Hitler and Nazi Germany

Glenn Williams, Matt Little

The Great Depression

The Great Depression, which saw a downturn in people's lives, helped to gain support for the Nazi party and by 1932 the Nazi party was the largest party in the Reichstag but did not have a majority. On January 30th 1933 Adolf Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany. A month later on February 27th, the Reichstag building was set alight. The fire was blamed on the Communists and the Communist party was banned in Germany. This gave the Nazis a clear majority in the government.
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Leading Members of Nazi Party

  • Adolf Hitler - Fuhrer

  • Rudolph Hess - Deputy leader (captured in 1941)

  • Hermann Goering - Minister for Air, Commander of the Luftwaffe

  • Heinrich Himmler - Head of the SS, Chief of Police

  • Josef Goebels - Propaganda Minister

  • Reinhard Heydrich - Head of the Gestapo (assassinated 1942)

  • Joachim von Ribbentrop - Foreign Minister

Adolf Hitler

Adolf Hitler was born in the Austrian town of Braunau-am-Inn on 20th April 1889. When he was 18 his mother died from cancer. His father had died four years earlier and with no relatives willing to support him Adolf Hitler found himself living rough on the streets of Vienna. He became interested in politics and was heavily influenced by the climate of anti-Semitism that existed in Austria at that time.

Nazi Germany - Under Hitler's Spell - The Rise of Hitler N01f

The Great Depression

The Nazi party stood for election but initially only gained a small number of seats in the Reichstag (German Parliament). They gained much more support when Germany suffered a financial crisis due to the Great Depression and after Hitler had been appointed Chancellor of Germany in January 1933. They gained support by blaming German problems on Jews, homosexuals, Communists, gypsies, and non-"Aryans" (whites).

The growth is seen on the next link.

Most Known Policy of The Nazi

Jews, homosexuals, gypsies, communists and other 'undesirables' from Germany and Nazi-controlled countries were forced to wear identification badges. Jews were sent to concentration camps where the fit and healthy were put to forced labor while the young, old and sick were exterminated in gas chambers. In January 1942 plans to exterminate the entire Jewish population known as 'The Final Solution' were approved.

The Power of Hitler

During 1933 all political parties other than the Nazi party were banned, membership of the Hitler Youth was made compulsory for all teenagers, local government was taken over by the Nazis and trade unions were banned. The secret police, The Gestapo were also formed. One year later the Night of the Long Knives saw the murder of all SA leaders who disagreed with Hitler's policies.

Following the death of President Hindenburg in August 1934, Hitler combined the post of Chancellor and President to become Fuhrer of Germany. From this point until the Nazi downfall in 1945 it was Hitler as Dictator rather than the Nazi party that held true power. Members of the Nazi Party retained their positions so long as they remained in the favour of Hitler.


Nazi Germany under the leadership of Hitler soon became a dictatorship. A dictatorship requires one person and one party to be in control of a nation and a climate of fear - this was provided by Himmler's SS. Personal freedom disappeared in Nazi Germany.

When Hitler was appointed chancellor on January 30th 1933, it was at the head of a coalition government. It was very clear in his mind that it would not remain this way for long. By the end of March 1933, he had acquired much greater powers than the former leading politicians of the Weimar Republic could ever have foreseen when they supported his appointment as chancellor. The death of President Hindenburg in August 1934, allowed him to combine both chancellor's and president's positions into one when Hitler became the Fuehrer and Reich Chancellor.

EQ #1

How did Hitler stay in power so long?

EQ #2

How did Hitler rise to power?