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How did the Treaty of Versailles contribute to Hitler’s rise to power?

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Introduction

Shimon Simon History Coursework 9/4/02 How did the Treaty of Versailles contribute to Hitler's rise to power? Question 1 The Treaty of Versailles was a conference lasting a year and ended when two German representatives signed it on the 28th June 1919. It was an edict against Germany by the allied powers due to WW1. The Leaders of Britain Being David Lloyd George, France- Georges Clemenceau and the US leader Woodrow Wilson took the important decision of Versailles. The main terms can be split into 5 areas. Germany had to accept the blame for starting the war. Germany's army was limited to 100,000 men. Conscription was banned. No armoured vehicles, submarines or aircraft were to be used by them. The Navy could only build six battleships. The Rhineland was to be demilitarised. �6.6million was to be paid as reparations to the allied powers. German Overseas Empire was taken away. 10% of Germany was to be taken away and Germany was forbidden to unite with Austria. The League of Nations was to be set up. The overall reaction of Germans was outrage. They were infuriated especially because they had to take all the blame for the war. They felt that taking 16% of its coalfields and 1/2 of it iron and steel factories and then making it pay �6.6 billion in reparations was unacceptable. They were also infuriated at the fact they would lose 10% of land and all its overseas colonies and not being invited to the League of Nations. They were also angry at the small amount of military capabilities authorized by them. They did not even feel they had lost the war. The Germans did not know how much their military capabilities had been depleted, so they thought that German politicians had agreed to a ceasefire and should have been at Versailles. And they were forced to sign a treaty without any comment. ...read more.

Middle

This was hope to a desperate people. We can therefore see how the Treaty of Versailles helped Hitler into power since it created a forlorn people who would cast their votes to the extreme right to the National socialists. Versailles also indirectly caused the Occupation of the Ruhr, passive resistance and an amplification of the effect on Germany because of the 1929 Wall Street Crash. Question 2 A long-term cause is an event or cause which can be traced back long before the main event. It may also have long-term consequences. A Short-term cause is a trigger or catalyst, which sparks change. The rise of Hitler to power was instigated by a combination of long and short term causes. The Treaty of Versailles was a long-term cause happening more then a decade before Hitler even became Chancellor of Germany. Hindenberg and Von Papen's decision to choose Hitler as chancellor on the other hand was a short-term cause. It happened close to Hitler's rise in 1933. And was a short and swift decision by the two politicians. All the causes however are linked in some way making a chain of events. The Economic depression of 1923 made people think that the Weimar Republic was weak and so Hitler thought the time was ripe to revolt at The Munich Putsch. The Economic depressions of 1923 and 1929 also lead to serge in extremist parties especially the communists. Middle class industrialists despised the communist parties because they would take all their wealth. Therefore they supported Hitler and the Nazi Party who were against Communism. If everyone supported Hitler he had to be chosen as chancellor by Hindenberg and Von Papen. The Treaty of Versailles meant there was a loss of Military strength and German Land. This attacked German pride and power so the German population detested the Weimar republic for signing it and made them look feeble and weak. ...read more.

Conclusion

Versailles caused reparations which caused the Weimar government making a mistake leading to hyperinflation which led to Germany being reliant on America for money which led to a massive depression when the Wall Street crash happened. These economic crises instigated the rise of extremist parties like the Nazis and Communists. The rich did not want communists in power so backed the Nazis so Hitler came into power as chancellor. Although Hitler was chancellor and the Nazi party was the biggest single party they did not have a majority in the Reichstag. What Hitler needed was an act which would give Hitler the power of passing laws without consulting the Reichstag and basically make Germany dictatorship. Hitler would not have the votes to pass this law without making radical changes to government. The first step was to ban the communists. He managed to do this when the Reichstag building was burnt down. Hitler blamed the communists and declared that this fire signalled communist uprising. He was given emergency powers by the president and so Hitler started arresting communists, broke up meetings and frightening voters. No one actually knows how the fire was started but one of the theories was that it was the work of the Nazis. Hitler then called another election on 5th March 1933 but again did not get a majority getting 288 seats to 359 by all other parties in total. Therefore to gain power he intimidated the Social democrats and coaxed them into voting for an enabling act which gave Hitler the ability to create laws without the approval of the Reichstag or the president. The Reichstag was basically voting themselves out of existence and make a Nazi dictatorship. Since Hitler had managed to oust the communists out of government and coerce the Social democrats the enabling act was passed with 444 votes to 94. This is a short term cause since it triggered Hitler's rise and caused the Nazis through Hitler to become all powerful. It also occurred in a short space of time. ...read more.

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