Hitler and the German Workers Party
- Hitler was born in Austria in 1889. Both his parents died when he was young. He went to Vienna and tried to get into an Academy of Art. He was rejected twice. He lived rough and earned a living painting postcards. He claimed that his hatred of Jews began in Vienna.
- In 1914, he volunteered for German army and served throughout the First World War. Won the Iron Cross First Class and was promoted to Lance-Corporal.
- He was gassed in October and spent last weeks of the war in hospital. He did not understand why the government had surrendered. Accused the November Criminals of betraying Germany.
- After war he got a job as a spy for the German army.
- In September 1919, he joined on the German Workers' Party and was appointed head of propaganda. In 1921, he became the leader.
- Changed the name to the 'National Socialist German Workers' Party' to attract as many supporters as possible. It was nick-named the Nazis by their opponents.
- Hitler set up SA led by Ernst Roehm and used it to attack his opponents in the streets.
1920: 25 Point Programme
1. We demand the union of all Germany in a Greater Germany on the basis of the right of national self-determination.
3. We demand land and territory to feed our people and to settle our surplus population.
4. Only members of the nation may be citizens of the State. Only those of German blood, whatever their creed, may be members of the nation. Accordingly, no Jew may be a member of the nation.
5. Non-citizens may live in Germany only as guests and must be subject to laws for aliens.
8. All non-German immigration must be prevented. We demand that all non-Germans who entered Germany after 2 August 1914 shall be required to leave the Reich forthwith.
23. We demand controls on the press to prevent deliberate lies being spread about political parties. The publishing of papers which do not support to the national welfare must be forbidden.
25. To put the whole of this programme into effect, we demand the creation of a strong central state power for the Reich.
- At 8.30 p.m. 8 November, Hitler broke up meeting in Munich with three Bavarian ministers, fired a gun at the ceiling and announced that he was going to try to take over the government. The ministers agreed to support him, but escaped warned authorities of the plot.
- The following day, Ernst Roehm, the leader of the Sturm Abteilung, the Storm Troopers, seized the Post Office in Munich at about 8.30 a.m. and waited for Hitler to march to his support.
- Hitler and war-hero Ludendorff led march. They had about 2,000 supporters.
- They hoped police would not fire at them and that people would rise in support. No one joined them, police opened fire and 16 Nazis were killed.
- Hitler fled and was arrested two days later. He was tried for high treason, found guilty and sentenced to five years in prison by a pro-Nazi judge.
- In prison he wrote ‘Mein Kampf’ showing political ideas: The German people were a master race, Germany should be re-united and seize land to the east, a new leader was needed. Democracy and Communism were bad. He was released after 11 months.
- Decided to gain power by legal means. He needed to win as many votes as possible to gain a majority in the Reichstag.
- Set up sections for women and children and for teachers and founded the Hitler Youth.
- Appointed Josef Goebbels as head of propaganda.
- In 1926 the black-uniformed SS was formed, loyal to Hitler personally.
- Alfred Hugenberg financed the Nazis. His 53 newspapers could publicise Nazis.
- In 1929 Hugenberg bought the largest cinema chain in Germany, Hitler then had access to even more publicity.
- By the end of 1926 the Nazi Party had 50,000 members, but its seats in the Reichstag had fallen from 32 in 1924 to only won 12 in the general election of 1928.
- During the ‘Golden Years’, most Germans had little time for the Nazis and in 1928 they only won 800,000 votes in the general election.
- From 1929 support for the Nazis rose steadily. In 1928 Numbers of Nazi members in the Reichstag was 12, in 1930 it was 107, in 1932 it was 230.
- He used Jews and the Weimar democrats as a scapegoat for Germany's problems.
- He hired a private plane to fly around Germany. He was the first politician to do this. Goebbels organised torchlight processions, rallies, radio broadcasts, films.
- Promised to scrap Treaty of Versailles and make their country great again.
- He was always backed up by large numbers of disciplined and uniformed followers. Gave the impression of toughness and knowing what was needed. It reminded people of the Kaiser.
- SA violence increased. They attacked Communists, which pleased middle class and business people. It also made the Weimar system look as though they couldn’t keep order.
- To businessmen he promised that he would control the Trade Unions and deal with the Communists. To workers he promised that he would provide jobs.
Hitler becomes Chancellor
- In 1932 Hitler stood in the presidential elections against Hindenburg. Hindenburg won 17 million votes, Hitler won 11 million. Hindenburg was angry that Hitler had dared to stand against him.
- In the July 1932 general election, the Nazis became the biggest party in Reichstag, but Hindenburg refused to appoint Hitler Chancellor. Franz von Papen became chancellor.
- Von Papen had poor support in Reichstag.
- In the November 1932 election, Nazis lost some support, but were still the biggest party in the Reichstag. Von Papen was replaced by General Kurt von Schleicher who had even less support and only lasted a month.
- Von Papen was furious that von Schleicher had taken his place. In January 1933, he suggested that Hindenburg appoint Hitler as chancellor, with von Papen as vice-chancellor in a coalition government. Von Papen thought he could control Hitler.
- Hindenburg agreed. On 31 January 1933 Hitler became chancellor of Germany. He led a coalition government, which included four Nazis.