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Hitler’s Rise to Power

Choose any one reason from the list and explain how it contributed to Hitler’s rise to power. There were many factors that contributed to Hitler’s rise to power. One of the main factors was the Munich Putsch in 1923. The Munich Putsch was a Nazi rebellion led by Hitler against the Weimar Republic. Hitler followed Mussolini’s example of marching to Rome and overtaking the government of Italy. The leaders of the right-wing government in Bavaria, Gustav von Kahr, Otto von Lossow and Hans Seisser were planning to help Hitler rebel. However, on November 4th, they called off the rebellion. Hitler hoped that the Munich Putsch would force people, such as Kahr, Lossow and Seisser, to support the Nazis. On the night of November 8th in 1923, Hitler marched 600 stormtroopers into the Munich Beer Hall and interrupted the meeting chaired by Kahr, Lossow and Seisser.

The stormtroopers took over the army headquarters and the local newspaper. Hitler pointed a gun at them and forced them to support the revolt. After the leaders reluctantly agreed to support the Nazis party, Kahr secretly called the police and army reinforcements. On the 9th, the Nazis marched in Munich and began their rebellion. However, they were stopped by the police in Residenzstrasse. The events of the Munich Putsch affected Hitler’s rise to power in both a negative and positive way. After the failure of the Putsch, the Nazis were defeated. Sixteen Nazis were shot dead by the police, their leaders were arrested and the Nazi party was banned. Hitler hid and fled but was caught two days later. He was arrested and put on trial for treason. Also, he was forbidden from speaking in public until 1927. Hitler was put in jail for nine months and released in early September 1924 because of his good behaviour in prison. In addition, there was leniency from the judge because that judge, along with many others, had supported Nazi beliefs.

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Although the Munich Putsch was a failure, it benefitted Hitler in many ways. Hitler used his trials as a chance to give long speeches. His strong oratory skills were an important factor in helping him gain publicity. In his speeches he spoke with passion, using body language and a confident voice. His strong oratory skills strongly supported his ideas. After his trial, instead of being known as the prisoner, Hitler became a well-known right-wing hero. When Hitler was in prison, he wrote a book Mein Kampf (My Struggle), where he set out his goals and beliefs. In the book, he promoted the ideas of national socialism, ‘Master Race’ which is the Aryan race (pure Germans), discrimination against other races (especially the Jews), Lebensraum, which is the expansion of German land for ‘Living Space’ for the Aryan race, and a strong dictator where the Fuhrer has absolute power over the people. Many copies of “Mein Kampf” were sold in Germany and Hitler’s ideas became very popular.

Also, through the mistake of the Munich Putsch, Hitler realized that he wouldn’t gain power by rebellion. He decided to gain power legally by using constitutional means, such as being elected, using propaganda campaigns, organizing the Hitler Youth, uniting with other right-wing parties. There were many events that led up to the Munich Putsch. Hitler’s hatred towards the Weimar Republic was fueled by his dislike of the signing of the Treaty of Versailles. The Treaty of Versailles was an agreement the Germans were forced to sign after losing World War I. The Treaty includes harsh punishments for Germany, including 6.6 billion pounds on reparations and land loss of industrial areas (such as Saar and Alsace Lorraine). Most Germans hated the treaty as they believe it was unjust. One of the terms of the treaty Germans despised was Clause 231, the War Guilt Clause. Germany and its allies were forced to take responsibility for the war. The Weimar Republic agreed to the terms of the treaty without the consent of the German people.

Many Germans, including Hitler and the Nazis, were angered by their decision, leading them to rebel against the government. Hitler later took advantage of the fact that the Weimar Republic was in crisis because of the uprisings to take over Germany. The German population was willing to listen to Hitler because they oppose the Weimar Republic. Also, his influential oratory made the people believe in him. Later, during the great depression, the hatred of the Weimar Republic was worsened and even more began to turn towards Hitler for guidance. After the Munich Putsch, Hitler used his new constitutional strategy to win over the German race during the economic depression in Germany (which was initiated by the Wall Street crash in 1929). Hitler put his powerful leadership skills to use to gain more popularity. He guided the Germans through the hard times by making promises to resolve major issues, such as reducing unemployment. The Nazis also used propaganda to brainwash the German race into believing in Hitler.

