Germany 1918-1930s

Rise of the Nazi Party after World War I

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  • Created by: Charlotte
  • Created on: 25-05-08 14:59

Why Did the Nazi Party Form?

> Both left and right nationalist groups flourished in Munich post WWI

> Hitler came into contact with the DAP (founded Anton Drexler, 1919) - poorly supported, enrolled in September

> Organised the Party's first public meeting October, February 1920 attracted 2000

> 25 Point Programme - anti Versailles, anti semitic, anti capitalist, changed name to NSDAP (Nationalist Social German Workers Party)

> May 1920 Hitler left army to focus on politics, became Fuhrer 1921 (established leadership principles), had his own newspaper, designed swastika, SA founded

> Role of SA to break up meetings held by rivals, made up of ex soldiers, ex Freikorps

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Impact of Weimar Constitution & Treaty of Versaill

~ Weimar had been weakened by proportional representation - made it hard for one Party to gain necessary overall majority to implement their own programme

~ Through Article 48, the President had the power to suspend civil liberties in emergency

~ Treaty signed under Ebert 1918

~ Stab in the Back Theory 'Dolchstosstheorie' - military blamed traitors at home

~ Accused pacifists, communists, socialists of disloyalty for organising strikes etc

~ Theory absolved army of disgrace of defeat, gained national acceptance

~ Germany had to accept responsibility for starting the war, pay £6.6 million, give territory to Poland

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Ruhr Crisis

>Severe economic crisis after WWI, inflation rose until hyperinflation 1922

> Late 1922 Germany couldn't pay reparations, French PM took Ruhr

> Germans striked - more money had to be printed to cope with this

> Mittelstand (middle class), elderly, ex soldiers suffered due to savings being lost

> Resolved by Stresemann's policies - called off passive resistance in the Ruhr, introduced new currency, restarted repayments, French + Begians left the Ruhr 1925

> In the future, Hitler accused Weimar + reparations as the causes of hyper inflation and consequent misery suffered by Germans

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Munich/Beer Hall Putsch 1923

> After turmoil of Ruhr crisis and Mussolini's inspiration, Hitler tried to seize power

> Many felt Stresemann's continuing reparations payment was humiliating

> Interrupted a meeting held by von Kahr + von Lossow, forced them into a room to make them support a march on Berlin with the aim of overthrowing the government

> Hitler (with Ludendorff's support) did the march without vons Kahr + Lossow

> 3000 marchers blocked by police, violence broke out, 19 killed

> Hitler arrested days later, sentenced to 5 years, served9 months

Why did it fail?

= Hitler's delay - Stresemann's policies taking effect, the worst had already passed
= Hitlermade intentions clear - stormed the Beer Hall, Bavarian leaders escaped
= Little sympathy for Party- seen as a lunatic fringe group

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NSDAP after Beer Hall Putsch

> Despite failure, it was important in long term success

> Judge at Hitler's trial allowed him to make a lengthy speech attacking the gov't, attracting right wing sympathy. Became a national figure

> Hitler emerged from trial with enhanced reputation as right wing leader

> 6.5% vote 1924 election, Hitler started Mein Kampf whilst imprisoned

> Realised quickest route to power would be cooperation with Weimar regime

> Party struggled and became divided during Hitler's short imprisonment

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What Problems Did Hitler Face After Prison?

> Divisions between those favouring nationalist policies in Mein Kampf and Otto + Gregor Strasser's more radical, anti capitalist, less anti semitic views

> Divisions between right wing 'nationalist' + left wing 'socialist' elements settled at Night of the Long Knives 1934

> Electoral support 3% December 1924

> Membership decline during 1924 - Weimar facing possible prosperity

> Party officially reformed 1925 but divisions prevented further development

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Development of Issues

~ Nationalism - Nazis subscribed to the Stab in the Back Theory

~ German resentment lessened over these issues due to Stresemann's concessions from the allies

~ 1929 NSDAP targeted issues through propaganda, focal point for campaigning

~ Reinforced by Nazi Anti Young Plan involvement, increased their credibility as a potential right wing opposition party

~ (Plan effectively reduced German reparations but opposition wanted the 'Liberty Law' to renounce German acknowledgement of war guilt and other Treaty terms)

~ Nazis capitalised on anti Versailles + anti nationalist sentiments of many Germans through volksgemeinschaft (national community)

