The Great Depression
Wall Street Crash 1929
- Germany depended on US loans and investment. However, following the Wall Street Crash, this money dried up and world trade collapsed- Germany's economy shrank by 40%
- 1933-6 million German's were unemployed. Hitler capitalised by promising jobs. The Weimar Government was in crisis- proportional representation led to coalitions.
- The Great Depression encouraged Germans to listen to the Nazi Party and their message. They exploited peoples fears through propaganda. Hitler offered strong leadership.
- 1932- Nazi Party became the largest in Germany
Origins and Growth of the Nazi Party
- Hitler remained in the Army until the end of war
- 1919- sent to a reunion in the capital of Bravaria to keep watch on extremist political groups to find out whether they were a danger tp the government.
- One of these extremist political groups was the German's Workers Party, in which Hitler decided to join, despite it being small and poorly organised
- 1920- Hitler changed the party's name to Nation Socialist
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German Workers Party (National Socialist)
- Grew quickly. 1919-50 members. 1920-3,000 members. 1923-50,000 members.
- Published its own newspaper, spreading Nazi views.
- Created an armed force of stormtroopers to fight its opponents.
- Hitler refused to collaborate with other parties when offered minor roles in government, e.g. Vice Chancellor. He continued to do so, even when the Party lost some of its support in the 1932 election.
- He was waiting for a more powerful role that would allow him to dominate in government.
Support from the German elite
- President Hindenburg did not initially want to appoint Hitler Chancelor in 1933. However, he was persuaded to do so by members of the Germal political, social and economic elite, because they believed Hitler would effectively defent Germany against a Communist Revolution.
- Franz Von Popen, who did not respond effectively to the Great Depression, thought he could control Hitler and use him to replace democracy with an Authoritarian regime.
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- Hitler's ideological world view rested on his Social Darwinist outlook- recognising a natural struggle for existence between people and races. He believed the Aryan Race was superior to all beings. His vision of a Volksgemeinschaft was central to his ideological belief.
- Nazi ideology also drew on the science of eugenics, advocating action against those considered unfit and a threat to the aim of breeding a pure and healthy 'master race'. This extended to personal practices the Nazis considered 'unnatural', e.g. Homosexuals.
- 'Charasmatic leadership'- belief in a supreme leader who embodied the mission of National Socialism emerged in Nazi Propaganda as 'Fuhrer'
- Hitler believed that DEMOCRACY did not work-arguing it created coalition governments in Weimar Germany.
What did Nazi ideology oppose?
- Anti-modern, anti-capitalist, anti-democratic and anti-communist
- Backward-looking- aooeaked to 'tradition' German values, e.g. family, faith and nation
- Represented by ideas; 'Blood and soil' 'Cult of Motherhood'
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