Meanwhile, the Weimar Republic had other problems on their minds and wasn’t doing paying attention to the struggles of German citizens. This proved to the people that their government was weak, causing them to be desperate for a strong leader. Therefore, the government’s status fell allowing Hitler’s and the Nazis’ to usurp power. The Munich Putsch contributed greatly to Hitler’s rise to power. He not only learnt from the failure of the Munich Putsch but also used the failure to his advantage by attracting attention and spreading his ideas. The Munich Putsch was the first action Hitler took in his effort to take over Germany and it was the beginning of his other brutal attempts to obtain power and establish a dictatorship. Before the Munich Putsch, the Nazis were just a terrorist group that was trying to overthrow the Weimar government and Hitler was an unheard-of leader with a strong urge for power. After the Putsch, Nazism became well-known and Hitler’s ideas spread throughout Germany due to Mein Kampf and his passionate speeches. Germans began to look up to him; boosting his confidence and leading to his rise to power.

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Using some of the causes in the list, explain how both long-term and short-term causes contributed to Hitler’s rise to power. Of the many causes that contributed to Hitler’s rise to power, some had long-term effects and others were merely short boosts along the way. The Treaty of Versailles was a long-term cause. It was the factor that first ignited Hitler’s anger. Near the end of World War I, Germany was being crushed by Britain and France; her economy was in ruins, there was political and social unrest and Germans were starving, Germany was forced to surrender. The Allies not only made them sign an armistice in November 1918 but also forced them to agree to the terms of the Treaty of Versailles. During the war, the German population had no idea they were losing, so the defeat was an unpleasant surprise. The defeat of Germany in the Great War had already angered the Germans enough, with the harsh terms of the treaty added on, the German population was enraged.

The Treaty of Versailles altered Germany in many ways. The item which aroused the most enmity in many Germans was Clause 231, the War Guilt Clause, where they had to accept all blame for starting the war. This humiliated the Germans, causing many to want revenge. Also, they were forced to pay ½6.6 billion for reparations, limit their army to 10,000 troops, and give up a 10th of their territory. These terms were unforgettable to the German people. Hitler hated the Treaty more than the others, he wanted to make things right again for Germany. In order to do this, Hitler realized he needed to rule Germany. The Weimar Republic was a product of the Treaty of Versailles, as Germany was forced to rule with a democratic government. Since most of the population was against the Treaty of Versailles, they instinctively hated the Weimar Republic, leading them to support Hitler’s ideas.

The anger of the German people over the indignity of the Treaty of Versailles provided long-term support for Hitler’s rise to power perhaps allowing the people to overlook some of the more extreme of Hitler’s policies. This bitterness made him make rash decisions, resulting in the Munich Putsch. The Munich Putsch was another long-term contributory factor. The year 1923 was a time of crisis for the Weimar Republic from hyperinflation, increasing unemployment and starvation. This started when Germany missed the reparations and the French invaded the Ruhr, which is the main industrial area in Germany. Strikes and rebellions began to take place and the government was not taking control. Because of this crisis, people started to look down upon Germans, including the Germans themselves. Hitler took advantage of the loss of the German population’s self-esteem due to war guilt and the weak government.

Hitler realized the need for a strong nationalist government. Therefore, he led a rebellious march in Munich on November 9th, 1923, in an attempt to overthrow the Weimar Republic. Although the march failed, Hitler not only gained fame from his trials but also learnt from the mistake and changed his approach, to gain support by boosting the German self-esteem. After learning the effectiveness of this approach, throughout Hitler’s reign, he repeatedly appealed to the German people’s nationalistic pride, through his speeches, policies and brainwashing propaganda. A short-term contribution to Hitler’s rise to power was the decision made by Papen and Hindenburg to appoint Hitler as Chancellor in 1933. This decision was caused by the growing popularity and support of the German people as a result of the long-term effects mentioned above, the Munich Putsch and the Treaty of Versailles.

Hitler’s ideas were becoming increasingly popular in Germany, his reputation was overpowering the control of President Hindenburg and Chancellor at the time, Franz von Papen. This was a powerful catalyst that accelerated Hitler’s rise to power. Another short-term catalyst was the Enabling Act passed on March 23rd, 1933. After giving an influential speech that convinced the Reichstag that Germany was in danger from the Communists, Jews and others, Hitler introduced the Enabling Act to allegedly control dissenting groups and keep Germany safe. The Enabling Act included terms that prohibited free speech, press and other personal freedoms for all German people. The police were allowed to search houses, confiscate property and arrest without trial.

