Photo of the Day

Although Hitler was a Chancellor, he didn’t have as much power. The Communist party was still a threat. Then a key event happened. The Reichstag – German Parliament – was burned a few months after Hitler came to the power and the blame was assigned to the Communists. Following the burning, President Hindenburg clamped down the Communists and repressive measures were taken on all other political parties.

How Adolf Hitler Came to Power

The story of why Hitler came to power is about the reasons why the German people lost their senses and allowed a vicious madman to come to power.?Hitler was a brilliant speaker, and his eyes had a peculiar power over people.???He was a good organiser and politician. He was a driven, unstable man, who believed that he had been called by God to become dictator of Germany and rule the world. This kept him going when other people might have given up. His self-belief persuaded people to believe in him.

Hitler’s rise to power was based upon long-term factors – resentment in the German people, the weakness of the Weimar system – which he exploited through propaganda (paid for by his rich, Communist-fearing backers), the terror of his stormtroopers, and the brilliance of his speeches.

During the ‘roaring twenties’ Germans ignored this vicious little man with his programme of hatred.?? But when the Great Depression ruined their lives, they voted for him in increasing numbers.?? Needing support, and thinking he could control Hitler, President Hindenburg made the mistake in January 1933 of giving Hitler the post of Chancellor.

In the early 1930s, the mood in Germany was grim. The worldwide economic depression had hit the country especially hard, and millions of people were out of work. Still fresh in the minds of many was Germany’s humiliating defeat fifteen years earlier during World War I, and Germans lacked confidence in their weak government, known as the Weimar Republic. These conditions provided the chance for the rise of a new leader, Adolf Hitler, and his party, the National Socialist German Workers’ Party, or Nazi party for short.

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 neighbours. The terms of the treaty lead to widespread political discontent in Germany. Adolf Hitler gains support by promising to overturn them.

When the Germans heard about the Treaty of Versailles, they felt ?pain and anger?. They felt it was?unfair. It was a ‘Diktat‘ ? an Imposed settlement. They had not been allowed to take part in the talks ? they had just been told to sign.

On 7 May, the victors presented their Treaty to the small German delegation. Count Brockdorff-Rantzau angered the Big Three by giving a long speech criticising the Treaty; then the delegation left and set about countering it. A little later, they sent their counter-proposal based on the Fourteen Points) to the Big Three — their reply was so good that one of the British delegation said it was much better than the Allies’ suggestions, and even Lloyd George wondered for a time if they ought to rethink the treaty . Then the delegation went home. Many Germans wanted to refuse to sign the treaty; some even suggested that they start the war again. So it was with great difficulty that the President got the Reichstag to agree to sign the treaty, and the imperious way the two German representatives were treated when they were forced to sign made things worse.

Treaty of Versailles

The Germans hated Clause 231; they said they were not to?blame?for the war.? The soldier sent to sign the Treaty refused to sign it ? ?To say such a thing would be a lie,? he said.? Clause 231 did not physically harm Germany, but it hurt Germany’s pride – and it was this, as much as anything else, that made them want to overturn the treaty.

The Germans hated?reparations; they said France and Britain were trying to starve their children to death.? At first they refused to pay, and only started paying after France and Britain invaded Germany (January 1921).

The Germans hated their tiny?army.? They said they were helpless against other countries.? At first they refused to reduce the army, and the sailors sank the fleet, rather than hand it over.

The Germans also hated the loss of?territory.? Germany lost a tenth of its land – they claimed that the treaty was simply an attempt to destroy their economy.? Other nations were given self-determination ? but the Treaty forced Germans to live in other countries.? Germans were also angry that they could not unite with the Austrian Germans.

The Weimar Constitution did not create a strong government:

  • Article 48?of the constitution gave the President sole power in ?times of emergency? ? something he took often.
  • The system of?proportional voting?led to 28 parties. This made it virtually impossible to establish a majority in the Reichstag, and led to frequent changes in the government. During 1919-33, there were twenty separate coalition governments and the longest government lasted only two years. This political chaos caused many to lose faith in the new democratic system.
  • The German?states?had too much power and often ignored the government.
  • The Army, led by the right-wing General Hans von Seeckt, was not fully under the government?s control.??It failed to support government during the Kapp Putsch or the crisis of 1923.
  • Many government officials ? especially?judges?? were right-wing and wanted to destroy the government.??After the Kapp Putsch, 700 rebels were tried for treason; only 1 went to prison.??After the Munich Putsch, Hitler went to prison for only 9 months.

