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Discuss Hitler in relation to the Weimar Republic


Hitler entered German politics around the time the Weimar Republic was formed. By the time the Nazi Party was founded in 1920, he was growing in influence and became an opponent of the Weimar government.


discuss Hitler becoming the voice of the German Workers Party

  • Hitler began his political career in the German Workers Party which was a nationalist party led by Anton Drexler
  • He joined in 1919 when he was still in the German army
  • He became known for his talent as a passionate and skilled speaker and crowds gathered to hear him talk
  • The German Workers Party began to rely on him to get new party members and in 1920 he was made chief of propaganda.
  • in 1919 the party had around 60 members and by the end of 1920 it had around 2000
  • in 1920 the party was rebranded as the National Socialist German Worker’s Party (the Nazi Party)
  • In July 1921 Hitler became its leader

the party was a nationalist party, it thought that the interests of Germans should be at the centre of government policy. It was anti-Semitic and was opposed to the Weimar Republic. Above everything, it wanted to restore Germany’s greatness.


what did the Nazi Party do in February 1920


they promoted their policies in the ‘Twenty-Five Point Programme’. as the Nazi party grew in popularity it established an identity that appealed to as many people as possible


what did the twenty five point programme state and what effect did each point have

  • the treaty of Versailles should be abolished
    rejecting the treaty and promoting German greatness gave the party a nationwide appeal
  • all German speakers should be united
  • Only Germans (people with German blood) can be classed as citizens. Jews cannot be citizens
    the programme stressed the superiority of the German people and promoted anti-Semitism
  • improved pensions and land reforms
    the party wanted to raise pensions and improve health and education but only for German people

what did Hitler found in 1921


In 1921 Hitler established his own party militia called the SA (storm troopers). The SA were political thugs. They carried out violent anti-Semitic attacks and intimidated rival political groups. Many people were sacred of them but some Germans admired them.


give a comment and analysis on the development of the Nazi Party’s identity


The Nazis took advantage of economic problems to provide Germans with useful scapegoats like the Jews. The SA gave the party a military feel which made it seem organised and disciplined. It also gave many ex-soldiers a job and a purpose.


what inspired Hitler to carry out the Munich Putsch


in 1922 Mussolini did a successful march on Rome managing to overthrow the Italian government


why did Hitler see 1923 as the perfect time to carry out the Munich Putsch

  • things were going bad for the Weimar Republic and it seemed weak
  • In November 1923 Hyperinflation was at its peak and German people were upset with the government for this
  • many Germans were angry and the French and Belgian invasion of the Ruhr. When the government stopped resistance by ending the strike there in 1923 discontent increased
  • German people were still upset about the loss of the war in 1918-19
  • Germany was unable to pay the reparations of the ToV

By 1923 people wanted any alternative solution to the problems the government were struggling to fix


give a basic outline of the Munich Putsch of 1923


In November 1923 the Nazi’s marched on Munich

  • Hitler’s soldiers occupied a beer hall in the Bavarian city of Munich where local government leaders were meeting. He announced that the revolution had begun
  • the next day Hitler marched into Munich supported by the SA. But news of the revolt had been leaked to the police who were waiting for Hitler. The police fired on the rebels and the revolt quickly collapsed.

why was Hitler been imprisoned for the Munich Putsch a good thing

  • his trial gave him valuable publicity
  • he was able to write a book in prison called ‘Mein Kampf’ (My Struggle) describing his beliefs and ambitions
  • Mein Kampf was vital in spreading Nazi ideology as millions of Germans read it
  • It introduced Hitler’s belief that the Aryan Race was superior to all other races and that all Germans had a right to ‘Lebensraum’ meaning more space to live

