The primary reasons for the Nazi's rise to power
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After the defeat of Germany in 1918 and with the creation of the Weimar Republic, Germany entered a new era that would be a time of uncertainty, doubt, question and struggle. It was during this time that an entirely new movement would arise and eventually take hold of power in Germany. This new movement was called Nazism. In the town of Northeim there were several reasons for the ability of this political party to gain the needed support to seize complete control. They are not numerous but are wholly inter-related and after Nazism had secured itself, life in Northeim completely changed. The primary reason for Nazi's rise to power was the economic situation in Northeim during the years of 1929-1933. With the collapse of the stock market in America in 1929, economies around the world, including that in Northeim were affected. From that year on, depression continued to affect the town of Northeim. During these years, 17 bankruptcies occurred and unemployment rates rose steadily. In 1930, there were under 300 people receiving unemployment aid. That number rose to approximately 700 by 1932 and levelled off to around 550 in 1933. These numbers may not seem extraordinarily high for a town of 10,000, but nonetheless, the pessimistic fear of an "ultimate economic catastrophe" (Allen, p, 39)
These groups promoted nationalism and anti-socialism and their essential contribution "was that they served as the repository of potential Nazis". Thus Nazism was able to dip into that well of potential Nazis for their support. Lastly, it was the Nazi's ability to hold effective meetings and their ability to use propaganda that also contributed to their success. Nazi meetings became increasingly more frequent and grander. From 1930 to 1933, they were 162 political meetings or approximately 3 and a half per month. In these meetings there would be a great outpouring of energy and manipulation that proved to be very effective. The Nazis adapted mass meetings with "appropriate speakers to local interests and concerns" (82). This was key to their success. "In these meetings, they drew the tortured masses into the mammoth meetings where one could submerge oneself in the sense of participating in a dynamic and all-encompassing movement geared toward radical action in fulfillment of every need...In short, the NSDAP succeeded in being all things to all men" (142). It was from these meetings that a great number of new Nazis were recruited and joined the party. Because of these reasons, the Nazi popularity grew and the NDSAP gained a clear majority in Northeim by 1933.
As one man put it, "There was no more social life; you couldn't even have a bowling club" (222). Thus clubs no longer existed or the attractiveness of going was no longer there. "What was the value of getting together with others to talk if you had to be careful about what you said? Thus to a great extent the individual was atomized" (232). The years of 1929-1933 were a time of great change for the people of Northeim. A time of turbulence and change and complete radicalization polarized the people and transformed society. By exploiting the economic and political conditions of early 1930, and through great use of propaganda and mass meetings, the Nazis were able to win over the support of the people of Northeim needed to gain a majority government. It was pretty evident after the Nazis had established their dictatorship that the people were the victims of a party whose main goal was the acquisition of power and who subordinated everything to the realization of that goal. Life under the new regime completely changed. It was as free as it was enjoyable. No longer could one truly express themselves. All one could do was express the party, for that was what they were-not an individual, but rather, a German Nazi. But this realization was too late for "no matter what Northeimers felt about the Nazis, there was very little that they could do about it" (279).
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