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.
The reparations imposed on the country under the Weimar Republic caused many political problems within the nation. The Weimar Republic was associated with failure in WW1 since it had signed the Treaty of Versailles that had ended the war, this in turn caused a strong sense of unpopularity towards the government from the people of Germany, as it was believed that the Republic had ended the war too early and that Germany could have fought on. This left the Germans feeling humiliated, along with the harsh limitations on the German armed forces and also the concept that Germany and it's allies was to blame for starting the war, known as the War Guilt Clause.In addition, when the German people discovered that the Weimar Republic failed in making the Treaty fair towards them, the government became even more unpopular. They people were outraged at the fact that the government had accepted these conditions, despite the fact that there was not a lot else the Republic could do. This added to the already high level of unpopularity of the government, after signing the armistice to the end the war, consequently resulting in the government being named the 'November Criminals'.
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, this source is published by the Nazis in the lead up to the 1932 elections, most likely being bias. It’s also important to note that it’s a typical Nazi source, glorifying Hitler and depicting the average German family as struggling and brave, pleading to get out of the inherited disaster left by the Weimar Government. Not only did Hitler capitalise on the economic problems, he was successful in highlighting the faults of the treaty of Versailles. Source 11 introduces Hitler as a hypnotist by describing his words “like a whip”. Karl Ludecke stated that he was ready to attack any enemy, proving that Hitler’s words created a “hypnotic spell by the sheer force of his beliefs”.
Or was it Himmler, the head of the SS, who brought fear to the nation of the Nazi Party? Could it even have been Goebbels, who created propaganda to promote the party, indoctrinating the innocent nation? Firstly, we shall investigate the contributions to the party by Hitler. We can see that he had strong ideas regarding the country, World War One, and also not to mention, about Anti-Semitism. Most of his views came from his experience in World War One, with the surrendering and the cause of the Treaty of Versailles, the inflation of money, and the War Guilt Clause.
The invasion of the Ruhr and resultant hyperinflation also had a hugely detriment effect. Finally, the destruction of the Depression in 1929 dealt a huge blow. It s clearly evident that, while it had a substantial impact on the Weimar Republic to 1929, a string of separate factors were also responsible for it’s issues. Before the Treaty of Versailles was even signed, Germany’s fledgling republic experienced many problems. This proves that, while the treaty had a significant impact on the Weimar Republic, it was in no way the sole cause of its issues.
In this essay I will discuss the title question and come to a conclusion on whether or not I agree. For me, one of the main causes of ww2 was the fact that The Treaty of Versailles was extremely harsh on Germany; this created a build up of anger and resentment from Germans, and also put them in a financial depression. Although Hitler had no control over this, he played on their poverty to receive votes and gain power. He also built up Germany’s resentment against the United Nations, which made his people pro war. Many people believe another fault of the League of Nations that contributed to war was; how they appeased Hitler by letting him have Czechoslovakia.
The limitations it placed on Germany's armed forces, and especially the War Guilt Clause that blamed Germany and her allies for starting the war, left many Germans feeling humiliated. For these reasons it was deeply unpopular. Economic The Republic failed to pay full reparations to France so the French invaded the Ruhr region of Germany and took control of key industries and natural resources. This worsened the economic crisis in Germany. The inflation rate rose so dramatically that the German currency lost virtually all value.
The internal factors primarily stemmed from Tsar Nicholas II incompetency in his position of power as emperor of Russia. Nicholas II’s repressive and autocratic rule resulted in hostile opposition from all classes preceding the revolution, which suffered from social and economic discontent as a result of issues directly attributed to a lack of incentive to lead. The Tsar’s oppressive rule can inevitably be viewed as a pivotal catalyst of the revolution. According to The Fundamental Laws of Empire, Nicholas II was an “autocratic and unlimited monarch”, who declared that his propositions and decisions as ruler were specified by God and thus his “supreme power” had greater reason to be obeyed. According to Historian Malone, the Tsar “believed totally in the tsarist system and argued that a democracy and elections would result in political collapse.''
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.