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Hitler's Rise to Power

Nazi Germany

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What we will learn today

In this presentation you will learn:
1. Who Hitler was.


What Hitler brought to the Nazi Party.

How the failure of his Beer Hall Putsch helped Hitler.


How Hitler turned the Depression to his advantage.

How the Weimar government helped Hitler gain power.

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Who was Hitler?

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What were the key events that moulded Hitler?

How important do you think each event was in shaping Hitler?

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What did Hitler bring to the Nazi party?

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The Munich Putsch

In 1923, Hitler helped organise the Munich Putsch an attempt to seize control of Munich. The attempt failed dismally. Hitler was arrested for treason and thrown into prison. However, in the long run the whole affair actually helped to strengthen his position!

Photograph courtesy of the Imperial War Museum, London.

His trial gave publicity to the Nazi movement.

He reviewed and altered his political philosophy. We will now investigate each of these in more detail.
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The Munich Putsch Hitlers trial

1. Hitlers trial gave publicity to the Nazi movement.

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The Munich Putsch Mein Kampf

2. Hitler reviewed his political philosophy.

Whilst locked away in prison he dictated a book to one of his most faithful followers, Rudolf Hess. He entitled this book Mein Kampf (My Struggle). In it, he developed two important principles.
The Fuhrer Principle Hitler argued that to be successful, his party needed one all-powerful leader (fuhrer) in other words, Hitler himself!

The Reichstag Principle Hitler argued that outright rebellion would never destroy the system. Instead, it would be necessary to hold our noses and enter the Reichstag [parliament] in other words, get elected and then destroy the system from within.
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Continued weakness, 192428

Despite Hitlers efforts, the Nazis remained a minor political force.

In 1924 they had 5% of the seats in the Reichstag.

In 1928 they had less than 2% even the Communists had four times as many seats!

One reason for this was that Stresemann had helped to stabilize the country:
1924: Dawes Plan eases the reparations bill. 1925: Locarno Treaties improve relations with France. 1926: Germany allowed to join the League of Nations.
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Impact of the Depression, 192932

What changed everything was the worldwide Depression.

In 1929, the Wall Street Crash caused the US stock market to collapse. This led to a terrible chain reaction that threw the whole world into an economic crisis. Germany was hit particularly hard because the country had borrowed a lot of money to pay for reparations.

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The Depression spread

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Reaction of the Nazis: Fresh propaganda

It was during the Depression that the Nazis really started to use propaganda political advertising effectively.

This was particularly the case in 1932, when Hitler ran for president and came a very close second to Hindenburg.
Posters were produced depicting Hitler as Germanys last hope. Planes were used to help him travel all over Germany to deliver rousing speeches. Radio was used to help him reach an even wider audience. The mastermind behind this campaign was Josef Goebbels.

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Reaction of the Nazis: Mass appeal

However, propaganda is only effective if it is publicizing popular policies. The Nazis came up with policies that appealed to many ordinary Germans.

1. End unemployment Hitler promised to provide jobs for the thousands of Germans who had become unemployed as a result of the depression.
2. Tear up Versailles Hitler said that he would break the hated Treaty of Versailles and make Germany great again. 3. Blame the Jews Hitler gave the desperate German people someone to blame for the depression and the 1918 defeat. He blamed the Jews.

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Reaction of the Nazis: Fresh policies

Hitler also identified several key groups in German society that it was important for him to win over.

Hitler, with the help of Goebbels, made sure the Nazi message targeted these key groups of voters. People in the Cities The slogan Work, Freedom, Bread was used to convince workers that the Nazis were focused on the needs of the industrial class.
People in the Countryside The slogan Blood and Soil was used to convince rural voters that the Nazis believed that the German nation sprang from the farming class.

Suggest a slogan that the Nazis could have used to win the votes of women. Explain your choice.
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Reaction of the Weimar Republic: Indecision

Whilst Hitler responded brilliantly to the crisis created by the Depression, the Weimar Republic did not. Parliament Proportional Representation (PR): The electoral system meant that Reichstag seats were split between many parties. No party could get a majority, so weak, indecisive coalition governments were formed. President Article 48: The president had emergency powers, but his advisers discouraged him from raising unemployment benefits, fearing another hyperinflation crisis like the one which had hit Germany in 1923.

Discussion point: In 1923 Germany suffered an inflationary crisis. In 1929 it suffered a deflationary crisis. What is the difference?
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Reaction of the Weimar Republic: Hitler

As well as pursuing unpopular policies, the Weimar Republic made a terrible mistake in appointing Hitler as chancellor in January 1933 even though he had made it clear that he hated democracy. What makes this decision even more surprising is that:

Support for the Nazi party was declining

Germany was coming out of the Depression President Hindenburg had nothing but contempt for Hitler, who he called a little Bohemian corporal.

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How and why was Hitler appointed chancellor?

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How did Hitler get to power?

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