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.
“The Great Depression was the most important reason for the outbreak of WWII”. First of all, to what caused the Great Depression was a number of things. In 1929 the stock market crashed completely. As a result of this thousands of people lost their jobs and became unemployed. Even more so, people became homeless and started begging on the streets.
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.
In the years leading up to when Hitler became chancellor the German government was in a constant state of limbo. Governments were ineffective due to parties being reluctant to work alongside each other. There was a global financial meltdown. The German peoples were becoming more and more cynical of democracy and if it could ever work. When the stock market collapsed on Wall Street in October, 1929, it sent financial markets worldwide into a meltdown this was tragic for the German economy.
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 treaty of Versailles in 1919 placed full blame on Germany. Germany was forced to pay reparations for the whole cost of the war. Also included in the treaty were limitations of arms building, the return of Alsace Lorraine and much of the map of Europe was redrawn. Germany felt that they had not lost the war, that it was only a cease fire and the conditions were too harsh on them. At the same time the governments in Russia, Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire had collapsed.
The Wall Street Crash in 1929 was important in getting the Nazi’s into power because the crisis was catastrophic in Germany as it caused unemployment to increase to 3 million. Nearly everyone was affected by the unemployment. Since most of the unemployed were men, they could see no way to provide for their families. As the German democratic government was beginning to unravel as they were struggling to control the economy. This made people give up hope on the democracy as it was not working and caused people to resort to extremist groups which made the Nazis seem like they were the solution to the problem.
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.
However there were many other factors that contributed towards the Nazis rising to power, for example Propaganda, the weakness of the opposition and the role of Hitler. The Wall Street Crash was one of the main reasons that Hitler got into power. This started when the Treaty of Versailles was set, it caused a huge economic crisis in Germany, the Weimar government decided to print out more money as a solution to this, but this resulted in hyperinflation. The USA began to lend Germany lots of money – The Dawes Plan – for buildings such as schools, hospitals. Germany was beginning to rebuild herself.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt used freedom symbols such as the bald eagle and used kind words such as "friend" or "my fellow..." to get people to support his ideas. Hitler and his Nazi party used the swastika and other militaristic symbols and used strong words in his speeches. Hitler and Roosevelt had a number of similarities and differences. Most notably, they came into power in the same month and solved the crisis of depression which was causing many social and political issues in both Germany and the USA. They also both hated Communism and Democracy, while Roosevelt was accused of founding a dictatorship.