The Weimar Republic faced many problems.??Perhaps the greatest danger was ‘the weakness within’ – the constitution gave the President, the states and the army too much power, whilst proportional voting meant that the Reichstag was divided and weak.??In 1919-23, extremists on both the Left (especially the Spartacist revolt) and the Right (especially the Kapp Putsch) tried to overthrow the government.

The worst crisis occurred in 1923, when the French invaded to try to force Germany to pay reparations.??This led to hyperinflation and a number of rebellions (particularly Hitler’s Munich Putsch).

The German Workers? Party, led by Anton Drexler, was formed in 1919.??Hitler?joined?and soon became leader.???His speeches gave people scapegoats to blame for Germany?s problems:

  • The Allies.
  • The Versailles Treaty and the ?November Criminals? (the politicians who signed it).
  • The Communists, and:
  • The Jews.

In 1920, the party renamed itself the National Socialist German Workers? Party (Nazis), and announced its Twenty-Five Point Programme.

At first, the Nazis were both?nationalist?(they believed in Germany?s greatness) and?socialist?(they believed the state should benefit everybody equally).

After the failure of the Munich Putsch in 1923, Hitler was sent to Landsberg jail.??There he wrote?Mein Kampf?(My Struggle) advocating:

  • National Socialism? loyalty to Germany, racial purity, equality and state control of the economy.
  • Racism? the triumph of the Aryan race by?armed force, because?all races, especially the Jews, were inferior to the Aryan (pure German) ?Master Race?.
  • Lebensraum??to expand into Poland and Russia to get ?Living Space?.
  • Strong Government? complete obedience to the F?hrer.

The treaty of Versailles. The Heads of government at the formal signing of the Treaty of Versailles in 1919. World War I officially ended with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles on June 28, 1919. Negotiated among the Allied powers with little participation by Germany, it?s 15 parts and 440 articles reassigned German boundaries and assigned liability for reparations.

Mein Kampf

Although it is thought of as having been ‘written’ by Hitler, Mein Kampf is not a book in the usual sense. Hitler never actually sat down and pecked at a typewriter or wrote longhand, but instead dictated it to Rudolph Hess while pacing around his prison cell in 1923-24 and later at an inn at Berchtesgaden.

Reading Mein Kampf is like listening to Hitler speak at length about his youth, early days in the Nazi Party, future plans for Germany, and ideas on politics and race.

The original title Hitler chose was “Four and a Half Years of Struggle against Lies, Stupidity and Cowardice.” His Nazi publisher knew better and shortened it to Mein Kampf, simply My Struggle, or My Battle.

In his book, Hitler divides humans into categories based on physical appearance, establishing higher and lower orders, or types of humans. At the top, according to Hitler, is the Germanic man with his fair skin, blond hair and blue eyes. Hitler refers to this type of person as an Aryan. He asserts the Aryan is the supreme form of human, or master race.

And so it follows in Hitler’s thinking, if there is a supreme form of human, then there must be others less than supreme, the Untermenschen,?or racially inferior. Hitler assigns this position to Jews and the Slavic peoples, notably the Czechs, Poles, and Russians.

Hitler describes the struggle for world domination as an ongoing racial, cultural, and political battle between Aryans and Jews. He outlines his thoughts in detail, accusing the Jews of conducting an international conspiracy to control world finances, controlling the press, inventing liberal democracy as wells as Marxism, promoting prostitution and vice, and using culture to spread disharmony.

Throughout Mein Kampf, Hitler refers to Jews as parasites, liars, dirty, crafty, sly, wily, clever, without any true culture, a sponger, a middleman, a maggot, eternal blood suckers, repulsive, unscrupulous, monsters, foreign, menace, bloodthirsty, avaricious, the destroyer of Aryan humanity, and the mortal enemy of Aryan humanity…

The conspiracy idea and the notion of ‘competition’ for world domination between Jews and Aryans would become widespread beliefs in Nazi Germany and would even be taught to school children.

This, combined with Hitler’s racial attitude toward the Jews, would be shared to various degrees by millions of Germans and people from occupied countries, so that they either remained silent or actively participated in the Nazi effort to exterminate the entire Jewish population of Europe.

