Adolf Hitler

Leader of the Nazis

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What is Adolf Hitler infamous for?

Adolf Hitler rose to power in German politics as leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party, also known as the Nazi party. Hitler was chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and served as dictator from 1934 to 1945. His policies precipitated World War II and the holocaust.

What kind of leader was Adolf Hitler?

As a leader, Hitler maintained legitimate power, however he could achieve it (Hughes, Ginnett, Curphy). When Hitler joined the Nazi Party, he felt that the leadership was divided and ineffective, paving the perfect path for him to take over. While there were many in the party who disapproved of his personal ambition, most recognized his abilities to generate public attention for the party; therefore, when Hitler threatened to resign in 1921, the other members decided to grant him overall leadership because they knew they needed his expertise.

What is the holocaust?

It was the murdering of 6 million Jews by the Nazis under the control of Hitler.


Holocaust is a Greek origin meaning "sacrifice by the fire".


In January 1933 the Germans believed they were racially superior than the Jews and that they should be executed.


Hitler led it


Jews, gypsies, homosexuals, mentally or physically disabled people, were murdered


It Happened in Germany


Jews were put in ghettos, transit camps, forced-labor camps

Social consequences of WWI

The reaction of many Germans to the ending of the war also had a large impact on German Society. Many of the former soldiers were of the opinion that they had not lost the war, they believed that the army had been cheated. (Hitler later phrased this as 'The Stab in the back'). As a consequence of this many Germans looked for people to blame. Some lay the blame in the hands of the Kaiser. Others, many others, looked to the new Government. They had immediately sued for peace and accepted the terms of the Armistice. For many Germans this showed that they were largely to blame. Other theories that were popular among the former soldiers were that it was the result of Communists or Jews. So in the immediate Post War era, there is a mass of suspicion within Germany. Combined with these factors is the potential threat to the social order. Under the Kaiser the armed forces and aristocratic Prussian elite had enjoyed many privileges. These groups now had to try and reestablish their authority. In a democracy this proves difficult and can lead to further tension.

Economic consequences of WWI

The diagram below shows the debt that Germany was in after the war.


The wages of the workers went down dramatically but the cost of living was raised because of the debt that the country was in. This left the people in distress.

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Political consequences of WWI

This is the most obvious area of change. The war led to the kaiser being forced into abdication. This left a power vacuum that was filled by the Weimar Republic, see last weeks notes. However there were other political consequences of the war that may be less obvious. The food shortages across Germany led to a radicalisation of peoples views. As a result extremist views, such as communism, became widely supported, particularly in the industrial cities. In 1919 there were several Left Wing uprisings; The Spartacist's attempting a revolution in Berlin and a short lived Soviet Republic was formed in Bavaria. The implications of these uprisings are great. The government was forced to make use of a body called the Freikorps This group was made up of disillusioned soldiers, who were right wing in their beliefs. Some historians argue that the methods employed by the government at this early stage of its existence, led partially to the governments fall 14 years later.

What is the Weimar Republic?

Weimar Republic comprised all the essential elements of a perfect democracy.


Strengths:

A Bill of Rights, Men and women over age of 20 given vote

An elected president and elected Reichstag


Weaknesses: Proportional Representation Article 48


Weaknesses: Proportional Representation- Instead of voting an MP, Weimar Germans vote for a party. Each party allocated seats in Reichstag exactly reflecting number of people who had voted it. Resulted in dozens of tiny parties, and with no party strong enough to get majority, there was no government to get its laws passed in Reichstag


Article 48- Stated if in an emergency, president could issue decrees. It was not said what an emergency was, and led to Hitler using it to take power legally

What is the treaty of Versailles?

The Treaty of Versailles was peace settlement signed after WWI ended in 1918. Signed at Versailles Palace near Paris. It was signed between Germany and the Allies. Important politicians there included David Lloyd George, Georges Clemenceau, and Woodrow Wilson. The terms to the treaty are divided into sections.

Territorial Guidelines

The following land was taken away from Germany

1. Alsace-Lorrain given to France

2. Eupen and Malmedy given to Belgium

3. Northern Schleswig given to Denmark

4. Hultschin given to Czechoslovakia

5. West Prussia, Posen and Upper Silesia given to Poland


  1. The Saar, Danzig and Memel were put under control of the League of Nations and the people of these regions would be allowed to vote to stay in Germany or not in a future referendum
  2. The League of Nations also took control of Germany's overseas colonies. Germany had to return to Russia land taken in the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk. Some of this land was made into new states: Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia. An enlarged Poland also received some of this land.

Military Guidelines

  1. Germany's army was reduced to 100,000 men; the army was not allowed tanks
  2. Airforce was not allowed. Allowed only 6 capital naval ships and no submarines. The west of Rhineland and 50 kms east of the River Rhine was made into demilitarized zone (DMZ). No German soldier or weapon was allowed into this zone. Allies were to keep an army of occupation on the west bank of the Rhine for 15 years

Financial Guidelines

  1. The loss of vital industrial territory would be a severe blow to any attempts by Germany to rebuild her economy. Coal from the Saar and Upper Silesia in particular was a vital economic loss.
  2. Germany was forbidden to unite with Austria to form one superstate, in attempt to keep her economic potential to a minimum

General Guidelines

3 Vital Clauses:

  1. Germany had to admit full responsibility for starting the war.
  2. Germany, as it was responsible for starting the war as stated in clause 231, was therefore responsible for all the war damage caused by the First World War. Therefore, it had to pay reparations, the bulk of which would go to France and Belgium to pay for the damage done to the infrastructure of both countries by the war.
  3. A League of Nations was set up to keep world peace

How did Adolf Hitler rise to power?

Hitler was a powerful and spellbinding speaker who attracted a wide following of Germans desperate for change. He promised the disenchanted a better life and a new and glorious Germany. The Nazis appealed especially to the unemployed, young people, and members of the lower middle class (small store owners, office employees, craftsmen, and farmers).

The party's rise to power was rapid. Before the economic depression struck, the Nazis were practically unknown, winning only 3 percent of the vote to the Reichstag (German parliament) in elections in 1924. In the 1932 elections, the Nazis won 33 percent of the votes, more than any other party. In January 1933 Hitler was appointed chancellor, the head of the German government, and many Germans believed that they had found a savior for their nation