Hitler & His Rise to Power

Hitler was appointed chancellor January 1933.

How did Hitler rise to supremacy?

Economic Depression

After the Wall Street Crash of 1920, the economy of the United States weakened dramatically. As a result the US called in its loans to Germany, and the German economy collapsed. Numerous businesses went broke and an estimated six million people were out of work. Farmers were unable to sell crops to people who couldn’t buy them, and so many banks were forced to shut down. Poverty gradually spread throughout the globe. This era in time is known as the ‘Great Depression’. During this time thousands of people were dying from malnutrition and other hunger-related diseases, and the Bruning government failed to take action efficiently, passing tax increases and restraints rather than spending. Desperate, defenceless citizens soon became frantic for changes and Hitler promised a recovery for the German economy and for the future of all Germans. Therefore as public dissatisfaction with the economic circumstances and the government grew increasingly strong, there was a rapid increase in voter support for Hitler and his Nazi Party.


Recruited by Hindenburg

It’s deemed Hitler didn’t actually take power; instead it was handed to him. In the elections of November 1932, the Nazi Party failed to get a majority of seats in the Reichstag (German imperial government). Votes for the Nazi Party fell from 230 seats to just 196. Hitler began contemplating suicide however was soon rescued by Paul von Hindenburg, Germany’s second president. Franz von Papen, a friend of Paul Hindenburg’s, was chancellor at the time. But Franz was unable to receive enough support in his government. Hindenburg and Franz Von Papen resorted to govern through emergency decree under Article 48 of the German Constitution. Hitler was offered the post of vice-Chancellor if he pledged to back them. Although, Hitler refused this offer and demanded to be made Chancellor of Germany. And so, Franz Von Papen and Paul Hindenburg took a chance with Hitler. On the 30th of January 1933, Hindenburg announced Hitler the new Chancellor of Germany, with the impression he could have power over Hitler’s actions.


Personal Qualities

Hitler was a strong speaker. He’s known to have a talent for organizing, and the skills of an outdone politician. Hitler’s eyes were known to have a strange control over people, and the image of his deadly eyes had an unexplainable effect which made citizens feel compelled to agree with the prejudice views he put out. Adolf Hitler was an ambitious, unstable and impulsive man who alleged that he’d been called by God to become ruler of Germany and ultimately rule humankind. This was a reminder for himself for when people tried to get him to give up and surrender. Thus, the strong self-belief and confidence he had within himself persuaded the public to put their trust in him as he had within himself. As a man of extreme conviction, throughout the 1930s as people were so doubtful and discouraged with the conditions they faced, to see a man so certain and secure, was a reassurance. Hitler wasn't known for chasing women or doing drugs. He was cruel and ready to murder any political opponent.

What happened when Hitler was in power?

Kristallnacht

Once Hitler was in power he conducted an event known as ‘Kristallnacht’ (The Night of the Broken Glass) to commence from November the 9th to the 10th, 1938 throughout Germany, annexed Austria, and in areas of the Sudetenland in Czechoslovakia occupied by German troops. Kristallnacht was an incident where the Nazis in Germany vandalized Jewish homes, schools and businesses, and torched synagogues. The Nazis killed an approximate number of 100 Jews. The outcome of Kristallnacht was that around 30 000 Jewish men were arrested, and then sent to Nazi concentration camps. After Kristallnacht, circumstances for German Jews progressively worsened. Although the Kristallnacht officially ended on the 10th of November, the violence continued for several more days. Kristallnacht was a result of a Polish-Jewish student, Herschel Grynszpan, murdering a German diplomat, Ernst vom Rath. The news of Ernst’s death reached Hitler two days later, in Munich, Germany.


World War II

As Hitler was head of German Government from 1933 to 1945, he took part in the famous World War II. Hitler’s pact with Joseph Stallin allowed him to invade Poland, triggering WWII. While Stalin was busy annexing Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia to the USSR and attacking eastern Poland, Hitler fulfilled the nonaggression pact up until he found it fitting to attack the USSR in June 1941. In mid December, he undertook personal authority of war tactic, ultimately leading to catastrophe. Hitler also refused to declare defeat at the battle of Stalingrad (now known as Volograd), causing a great number of German troops to die. The surge of war soon turned against Hitler, and so he sped up the killing of the Jewish people. Although, this gave rising power to Heinrich Himmler, the secret police, the Gestapo and the SS.


The Holocaust

Once in power Hitler carried out the Holocaust. The Holocaust was the German government sponsored persecution and murder of six million Jews by the Nazi regime, supported by Adolf Hitler. As the Nazis believed the Jews were inferior, a threat to Germany and the cause for the economic issues, an event was designed to get rid of the so-called “problem”. During the Holocaust, German authorities also targeted additional groups because of their apparent “racial inferiority”, these groups consist of the Roma (Gypsies), the disabled, Communists, Socialists, Jehovah’s witnesses and homosexuals. To do so, the German government created ghetto’s, transit camps, and enforced labour camps for Jews where they would either die from starvation or from being overworked, where their bodies would give up on them and shut down. A more direct approach to killing the Jewish population was when the German SS and police units deported millions of Jews from Germany to exterminations camps, where they were murdered in specially developed gassing chambers.

At the risk of appearing to talk nonsense I tell you that the National Socialist movement will go on for 1,000 years! ... Don't forget how people laughed at me 15 years ago when I declared that one day I would govern Germany. They laugh now, just as foolishly, when I declare that I shall remain in power!

— Adolf Hitler to a British correspondent in Berlin, June 1934

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The shattered stained glass windows of the Zerrennerstrasse synagogue after its destruction on Kristallnacht. Pforzheim, Germany, ca. November 10, 1938.

— Stadtarchiv Pforzheim