History B GCSE AQA Unit 5 - Hitler's Germany (5.1)

How and why was Hitler able to become Chancellor in January 1933?

The impact of the Wall Street Crash and Depression

  • American economic depression spread across Europe and to Germany
  • American banks had given loans to Germany since 1924
  • Many German businesses were bankrupt
  • By 1932 almost 6 million people were unemployed
  • German government was powerless
  • Nazis tried to appeal to both business men and poor people
  • Josef Goebbels was appointed head of propaganda in 1929
  • The SA were the private Nazi Army; the threatened opponents and encouraged chaos
  • They then blamed the Communists for the violence
  • Hitler spoke at length about the disgrace brought to the Germans by the Treaty of Versailles
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The Weimar system of government

  • Had many coalition governments
  • Often they disagreed making effective government impossible
  • In Article 28 of the constitution the President could pass an emergency law without consulting the Reichstag
  • The President at the time was war hero General von Hindenburg
  • March 1930 - May 1932, the Chancellor of Germany was Heinrich Bruning, his economic policies were very unpopular
  • He raised taxes, cut level of unemployment benefit and reduced government employees salary
  • Nazis were growing in popularity
  • As Hitler became well known within Germany he decided to fight against Hindenburg in the Presidential Elections.
  • Hidenburg won with 19 million votes, Hitler got 13 million
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Hitler's appointment as Chancellor

  • In May 1932, Hindenburg appointed Franz von Papen as Chancellor (Centre Party)
  • von Papen did not have enough support to rule effectively and called a general election in July 1932, the Nazis gained a lot of support
  • Von Papen needed more support so called another general election, which gave him fewer seats so con Schleicher replaced him.
  • He too failed, and asked Hitler to become Chancellor
  • In January 1933, Hindenburg was forced to make Hitler Chancellor
  • However he did limit some of Hitler's power by making von Papen the vice-Chancellor
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