How important were economic factors in the rise of fascist movements in inter-war Europe? Germany (views of Thompson)

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  • Created on: 28-05-18 22:25
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  • How important were economic factors in the rise of fascist movements in inter-war Europe? Germany (views of Thompson)
    • Hitler's significance was his personality and theatrical talents
      • enabled NSDAP to absorb similarly-minded groupings throughout Germany and party consequently grew (despite fiasco of Munish Putsch in 1923) from minuscule sect into recognisable, though still minor, political force
    • By 1928, Nazi Party reached maximum strength circumstances of social and economic stability in Germany permitted
    • Hitler's cult of personality came to be central to Nazi appeal
      • as only himself was capable of reconciling conflict trends and ambitions among his followers and focusing onto a joint purpose under his leadership
    • Hitler was able to appeal to different strata of society by being a chameleon
      • The Party appealed to be socialist but he privately assured prospective backer (a moneyed man) that this was merely window dressing
    • Reichstag elections of 1930
      • In aftermath of slump, Nazis extended electoral strength in urban areas (as did communists), but principal effect was felt in countryside with smallholders
        • Smallholders who had done quite well out of hyperinflation and taken extensive new debts
          • found bottom had fallen out of market for agricultural products and they now faced bankruptcy and foreclosure all over Germany
        • Neither Communism nor social democracy was going to ever attract social group of smallholders
          • they were fiercely nationalistic and their principal political attachment was to DNVP
        • Ultra-conservative DNVP was dogmatic in its attachment to economic liberalism and could promise nothing
          • whereas Nazis sent activists into villages and promised under their government German farmers, reservoir of German racial stock, would never be allowed to go under
        • Promises of smallholder security was immensely attractive and delivered landslide
        • Irreconcilable rural conservatives were appalled and landowner Major Ewald von Kleist referred to it as 'rural Bolshevism'
    • SA
      • tended to be young men with little to lose and frequently unemployed
    • Antisemitism
      • Some historians argue Hitler and Nazis discovered antisemitic message had appeal with voters
      • Thompson argues that compared to France and Russia, Germany was less antisemitic

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