Why was Hitler appointed Chancellor in January 1933 On the 30th January 1933, one of the most important events of the twentieth century occurred, Adolf Hitler, leader of the Nazi Party, became Chancellor of Germany. From its foundations as a small, anti-communist party in the aftermath of World War I it was now the leading political party in Germany. Hitler would eventually become Fuhrer and provoke a second world war.
Hitler’s rise to power was based upon long term factors and can not be attributed to one event but a mixture of factors including events occurring outside Germany, the strengths of the Nazi party, the weakness of the other parties within Germany, resentment in the German people, the weakness of the Weimar system which he took advantage of through propaganda, the terror of his storm troopers and the fineness of his speeches. Hitler used these factors to his benefit and in 1933 he legitimately gained power to become chancellor.
November 1923 was when Hitler first tried to seize power in the Munich Putsch he marched to Berlin with his followers to take over control but they never actually left Munich. During this time 16 Nazi’s were killed and 3 policemen. Although Hitler went to prison for this, he used this time to dictate his book ‘Mein Kampf’, he had show trials which boosted propaganda and became an almost celebrity. Hitler was meant to be in jail for 5 years, but was let out after 9 months. By now he was already starting to catch the attention of the public – a strong nationalist leader appealed to them.
In 1929 the American Stock Exchange collapsed and caused an economic depression this was called the Wall Street Crash and led to America calling in all of its foreign loans, which in turn destroyed Weimar Germany. Unemployment then rose to 6 million in Germany. The government cut expenditures, wages and unemployment pay and they started to print more money, by now Germany was in a really bad state and no one knew how they would get themselves out of this rut. Many workers turned to communism which inevitably frightened wealthy businessmen who ‘fueled the fire’ by giving Hitler the money to run his propaganda election campaigns.
Deep anger about the First World War and the Treaty of Versailles created an underlying bitterness to which Hitler’s viciousness and expansionism appealed. Nazi propaganda persuaded the German masses to believe that the Jews were to blame and that Hitler was their last hope. In fact, there were many people in Germany who wanted a return to dictatorship. Hitler was a brilliant speaker; he was a good organiser and politician. He was a driven, unstable man, who believed that he had been called by God to become dictator of Germany and rule the world. This kept him going when other people might have given up.
His self-belief persuaded people to believe in him. Propaganda alone was a really important factor in Hitler’s rise to power, it ‘brainwashed’ the German people into electing them through techniques of persuasion and reinforced existing attitudes and beliefs. Parades, symbols, uniforms, banners, bands and the marching columns of the SA attracted attention and interest. Germans turned to Nazism because they were desperate, the number of Nazi seats in the Reichstag rose from 12 in 1928 to 230 in July 1932. In November 1932 elections the Nazis again failed to get a majority of seats in the Reichstag.
Their share of the vote fell – from 230 seats to only 196. Franz von Papen who was the current Chancellor could not get enough support in the Reichstag, therefore Hindenburg and von Papen were having to govern by emergency decree under Article 48 of the Constitution and offered Hitler the post of vice-Chancellor if he promised to support them. Hitler refused – he demanded to be made Chancellor, so Von Papen and Hindenburg took a risk believing that by having only 2 other Nazis they would be able to keep control. Many people believe that Hitler took control by force but, in actual fact, he was given it.
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