitler solicited for the chairmanship of the party, which he was given by the majority of party members defeating the then chairman, Anton Drexler. After the party’s popularity and winning the majority of seats in Germany, Hitler was made a chancellor on the conditions of making Papen the Vice Chancellor of the Coalition government (Evans 2010, p. 321).
Factors that Lead Hitler to Rise to Power in Germany
The Great Depression
According to Horne (2012, p. 78), the economic depression of the 1930s was the severest to have happened in the history of mankind by then. Several nations felt the consequences of the depression, which lasted for almost a decade. Even though the depression sprung from the USA as a result of the fall in its stock prices, it could soon be the problem of the world, and Germany was not an exception (Peitsch, Burdett & Gorrara 2006). During the onset of the Great Depression, Germany was at its political heights with Adolf scouting for the nation’s power.
As the Great Depression continued to negatively affect the economy of Germany, the Weimer government did not respond to the trend in the required manner. Thus, the then vice chancellor Bruning, instead of increasing the government spending to stimulate and revive the economy, increased the taxes, which impacted the economy even more negatively. As a result, many people became unemployed, many banks were closed, and there was a national outcry due to desperate circumstances that people had found themselves in (Howard 2007, p. 66).
With the rigidity of the Weimer government to introduce the policies that shall reduce the vagaries of the Great depression, it continued to fail, and as such, Adolf Hitler was not asleep (Hedley 2004, p. 87). As a result of a substantial discontent from the public, the membership of the Nazi party soared high, leading to winning of 107 seats in 1930. Even though the Great Depression was a misery to all, Hitler found it to his liking because in 1932, his party won 230 seats, which was even more than a single party ever won during the entire tenure of Weimer. Thus, the depression did not only indicate the Nazi party as the people’s, but also aided Hitler in gaining the top leadership of Germany.
According to Collins (2008, p. 167), terming Hitler as charismatic sounds like a political treason, but in the real sense, he was. Adolf rarely built and maintained relationships with people even as evidenced by the fact that he demanded the chairman of the Nazi party, who helped him come that far, to be removed and replaced by him.
Hitler had a vision and determination in his endeavors and managed to convince the considerable part of the German populace to accept his vision and determination. Starting from the beginning, he was able to voluntarily enroll in the German army, even though he was not of the German origin. The act later on shaped his life and politics around him (Marsh 2004, p. 17).
With the humiliating defeat of the German army in the World War, Hitler was able to think and visualize the feelings of citizens, with whom he identified himself. He blamed the Jews for the German’s position in the humiliating loss in the war (Rosenberg 2011, p. 115).
Hitler also had a strong conviction that even after losing the elections in 1928 with a meagre percentage of votes on his side, he still did not give up the battle and got the strength to consistently share his vision and ideas with people through his speeches and books he wrote. After his victory in 1933 with an overwhelming majority, he still proved those, who doubted his might, wrong by establishing a governance system that is still vivid in the minds of many today (Tucker & Roberts 2005, p. 109).
As Parker (2001, p. 136) emphasized, Hitler had a long-term bitterness of losing the World War. This to his advantage was the private thought of most of the citizens. Most citizens had intrinsic questions on how their strong army could lose such a crucial war in history, and this was the same thinking just as Hitler’s. He managed to convince people that the system was weak, and through his strong oratory skills and propaganda, he was able to punch holes in the Weimer’s governance system enabling him to attract more winning votes in the 1933 elections (Raum 2009, p. 78).
In addition, it is essential to note the treaty of Versailles, which failed to address the key concerns of Germany and demanded from the country to own up the damages caused in the war and disarm (Simkins et al. 2003, p. 90). The treaty was not effective; thus, Hitler used it to depict the ineffectiveness of the Weimer government.
Availability of Funds
As stated by Lemmons (2013, p. 98), Hitler knew the value of money and recognized that it would purchase the power for him. He struggled through for 14 years before being made the chancellor. The backers of Hitler enabled his finance machinery that propelled the propaganda about the Weimer government. Hitler was sponsored by a rich and powerful secret society, the German’s Jewish industrialist, threatened industrialists on corruption cases and by foreign financing of people, such as Henry Ford, who wanted to spread the anti-Semitic ideology among other numerous foreign financing with different motives, hoping that their key agent would be Hitler (Smaldone 2010, p. 67).
