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Political Problems - Treaty of Versailles

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Introduction

Political Problems Treaty of Versailles - The government had signed Treaty despite 'war guilt' clause that stated that Germany had to pay reparations to make up for the cost of damage during war. Many believed the politicians had betrayed that army. Hitler and many others believed that they had been "stabbed in the back" by the "November Criminals". Communist rising Communist group called the Spartakists, led by Rosa Luxemburg and Carl Liebknecht, attempted to begin a revolution but the rising was suppressed with the help of the army and the leaders were executed. Kapp Putsch - Wolfgang Kapp led right-wing attempt to seize power in Berlin in 1920. Army refused to act and the official government left Berlin; but a general strike by the trade unions meant that Kapp could not control the situation and the rebellion failed. Hitler's Beer Hall Putsch - In 1923 Hitler led a right wing attempt to seize power in Munich but his attempt collapsed when he faced opposition from the police. Economic Problems Reparations - The Allies now fixed the total amount of reparations at 132,000 million marks (6,600 million British pounds). Germany claimed this was completely unrealistic since she had lost important resources and industrial land because of the Treaty in 1919. Hyperinflation and the invasion of the Ruhr - The government continued to print paper money even when it did not have sufficient resources to support the currency; this led to constantly rising inflation. By 1923 prices had become ridiculous, although people who had taken out large loans (such as industrialists) benefited, and German goods were cheap for other countries to buy, which stimulated trade and employment. When Germany could not make the reparations payment due in 1923, France and Belgium invaded the Ruhr, which made the economic situation even worse. Social Problems Social effects of hyperinflation - money almost worthless, many people couldn't maintain standard of living. ...read more.

Middle

f) Hitler did important work in restructuring the party so that when Germany next hit a crisis they would be ready. Arguably despite looking very bleak, their fortunes were bound to improve since behind the scenes Germany's economy was anyway heading for trouble: Above all there was the general dependence on American loans: when these were recalled in 1929, following the Wall Street Crash, the economy collapsed. Meanwhile Hitler brought the Nazis together in a new national party (Strasser and Goebbels joining him, and he worked out the Gauleiter system (local party leaders) so that they could compete nationwide and worked hard with meting, local newspapers and above all a superb propaganda machine under Goebbels. What best explains Hitler's rise to Power 1929-33? Nb You need to distinguish between 3 phases: 1923-9 when following the Munich Putsch, the Nazis remained an fringe party winning only 12 seats: essentially because in the years of prosperity the German electorate were mostly happy in voting for moderate democratic parties (the largest were the social democrats) rather than extremists; 1929-33 when the Wall Street Crash, plunging Germany too into Depression, transformed Nazi fortunes because of the economic chaos: voters began to feel that Weimar governments (weak coalitions) could not cope with the Depression and began to vote for the extremists (communists as well as Nazis); and 1933-4 when Hitler (due to a right wing deal between Hitler, Von Papen and von Schleicher) became Chancellor (prime minister) of a coalition between Nazis and Nationalists, but was able to consolidate his power and transform it into a dictatorship by 1934. With a question like 'What best' or "is this the only reason" > you need to argue the comparative importance of a range of factors. Here: 1 growth in popularity of Nazis (but who voted for them and why) 2 Hitler's own political abilities 3 failure of Weimar to win loyalty and confidence especially with the depression. 4 the disunity on the left 5 the intrigue of right wing politicians. ...read more.

Conclusion

and as the economy recovered, so did confidence in Hitler that he was tackling the problems of poverty, rural indebtedness and unemployment. A turning point was reached when the Army did not oppose Hitler over the Night of the Long Knives: many now too afraid to oppose Hitler (earlier e.g. the boycott of Jewish shops had failed through lack of public approval) 5 To the prospects of the economy (and the reversal of Versailles), there was another set of considerations in the 1930s: another world war; and the memories of the trenches were still very vivid. Hitler here faced a basic weakness in his popularity. He gave a hugely important speech on 17 May 1935 in which he promised that his only task was 'to secure peace in the world' 6 Of the different sections of the German people: Workers: had not voted for him in large numbers and were skeptical that he could end the Depression: shocked by the abolition of trade unions, but actually did welcome the jobs he created and the 'strength through joy organisation. Peasant farmers: had voted in large numbers and stood to gain from the self sufficiency, fixed price policy and the security to their possession of land that the Nazis promised. The Industrialists: felt that Hitler could stop the communist threat and strongly approved of his measures: the Enabling bill and abolition of trade unions especially: rearmament might bring them fat contracts and profits: so would the public spending programme on motorways and schools and hospitals. The Middle Classes: angered by the hyperinflation of 1923 and in despair over the Depression, welcomed strong leadership and national unity offered: again strongly anti communist: apprehensive about another war though and disliked the anti Semitism The Army: welcomed the promise of rearmament, apprehensive about war (might lose); disliked Hitler as an upstart and feared the challenge of the SA. Hitler's elimination of the latter won the Army over to his rule. ...read more.

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