Early stages of the Nazi Party

Adolf Hitler - Voice of the German Workers' Party

Hitler entered German politics around the time the Weimar Republic was formed. By the time the Nazi Party was founded in 1920, he was growing in influence. In 1923, he tried to overthrow the Weimar government.

Hitler began his political career in the German Workers' Party - a nationalist party led by Anton Drexler.

1. He joined it in January 1919, when he was still in the German army. He became known for his talent as a passionate and skilled speaker, and crowds gathered to hear him talk.

2. In 1920, the party was re-branded as the National Socialist German Workers' Party (the Nazi Party). In July 1921, Hitler became its leader.

In 1919 the party had around 60 members. By the end of 1920, 2000 people.

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The Nazi Party Developed its Identity

As the Nazi Party grew in popularity, it established an identity that appealed to as many people as possible.

1. February 1920, the Nazi Party promoted its politics in the 'Twenty-Five Point Programme'. The Programme stressed German superiority and promoted anti-Semitism.

2. The party wanted to raise pensions, and improve health and education - but only for Germans. It also rejected the ToV. Promoting German greatness gave the party a nationwide appeal.

3. In 1921, Hitler fpunded his own party militia called the SA ('storm troopers'). The SA were political thugs - they carried out violent ant-Semitic attacks and intimidated rival political groups. Many were scared of them, but some Germans admired them. It also gave many ex-soldiers a job and a purpose.

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Munich Putsch

In 1923, the Weimar Republic was in crisis:

Hitler thought the time was right to attempt a putsch

  • In 1923, things were going badly for Weimar - it seemed weak.
  • Hyperinflation was at its peak and there were food riots.
  • Many Germans were angry at the French and Belgian invasion of the Ruhr. When the government stopped resisting by ending the strike there in 1923, discontent increased.

In November 1923, The Nazis marched on Munich

  • Hitler's soldiers occupied a beer hall in the Bavarian city of Munich where local government leaders were meeting. He announced that the revolution had begun.
  • The next day he marched into Munich supported by the SA. News of the putsch had been leaked to the police, who waited for him. The police fired on the rebels and the putsch quickly collapsed.
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Mein Kampf

1. Hitler was imprisoned for his role in the Munich Putsch and the Nazi Party was banned (lifted in February 1925). However, his trial gave him valuable publicity.

2. He wrote a book called 'Mein Kampf' ('My Struggle')describing his beliefs and ambitions.

3. Mein Kampf was vital in spreading Nazi ideology - millions of Germans read it. It introduced his belief that the Aryan race (Germans included) was superior to all other races, and that all Germans had a right to 'Lebensraum' (more space to live).

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