The rise of Hitler and the Nazis - Jan 1933


Hitler and the German Workers party

Germany Workers' party views:

  • Democracy was weak - in need of a powerful leader to rebuild strength
  • Jews were to blame for making Germany weak 
  • Communists and Socialists had brought about the fall of the Kaiser 
  • The Socialist Weimar politicians had betrayed Germany by signing TOV

Hitler joins party in September 1919 

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Changes to the party 1920-22

Propaganda: Hitler was put in charge and he set out to transform the part into a mass movement.  


  • Hitler rewrote the aims of the party and published them in a 25 point programme: it included extreme nationalism and racism
  • The party was renamed the Nazi Party 
  • 1921 - Hitler became the Party leader.  His role:
    • Used his Public Speaking skills to attract new members 
    • By 1921 they had 1100 members and they bought their own newspaper
  • 1921 - Hitler setup SA (private military force) to disrupt meetings of opposing political parties and to control crowds at Nazi meetings. 


  • Nationalists were attracted by aim of destroying the TOV
  • People wanted a scapegoat for Germany's defeat in WW1 - attracted to anti-Semitism
  • Middle-classes and big businesses attracted to Hitler's anti-communist ideas 
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Causes and events of the Munich Putch

November 1923 - Hitler led an armed uprising intending to overthrow the Weimar Republic


  • Anger at Weimar Republic - due to the 'stab in the back', reparations, Ruhr & hyperinflation
  • Influence of Italian Fascists - Hitler was inspired by Mussolini's takeover of Italy in 1922.  The Nazi's copied the Italian fascists's use of flags for clear identity 
  • Nazi strength would make a takeover possible - it had 20'000 supporters and the SA (private army).  Hitler had close friendships with Ludendorff who he believed could pursuade the army to support the Nazi's


  • 8th November - Hitler forces Lossow and Kahr into supporting the march on Berlin 
  • 9th November - 2000 armed Nazis march to a military base in Munich.  They are met by armed police and Bavarian soldiers.14 Nazis are killed, Ludendorff is arrested and Hitler flees
  • 11th November - Hitler is arrested and later imprisioned in Lansberg prison. He writes 'Mein Kampf'.  He is released after 9 months.
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Results of the Munich Putsch

The Trial and publicity: Hitler and Ludendorff are trialled for treason.  Hitler uses this to attack the Weimar Government gaining himself publicity.

Sympathy from the judges His speeches impressed the judges and he was only sentenced to 5 years in prison where conditions were very relaxed - he only spent 9 months in jail. 

Successes of the Putsch: gained Hitler much publicity and support.  Whilst in jail, he wrote his book 'Mein Kamph' highlighting his beliefs.

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Reorganisation of the Party 1924-28

Ban of Nazi Party lifted in Feb 1925 + Hitler's book was published.  He reorganised the party by:

  • Divided Germany into 35 districts and appointed leader in each one to increase Nazi support
  • Bamburg Conference - he was appointed leader of party.  He persuaded party members to re-adopt the 25 point plan and use Weimar democracy to gain mass support. 
  • Hitler youth (1926) & National socialist Teachers' Association (1929) set up etc.
  • SA reconstructed and given more training - Hitler encouraged more people to join
  • Established a new private bodyguard: **
  • Concentrated on winning farmers support as agriculture was suffering.

By 1929 - the Nazi party was well organised - membership of over 100,000.  But they still had little success gaining seats in Reichstag.  May 1924: 32 seats and later in 1928: 12 seats...

  • Stresseman's efforts: between 1924-29 he had ended inflation and agreed Dawes + Young plan helping stabilize the economy.  The Locarno and Kellog-Briand Pacts had improved Germany's relations = 1926 they joined the LofN
  • Hindenberg and Stresseman had successfully formed coalitions of parties to effectively govern Germany 
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Impact of the Great Depression

In October 1929 - Stresseman died of a stroke, at the same time, events in USA plunged the world economy into crisis.

Wall Street Crash - the US economy was falling and they recalled the loans it made to Germany leading to a financial crisis as unemployment and taxes increased!

The Great Depression impacted different groups differently:

  • Young People: 1933 - over 50% of people aged 16-30 were unemployed 
  • Factory workers: 4/10 couldn't get a job.  Food prices were high and many unemployed people could not afford to eat. 
  • Farmers had been struggling since mid 1920s as price of goods were falling.  Many farmers were in debt.  The problems led to an increase in Nazi support.
  • Businessmen who kept their businesses going struggled as people had less money to spend on goods.
  • Weimar Government - SDP and Centre party fell out - Brüning (centre) suggested further cuts but Müller (SDP) refused and resigned. Brüning became chancellor through Article 48 - from 1930 - Germany was not run as a democracy & effectively controlled by Hindenberg
  • Nazis  thrived as people turned to extremist groups - 1930, Nazis won 107 seats. 
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The Nazi Methods to Gain Support

    • The Appeal of Hitler
  • The Nazis presented Hitler as a strong leader - his appearance was changed in posters to having superhuman strength 
  • Hitler developed a strong method of public speaking.  He tried to appeal to many different groups in Germany.  
  • Powerful Businesses were willing to support Hitler with the aim to stop the rise of communist support.
    • The Role of the SA
  • The Nazis had a large private army (400,000 in 1930).  Their presence in at the Rallies made them appear strong!
  • At rallies, they used lights and symbols of power that gave the idea of Nazis bringing a better future for the Germans 
  • The SA disrupted meetings of political opponents 
  • In the elections of 1930 and 32, they used violence to intimidate people into voting for Nazis 
    • The Use of Propaganda 
  • The party trained members in propaganda skills - focus on popular messages 
  • Parades and marches including speeches and entertainments
  • Nazis owned 8 different Newspapers + posters were designed to target groups in Germany
  • Huge rallies were held to demonstrate order and disclipline of the Nazi Party 
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Events of 1932 - January 1933

  • July 1932 - Fall of Brüning 
    • Nazis were biggest party in the Reichstag (230seats). Hindenberg remained president.
    • Brüning tried to ban the SA and the **, however an army general: Von Schleicher removed Brüning and replaced him with a coalition of army officers + rich landowners etc.
    • Von Schleicher persuaded Hindenberg to sack Brüning as chancellor.
  • Franz Von Papen
    • Von Schleicher wanted control.  He made Von Papen (wealthy politician) the figurehead for a new coalition.  
    • He gave Hitler a place in coalition but underestimated his ability to create his own power 
    • Von Papen was a weak leader and Hitler argued he should be chancellor as his party had the most votes.  Hindenberg refused.  Von Papen called another election and the Nazis were still the largest party - Von Papen resigned.
  • Von Schleicher & Hindenberg 
    • Hindenberg appointed Von Schleicher as chancellor but soon lost support in Reichstag as he tried to suspend constitution and make himself head of military dictatorship. 
    • Jan 1933- Hindenberg agreed to make Von Papen vice-chancellor with Hitler as chancellor.
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