Germany Section A

The Rise of the Nazi Party and its consolidation of power

The rise of Nazi Party and consolidation of power

Chapter 10: What was the impact of the Weimar Period on the rise of the Nazi Party

Weimar Period - Political Problems

Coalition Government - the government was weak and unstable. 

Article 48 - Hindenburg had a great deal of power as he could pass laws without discussing them with anyone.

The November Criminals - Because of propaganda, the Germans didn’t realise that they were losing the First World War. The new government had got off to a bad start for signing the armistice, 11 November 1918.

Small, extremist parties that wanted to abolish the Republic - Had support at the beginning of the 1920s, but when conditions improved in Germany after 1924, they found it difficult to win votes. They had another chance to gain votes in 1929 after the Wall Street Crash.

Revolt - Extremist groups rioting and creating havoc in the streets.

1 of 19

Weimar Period- Economic Problems

Hyperinflation - The government printed more money to pay the Ruhr workers.

Signing the Treaty of Versailles, 28/06/1919 - £6600 million in reparation payments.

The Ruhr crisis of 1923 - Germany couldn't pay, and France wasn’t happy as it needed the money to pay its debts to the USA. France and Belgium occupied the Ruhr to obtain goods.

The Wall Street Crash, New York, 1929 - No more financial help available from the USA.

 Economic Instability:Marks (currency) are worthless.

Gutav Stressemen removes the Marks (they are worthless) and introduces Reichmarks.

The Dawes plan (1924)- made reperation more managable and easier to pay.

The Young Plan (1929) Reperation payments reduced by three quarters and the length they had to pay reperations extended to 59 years.

Golden Years of Weimar because Gustav Stresseman created economic stability

2 of 19

Treaty of Versailles

The Treaty of Versailles - This made Germany weak. Germany had to shoulder the blame for causing the First World War. The effects of the Treaty of Versailles were:

·         Gave the coal mines of the Saar area to France as reparation or compensation for destroying the coal mines of northern France

·         Lost foreign lands

·         Transferred Alsace-Lorraine to France

·         Placed a limit on the army of no more than 100,000 members

·         Accepted that Germany was responsible for causing the devastation and losses of the war

·         Paid reparation to ordinary people for the damage caused

·         Presence of Allied forces in the Rhineland

Due to the economic crisis, a political crisis ensued, and by the 1930s Germany was no longer a democratic country.

3 of 19

The early development of the Nazi Party

  1. January 1919: Anton Drexler establishes the German Workers Party (DAP).
  2. Hitler works as a spy for the Weimar Republic government.
  3. September 1919: Hitler attends a meeting in a beer hall in Munich. He joins the DAP.
  4. 1920: Hitler is responsible for propaganda and gives the party a new name – the National Socialist German Workers Party (NSDAP).
  5. 1921: Hitler is made leader of the party.
  6. Symbol – the swastika. Former soldiers (Freikorps) are trained to be in the SA, (Sturmabteilung - brown shirts). Ernst Rohm is their leader.
4 of 19

The Munich Putsch


On 8 November 1923, Hitler along with 600 stormtroopers interrupted a public meeting at the Burgerbrau beer hall in Munchen (Munich), Bayern (Bavaria). Hitler had persuaded Gustav von Kahr to join him in his efforts to sieze power.

The putsch was a disaster, with 16 Nazis being killed. Ludnedorff was arrested and Hitler was later captured, despite the fact that he had managed to escape.

A court case was held, where Hitler had a platform to preach his ideas. He was convicted of treason and imprisoned for five years in Landsberg. At the time, Hitler was not seen as a threat and the Weimar Republic wasn’t popular, so he was released after nine months.

Hitler realised that he would have to change his tactics to rise to power in Germany. He would have to gain power legally, by winning seats in the Reichstag.

