The Rise of the Nazis
Look at Source A. Why might this poster have appealed to many Germans in the mid-1920s? Use evidence from the source and your own knowledge to explain your answer. (6 marks)
Source A provides us with multiple insights on the German culture and what was popular back then. Firstly, this poster may have been popular because of the eagle trapped and locked in by a chain forced to be kept in place. This implies that Germany was the eagle and the bolts and chains were countries such as France and Britain or things like the Treaty of Versailles, which required Germany to pay sizeable amounts to France and Britain and also to give up 13% of their own land. Perhaps the eagle represents Germany at that time in the 1920s struggling to pay back their debt and struggling to survive and the eagle is heaving down over the heavy weight put on it which connotes that the heavy weight is the debt Germany has to France and Britain due to the Treaty of Versailles, which Germany is heaving down under. Then, in the distance you can make out the sun, which is a symbol of a new day, a symbol of hope which may imply that the sun in this poster is the Nazi party as it does have the Nazi symbol on it which is why this may have appealed to many people during that time. This is further reinforced by the fact that the words translated in Source A actually mean German Liberation, which is right under the eagle trying to reach to the sun. The word liberation is linked to freedom and breaking free of chains, which is linked to Hitler’s idea of ignoring the Treaty of Versailles and being able to make Germany great again, like how it was before the woeful defeat in WW1. Additionally, during 1909, Bernhard von Bülow gave a famous speech were he spoke about Germany’s rightful place in the sun, and many German citizens loved that speech so by linking that famous quote to the poster, the Nazi party was implying that if you voted for them, you would be rightfully restoring Germany to it’s place in the sun and by breaking the Treaty of Versailles, you would be able to finally have the freedom you deserve. In Germany during the mid 1920s, there was an economic boom as $25 billion was injected into it due to American bankers loaning Germany the money. This money was put straight into good use as it was used to industrialize Germany as the built new factories and that meant new jobs for people which boosted their economy so much so people were loving life at this point. However, this meant that the Nazi party’s interest plummeted during the Golden Years as they were called because all of the workers actually had jobs and were able to put food on the table due to the new implication of currency, which lead items to be more affordable. Therefore, by putting this poster out during the mid 1920s, this may have appealed to many Germans because it gave them hope, it gave them a goal, it gave them someone to blame for their suffering and it uniting the nation due to one sole cause, to make Germany great again.
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‘The popularity of Hitler’s beliefs and ideas was the most important cause of his rise to power in Germany.’ How far do you agree? Use all of the sources and your own knowledge in order to explain your answer. (14 marks)
Firstly Hitler’s ideas in Germany were not always popular because he did not inject them well enough to the German society. Before he went to jail, Hitler took the wrong approach of getting people to support the Nazi party, therefore painting the Nazi party to be a bad place were people were force to do things. Whilst Hitler was in prison, he published a book named Mein Kampf, translated to My Struggle which presented Hitler’s struggle and his ideas in a positive way which helped to deplete the negative connotation that the German people had with it before, and replace it with the positive one, indorsed by Hitler’s book. When Hitler got out of jail he did a very smart thing: approach the young people. By getting young people to be passionate about the Nazi party, Hitler was inspiring a new generation, a new hope for the country, to be born and by getting the support of the young people, he was getting the support for a new Germany which he had control over. This can be linked to Source A, except this time, the sun may represent the young people in Germany because if they were happy with the Nazi party, they could help encourage the next generation of Germany to break free of the chains of the Treaty of Versailles and break free of the debt and become a much stronger and powerful nation. By doing this, Hitler also gave the people of Germany someone to blame because during the period after WW1, German people were devastated about the outcome and rightfully angry and they had no one to turn to, no one to put their anger on and by creating Source A, which shows Germany breaking free from the Treaty of Versailles, breaking free from the crippling debt put under by countries such as Britain and France, allowing them to emerge as a phoenix, the light of a new nation. By controlling the Germans’ anger in a specific area, Hitler was able to convince Germany that they definitely needed an army bigger than the 100,000 people which was the limit given by the Treaty of Versailles, he was able to control the army by telling the German people to join because they would be protecting Germany from cruel predators such as Britain and France, trying to take away the glory of Germany, which influenced a lot of young people to join because they believed that they were protecting the nation from any one who would try to take it for themselves. This also created jobs for the German people, helping to boost their economy. Additionally, another one of Hitler’s ideas was to get rid of democracy because during the Great Depression, the democratic parties were having fights on the streets, making German people feel unsafe. By doing this, Hitler promised there would be no more fighting and that they would be safe if they voted for the Nazis to be in power, In Source C, it shows the unemployment statics in Germany following the drop of the German economy. In 1928, 650,000 people were unemployed, which was before the Great Depression started. In 1929, 1,320,000 people were unemployed. In 1930, 3,000,000 people were unemployed. In 1931, 4,350,000 people were unemployed. This reached a peak in January 1933 where 6,100,000 people were unemployed. This played right into Hitler’s hands because another one of is popular ideas was that Jewish people were taking all of the jobs rightfully reserved for the German people and that they were evil. During the Golden Years, the vast majority of German people were employed as Source C shows us, so people did not really care for Hitler during those years because they were loving life and did not need anyone to protect them. However, as soon as American bankers took back their loans in 1929, the unemployment rate plummeted following those years. As Source C shows us, it plummets down to 1,320,000 people unemployed during the first year of the Great Depression and the Nazi party starts to gain some popularity. By 1933, 6,100,000 people in Germany were unemployed, most being German and angry because they did believe that Jewish people were taking their jobs, joined the Nazi party because they believed Hitler and believed that the Nazi party was going to give them jobs and kick out Jewish people and make Germany a great nation like it once was before.
