To what extent was the Great Depression the main reason for Hitler’s rise to power? One of the main reasons for Hitler’s rise to power was the effects of the Great Depression of 1929. After the Wall Street crash, the U.S. called in its loans to Germany thus increasing both poverty and unemployment levels. The Weimar government did not understand how to reverse the situation so the general public became angry and lost confidence in the relatively new democratic system. 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.
How accurate is it to suggest that the Treaty of Versailles caused political and economic instability for the new government of Germany? The 1919 Treaty of Versailles led to great political and economic instability throughout Germany. Forcing a huge submission of Germany's land, resources, military capabilities and leaving the country with crippling compensation claims, the Treaty of Versailles most definitely played an important role in the political and economic weaknesses witnessed during 1919-1923. The Treaty was extremely successful in deciding the necessary reparations posed to certain countries, for example, Germany. The reparations imposed on the country under the Weimar Republic caused many political problems within the nation.
This made the new Weimar government, who signed the Treaty, extremely unpopular and there was a lot of opposition to the government. Hitler promised to get rid of the treaty. In 1929, the US called in its loans to Germany, and the German economy collapsed. The number of unemployed grew; people starved on the streets. In the crisis, people wanted someone to blame, and looked to extreme solutions - Hitler offered them both, and Nazi success in the elections grew.
However it can be argued that the roots of Hitler’s appointment as Chancellor in January 1933 lie in the disaster of the Wall Street Crash of 1829 and the subsequent depression. This economic crash and the rise in unemployment had the important effect of further polarising German politics. The fact that Germany’s growth in the 1920’s had been funded by American capital which was now forced to withdraw hit Germany’s industry hard. Furthermore it was unemployment and the consequential insecurity that so undermined confidence in the present structures. By 1933 over 6 million German workers were unemployed.
These men went on to be known as the November criminals, a clear sign of the resentment the German people had for the men that had effectively gave in to the allies as they saw it. Though in truth they had no choice, the treaty’s vindictive terms and unreasonable reparations resulted in a shattered German economy; hyperinflation ensued with the price of everyday necessities skyrocketing, millions of the population went into poverty and unemployment levels hit 25%. Though the treaty of Versailles was not totally to blame for the economic crisis, as the Kaiser had borrowed huge amounts of money to pay for the war effort, it was the most significant cause, it not only led to economic troubles but also much of the political instability that led to the republic’s downfall who used the treaty and the
Germany had major debts from WW1. Germany came up with an idea to solve their debt issues. Their idea was to print more money, it backfired completely. Every item of food price rose, people became poorer in the end. The people of Germany needed to blame it on somebody, especially Hitler.
The harsh reparation payments by the Treaty Of Versailles ( £6600 million) was indeed a threat to the Weimar Republic. However, there was low unemployment of 17% and a growth in foreign investment. This economic crisis led to a more extreme political threat within German and therefore should be considered as more significant. There a high amount of tension between parties, and strikes between both the Left and the Right were becoming ever more apparent due to the lack of faith within the government. In fact the groups within the right such as the Freikorps and consul organisation showed an increasing amount of violence because of their lack of support on democracy, which of course created a tremendous threat to the Weimar Republic.
The new government was the body that signed the treaty of Versailles, and to many it was a betrayal and most Germans referred to it as the ‘stab in the back theory’. The consequences of Versailles, such as reparations and land loss, were severe to Germany. Many people were looking for someone to blame and the government was the perfect choice. Communists and the right wing saw an opportunity to create a state that they wanted and were prepared to challenge the new republic. Many richer Germans had lived well under the Kaiser and distrusted the new government.
Hitler used his talent of public speaking to rally more support for the Nazis from the voting public. At this time the pressure of the depression meant that the Weimar government was beginning to tare. Hitler advertised the Nazis as an alternative to the ineffectiveness. Stresemann, German Foreign Minister, had died in October 1929; he had helped to rebuild the economy after WWI. The depression meant that each party had their own ideas to fix the huge problem that the country faced, in the Reichstag was made up of many parties and no one had a majority.
Due to the failure of the Weimar Republic and general public dissatisfaction arising from poor economic conditions exacerbated by the Treaty of Versailles, coupled with the 1929 Wall Street Crash, German citizens were understandably desperate for change. Until this point in time the Nazi party, and Hitler, had been essentially unpopular. However, the economic situation ensured Hitler’s increasing popularity as the people looked toward more extreme but non-communist ideals. The initial consolidation of Nazi power in 1933 arose from key events such as the reichstag fire, implementation of the Enabling Law, removal of external and internal opposition, and the night of long knives. Although Hitler was appointed chancellor, the Nazi party was still outnumbered in the cabinet, so when the election was called in February 1933 Hitler knew that he must once again win the support of the public.