Assess the methods and conditions which enabled Hitler to rise to power.
After World War One, Germany had undergone a very brutal and outrageous war which led to long lasting consequences. The war triggered a period of serious economic and political instability which led to the discontent of the German population as many of them were being homeless, unemployed and hungry. The population was devastated for what was happening and needed a powerful leader who listened to their thoughts, views and opinions – someone who could stop the crisis and develop Germany into a powerful nation once again. In 1922, the infamous dictator Adolf Hitler, whom led the NSDAP, engaged in electoral battles. His battle was a success as he managed to rise to power in 1933, becoming chancellor of Germany. Arguably, his rise to power was affected by many different factors which are essential to consider – these can be divided into the methods that Hitler used, and the conditions in which Germany was undergoing in this period of time. This essay has sought to explore Hitler's strong leadership and his political skills, and the political, economic and social difficulties in Germany.
The German economic difficulties were important to Hitler's rise to power as they enhanced the population’s desire to change to a strong leader that would lead them out of the crisis. The Treaty of Versailles, signed in 1919, was a major shock to the Germans. The terms included 6.6 billion pounds of reparations, which strangled the German economy and led to hyperinflation and the Ruhr Crisis, which indirectly led to huge consequences for the Nazi Party, negatively affecting the middle class in particular. The majority of the population was against signing the treaty, growing hatred among the people. The treaty was a military defeat and international humiliation for Germany – which led to a significant decrease in loyalty towards the government. The treaty had also deprived of Germany's resources and wealth: it had lost 75% of it's iron resources and the Belgian and French troops had occupied the Rhineland, which was the main source of industry for Germany. As a result of this and the reparations to pay, the German money system had broken down and had only reached 47% of pre-war production levels. Germany was relying on foreign loans, especially from America, known as the 'Dawes Plan', to help Germany recover from its financial losses. However, Germany's reliability on foreign aid increased the widespread resentment of the public. In addition to this, the Wall Street Crash of 1929 left Germany in a worse state, with 6 million people unemployed 2 years later. The historian, Shirer, describes how Hitler used the emotional turmoil of the people and the memory of their devastation in his favour; going against the republic and democracy. This can be agreed on as the continual disappointment of the people from the republic, increased the population's desire of a better and stronger leader.