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Why was Hitler able to dominate Germany by 1934?

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Coursework, key Question 1: 'Why was Hitler able to dominate Germany by 1934?' Exercise 1[i]: Hitler's rise to power a. Explain the nature and purpose of the S. A. before 1933 The S. A. was, essentially, the private army of the NSDAP. During the years of endemic violence in Germany after its defeat in the First World War until 1925, and again after 1930, after the prosperity brought by the Young plan evaporated with the Wall Street Crash of October 1929, such private armies were commonplace, and indeed necessary. Many members of the S. A. had come out of the defeated German army, and were in effect mercenary thugs. The principal attraction of the S. A. to many of its members was not the political ideology of the party for which it worked (although a great many of them were probably Nazi sympathizers), but rather its pomp, regalia and display (the S. A. wore the uniform of the defeated German army, evoking patriotic spirit among both its members and the general public), which were used to great effect to boost party membership (indeed, this was one of the main aims of the S. ...read more.


A banking crisis led to a sharp drop in spending, causing businesses to go bankrupt, and thus causing mass unemployment. The people that lost out the most were the middle classes, as the very rich had enough money that they could get by easily, and the poor were mostly agricultural workers, who could survive by subsistence farming and selling their goods, which were essential to everyone. Almost all of the more enthusiastic supporters of the democratic Weimar republic also came from the middle classes, and with the collapse in their way of life caused by the Wall Street Crash and subsequent financial crisis in Germany, the government inevitably shouldered much of the blame. With most of the government's support having evaporated, people inevitably looked to alternative systems of rule - principally those at almost diametrically opposite ends of the spectrum: the nationalist ultra-conservative Nazi party, who promised to sort out the country, and the Communists and Socialists (Russia had been unaffected by the Wall Street Crash, owing to the fact that private ownership of land - and thus the mortgages upon which people in Germany had to default - was forbidden). ...read more.


His foreign policy, however, was remarkably similar to Hitler's - he talked of remilitarizing the Rhineland, and even of Anschluss with Austria. The blaming of the Communists and consequent elimination of opposition in the next elections after the Reichstag fire was also an extremely important factor in the NSDAP's gaining a majority in the Reichstag and thus eventual power, with Hitler as Chancellor. The Wall Street Crash was thus important to the rise of the Nazi party after 1929 because it resulted in an economic crisis in Germany, which precipitated a loss of confidence in the Weimar government from the middle classes. The hard times in Germany led to political polarization, and, while the Nazis were not the only beneficiaries of this, they certainly received a boost in their levels of support. However, it was not the only reason for their rise to power - the Reichstag fire and thus the elimination of opposition to the Nazi party, and before that, the death of Stresemann, both contributed to the NSDAP's rise to power. H. W. D. Smith 28/04/2007 - 1 - ...read more.

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