When Mein Kampf was first released in 1925 it sold poorly. People had been hoping for a juicy autobiography or a behind the scenes story of the Beer Hall Putsch. What they got were hundreds of pages of long, hard to follow sentences and wandering paragraphs composed by a self-educated man.

However, after Hitler became Chancellor of Germany, millions of copies were sold. It was considered proper to give one to newlyweds, high school graduates, or to celebrate any similar occasion. But few Germans ever read it cover to cover. Although it made him rich, Hitler would later express regret that he produced Mein Kampf, considering the extent of its revelations.

Those revelations concerning the nature of his character and his blueprint for Germany’s future served as a warning to the world. A warning that was mostly ignored.

A German postcard, produced about the time of the Treaty of Versailles, showing the land where Germans lived. The areas in red are the lands given to other countries by the Treaty of Versailles,( including the land lost by Austria).
Its title is ‘Lost but not forgotten land’.
The poem under the map reads:
You must carve in your heart
These words, as in stone –
What we have lost
Will be regained!

The Nazis grew out of a small right-wing party, which Hitler took over after 1919.

Hitler was a powerful and spellbinding speaker who attracted a wide following of Germans desperate for change. He promised the disenchanted a better life and a new and glorious Germany. The Nazis appealed especially to the unemployed, young people, and members of the lower middle class (small store owners, office employees, craftsmen, and farmers).

Following the War, Hitler went on speaking in beer halls. The drunk were his first audience. This is where he built his experience as a speaker. Put yourself in German shoes. You are hurt and ashamed by the first major defeat to your nation in over a century. You are hurt economically and psychologically. You are looking for answers.

There is this young lad, who did “heroic” things in the war and who has the answers. He talks of German pride and honor. He talks about whom to blame. And you are drunk. Would you believe in Hitler? Not unsurprisingly, Hitler got standing ovation.

He developed a Twenty-Five Point Programme based on hatred, and built up a paramilitary group (the SA) to defend his meetings and attack other parties.

The Nazis appealed to a wide range of people, but especially the ‘middling’ sort of people, and the party grew rapidly in the years of crisis 1919-1923.

After the disaster of the Munich Putsch, and during the prosperity of the Stresemann years, however, support for the Nazis fell.?During this time Hitler believed that he could be elected to power.?? He used these years to develop and strengthen the party’s organisation.

At first, there were a number of people involved in running the party, but Hitler soon became the sole boss, and he built up the organisation so that he was unquestioned leader.

Hitler had built up a status of “war hero” with an “Iron Cross” from his achievements in World War I. His rank was low, but his relative achievements were high. Thus, he reaped benefits from the war, unlike the higher level officers who got the blame for losing the war. Hitler got himself into a sweet spot and viewed favourably by the public.

Support for the Nazi Party had grown due to the country’s problems of hyperinflation and the French invasion of the Ruhr. By 1928 Nazism appeared to be a dying cause. Now that Germany’s outlook was suddenly bright, the Nazi Party was rapidly withering away. One scarcely heard of Hitler or the Nazis except as a joke.

Hitler set about reorganising the Party.?He put in place many of the things which helped it take power after 1928:

  • He reduced the number of Stormtroopers (SA) and set up the SS, a personal bodyguard fanatically loyal to himself.
  • He set up a network of local parties.???He merged with other right-wing parties, then took them over.
  • He set up the Hitler Youth, which attracted young people to the party.
  • He put Josef Goebbels in charge of?propaganda.???Goebbels and Hitler believed that the best way to get the support of the masses was by appealing to their feelings rather than by argument.???They waged a propaganda campaign using posters, leaflets, radio and film, and organised rallies.
  • He cultivated the support of wealthy businessmen promising them that, if he came to power, he would destroy Communism and the Trade Unions.???This gave him the finance to run his campaigns.

Hitler with Eva Braun

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 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.

?The party’s rise to power was rapid. Before the economic depression struck, the Nazis were practically unknown, winning only 3 percent of the vote to the Reichstag (German parliament) in elections in 1924. In the 1932 elections, the Nazis won 33 percent of the votes, more than any other party. In January 1933 Hitler was appointed chancellor, the head of the German government, and many Germans believed that they had found a savior for their nation.

?Money

The financial support of wealthy businessmen gave Hitler the money to run his propaganda and election campaigns.