5 of 19

Causes and Effects of Munic Putsh

  • The Nazi Party with 55,000 members was stronger than ever. The Weimar Republic was in crisis, almost losing control of Germany.
  •  Hitler prohibited from speaking in public until 1927 Hitler believed that key nationalist politicians would support him.
  • Hitler imprisoned for treason– where he wrote Mein Kampf. Many Germans read the book and his ideas became well-known. In court he used publicity to show his political views. Sentenced to 5 years but served 9 months.

Hitler needed to give the SA (Army) something to do before he lost control of them. For Hitler to rise to power, would have to use legal methods, not violence. So he organised the following:

  • Propaganda campaigns
  • Hitler Youth
  • Merges with other right wing parties
  • Local branches of the party to try to win more seats in the Reichstag
  • The SS - his personal guards, in 1925

Hoped to emulate Mussolini in Italy – he had risen to power by marching to Rome. This was the strategy that eventually secured his successful and legal rise to power.

6 of 19

Hitler and 'Mein Kampf'


While Hitler was in prison, he wrote his book Mein Kampf, which outlined the Nazi Party’s ideas:

  • Aryans – the most important race (blue-eyed, blonde-haired)
  • Anschluss – uniting with Austria
  • Abolishing the Treaty of Versailles
  • Creating a large Germany once again
  • Lebensraum – "living space" to create a larger Germany
  • Anti-Semitism – hatred of Jews
7 of 19

Chapter12:How did Nazis consolidate power 1933-34

The Significance of the Reichstag Fire -1933

4 February - Every party and every public meeting banned from criticizing the Nazi Government.

27 February - The Reichstag Fire. Marinus van der Lubbe arrested. The Nazis blame the Communists – according to the Nazis, the fire was a Communist plot to destroy the government. Hindenburg announces additional powers – The Law for the Protection of the People and the State.

28 February - Suspension of all civil rights and personal freedom. Political prisoners can be held in custody indefinitely, without a hearing. By April, 25,000 political prisoners in Prussia alone.

8 of 19

Enabling act and removal of civil rights

The Enabling Act

23 March - The Reichstag passes the Enabling Act. Hitler had to persuade at least 91 members to vote in favour of the act.

As a result, 444 members voted, which was just over two-thirds of members. Only 94 voted against him. What does this show? Not everyone supported the Nazis. 'Gleichschaltung' means bringing into line.

Removal of civil rights

31 March - Every provincial parliament is shut down. They are reorganised to have the same constitution as the Reichstag – the Nazis are therefore in control.

7 April - Managers appointed for each province - they are all members of the Nazi party. They are given the right to appoint and dismiss officers.

9 of 19

Dissolution of provinces + moving towards dictorsh

1934, 30 January – Dissolution of the provinces.

2 May – Dissolution of the Trade Unions - their offices broken into in all parts of the country, and a number of officers arrested. They merge to become the 'German Labour Front', managed by the Nazis.

10 May – The Nazis occupy the Social Democratic Party’s offices, destroy the party’s newspapers and take its money.

Moving towards dictatorship

22 June – The Social Democratic Party is banned, other parties dissolve soon afterwards.

14 July – A law is passed to make every party illegal apart from the Nazi party.

12 November – A new 'election' to the Reichstag is held. The Nazis win 92.2 per cent of the vote. What does this show? Not everyone in Germany supported the Nazi party.

10 of 19

The events of the Night of the Long knives

30 June – The Night of the Long Knives. Röhm and members of the SA, together with opponents of the Nazi party, are arrested and shot without trial.

Membership of the SA:     August 1929- 30,000                     January 1934- 3,000,000

The SA – its strengths                                                    The Army – its strengths

-Had helped Hitler rise to power.              -Joining the SA reduced its power.

-Hoped to benefit / gain.                           -Professional soldiers.

-Some were  wanted a job.                      -Röhm was more powerful than Hitler

-Leaders wanted influential jobs.             -Hitler needed the support of army officers and generals

-Röhm wants to merge SA and Army     

11 of 19

Hitler becomes Führer

2 August – Hindenburg dies.

Why did Hitler succeed?