why did Hitler change tactics after the Munich Putsch

  • By the mid 1920’s the German economy was starting to recover under Stresemann and as a result general support for the Nazi’s declined and overturning the government through a coup no longer seemed realistic. The dip in support for the Nazi Party between 1924 and 1928 showed how important economic unrest was to Hitler’s success. Nazi ideology thrived when Germany
    was struggling.
  • The Nazi party was banned after the Munich Putsch along with the SA
  • Hitler was released from prison in December 1924 and the ban on the party was lifted in February 1925
  • Hitler re-established the Nazi Party with himself as supreme leader
  • Hitler changes tactics and he now tried to gain control through the democratic system. This involved restructuring the Nazi Party so it could compete more successfully in national elections

in what four ways did Hitler change his tactics with the Nazi Party


In 1926 Hitler held a conference with the Nazi leadership at Bamberg. He was worried the party had become divided and some members of the party wanted to go in a more socialist direction. He made it clear that the party would only follow his agenda

The Nazi party adopted a national framework and became more centralised. In 1926 Hitler appointed leaders called ‘gauleiters’ to run regional branches of the Nazi Party. Gauleiters were controlled by the party leadership in Munich, and supervised district and local branches of the party. This brought every level of the party under Hitler’s control

Nazi propaganda increased and was centrally controlled by the leadership in Munich. This made propaganda campaigns more efficient. In 1926 Hitler re-established the SA and began to use them for propaganda purposes.

The Nazi Party created new organisations for different social groups. In 1926 it founded the Hitler Youth to attract younger voters and it also created societies for different professions like the National Socialist Teachers League. These organisations made different sectors of society feel valued by the party.


how did the wall street crash lead to the great depression


In October 1929 the wall street crash caused the great depression leading to a fall in support for the government
Germany’s economic recovery built on unstable foundations dependent on loans from USA agreed in the Dawes Plan of 1924
After the crash USA suspended future payments and wanted some old loans to be repaid

  • Germany’s economy collapsed without American aid. Industrial production went into decline. Factories closed and banks went out of business
  • There was mass employment. In October 1929 1.6 million people were out of work and by February 1932 there were over 6 million

who was appointed as Chancellor in 1930


In March 1930 the Weimar Republic appointed a new Chancellor, Heinrich Brüning to deal with the crisis. HE introduced tough economic policies to keep inflation from rising like it had done in 1923


why weren’t Brüning’s economic policies popular

  • Brüning increased the cost of imported food to help German agriculture but this also raised food prices
  • Government salaries and pensions were reduced and taxed increased. As many Germans were struggling financially the government seemed to be adding pressure by reducing support.
  • social services were cut back and unemployment benefits were reduced
  • everyday life in Germany seemed to be made worse by Brüning’s policies
  • They were designed to help the economy but they also caused standards of living to fall and Brüning was nicknamed the Hunger Chancellor
  • By 1932 many different sectors of society were discontent with the Weimar government. High unemployment and reduced benefits also meant that the government lost some backing from the working classes who has always formed a large part of their support

do all people think that Brüning’s policies made Germany worse


not all historians think that hi policies made German society worse. Some think the economic crisis was severe that it would have taken years for any improvements to be seen


how did Brüning make the government less democratic

  • Brüning’s economic policies were so unpopular that he had difficulty passing them in the Reichstag. He began to rely on Article 48 of the Weimar constitution. Brüning asked President Hindenburg to suspend the constitution so he could make decisions without parliamentary approval. Weimar no longer felt like a democracy and the German people felt neglected. They began to look towards alternative political parties like the Nazi Party and the Communist Party. The desperation caused by the economic Depression in Germany in the 1920s and 1930s meant that the German people were willing to consider any political party that promised something different
  • By 1932 Brüning was regularly bypassing Parliament to force his economic measures through

what did popular discontent with the Weimar government and economic instability mean


that many Germans had lost faith in democracy creating an opportunity for extremist parties to grow


discuss the support for the Nazi Party and the KPD (the Communist Party of Germany)


the KPD and the Nazi Party both grew in popularity after the Great Depression. Both Parties compete for the support of the Germans hit hard by the economic crisis. Between 1928 and 1932 membership of the KPD grew from 130,000 to almost 300,000. However Nazi Party membership grew even more rapidly and soon the KPD got left behind


what was an important factor in the Nazi’s popularity


Hitler’s personality
Hitler was patriotic and energetic and was able to effectively convey his enthusiasm to his supporters. His speeches brought hope to those who listened. In the Nazi’s 1932 election campaigns, Hitler was depicted as Germany’s saviour. He stood up to the Weimar government and opposed the ‘threat’ of communism


discuss the Nazi Party appealing to many different groups in society


the Nazis promised a more prosperous and less humiliating future which was very popular amongst the German people, by 1930 membership had grown to over 300,000

