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How Was It Possible for Hitler to Gain Power in Germany?

Introduction

Adolf Hitler was born in 1889 in Australia, just across the border of Germany. He is well known in the history of Germany and the whole world as an individual who had lots of controversies in the political arena. Hitler later joined the German army where he sustained injuries; in 1919, he became a member of the German worker’s party then known as DAP. He was very outraged with the problems of German workers after the period of war which he blamed on Jews. He was then to start furious campaigns against the Jews who existed both within and outside Germany. The wave of the campaigns led to the dreaded Holocaust (Engel, pp. 2-5).

How Hitler could Gain Power in Germany

It is important to start by noting that Germany, as a society, underwent massive changes after World War I. The First World War had economic, political, and social impacts on Germany. Besides, this was the physical cost of war in which Germany lost the lives of its citizens and property. During the period of war, it is estimated that the number of women rose to reach about 37 percent and after the War this number remained relatively constant. The implication of that was that women would play a major role in the German economy from then henceforth. The conclusion of the War generated unusual responses by the German citizens thereby causing some significant adverse effects on the German civilization as a whole. A good number of former German soldiers believed that they never lost the War but were deceived, a belief they later called a stab in the back. Due to this belief by the former German soldiers, many Germans looked for people on whom they could put their blames. The people blamed, therefore, included the new government officials and the communist Jews. So it can be rightly hypothesized that the impact of the First World War included a massive wave of suspicion amongst the Germans (Bessel, p. 99).

The economy of Germany suffered a major negative impact during the War period. Industrial production slowed down by more than forty percent and the machinery, in a significant number of cases, became obsolete and was no longer as productive as before because they were run by unqualified people. The shortage of qualified workers was a direct impact of the war in which millions of qualified and experienced workers were killed. The war also contributed to shortages in food supply to an extent that the Germans started feeding on dog meat and other animals deemed fit for consumption. The shortage of food subsequently led to the thriving of black market which accounted for approximately 35 percent of the entire market. Besides, the German economy also experienced a lack of sufficient raw materials for its industrial production because the global community had stopped their supplies to Germany during the War period. This subsequently led to Germany restricting its citizens from driving cars (Bessel, p. 99).

The First World War would have an impact on the political landscape of Germany. The first impact worth mentioning is that the War made Kaiser to be forcefully abdicated consequently leading to power vacuity. The power vacuum that was created was later sealed by the Republic of Weimar. The shortage of food supply has been discussed as one of the direct consequences of the First World War, however, it is crucial to mention that the shortage of food alternatively had some political impact in Germany where individuals became radicalized and started staging certain forms of rebellion. As a consequence of such radicalization, extremist views like those of communism gained wide support from the people (Bessel, p. 107).

The physical negative impacts that Germany experienced due to the War included loss of roughly 1.8 million young people who were mostly men, more than 4 million young and youthful men were injured and the total number of casualties was estimated at more than 69 million including those who were taken as prisoners and also those reported to have gone amiss. The total cost of physical impact of War on Germany was approximated to be over 37 billion US dollars (Bessel, p. 108).

Weimar Republic is a term that was used to refer to the German parliamentary republic that was brought into existence in 1919 to replace the power vacuum that was left by the forcefully abdicated Kaiser. The name Weimar is because the constitution used in the postwar Germany was prepared in a town known as Weimar. The unpopularity of the Weimar Republic is attributed to several problems that it faced during the period immediately after the end of the First World War, it encountered four major obstacles: there was four left-wing opposition which included people who wanted a communism based revolution; these people were ready to achieve that by all means available to them, there were numerous political parties that competed against each other and the Weimar Republic was therefore not strong enough to rule alone. It, therefore, ruled through coalitions which broke so frequently that the democratic governance in Germany always looked weak; right-wing opposition had also not taken it that Germany had lost the war (Davidson, p. 58).

Hitler proclaimed a revolution in 1923 and later led about two thousand army personnel to take over the Bavarian government. This act failed to succeed and Hitler was arrested together with others and later tried for treason. He was very ambitious and hoped to attain the highest political rank in Germany. However, his arrest and imprisonment might have been an indication of unlikelihood of him achieving such a dream. During his trial, Hitler was given a chance to use the moments as a propaganda arena for his beliefs; after the conviction, he was sentenced to a jail term of five years but only served 8 months of the full term. He wanted to seize power by force, but after he was convicted of treason and jailed for only eight months, he decided to use the constitutional means to get to power. Hitler used his oratory skills to call for the German people to put up a resistance against and the ideologies of communism. He wanted to create a new political empire that he expected to reign in Germany for a period of a thousand years (Davidson, p. 60).