Weak opposition

Used violence to get rid of opposition

Politicians collaborated with him

Exploited all oppurtunities to reinforce power

Politicians did not realise Hitlers strengths and motives.

12 of 19

The turning point for the Nazi Party 1923–29

  1. The Munich Putsch, 1923
  2. Party reorganisation
  3. Public meetings
  4. Growing number of members
  5. Mein Kampf

Support for the Nazi Party

Military- Unhappy with the way the war had ended as Germany was left with a small army.

Middle class - Had suffered economically during the war.

Business people- Scared of the growth of Communism

Farmers- Low food prices

Racist people Hated Jews,                        Criminals Found the party exciting.

13 of 19

How and Why did Hitler become chancellor

Political scheming 1929–32

  • The end of parliamentary democracy

Although the Nazis were popular, they didn’t have enough seats to control parliament.

They didn't have a majority in terms of the number of seats because not everyone in Germany supported them – but they were determined to strengthen their power

14 of 19

Why did Hitler become chancellor continued

In March 1932 Hitler stood against Hindenburg as President of Germany. He gained 13.4 million votes but Hindenburg won with 19.3 million.

Von Papen organised another election in November. The support for Von Papen in this election was even less.

The Von Schleicher Government

  • He was Chancellor for two months. Hindenburg had no choice, and on 30 January 1933, he appointed Hitler as Chancellor.
15 of 19

Why did Hitler become chancellor

The Brüning Government, 1930–32

Chancellor Brüning ruled alongside President Hindenburg, using the emergency powers of Article 48.

This government did not suceed in solving the problems, and Brüning wasn’t popular. Von Schleicher, a general in the army, managed to persuade President Hindenburg to get rid of Brüning. He resigned in May 1932.

The Von Papen Government

Von Papen, at the time a member of the Centre Party, became Chancellor. He only had 68 supporters in the Reichstag. He hoped to win more support in the 1932 election, but he was disappointed. The largest party in the Reichstag was the Nazi party. Hitler wanted to be appointed Chancellor.

Hindenburg supported Von Papen. The Reichstag decided to hold a vote to decide whether or not they would also support Von Papen as Chancellor. He won 32 votes – but 513 had voted against him.

16 of 19

Hitler's appeal and his promises

The Nazi party was the people's party. It tried to win everyone's support. Hitler would deliver speeches to German audiences in halls or sport stadiums.

Group of peoplePromise The middle class (Mittesland) Protection from Communism, and restoration of law and order. The upper class Reprisal for the Treaty of Versailles, and the creation of a strong government. Large industrialists Suspension of trade unions. The working class Jobs and the protection of workers. Ordinary people from the countryside An increase in the price of agricultural products. Women Emphasis on the family and morals.

  • Fear of Communism

The Communist Revolution happened in Russia in 1917. Many feared that it would spread to Germany.

  • The use of propaganda
  • The role of the SA
17 of 19

Hitler as Chancellor

30 January - Hindenburg appoints Hitler as Chancellor but:

·         only three out of 10 ministers were members of the Nazi party

·         the Nazis had less than half the seats in the Reichstag

·         Hindenburg could dismiss Hitler at any time.

18 of 19

The SA + Propaganda

The SA - the Nazis' private army, the party's military wing

Leader- Ernst Rohm

Members-2,500,000 by 1934.

Activity- Many were undisciplined hooligans. Fought for the Nazis in the Munich Putsch of 1923. Controlled the streets in order to promote the Nazis' activities and prevent their opponents' activities Uniform- brown shirts 

Dr Josef Goebbels was responsible for propaganda from 1928 onwards. Various methods:

  • Newspapers
  • Posters
  • Radio
  • News films in the cinemas.

The messages were simple, and said what Germans wanted to hear.                  

19 of 19


No comments have yet been made

Similar History resources:

See all History resources »See all WWII and Nazi Germany 1939-1945 resources »