This act gave Hitler all the power he needed over his people, he could keep hold of those who opposed him and manipulate more people to his side. The Enabling Act would not have been possible if Hindenburg and Von Papen hadn’t appointed Hitler as chancellor earlier in the year. The approval of the Reichstag of the Enabling Act was the final touch for Hitler to gain absolute power and dictatorship. With full control of the German government and no threat of dissent, Hitler marched the world into war. In conclusion, both short-term and long-term effects were necessary to Hitler’s rise to power. They are all linked to one another and if any factor did not occur, there is a great possibility that Hitler would have failed to have risen to power.

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Were any of these reasons more important than the others in Hitler’s rise to power? Explain your answer. All the reasons contributed greatly to Hitler’s rise to power. In my opinion, Hitler’s oratory skills, personality and leadership were the main reason he achieved his position. However, without many of the other factors, it would not have been possible for Hitler to come to power. The signing of the Treaty of Versailles was the beginning of Hitler’s hatred towards the Weimar Republic. This motivated him to act against the government and take over Germany. The terms of the Treaty of Versailles were harsh and unjust. It was unfair to Germany as they weren’t allowed to take part in the meetings on the treaty and they were forced to sign. At first, they refused and wanted to start the war again.

However, the government quickly realized they couldn’t afford to go to war. Hitler, and many others, channelled their hatred towards the Treaty of Versailles at the Weimar Republic for signing the treaty. Hitler used this as propaganda to make people hate the Weimar Republic and turn towards Nazism. Also, Hitler blamed the German politicians for signing the armistice. He named the politicians the “November Criminals” because he believed that the signing of the armistice was a stab in the back for Germany. The anger and hatred made Hitler want revenge. The Treaty of Versailles provoked Hitler into leading a rebellious march, the Munich Putsch in 1923. Hitler hoped the success of the Munich Putsch would lead him to power and overthrow the government. On November 8th, 1923, Hitler and 600 ex-soldiers (Stormtroopers) interrupted a meeting held in the Munich Beer Hall and forced people to support his revolt.

The next day, Hitler led the Nazis on a march in Munich but they were stopped by the police. The Munich Putsch was a failure. Hitler, along with other Nazi members, was imprisoned. During his time of imprisonment, He wrote the book “Mein Kampf” which expresses his ideas. This book became very popular amongst the Germans, making his ideas very well-known. He was also able to come up with a new plan to get to power. He decided to be elected instead of acting on the force. He was determined to get the vote of the German people. This decision benefited him later on during the Great Depression. Hitler took his opportunity to shine during the Great Depression. After the Wall Street Crash on 29th October 1929, the US called in the loans which Germany was relying heavily on on. The German economy collapsed, millions of Germans were unemployed and starving.

Germans were desperate for a leader who could steer them through the economic crisis because the Weimar Republic was weak and useless at the time. Hitler took this chance to start gaining support from the Germans. He did this by recognizing what people needed. The unemployment figures were rising from 1.25 million before the crash to nearly 4 million by 1930. This caused starvation to grow out of control; millions of people were starving in the streets of Germany. Hitler made promises to the German people that if he came to power, he’d eradicate unemployment. This gave much hope and therefore, they looked up to and supported him. Wealthy businessmen began to support Hitler as well, by giving him financial support.

Also, the German people not only wanted a leader but someone to blame. Hitler used both his strong oratory skills and propaganda to convince people to blame the Jews and communists for their problems. Communists were one of Hitler’s most hated enemies so Hitler used this occasion to eliminate them and destroy their reputation. He further attacked the communists later in the Reichstag Fire to get the Enabling Act passed in 1933. During the Depression, Hitler promised the people what they wanted and even convinced them he was their last hope, thus the number supporting him and the Nazis began to grow rapidly. The number of Nazi seats in the Reichstag (the Parliament) rose from 12 seats in 1928 to 230 seats by July of 1932. This sudden gain in popularity led to the decision made by Papen and Hindenburg to appoint Hitler as Chancellor in 1933.

Germany was in political chaos since the Great Depression because people turned to extreme parties such as Communists and Nazis. The gain in popularity for Hitler and the Nazis meant a fall in support for the Weimar Republic. The Chancellor in 1932, Franz von Papen, wasn’t getting enough votes from the Reichstag and President Hindenburg was forced to rule with Article 48 (ruling without the approval of the Reichstag) because of the lack of support. Since the Nazis were the largest party in the Reichstag by 1932 and Hitler was popular amongst the German race, Hindenburg and Papen offered Hitler the spot of the vice Chancellor if he agreed to support the government. However, Hitler refused the offer and demanded to be the Chancellor. Since Hindenburg and Papen were desperate for support and a settlement for the political unrest, they took a gamble and appointed Hitler as Chancellor on January 30th, 1933.