  • after the onset of the Depression Nazi popularity soared. Hitler’s promise to make Germany great again appealed to the ranks of unemployed and young people who wanted a brighter future. After the Depression more Germans began to vote. Participation in elections increased by around 10% between 1928 and 1932. Many of these new voters were attracted by the changes the Nazi Party promised.
  • Some people also supported the Nazis anti-communist and anti-Semitic views. Communists and Jews were useful scapegoats for Germany’s economic problems and gave Germans someone to blame
  • some wealthy businessmen who had lost out in the Great Depression turned to the Nazi Party. They approved of the Nazi’s anti-communist stance and wanted the economic prosperity Hitler has promised.

discuss the Nazi party been well organised

  • By the 1930s the Nazi Party seemed strong and organised in comparison to the Weimar government. The SA held demonstrations, distributed propaganda and appeared more disciplined than they had been in the early 1920s. The Nazi party became more respectable and this helped Hitler secure support from the middle classes.
  • Propaganda was very efficient. It often focused on regional issues and targeted specific groups. This made individuals feel valued by the party and stole votes from smaller parties.

as the depression got worse…..


political instability grew with several parties competing for power in the elections of 1932


discuss Hindenburg refusing to give the Nazis power

  • By April 1932 economic conditions had worsened. The country was desperate for a strong government
  • President Hindenburg had to stand for re-election because his term of office had run out. He was a national hero but Hitler decided to run against him. Despite claiming he’d win easily Hindenburg didn’t win majority in the first election. In the second ballet he won 53% beating Hitler’ 36.8%
  • In May 1932 Chancellor Bruning was dismissed and replaced by Franz von Papen
  • In the elections of July 1932 the Nazis became the most popular party in the Reichstag. Hitler demanded to be made Chancellor but Hindenburg didn’t trust him and refused his request.
  • This could have been a dead end for Hitler as Hindenburg was the only one who could legally appoint him Chancellor of Germany

how did Hitler finally become Chancellor

  • The Nazis lost 34 seats in the November 1932 election and seemed to be losing popularity
  • December 1932 Hindenburg replaced Papen with one of his advisors Kurt von Schleicher.
  • Schleicher tried to cause divisions in the Nazi Party by asking another leading Nazi to be Vice-Chancellor - George Strasser. But Hitler stopped Strasser accepting
  • Papen resented Schleicher because he suspected Schleicher had persuaded Hindenburg to dismiss him. He wanted to get back into government so he made a deal with Hitler.
  • They agreed that if Papen persuaded Hindenburg to make Hitler Chancellor then Hitler would make Papen Vice-Chancellor
  • In January 1933 Papen persuaded Hindenburg to replace Schleicher with Hitler as Papen argued they could control Hitler and use him as a puppet but he was very wrong
  • In 1933 Papen said ‘in two months time we will have pushed Hitler so far into a corner he’ll be speaking’

what are the two different interpretations of Hitler’s rise to power


‘After the onset of the Great Depression, Germans were willing to support any strong extremist party as an alternative to the democratic Weimar government’
After the Great Depression both the Nazi Party and the Communist Party became more popular and moderate parties like the SPD dropped off

‘There was only one credible party to turn to after the Great Depression hit - the Nazi Party. It was the only party with a charismatic leader who had mass appeal’
The Nazi party grew more rapidly than any other party after 1928. Hitler’s passion and energy made the Nazis stand out and support for the KPD simply couldn’t keep up.