Despite this, it was not just Hitler which led to his rise in power; it was the mistakes of the politicians before him and Germany’s weak economy and their international position which also lead to the Nazi’s power. Firstly, there was a long term bitterness of the German people towards the government because of the disappointing loss of WW1 as Germany had to be embarrassed and had to forfeit and sign the Treaty of Versailles, which blamed them for WW1 and made them pay massive amounts of money, which left them in a crippling debt. The root of the problem was that politicians did not explain why they ended up forfeiting WW1 and just decided to move on, which again, was a massive mistake by the politicians. Additionally, when the German constitution was formed in 1870, there was a clause in the constitution which stated that in case of an emergency, the government was allowing to trigger this clause and suppress what the democracy and implement new decrees. The name of this clause is Article 48. During the time being discussed, Germany had the proportional representation voting system, meaning that They had regional votes, but the transfer from votes into seats was at the national level. So it was quite proportional, when you look at the results, you compare them; you have practically identical results in votes and in seats. During the election of 1923, the Nazis only really got 6% of the votes, therefore not even being close to power. Source B presents us with a quote by an American journalist which lived in Germany form 1926-1942. The quote is, “Support for the Nazi Party had grown in the early 1920s due to the country's problems of hyperinflation and the French invasion of the Ruhr. However, by 1928 Nazism appeared to be a dying cause. Now that Germany's outlook was suddenly bright, the Nazi Party was rapidly withering away. One scarcely heard of Hitler or the Nazis except as a joke.” This quote may not be that reliable because he is a journalist and journalists normally do inflate facts to get better stories but on the other hand, this quote may be accurate because he was actually living there at the time and this is first hand experience of what it was like in Germany during the time being discussed. As Source C also tells us, only 650,000 people were unemployed in 1928, therefore almost backing up the information provided in Source B, which is understandable why the Nazi party was dying during the Golden Years, as the vast majority of Germans had jobs and they did not need any protection and they could do this by themselves and without Hitler. During the Golden Years, businessmen were absolutely flying as their country was industrializing and they now had more businesses to manage, therefore generating more income so they did not vote for Hitler because they did not need him. However, after the Wall Street Crash in 1929, all of their businesses plummeted and were worth nothing resulting in all of the business people voting for Hitler which is why the Nazi vote spiked from 18.3% to 43.9%, but that was the highest the Nazi’s have ever gotten and they had never controlled the majority of the country so technically they were not in power, yet. On the 13th of August 1932, Papen offered Hitler the role of Vice-Chancellor. This was one of the biggest mistakes by politicians in Germany because they were not very popular with the public recently and because of Hitler’s growing popularity with German people, they thought they could use Hitler by offering him the role of Vice Chancellor and being able to control him over that fact. What they did not interpret was Hitler saying no and refusing anything except for Chancellor. On January 30th 1933, Hitler was made Chancellor and Papen made Vice Chancellor after being forced out the previous year. The reason that Hitler was made Chancellor is because he was so popular with the public that they were outraged when he was not offered Chancellor that they hated the government even more and another reason is that the politicians convinced each other that Hitler could be controlled, which is why he was made Chancellor. On the 27th of February 1933, the Reichstag (parliament house) burns down thanks to a communist extremist which leads Hitler to use the Enabling Act by triggering Article 48, as the biggest mistake that Article 48 made was that it did not state what an emergency was. Hitler saw this opportunity and called the burning down of the Reichstag an emergency when it really was not and he passed decrees which made him have preliminary powers which was signed by President von Hindenburg, therefore making Hitler a dictator for four years as by law it had to be renewed every 4 years which it was twice. By having preliminary power over Germany, Hitler banned all other parties so it was just the Nazis in the government as it was the new law. The mistakes made by past politicians and the weakened economy of Germany did lead it to have Hitler in power.
In conclusion, I do believe that Hitler’s popularity and ideas did have a lot to do with his rise to power but I also believe that the mistakes made by all of the past politicians did have something to do with Hitler rising to power. Moreover, I also believe that because of the deep rooted hatred of the government and the desperation for a change also lead Hitler to being in power because Hitler was nothing without the people’s support and he managed to present himself in a very likeable way which lead him to obtaining the people’s support.
Sahiba Rikhraj 9L