Many industrials bankrolled the Nazis, including allegedly:

  • Hjalmar Schacht, Head of the Reichsbank, organised fund-raising parties for Hitler.
  • Fritz von Thyssen, the German steel businessman
  • Alfred Krupp, the owner of Krupp steel firm
  • Emil Kirdorf, the coal businessman
  • IG Faben, the German chemicals firm, gave half the funds for the 1933 elections
  • The German car firm Opel (a subsidiary of General Motors)
  • Schroeder Bank ? on Jan. 3, 1933, Reinhard Schroeder met Hitler and asked him to form a government.

And many foreign firms including:

  • Henry Ford of Ford Motors.?? Hitler borrowed passages from Ford’s book The International Jew to use in Mein Kampf and had a picture of Ford on the wall of his office.
  • Union Banking Corporation, New York (George Bush?s great-grandfather was president of the Corporation)
  • WA Harriman and Co., the American shipping and railway company (George Bush?s grandfather was vice-president)
  • Irenee du Pont, head of the American firm General Motors; he advocated the creation of a super-race by spinal injections to enhance children of ?pure? blood.

Adolf Hitler was appointed chancellor of Germany on January 30, 1933, bringing an end to German democracy. Guided by racist and authoritarian ideas, the Nazis abolished basic freedoms and sought to create a “Volk” community. In theory, a “Volk” community united all social classes and regions of Germany behind Hitler. In reality, the Third Reich quickly became a police state, where individuals were subject to arbitrary arrest and imprisonment.

In the first months of his chancellorship, Hitler began a concerted policy of “synchronization,” forcing organizations, political parties, and state governments into line with Nazi goals and placing them under Nazi leadership. Culture, the economy, education, and law came under greater Nazi control. Trade unions were abolished and workers, employees, and employers were forced into Nazi organizations. By mid-July 1933, the Nazi party was the only political party permitted in Germany. The Reichstag (German parliament) became a rubber stamp for Hitler’s dictatorship. The Fuehrer’s will became the foundation for government policy.

The appointment of Nazi party members to government positions increased Hitler’s authority over state officials. According to the Nazi party’s leadership principle, authority flowed down from above and absolute obedience towards one’s superior was expected at each level of the Nazi hierarchy. Hitler was master of the Third Reich.

After Hitler became chancellor, he moved quickly to turn Germany into a one-party dictatorship and to organize the police power necessary to enforce Nazi policies. He persuaded his Cabinet to declare a state of emergency and end individual freedoms, including freedom of press, speech, and assembly. Individuals lost the right to privacy, which meant that officials could read people’s mail, listen in on telephone conversations, and search private homes without a warrant.

Hitler also relied on terror to achieve his goals. Lured by the wages, a feeling of comradeship, and the striking uniforms, tens of thousands of young jobless men put on the brown shirts and high leather boots of the Nazi Storm Troopers (Sturmabteilungen).Called the SA, these auxiliary policemen took to the streets to beat up and kill some opponents of the Nazi regime. Mere fear of the SA pressured into silence other Germans who did not support the Nazis.

An important tool of Nazi terror was the Protective Squad (Schutzstaffel), or SS, which began as a special guard for Adolf Hitler and other party leaders. The black-shirted SS members formed a smaller, elite group whose members also served as auxiliary policemen and, later, as concentration camp guards. Eventually overshadowing the Storm Troopers (SA) in importance, the SS became, after 1934, the private army of the Nazi party.

SS chief Heinrich Himmler also turned the regular (nonparty) police forces into an instrument of terror. He helped forge the powerful Secret State Police (Geheime Staatspolizei), or Gestapo; these non-uniformed police used ruthless and cruel methods throughout Germany to identify and arrest political opponents and others who refused to obey laws and policies of the Nazi regime.

In the months after Hitler took power, the SA and Gestapo agents went from door to door looking for Hitler’s enemies. Socialists, Communists, trade union leaders, and others who had spoken out against the Nazi party were arrested, and some were killed. By the middle of 1933, the Nazi party was the only political party, and nearly all organized opposition to the regime had been eliminated. Democracy was dead in Germany.

Many different groups, including the SA and SS, set up hundreds of makeshift “camps” in empty warehouses, factories, and other locations all over Germany where they held political opponents without trial and under conditions of great cruelty. One of these camps was set up on March 20, 1933, at Dachau, in an abandoned munitions factory from World War I. Located near Munich in southwestern Germany, Dachau would become the “model” concentration camp for a vast system of SS camps.

