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The economic depression was the most important factor in Hitler's rise to power, discuss.

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Introduction

The economic depression was the most important factor in Hitler's rise to power, discuss. The economic depression struck Germany in 1929 following the Wall Street Crash in America that affected the world's economy. In Germany, the effects were devastating, especially after America recalled her loans and hence left Germany with no stability, as she had heavily relied on American strength to support her. Industrial production dropped 42% and unemployment fell to 5.6 million by 1932. On 30th January 1933 Adolf Hitler of the Nazi party was appointed Chancellor of Germany. This essay shall consider whether this economic depression was the most important factor in Hitler's rise to power. Prior to 1929, the German people had been promised the boom of 1924 would continue and that Germany would grow to become even better and more stable and powerful. Therefore, when the depression happened, the citizens experienced dashed rising expectations and became angry, which made the population politically volatile. When people are unhappy with their situation they become eager to look for alternatives in order to better their situation, and the political alternatives were the extreme parties such as the Nazi Party, as WL Shirer stated: "The depression...gave Adolf Hitler his opportunity, and he made the most of it. Like most great revolutionaries he could only thrive in evil times." Revolutions and radical shifts of political allegiance occur in times when people need desperate change. The economic depression caused 5.6 million people to be unemployed, and the true figure of people affected was much higher because for every unemployed man, there would be a whole family left without income. The Nazis were able to play massively on the issue of unemployment in their election campaigns because unemployed people can be radicalised in their volatile state. The unemployment highlighted Weimar incompetence and the Nazi's propaganda machine could finally highlight that the Nazi's had been right all along- The Nazis had previously campaigned against the Young Plan and people had laughed, but now the Nazis could say the Young Plan had contributed to the economic crisis and people would give their support to the Nazis. ...read more.

Middle

The economic depression brought about this opportunity for the Weimar Republic to lose support, and it did, and a government with no support is unable to rule effectively. Failure to compromise within the Muller Government in 1930 brought about the collapse of the Grand Coalition as KD Bracher states "To be sure, the transition from parliamentary democracy to one-party state began with the overthrow of the Grand Coalition in the spring of 1930-that is, with the failure of the wings of the coalition to master the problems of political compromise." The issue they fought over was unemployment benefit. The socialists on one wing were fighting for increased or stable benefits for the working class, but the Nationalists on the opposing right were fighting for reduced benefits so the middle and upper class could pay reduced taxes. The two branches of coaltion could not find agreement and the result was devastating as Sir Wheeler-Bennet suggests: "The result was parliamentary bankruptcy, the increasinf discredit of democratic institutions, and the relapse of power to the bureaucracy." The result of this inability to compromise was that no Chancellor of Germany afterwards until Hitler could gain a majority in the Reichstag, and Germany had to be ruled by decree, effectively an elected dictatorship. The collapse of the democratic coalition explains how easy it was for Hitler to gain support, government inadequacy and continual elections led to decreased support for the Republican Parties and people wanted strong central government like the 'Glorious days of the Kaiser'. Therefore, the people of Germany were more attracted to parties such as the Nazi party which promised just this. The Government inadequacy is therefore seen as an important issue as to why Hitler became Chancellor in 1933 as if the Government had been strong and compromised, there would not have been a break down in internal politics and no new party could have risen the ranks of power so easily. ...read more.

Conclusion

The president was old and senile and therefore easily persuaded by his friends into agreeing with von Papen into allowing Hitler to become Chancellor, on the conditions the Nazis could be easily controlled. It was of general opinion that in a cabinet of only three Nazis, nine Nationalists and von Papen, that Hitler could be controlled. Hitler's manipulation of the Reichstag later proved this wrong, and hence it was essentially the mistake of the intriguing leaders of Germany for appointing Hitler Chancellor. Hitler, having previously demanded that any government he form consist mainly of Nazis in certain positions, surprisingly accepted von Papen's proposals on forming a government to which the Nazi party looked severely disadvantaged. This was a clever political move from Hitler because if he had demanded more, he may have lost his chance at being chancellor, and as the party's funds were very low after all the election campaigns, and as the party's support was low, Hitler may never have had another chance at power. His willingness to form a coaltion government as a last resort saved the Nazi party, and the unwillingness of the socialists and communists to from one, destroyed democracy. Therefore, from this information, one can conclude that it was not popular support that led to Hitler being appointed Chancellor in 1933, but political intrigue. Although all the other issues were important in gaining popular support so that Hitler would be considered for Chancellor in the first place, without clever political manipulation and compromise from both Hitler and von Papen, the Nazis would never have come into power because their popularity was on the decline. It was not the economic depression therefore that caused Hitler to come into power either. This is because the economic depression provided an opportunity for increased Nazi support, and it has already been shown that support was not the reason the party came into power. Therefore, in conclusion, political intrigue is why Hitler was appointed Chancellor in 1933, because if it had been predominantly on popular support , Hitler would have been in power in 1932 . ...read more.

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