The Rise of the Nazi Party and it's Consolidation of Power - KQ1

Section 1 of Germany in Transition exam.

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How did developments in Germany from 1919-1929 affect the rise of the Nazis?

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Early growth of the Nazi Party

1920-23 - Pary membership increased from 1,100 members to 55,000.

1921 - Sturmabteilung(SA) set up by Hitler. Led by Ernst Rohm. Used to protect Nazi speakers. Often referred to as 'Brownshirts' or 'Stormtroopers'.


Political unrest in the Weimar - 1919 attempted communist revolution. 1923 failed to pay second reparations payment. Workers went on stike. Hyperinflation.

Hitler used this unrest to attempt to seize power, first in Munich, followed by a march on Berlin.

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The Munich Putsch, 8-9 November 1923

Hitler and 600 SA men burst into the Burgerbrau beer hall where von Kahr was holding a public meeting. At gunpoint, von Kahr and von Lossow agreed to help the planned takeover. They later escaped and informed the police.

2000 SA men marched through Munich and were met by police. Sixteen Nazis and four policemen were killed. Hitler escaped but was arrested two days later.

Hitler was put on trial and the Nazi party banned.

During Hitlers trial he blamed the November Criminals, Treaty of Versailles and Jweish Bolshevists. Hitler was found guilty of treason and sentenced to 5 years in prison. He only served 9 months(in which he wrote Mein Kampf).

His trial gave the Nazi party national publicity.

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The Importance of the Munich Putsch

In prison, Hitler has time to reflect. He realised he would have to change his strategy. The party would have to build on recent publicity and win a majority in the polls. He also completed his autobiography, Mein Kampf, which included his political views;

  • Treaty of Versailles - abolition of the hated treaty
  • Social Darwinism - German/Aryan 'master race' superior to 'inferior races' especially Jews.
  • Anti-Semitism - Jews had to be eliminated from Germany.
  • Anti-Communist - The November Criminals had 'stabbed Germany in the back'.
  • Lebensraum - create a 'Greater Germany'.
  • Volksgemeinschaft - People's community.
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Developments of the Nazi party, 1924-29

Hitler had the ban on the Nazi party lifted on his release from prison. he quickly began to develop the party;

  • Schutzstaffel(**) - personal bodyguard
  • Hitler Youth - to attract younger members
  • Weimar - attacked their weaknesses which attracted support.
  • Members - 27,000 in 1925 turned to over 100,000 in 1928.

Despite the changes, the Nazis only won 12 seats in 1928. Lack of success was mainly due to the economic recovery due to the Chancellor Gustav Stresemann. The policies dissuaded people from voting for extremist parties.

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Origins of the Nazi Party

1919 - Founded by Anton Drexler as the German Workers Party. Right-wing, nationalistic party,

Sept 1919 - Hitler attended his first meeting. Was invited to join.

1920 - Hitler was put in charge of propaganda.

Feb 1920 - Wrote 'Twenty-Five Point Programme' with Drexler.

1921 - Hitler became leader. Changed the name to National Socialist German Workers Party (NSDAP). Adopted the title Führer. Developed the party symbol (swastika) and introduced the raised arm salute.

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Economic Instability

The Weimar Government claimed it could not pay the £6,600million reparations. Germany experienced a period of inflation.

It started to print more money to be able to pay France and Belgium however the value of the money started to fall. As a result of this french and Belgian forces occupied the Ruhr in 1923.

Inflation turned into hyperinflation.

Gustav Stresemann became Chancellor in 1923 and set up a new currency (Rentenmark). The new currency and loans from the USA led to economic recovery.

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The Weimar Republic

9th November 1918 - Kaiser abdicated. Germany became a Republic.

11th November 1918 - Armistice signed, end of WW1. However it was not welcomed by all Germans.

Berlin faced armed unrest and so the newly elected Constituent Assembly met for the first time in Weimar. Giving it's name to the Weimar Republic.

Lasted from 1919 to 1933. Ruled by a President. Had to battle to keep weak and unstable governments in office.

The Republic faced many weaknesses.

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Weaknesses of the Weimar

  • Appointment of Chancellor - Chosen by President. Mean't to be the leader of the largest party. After 1930 Hindenburg chose Chancellors who did not lead the largest partys.
  • Changes of Government - 9 elections during the republic. Two each year in 1923 and 1932. Resulted in weak and unstable government.
  • President's Power - Could use Article 48('state of emergency'). Dangerous as laws could be passed without approval of the Reichstag.
  • Coaltion goverment - Use of proportinal representation made it difficult to achieve a overall majority.
  • Voting system - Proportional Represention. Amount of votes = Amount of seats
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Treaty of Versailles

The new government had no choice but to sign the treaty. They were not allowed to take part in negotiations. Many Germans hated the terms in the treaty and was viewed a a great humiliation. The treaty contained 440 clauses the main were;

  • Territory - Lost 13% of its land(coal 16%, agriculture 15%, iron 14%). 6 million people were no longer German citizens.
  • Reparations - Allies were keen to make the Germans pay for the war. Forced to sign 'blank cheque'. Settled at £6,600million.
  • Armamnets - Army reduced to 100,000, 6 warships. No airforce. No conscription. Rhineland demilitarized.
  • War Guilt - Held entirely responsible for war.
  • Leauge of Nations - Germany not allowed to join.
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Recovery of the Weimar Republic

Recovery encouraged support for Weimar. Less for extremist parties.

August 1924 - Reparations payments lowered through Dawes Plan. Made the payments more managable.

1929 - Young Plan. payments were reduced by 3/4. Length of time extended to 59 years.

1924-29 saw greater political stability. However, Germany's recovery depended on the prosperity of the USA.

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