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'The most important reason for Nazi success in 1933 was Hitler's genius as a politician'. How far do you agree with this statement?

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Coursework - Key Question 1, Exercise 1 [i] c. 'The most important reason for Nazi success in 1933 was Hitler's genius as a politician'. How far do you agree with this statement? It is undoubtedly true that Hitler was a political genius; he was a brilliant orator, ruthlessly efficient, used force as necessary, had a gift for timing, and, perhaps most importantly, exploited the diverse interests of all to whom he appealed. However, there were other factors in the NSDAP's rise to power, notably the Wall Street Crash and the discredit of the Weimar republic; pure luck also played an important role (for example, the death of Stresemann in late 1929). Whether Hitler's political genius was the main reason for the Nazi party's rise to power remains to be seen. The Wall Street crash, perhaps more than any of the alternative reasons for the Nazi party's success, was of great importance to the NSDAP on its road to power. It led to American loans, offered under the Dawes and Young plans, being recalled, and thus to a financial collapse in the fledgling democracy. ...read more.


Another reason for the Nazi party's success in 1933 was Proportional Representation. Under the German constitution, formed along with the democratic government, the Reichstag deputies were elected according to the total number of votes that their party had achieved, rather than only winning a seat if they achieved the highest number of votes in a certain constituency. This system favoured small political parties, as it meant that they could still represent themselves in the Reichstag without appealing to a larger number of voters in one area than any of the larger parties. It is quite possible that, without proportional representation, the Nazi party would not have gained any seats, as it would not have been able to implant itself in the conscious of the German public - it must therefore be seen as an important reason for Nazi success (although it is more relevant to the early years of the party than in 1933, when it was the largest single political party). Hitler was, without a shadow of doubt, a political genius. It was only when he joined the NSDAP that he discovered his talent for rhetoric, and it was this same talent which he used to convince millions of Germans to support the Nazis, whether on the wireless or at the huge party rallies. ...read more.


He was thus able to build for the Nazi party a large and varied base of support, essential for any political party. Without this support, the Nazi party would never have been able to succeed in the elections, whether in 1933 or at any other time. There were certainly many reasons for the Nazi party's success in 1935. It is hard to establish if one was more important than the rest, as they were all linked in such a complex web. It is probably possible to say that the most important reason for the Nazi rise to power was Hitler's genius as a politician, although other factors, such as the collapse of the Weimar republic, which Hitler used to his advantage, and the German political system in general were also extremely important; however, without Hitler's political genius, it is highly doubtful that the Nazi party could have benefited from these other events, and Hitler's genius as a politician must thus be deemed the most important reason for the Nazi party's success in 1933. H. W. D. Smith 28/04/2007 - 1 - ...read more.

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