~ Implemented through various Nazi organisations, offered food + aid to the unemployed etc

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Economic Problems

= Nazis recalledhyperinflation crisis 1920s + Weimar's struggle with the problems

= Linked with the Wall Street Crash, Nazi propaganda exploitation

= NSDAP specific targets to gain support - Schleswig-Holstein, KPD + Jews scapegoats

= Village meetings reinforced messages of posters etc, NSDAP success there 1929

= Nazi promises to different groups contradictory, ideals to fit supporters' needs

= Hitler manipulated underlying Communist fear, NSDAP the alternative

= SA + SS resisted Communism better than other right wing parties

= Anti semitism played little importance in the Nazi message

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How Did the Nazis Use Propaganda?

^ Propaganda run by Joseph Goebbels, power enhanced 1933 Ministry for Public Enlightenment and Propaganda established

^ Took over media, opposition views suppressed, important in power consolidation

^ Engaged in local + national propaganda designed to promote support, rallies etc

^ Used trained speakers to visit all areas of Germany, door to door campaigning

^ Radio broadcasts, symbols to enhance emotional committment, clear posters etc

^ Aided by Hugenberg after Young Plan, access to his media empire

^ Hitler made effective use of technology- cars, planes,loudspeakersetc

^ Nazis achieved some electoral success in areas where they had campaigned and areas where they hadn't

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Hitler's Personality

> Hypnotic power at meetings, seemed to understand concerns most directly affecting Germans, offered clear solutions to their problems

> Hadn't been tainted by Weimar political involvement, distanced from mistakes

> Could present himself as a new type of politicianfrom the people, not the elite

> Had been imprisoned for his cause, showed loyalty

> Appealed to the masses, clear propaganda

> Promises of a better life appeared to have strong foundations

> Played on nationalist sentiments

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Violence and Intimidation

- 1930 SA reorganised under Ernst Rohm, offered food, shelter, uniform + purpose to young unemployed men

- Numbers increased to 500,000, used to distribute propaganda, protected Nazi speakers at meetings, assaulted Nazi opposition (particularly KPD + SPD)

- Created an impression of discipline and organisation despite initiating violence

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Nazi Support

= Successul in rural areas due to significant SPD + KPD support in industrial areas

= Support in protestant areas; Hitler a messianic figure, clashed with the Pope as Catholics supported the Centre Party

= Northern German, middle class, young + first time voters support

= Their support shows appeal to voters unaffiliated with a particular Party

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Nazi Opposition

> Limited 1930-33; NSDAP not seen as a threat, conservative elites believed they should be controlled + manipulated

> KPD + SPD opposed the Nazis, particularly the KPD in street fighting and other violence in the latter stages of the Weimar Republic

> By the end of Weimar, the KPD felt the end of Capitalism was coming and didn't want to hinder their position

> The Kapp Putsch of 1920 + similar strategies had been proven useless

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Anti Young Plan Campaign

- NSDAP's fortune improved after 1929 as Weimar's instability undermined by events beyond its control

- Early 1929, revisions being made under the Young Plan released, revealed reparations would be paid 59 years into the future

-July 1929 DNVP + NSDAP campaigned for a referendum onthe Plan's acceptance, DNVP under media giant Hugenberg

- Campaign successfully got referendum but few nationalists sided with them

Why Was it Important For Hitler?

> NSDAP on the national scene, Hitler brought forward-leading nationalist politician

> Access to Hugenberg empire, contacts with financiers of the nationalist cause

> Seemed respectable members of National Alliance, broke with it after campaign

> Translated into electoral success - NSDAP made gains in provincial elections 1929

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Wall Street Crash

~ US stopped loans, demanded repayments, introduced tariffs to protect industry

~ 3million unemployed 1930, double 1932, reduced hours, benefits cut

~ Unemployment made workers feel helpless, they turned to Communism

~ Growth in Communist support exacerbated mittelstand + elitefears of an uprising

~ Lower middle class economically threatened; undercut by large businesses whilst labour tried to extract huge wage increases

How Did the Nazis Take Advantage of the Depression?

= Hitler successfully exploited anxieties of the mittelstand regarding communist threat and financial insecurity. Provided people with solutions + scapegoats

= Such factors enabled the NSDAP to gain 18% vote 1930 - second largest party

= Electoral success increased Party support - 400,000 1930

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