Hitler was an orator, but also an evil person who was genius at his evil activities. He resented the Jews and believed that Jews were the source of most problems in the world, especially in Germany. He therefore became determined to clear off the Jewish population. Hitler’s rise to power was unlikely because he wanted to take power by force but never succeeded. Instead he was arrested and jailed. Hitler had planned to lead a revolution that would propel him into power, however, the revolution failed and that was the ground on which he was arrested and charged with treason. After the failure, it was expected that he would not get any other chance to rise to power. However, he unexpectedly resorted to using of established statutes to rise to power. Without the public resentment against communism, democracy and the ideologies of anti-Semitism and anti-capitalism, Hitler might not have risen to power. After the failed revolution he concentrated his efforts on giving support to these groups of people and ideologies (Davidson, pp. 61-63).

Hitler became a member of NSDAP which was later named Nazi. After his release in 1924, he re-established the Nazi Party appointing himself as the party leader. In 1925, the newly re-founded party was split into the Leadership Corps who was appointed by Hitler himself and the other was a lower group in which the legal aspects of the new party were highly emphasized. By the year 1930, the party was distinctly divided hierarchically with Hitler being the leader followed by the regional representatives of the party each of who took the party command at his regional level (Abel, p. 243).

The elections that took place in 1930 saw the boost in the delegates of Nazi party from the previous 14 delegates to the then 107 delegates. This consequently made Hitler be the leader of the second leading political party in Germany; it was only second to the German Social Democrat Party. But the largest party never achieved a majority over all other competitor parties so it had to rely on the other parties to function as a government. This presented Hitler with an opportunity to take advantage of the situation. He argued that parliamentary democracy could not work since it had failed before. Moreover, his party, NSDAP(Nazi), members claimed that he was the only one who could offer the kind of leadership that Germany needed. To strengthen the idea, Hitler and his party members traveled all over Germany to convince the people he varied his speeches depending on the kind of audiences he addressed at a given location. He promised the rural farmers that he would reduce taxes and that his government would ensure that it protects the prices of food and to the middle working classes he promised an equitable redistribution of wealth to all (Spielvogel, p. 67).

In July 1932, another election was held and the NSDAP won two hundred and thirty seats hence making it the largest party in Reichstag; the majority of Germans voted for the NSDAP (Nazi) party (Harold Smith, Lecture Notes Week 2). Nonetheless, the German Social Democrat Party together with German Communist Party commanded the support of the working class in the urban areas. Hitler was, therefore, dispossessed of the general majority in the German parliament. The scenario led Hitler to demand to be made the Chancellor, a fact that was not taken into consideration. As an alternative, Major-General Kurt von Schleicher was given the contested position. Hitler became angry and openly exhibited his extremist views. He championed the eradication of democracy and described it as a system that did not provide the right kind of leadership that Germany should have. When Hitler became the chancellor he replaced Papen who had left the office. Papen influenced the appointment of Hitler as the Chancellor due to the influence he held with the then president (Zalampas, p. 65).

Conclusion

The belief that Germany did not lose in the First World War made many German people believe that they were simply cheated. They believed that they were betrayed by the communist Jews who they also blamed for the problems that faced Germans. It was on this premise that Hitler detested German leadership dominated by Jews. He, therefore, embarked on serious campaigns to incite German people against the Jew. Moreover, Hitler had tried to capture power through a revolution but was defeated, and instead, he was arrested and jailed. After his release, he tried to capture power through the rule of law but again never succeeded. He was later appointed the Chancellor after his appointment was influenced by the then outgoing Chancellor Papen (Zalampas 65).

Works Cited

  1. Abel, Theodore. Why Hitler came into power, Volume 1966. New York: Harvard University Press, 1986.
  2. Bessel, Richard. Germany after the First World War. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995.
  3. Davidson, Eugene. The Unmaking of Adolf Hitler. United States: University of Missouri Press, 2004.
  4. Engel, David. “The Holocaust: the Third Reich and the Jews.” Seminar studies in history. London, Longman, 2000.
  5. Harold, Smith. “Lecture Notes Week 2”. Nazi Germany.
  6. Spielvogel, Jackson. “Hitler and Nazi Germany: a history.” Mysearchlab Series for History. New Jersey, Prentice Hall, 2009.
  7. Zalampas, Sherree. Adolf Hitler: A psychological interpretation of his views on architecture, art, and music. United States: Popular Press, 1990.

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StudyKraken. 2022. "How Was It Possible for Hitler to Gain Power in Germany?" January 8, 2022. https://studykraken.com/how-was-it-possible-for-hitler-to-gain-power-in-germany/.

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