Hindenburg and Papen thought that they’d be able to keep Hitler under control, but Hitler had other plans. This was a huge leap for Hitler’s power; it put him in a position to obtain dictatorship. Without this decision, it would’ve been much more difficult for Hitler to rise to power. Once Hitler got into the government system, he was able to do almost anything he wanted. However, this was not enough for Hitler. He wanted to take over the whole of Germany and become a dictator for he never liked the democratic government system. On the night of February 27th, 1933, not long after he was appointed as Chancellor, there was a mysterious fire that burnt the Reichstag building down. Historians today still debate about whether or not it was Hitler who purposely set fire to the building. However, at the time, people looked up to Hitler because of what he had done in the past and believed anything he said.

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Hitler accused a Dutch Communist, Van der Lubbe, of starting the fire and convinced people that communists were dangerous. He proposed the Enabling Act to Hindenburg and the rest of the Reichstag, giving the reason that Germany is in danger of the communists. The Enabling Act was a strict policy that controlled everyone in Germany. Hitler was free to do almost anything he pleased with the people who opposed him. Hitler claimed that this act was only temporary; however, it lasted throughout the 12 years of Nazi rule. This act was the last step in Hitler’s rise to power and gave Hitler the power to take over and become the dictator of Germany.

Nevertheless, none of these factors would be possible without Hitler’s oratory skills, personality and leadership. He’s angry and determined personality was the main reason he did all he did after the Treaty of Versailles; to get revenge and obtain what he wanted all along. His personality also contributed to his great leadership. The German population also respected his potent self-belief. Hitler believed that God had sent him to rule Germany. This strong sense of self-belief kept Hitler going even when the Nazis were going through hard times, close to failure. His determination and confidence were essential reasons so many believed in him during the Great Depression.

Hitler’s exceptional oratory skills also played a big role in his rise to power. During the trials after the Munich Putsch, Hitler put his public speaking to use. People were inspired and stimulated by his words and passion. Hitler managed to turn his failure into success because of his mind-turning speeches. His speeches were so charismatic they hypnotized his audience. He had a way to win his audience over with his ideas expressed in strong words. He knew what his audience wanted to hear, such as promises and solutions. He promised every sector of German society something they wanted. Workers were promised jobs, employers were promised profits, farmers were promised higher prices and shopkeepers were promised to be protected against competition.

Although many knew most of this wouldn’t happen, Hitler’s ideas gave them the hope they were desperate for. He was a master at appealing to the need of the German people to feel that they were not inferior to others and expertly played on their belief that they were victims of an unjust world. Hitler ensnared the German people, as a Hamburg school teacher recalls, “[Many] look up to [Hitler] with touching faith, as their helper, their saviour, their deliverer from unbearable distress.” His oratory excellence, personality and leadership led to his gain in reputation with the German people. This led to the decision of Papen and Hindenburg to appoint him as Chancellor of Germany in 1933. Once he got into power he used violence to dispose of his enemies. He ordered the Nazis to murder Communists and Socialists; destroyed shops owned by Jews and closed democratically owned newspapers.

This aggression not only got rid of enemies but also scared people into voting for the Nazi party. This violent personality was not approved of by many but worked effectively in grabbing power. One report by the British Ambassador in Berlin said in 1932: “…there were between 1 June and 20 July in Prussia alone, excluding Berlin, 322 serious clashes, involving 72 deaths and 497 injured… Prominent Socialists and Communists were surprised at night and murdered in their own beds or shot down at the doors of their houses. The windows of shops owned by Jews were smashed and the contents looted. There were attacks with high explosives on the offices of democratically owned newspapers. The assailants used firearms, hand grenades and acid.”

From these statistics, it is clear that Hitler and the Nazis use aggression, which evolved murdering, to eliminate all competitors and gain power. In conclusion, all the points contributed to Hitler’s rise to power in various ways. Hitler’s rise to power would be altered and may not even succeed if any of the factors didn’t occur. For example, without the Treaty of Versailles, Hitler would not have been so enraged towards the Weimar Republic and would probably not have planned the Munich Putsch. Every factor played its own contributory part, however, I believe Hitler’s oratory skills, personality and leadership were the most important factors in his rise to power.



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