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Do you agree with the view that until the end of January 1933 it was by no means certain that Hitler would come to power?

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Introduction

Do you agree with the view that until the end of January 1933 it was by no means certain that Hitler would come to power? That Hitler should have found himself in a situation whereby he was even considered for the position of Chancellor in January 1933 must of course be in part accredited to his leadership skills and manipulative abilities which were evident from his earliest entrance into politics when invited to join the German Workers' Party in 1919. Many are of the opinion that he rose to power by means of political genius. However, his personal appeal and struggle for leadership from this time did not deem his being appointed Chancellor an inevitability; similarly nor did any one exclusive event preceding his appointment. Instead, we must consider the long term factors and circumstances which led to Hitler's coming to power including the weak democratic government of the Weimar Republic and Germany's social and economic scene in the 1930s that made the people restless and ready to follow another dictator, suppression of what little opposition existed through the legalisation of the SA and political intrigue. To argue that until January 1933 it was by no means certain that Hitler would come to power is a recognition of his having expended fourteen years in politics before such a breakthrough, and ...read more.

Middle

Despite the above noted change of tactics employed by Hitler, the NSDAP were often unable to take full advantage of the weak government they opposed which consisted of ever changing, unworkable coalitions. This was clear from the unstable support they received in elections, with votes rising from 2.6% in May 1928 to 37.3% in July 1932 followed by a decline to 31.1% in November 1932. Hitler also failed to win a majority vote when standing in the 1932 Presidential election against Hindenburg. There seemed no signs of certainty that he would come to power at this time, a mere nine months away from his eventual appointment. Kershaw refers to the 'adulation of a third of the population for Hitler' this of course in turn, identifies the two thirds of German people who did not support the future dictator. When analysing the situation in Germany between 1924 and 1928, referred to as the 'golden age', it could almost seem unthinkable that only four years later the country would be under the tyranny rule of Hitler. Germany saw economic recovery and political stability and even an acceptance and tolerance from ex-enemy powers. The most crucial factors behind this recovery lay with Gustav Stresemann and intervention from America. ...read more.

Conclusion

Of course the context of Source 4 must be noted in that Meissner's statement was made to the Nuremburg Tribunal after the Second World War, it is quite possible his loyalties may have still lay with Hindenburg and as such his intentions may have been an attempt to alleviate blame attributed with the President's appointment of Hitler as Chancellor. In conclusion, I strongly concur with the view that it was not certain Hitler would come to power until his eventual appointment in January 1933. There were of course many and varied reasons why the German people were not supporting their current government, but it was apparent that they voted for extremism often as much as a result of apathy as desperation and despite Germany suffering enormous social and economical devastation, Hitler and the NSDAP never drew the majority support they required to be voted into government. Hitler's appointment came as a result of Papen's persuasions and even he did not support the future dictator but believed the position of Chancellor would restrain Hitler and his party and used it as an opportunity to seek revenge against Schleicher. A success which was ironically born out of the dislike for his political motives and objectives and based on a decision made by those who were largely attempting to protect themselves is difficult to view as one which was foreseeable from the outset. ...read more.

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