The Rise of the Nazi Party

Background for the Rise of the Nazi Party

  • The Treaty of Versailles placed full blame for World War I on Germany and imposed heavy reparations. This led to discontent among Germans and opened the door for extremist political parties.

  • The Weimar Republic, established in 1919, was seen as weak and ineffective. The republic faced numerous challenges, including hyperinflation and political chaos.

  • The global Great Depression in 1929 hit Germany hard, leading to high unemployment rates and exacerbating public dissatisfaction.

Formation and Ideology of the Nazi Party

  • In 1920, the German Workers’ Party transformed into the National Socialist German Workers’ Party (NSDAP), also known as the Nazi Party. Adolf Hitler emerged as a key figure and spokesperson.

  • The Nazis proposed a 25-point program that included the uniting of all Germans living in Europe, the abolition of the Treaty of Versailles, and the exclusion of Jews from citizenship.

  • The Nazi party promoted nationalism, anti-Semitism, anti-communism, and the concept of racial purity. Their ideology was attractive to many facing the harsh realities of the Depression.

Hitler’s Rise to Power

  • In 1923, Hitler and the Nazi party attempted to seize power during the failed Beer Hall Putsch. Hitler was arrested and wrote ‘Mein Kampf’ in jail, which laid out his vision for Germany.

  • The Nazis slowly gained support through Hitler’s charismatic speeches and well-planned propaganda campaigns. They exploited public fear of communism and the anger towards the Treaty of Versailles.

  • In 1933, Hitler was appointed as Chancellor by President Hindenburg. Within a few months, Hitler established a totalitarian state known as the Third Reich.

Consolidation of Nazi Power

  • In 1933, the Reichstag fire allowed Hitler to pass the Enabling Act, giving him the power to pass laws without the approval of the Reichstag. This marked the beginning of a complete Nazi dictatorship.

  • The Night of the Long Knives in 1934 was a purge that solidified Hitler’s absolute power, eliminating potential threats within his party.

  • In 1934, after the death of Hindenburg, Hitler declared himself ‘Führer and Reich Chancellor’. He combined the roles of president and chancellor, creating an absolute dictatorship.

Remember, this is a brief overview of the rise of the Nazi Party. Understanding the context and complexity of this time period in German history is crucial for Content Area 2: Weimar Germany – 1919-1933 and Content Area 3: Nazi Authority and Control, 1933-1945. Dive deeper into these topics, look at primary sources where possible, and pay attention to the sequence of events to gain a full understanding of this period.