How far do you agree that the main reason for Hitler coming to power was the Great Depression?

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Maya Wegrzyn


How far do you agree that the main reason for Hitler coming to power was the Great Depression?

The Great Depression played a prominent role in Hitler coming to power. However other factors contributed such as the electoral success of the Nazis, the unpopularity and failings of the Weimar constitution and mistakes made by the intrigues. Although the Great Depression initiated other factors contributing to the rise of the Nazis it cannot be described as the sole main reason. A combination of mistakes, events and actions led Hitler to become Chancellor.

        The Great Depression was one of the important reasons for Hitler coming to power as it provided a variety of public matters that Hitler and the Nazi party could easily exploit. Between 1929-33 legal restrictions were placed on the Reich bank so they could not increase money printed or devalue mark due to the fear of hyperinflation. This resulted in the failure of welfare programmes, a rise in unemployment and worsened living conditions. These three failings caused a huge amount of dissatisfaction, which the Nazis fed upon. Groups such as the farmers were not helped and the Nazis immediately provided a clear alternative. The government in 1928-33 cut the budget for war victim’s pensions act, which embittered thousands. Many felt betrayed by the government and therefore felt no need to carry on supporting it. The Nazis through primarily propaganda showed them working against unemployment and starvation thus appealing to the working class. They also claimed to be able to prevent the reparations. Their main scheme was to have cross-class appeal. Although some improvements were made in 1932 with Bruning setting up new public work schemes and Papen beginning to allocate unused land to peasants and workers, it was all ‘too little too late’. Hitler began to take all the credit and built on the recovery. He also reorganised the party so that the Nazis had 35 Regional party groups corresponding to the 35 Reichstag electoral districts with each district having its own regional leader. This granted local support and an easier way in which to campaign to the country as a whole. The organisation of the party during the Great Depression explicitly showed up with lack of organisation of the Reichstag at the same time.

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        The Great Depression was to some extent the reason many of the electorate turned to vote for the Nazis and assist in bringing up Hitler. However to a larger extent the failure of the Weimar constitution paved a way from the very beginning for a number of extreme parties to make their mark upon German society, including the Nazis. The Weimar constitution meant a system where many parties could get involved, resulting in large coalitions. This made decision making almost impossible due to a constant lack of majority. Evidence of this is shown in March 1930 when Muller and the ...

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