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To what extent was the backstairs intrigue responsible for Hitler being able to take power in January 1933?

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Introduction

To what extent was the backstairs intrigue responsible for Hitler being able to take power in January 1933? Hitler's appointment as chancellor on the 30th January 1933 has prompted extensive analysis. Critics of democracy often claim that Hitler was democratically elected to power. This is believed untrue. Hitler never had the popular votes to become Chancellor of Germany, and the only reason he got the job was because the German leaders entered into a series of back-room deals known as the backstairs intrigue. Some claim that Hitler's rise was nonetheless legal under the German system. The problem is that what was "legal" under the German system would not be considered legal under a truer and better-working democracy. Yet it is clear that there was are other reasons for the Nazis rise to power not least the strength of the actual party itself and failings of the Weimar republic. Assessing how far the backstairs intrigue was responsible involves looking closely at the sequence of events that finally led to Hitler becoming chancellor. The starting point of the study will be the downfall of the Weimar republic; as it was clear there were factors that proved pivotal in the failure of the Weimar republic. I will then look at the rise of the Nazis to power and the methods, which the Nazis utilized in attracting mass support. Finally I will carry out an assessment of the 'backstairs intrigues' and the sequence of events between August 1932 and January 1933 culminating in Hitler becoming Chancellor. 'The German Weimar Republic was doomed from the start'. ...read more.

Middle

'It was the range of propaganda techniques and their increasingly sophisticated application which marked a new approach to electioneering.'(21) The Nazis practiced mass politics on a grand scale by exploiting modern technology, employing loud speakers, radio, film but it was perhaps it was in the organization of the mass rallies that the Nazis showed their mastery of modern propaganda. 'To many, it marked the future, 'the new Germany,' born out of a complete break with the present, but resting on true values - as they saw it -of the Teutonic past. The vision of the future went hand in hand with the denunciation of the past in Hitler's appeal.' (22) In the first election, held on March 13, 1932, Hitler received 30 percent of the vote, losing badly to Hindenburg's 49.6 percent. But because Hindenburg had just missed an absolute majority, a run-off election was scheduled a month later. On April 10, 1932, Hitler increased his share of the vote to 37 percent, but Hindenburg again won, this time with a decisive 53 percent. A clear majority of the voters had thus declared their preference for a democratic republic. However, the balance of power in the Reichstag was still unstable, lacking a majority party or coalition to rule the government. All too frequently, Hindenburg had to evoke the dictatorial powers available to him under Article 48 of the constitution to break up the political stalemate. In an attempt to resolve this crisis, he called for more elections. On July 31, 1932, the Nazis won 230 out of 608 seats in the Reichstag, making them its largest party. ...read more.

Conclusion

Backstairs intrigues weren't solely the underlying reason for Hitler being able to take power in 1933. Hitler's propaganda techniques for winning mass support could have achieved little success without the external conditions, which exposed the electoral masses to the Nazi political alternative. Without the longstanding resentment and hostility against the Versailles treaty and the new Weimar republic, the depression, the worsening crisis of the government and state Hitler and the Nazis would have remained an insignicant minority on the extreme fringes of the political system. In bringing Hitler to power, chance events and conservative miscalculation played a larger role than the actions of the Nazi leader himself. 'Hitler's own actions were of only secondary importance in the bringing them to power.'(29) Biography: 1. William Shirer's The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, chapters 3, 5-7, and Alan Bullock's Hitler: A Study in Tyranny, abridged edition, chapters 3-5. 2. William Shirer's The Rise and fall of the Third Reich p. 155. 3. Ibid., p. 175. 4. Alan Bullock, p. 137 Hitler: A Study in Tyranny, abridged edition, (New York: . 5. Shirer, p. 189. 6. Ibid., p. 194. 8. Shirer, p. 199. 10 Patrick salmon 'Weimar republic could it have survived' 11 Ian Kershaw 'Hitler 1889-1936 Hubris' 1998 12 Ian Kershaw 'Hitler 1889-1936 Hubris' 1998 18 Dick Geary 'Hitler and Nazism' 1993 28 Ian Kershaw 'profiles in power- Hitler 1991 29 Ian Kershaw 'Hitler 1889-1936' 1998 21 Geoff Layton 'Hitler and Nazism' 1993 22 Ian Kershaw 'Hitler 1889-1936 Hubris' 1998 Shaun Kirby 13G GCE History Personal Study 6 ...read more.

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