?All propaganda has to be popular and has to accommodate itself to the comprehension of the least intelligent of those whom it seeks to reach? ? – Adolf Hitler

Once they succeeded in ending democracy and turning Germany into a one-party dictatorship, the Nazis orchestrated a massive propaganda campaign to win the loyalty and cooperation of Germans. The Nazi Propaganda Ministry, directed by Dr. Joseph Goebbels, took control of all forms of communication in Germany: newspapers, magazines, books, public meetings, and rallies, art, music, movies, and radio. Viewpoints in any way threatening to Nazi beliefs or to the regime were censored or eliminated from all media.

During the spring of 1933, Nazi student organizations, professors, and librarians made up long lists of books they thought should not be read by Germans. Then, on the night of May 10, 1933, Nazis raided libraries and bookstores across Germany. They marched by torchlight in night-time parades, sang chants, and threw books into huge bonfires. On that night more than 25,000 books were burned. Some were works of Jewish writers, including Albert Einstein and Sigmund Freud. Most of the books were by non-Jewish writers, including such famous Americans as Jack London, Ernest Hemingway, and Sinclair Lewis, whose ideas the Nazis viewed as different from their own and therefore not to be read.

Schools also played an important role in spreading Nazi ideas. While some books were removed from classrooms by censors, other textbooks, newly written, were brought in to teach students blind obedience to the party, love for Hitler, and anti-Semitism. After-school meetings of the Hitler Youth and the League of German Girls trained children to be faithful to the Nazi party. In school and out, young people celebrated such occasions as Adolf Hitler’s birthday and the anniversary of his taking power.

For years before Adolf Hitler became chancellor of Germany, he was obsessed with ideas about race. In his speeches and writings, Hitler spread his beliefs in racial “purity” and in the superiority of the “Germanic race”?what he called an Aryan “master race.” He pronounced that his race must remain pure in order to one day take over the world. For Hitler, the ideal “Aryan” was blond, blue-eyed, and tall.

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!

??Adolf Hitler to a British correspondent in Berlin, June 1934

Timeline of Hitler’s rise

  • 1914-1918 – Various Iron Cross honors in army for heroic performance in WW-I
  • 1920 – Joined the NSDAP (Nazi) party and got mentored by Eckart. Got connections, funding and speech training.
  • 1923 – Failed coup that gave national level publicity. Wrote Mein Kampf in prison.
  • 1929 – US Wall Street crash that started the Great Depression and destroyed the German economy. Nazis win their first win in a referendum held on whether Germany should continue to pay penalties to France.
  • 1930 – Collapse of a grand coalition of right and left wing parties in Germany.
  • 1932 – Hitler appointed the Chancellor as the President had no alternatives.
  • 1933 – The Parliament set on fire and blame fell on the opposition. Repression of opponents of Nazis.
  • 1934 – President Hindenburg died and Hitler took all the powers to himself.

Hitler’s rise was a calculated thing with a lot of steps to cross. At each point, he destroyed his opponents and got public to view him favourably.
Leaders don’t get selected for the diplomas and work experiences during the tough times. It is actually a disadvantage to have high pedigree and conventional backgrounds in those periods. In tough times, people go for unconventional leaders as they believe that the conventional leaders failed to deliver. Thus, his lack of degrees and strong professional career was not an impediment.

Hitler had that precise advantage. He was an outsider and he was mesmerizing. People wanted to believe what he said was right. Although he was an Austrian, he was always impressed of Germany, fought for Germany and many Germans didn’t realize he was an Austrian.

CHAPTER SEVEN: Who Financed Adolf Hitler?

Treaty of Versailles, 1919 – United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

First World War.com – Primary Documents – Treaty of Versailles, 28 …

Adolf Hitler’s rise to power – Wikipedia

How did Hitler come to power? – Quora

How Adolf Hitler Rose to Power and Seduced Germany – Live Science

Adolf Hitler – Rise to power | dictator of Germany | Britannica.com

BBC – GCSE Bitesize – Hitler’s rise to power

Jan. 30, 1933: The Story behind Hitler’s Rise to Power – Spiegel Online

Adolf Hitler’s Rise to Power

Hitler’s Rise to Power – GCSE Modern World History

Adolf Hitler – Military Leader, Dictator – Biography.com

40%