The propaganda was the main machinery of Hitler, which left people thinking that their only hope and liberator would be Hitler (Shubin 2006, p. 48). The propaganda worked to the liking of Hitler because a considerable section of the German people turned to believe that the Jews were to blame for their humiliating loss in the war; and therefore, their remaining hope was Adolf Hitler.
Many people in Germany had resolved to embrace dictatorship, because they thought that democracy had done nothing to them, rather than given them a weaker government that failed to address issues as a government (Biesinger 2006, p. 112). These weaknesses in the constitution included the proportional representation, allocation of presidential power and no threshold to win the representation in the Reichstag. In the view of these weaknesses, Germans turned to Hitler for correction, because the constitution was termed as Weimer’s.
Jarausch (2006) records that Hitler named his manifesto as a 25-point Program and the 25-point plan. The program ranged from the unification of all Germans in the Greater Germany through the state, providing the sources of livelihoods to the formation of a strong central power in Reich. The 25 points worked to the advantage of Hitler, because they incorporated what the Germans really wanted.
The Major Features of Nazi Ideology as Espoused by Hitler
The Nazis as a party had in the nationalist agenda (Showalter & Astore 2005, p. 87). The party believed that Weimer had done little to meet the growing expectations of the German people. The party was not satisfied with how the Weimer administration dealt with the Great Depression by taxing people more, instead of shouldering the very people from the consequences of the economic crisis. The Nazis expressed their beliefs in the German sovereignty and showed distrust towards maintaining international relations, namely the Versailles treaty. Through its 25-point manifesto, the party expressed hope and conviction of better restoring of the economic stability of the country after a deep economic crisis.
As Nawyn (2008, p. 58) puts it, the party supported the authoritarian system of governance, where the government was to dictate and allocate resources for production in the country. The party reported disinterest with the democratic system, whereas they believed that it deprived the powerless in the country the might to develop. The Nazis advocated for the economic sovereignty of Germany and emphasized the need for strengthening the middle class citizens, who were then supposed to drive the economy forward. In its manifesto, the party advocated for a debt free country as the main drive to the economic sovereignty.
The Jews were blamed by the party for their loss in the war, and as such, the pact of racialism was introduced to the Germans, who felt that the Weimer government was being too lenient towards the Jews. Thus, throughout their massive campaigns, they showed that the government refused to accept that the Jews were the reason of failure of the country, not the Germans. This by far won the majority of the citizens to the party.
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The Nazi party sought to prioritize the defense of the country (Buchanan 2008, p. 112). After a humiliating loss in World War I and a substantial suffering from the Great Depression, they wanted to create a sense of security and sovereignty of Germany. Hitler himself massively used a heavy military presence to indicate that they were not weak, but strong. Hitler used parades, visual elements of the flags, large armies and speeches to clearly indicate the military might of the country. This factor popularized the party, since the citizens thought that the Weimer government had failed to deliver on the aspect.
The Nazis sought to champion for the traditional values, and in its manifesto, the party advocated for the abolition of taxes on land and also the initiation of land reforms, as well as the expropriation of land and control of all speculations. The party also sought for the religion freedom with the main aim of protecting the traditions of the Germans.
Unity and expansionism
According to Stone (2009, p. 60), on the primary aim of the 25-point program was to unite all the states of the great Germany. Hitler’s intention was to unify and expand the territories of Germany to all states that spoke German. In lieu of this, people viewed the ideology as visionary and backed the party to scoop overwhelming 230 seats in the Reichstag.
Just as indicated in the thesis statement, dictatorship is quickly linked to Adolf Hitler. However, as discussed in this paper, various aspects of Hitler present that he was a visionary and determined as well as a leader with conviction. Above all, it becomes obvious that several factors were in play before Hitler won the elections in 1933.
The factors, such as the propaganda, are seen to be the effective tools of campaigns, even in modern politics (Mundey 2012 p 160). The paper also points to the significance of a manifesto that identifies with the people. It also indicates that a political journey is tedious with full of disappointments, but shows how a commitment and persistence can yield. The need for money for successful politics is also emphasized.