After the defeat of Germany in the First World War, King Kaiser Wilhelm was forced to abdicate the throne. Free and fair elections were held by the Parliament. The government was formed and a new constitution was adopted, and Germany became a democratic republic. However, no single party was able to secure a majority in the elections. Between 1919 and 1933, 21 ministries headed by 12 Chancellors were formed. The economic condition of the country deteriorated, and there were riots and attempts were made to capture power. In this article, we have discussed Hitler’s Rise and Fall.
Hitler’s Rise to Power and Fall
- Adolf Hitler was an Austrian by birth and had fought for Germany in the First World War. In 1919, he joined a small party’ The German Workers Party’ which later changed its name to the National Socialist Party or the Nazi party. Hitler became the leader of the party.
- He had planned to capture power by marching through Berlin. He was however arrested and jailed. It was during this period that he wrote Mein Kampf.
- After his release, he contested elections in July 1932 but failed to get a majority in the Reichstag (German Parliament). When the government formed under Von Papen could not function for long, President Hindenburg invited Hitler to form the government.
- After the death of Hindenburg, Hitler assumed all powers and adopted the title of ‘Fuhrer’. He abolished the Constitution, and Germany became a dictatorial nation.
- In the Second World War, Hitler was defeated by the Allied powers. He committed suicide in 1945.
Causes Leading to the Rise of Hitler
Humiliating Treaty of Versailles
- Germany was defeated in the First World War and was forced to sign the humiliating Treaty of Versailles.
- Several harsh terms were imposed on Germany by the victorious nations. Its overseas colonies were seized by the Allied powers, he had to pay a huge war indemnity of 33 billion dollars, the Rhine area was demilitarised and many of his mineral territories were captured.
- Hitler openly defied the treaty and asked the Germans to support him into building a new powerful Germany.
Growing Fear of Communism
- The communists had organized themselves in Germany, and they had succeeded in capturing many seats in the Reichstag.
- Hitler criticized the growing influence of communism and asked the Germans to vote for him as Nazis could alone check the rising tide of communism.
- The economic conditions of Germany deteriorated after her defeat in the First World War. Her industrial and agricultural production declined.
- Many countries raised tariffs on German manufactured goods and the number of unemployed youth increased.
- Hitler promised the people of economic restructuring and reorganization of German finances after forming the government.
Rise of Militant Nationalism
Hitler assured the people that he would work to regain the lost glory of Germany and make Germany an all-powerful nation. People thus began to support him.
- Hitler carried on anti-Semitic propaganda. He said that the Jews had conspired with the Allies during the First World War and were responsible for the defeat of Germany.
- Because of his anti-Semitic propaganda, many Germans began to support him.
Charismatic Personality of Hitler
- Hitler had a charismatic personality. He was an excellent orator; through his speeches, he made people believe that only he can work for the upliftment of Germany.
- He was a shrewd politician. He assured the people that their economic woes would come to an end after the formation of the government by the Nazis.
- He devised a new style of politics. Massive rallies and public meetings were held by the Nazis to display the strength of the party. Nazi propaganda also skilfully projected Hitler as a messiah who could deliver people from their distress. He captured the imagination of the Germans.
Absence of Strong Opposition
There was an absence of a strong opposition party in Germany that could challenge the ideologies and plans of the Nazis. As the Nazis did not encounter any effective resistance, Hitler became extremely popular with the people.
Also, Read Rise of Dictatorship