During a depression, political trends become extremist and so the Nazis flourished; Hitler offered both a scapegoat and himself as a strong leader to look up to. The depression gave Hitler the edge he needed to gain ninety-five seats in the Reichstag and ultimately progress from the leader of a minority party to the Dictator of the Third Reich. The Depression also drew attention to the weaknesses of the Weimar Constitution; as poverty and unemployment increased, respect for the democratic system drastically decreased. The German population did not want to be governed by a democracy as it was such a governing body that signed the Treaty of Versailles. Hatred for this document was still rife in Germany and so Hitler, who openly detested the Treaty, became the obvious choice.
This made the new Weimar government, who signed the treaty, extremely unpopular and there was a lot of opposition to the government. Deep anger about the First World War and the Treaty of Versailles created an underlying bitterness to which Hitler's viciousness and expansionism appealed, so they gave him support. Hitler promised to get rid of the Treaty. These examples show how the Germans turned to Hitler because they needed a new leader to restore its former glory. After the Stock Market Crash in the United States, much of Europe was suffering an economic depression just as the United States.
Historians disagree to an extent as to what the main reasons for Hitlers rise to power was. This essay will examine how important the weaknesses and divisions amongst his opponents were, as well as other factors, before coming to the conclusion that weaknesses and divisions amongst his opponents are very important in Hitlers rise to power by 1933. The main opposition for the Nazi party were the Communist and Socialist parties, despite being the main opponents, both of these parties were relatively weak; especially the communists. The communists hated the Weimmar Republic, and they wanted to create a fairer society, in their eyes, which excluded the class system and the government would control everything. As people began to turn from the Weimar Republic, getting fed up with their lack of process, they looked for more extremist parties such as the communists and Nazi’s.
He like them formed an extreme right wing political group, the British Union of Fascists (BUF), yet the parties impact failed dramatically compared to both Hitler’s Nazi party and Mussolini’s National Fascist Party. What could be the cause of such a vast margin of success? Could it have something to do with historian ideology that fascism is alien to British traditions, hence the lack of support for Mosley’s party? Could it have had something to do with Mosley himself and his character, judgement and decision making at inappropriate or opportune times? Or was it maybe that he, and the British Union of Fascists were fighting a losing battle from the beginning, not based on the ideology of fascism being alien to British traditions but a lack of fortune in his favour, with regards to the economy and propaganda, as well as Britain’s political structure being unique compared to other Countries as both Parliament and Monarchy work together?
Furthermore, German politics suffered polarisation as the left and right became more extreme, divisions were caused by differing views over war aims and developing concern over the establishment of the ‘Silent Dictatorship’. The first world war definitely narrowed political divisions initially which can be shown through Burgfriede which was introduced on 4th August to symbolise the political truce between all parties, even the supposedly ’unpatriotic’ Social Democrat Party gave their support for what was presented as a defensive war. However this political unity did not last as the military was unable to deliver on the quick victory that they had promised, and as the Schlieffen Plan failed and the heavy losses in battles such as Verdunn, the unity of the parties began to fracture. Subsequently Falkenhayn failed to find alternative strategies to break the stalemate and as a result Falkenhayn was replaced with military hero Hindenburg. For this reason, one can argue how the First World War increased political divisions.
David Lloyd George, from Britain, was involved in reducing power of Germany, where as Georges Clemenceau focused on the deterioration of Germany’s economy, land power and people. On the other hand, America’s Woodrow Wilson had a more moderate approach towards Germany. He wanted Germany to stay relatively strong to repel communism which was believed to have spread from Russia. Woodrow and David however, had a strong view to punish those in power of Germany, not the people. None the less, the so called ‘peace settlement’ had crippled Germany over the years.
His self-belief persuaded people to believe in him. However, I do not think it was solely the brilliance of Hitler's leadership which brought the Nazis to Power. The Treaty of Versailles, which was a peace settlement in which the Germans had no choice and were forced to sign after WW1, was an important reason why the Nazis came to power. The German general public were so angry over the Treaty and found it hard to accept the terms of it because it became a symbol of Germany's humiliation and defeat. This made the new Weimar government, who signed the Treaty, extremely unpopular and there was a lot of opposition to the government.
On the 20th June 1919, the Weimar Republic signed an agreement which would prove to be the ultimate threat to their stability during their first four-year term; the Treaty of Versailles. When the Weimar Republic came into power, the Germans were hopeful for the future and expected fair treatment from the Allies. However, article 231 of the Treaty of Versailles contradicted this, by stating that Germany was entirely responsible for the war and any ‘war guilt’ from World War One lay with them. The treaty left Germany humiliated and scarred, with a significant loss of resourceful land, huge reparations to pay and a greatly reduced military. However, despite this national opposition, delegates of the Weimar Republic signed the agreement, unaware of the crippling effect this would have on the new democratic government’s popularity.
Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany by President Hindenburg on 30 January 1933.There were many factors to explain why Hitler became Chancellor. They all played their part and in 1933 Hitler become Chancellor although perhaps not as he would have liked. Firstly, the situation that time had helped Hitler rise in power in a few different way. Following the First World War, Germany suffered from a lot of social and economic hardships. The Treaty of Versailles created an underlying bitterness , the Germans believe that they don’t deserve such the blame of war, even some believe they still have the power to fight back and win again.
As a result, discontent brewed within Germany herself. When Germany accepted the war guild clause, they expected the inevitable treaty to be based entirely on Wilson’s fourteen points. The points were reasonable in the eyes of Germany, however, many were not kept and the treaty turned out to be the exact thing Germany feared from the start. Land was given away, the German military demilitarized and huge amounts of money to be paid in reparations. The result of what was, at least for Germans, an extremely unfair treaty, was that Germany was faced with extreme economical difficulties.