The Early Years and Rise of the Nazi Party

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Hitler's early ideas

  • Dolchstass - Stab in the back.
  • Disgust of the Treaty of Versailles.
  • Hatred of Weimar - overthrow the government.
  • Hatred of the November Criminals - people who signed the Armistice.
  • Thought there was a Communist-Jewish conspiracy bent on destroying Germany.
  • Crush the Communists.
  • Jews - scapegoats, subhuman.
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SA - Sturmabteilung

  • Set up in 1921.
  • Led by Ernst Rohm.
  • Brownshirts/Stormtroopers.
  • Protected Nazi speakers at political meetings from attacks by rival political groups.
  • Used violence.
  • Rohm killed on the Night of the Long Knives.
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The Munich Putsch


  • Weak Weimar blamed for hyperinflation.
  • Detested Treaty of Versailles.
  • Hitler had support form General Ludendorff and the SA.
  • Hitler was confident of support from von Kahr and the army in Bavaria.
  • 8 November 1923.
  • Hitler and 2000 SA men marched through Munich with General Ludendorff.
  • The police fired on them.
  • Hitler realised that violent revolution (Putsch) wouldn't work.
  • Hitler and Ludendorff were put on trial.
  • Hitler's trial gave him national publicity to critisise the November Criminals, the Treaty of Versailles and the Jewish Bolshevists.
  • Hitler was sentenced to five years in prison but only served nine months.
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Mein Kampf

Hitler needed to gain power by legal methods.

  • People's community - the 'master race' would dominate the 'inferior races'.
  • The Aryans were superior to the Jews.
  • Abolition of the Treaty of Versailles.
  • Lebensraum - living space, all German-speaking people would be united into one nation.
  • Anti-Semitism - Jews were the problem and needed to be eliminated form Germany.
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Economic problems and recovery of the Weimar Repub


  • Couldn't keep up with reparation payments.
  • German industry was weak, which led to strikes.
  • The goverment printed more money which led to inflation.
  • France and Belguim occupy the Ruhr, which was Germany's industry area.
  • This led to HYPERINFLATION.


  • Loans from the USA.
  • Dawes Plan - lowers reparations.
  • Weimar is stable so there is less support for extemist groups.
  • Nazis had 32 seats in 1924 but only had 12 seats in 1928.
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Wall St. Crash and Depression

  • Loans - US recalled their loans.
  • German exports fell rapidly.
  • Mass unemployment - 6 million people in 1932, 2.1 million in 1928.
  • Germans were unable to pay their rents and found themselves homeless.
  • Four out of every ten Germans were without a job.

The government finaced unemployment relief but it's revenue began to shrink and there was the threat of benefit cuts.

In desperation, people began to turn to the extemist parties and, in the September 1930 election the Nazis had 107 seats in the Reichstag.

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  • Josef Goebbels - Nazi Minister of Propaganda.
  • Promised everything to everyone.
    • Working class - solve unemployment, provide a decent wage, work and bread.
    • Upper class - protect against communism, allow them to keep their wealth and status.
    • Industrialists - protect against communism, curb the growth of trade unions.
  • Technology - mass rallies, radio, plane, posters, newspapers.
  • Speeches.
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Appeal of Hitler

  • Leader (Fuhrer) - provide stong leadership instead of the weak Weimar government.
  • Saviour - who will solve the problems facing Germany.
  • Gifted public speaker.
  • Promising to all sections of German society.
  • Blamed scapegoats for Germany's problems - Jews and Communists
  • Charisma.
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Political Scheming

July 1932 - Von Papen made Chancellor.                                                                  - Nazis have 230 seats.

November 1932 - Von Papen calles an election, as he is unable to                                      obtain a majority.                                                                                     - Nazis have 196 seats.

December 1932 - Von Schleicher made Chancellor.

January 1933 - Hindenburg appoints Hitler as Chancellor and von                                   Papen as vice-chancellor in a Nazi-Nationalist                                          government.

Hitler had obtained power by legal and democratic means.

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Nazi Elections

May 1928 - 12 seats.

September 1930 - 107 seats.

July 1932 - 230 seats (became the largest party).

November 1932 - 196 seats (Von Papen called the election).

March 1933 - 288 seats (Hitler became Chancellor). 

Presidential elections in March 1932:

Hindenburg - 19.3 million votes.

Hitler - 13.4 million votes.

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