After World War I, Germany was left in a state of crisis. The country suffered defeat in a war it was portrayed to be winning. It had also undergone a revolution. When the war ended Germany needed a new government to create stability and restore nationalism in a country that seemed drained of pride. The Weimar Republic was the first candidate to rise to the occasion. Weimar Germany is the democracy that rose after Germany’s defeat in World War I. The Republic came into power being forced to bear the economic burdens placed on Germany after the war. The unrealistic burdens were enacted on Germany following the Treaty of Versailles. The countries youth was left in shambles only knowing the way of war and longing for revenge in a nation that was given seemingly no chance for survival. The storm of crisis leftover from a fallen Germany created the perfect scenario for Hitler and the Nazi Regime to rise to power.
Hitler was able to create a successful political party by using the crisis throughout the country to his advantage. One example of this is by exploiting how the loss of the first war impacted Germany’s youth. The youth of the nation during World War I were becoming the voice of the nation, now being old enough to vote. This youth was one that had not seen the real implications of war and simply thought of it as a game of sorts. The Germans were being portrayed to win the war for a long period of time, but they were eventually pushed into submission. The youth was in distress in realizing that the country that they had believed in and cheered on had been defeated. Haffner displayed his disbelief when he said, “The fact that such a thing could happen to “us,” not as an isolated incident but as the final result of victory upon victory, just would not fit in my head”(Haffner 27). The youth desired to take revenge against its enemies and to earn that sense of nationalism back. Hitler used this desire for pride to fuel his campaign. He used the term “Volksgemeinschaft” or, peoples community, as what he saw as the future for Germany under the Nazi Party. He spoke of creating a strong leadership and having racial selectivity to create this people’s community. One thing that Hitler spoke of as a goal was a War of Conquest for “Lebensraum”, or living space. This was a goal that interested the Germany that still desired that sense of nationalism. Conquest of foreign lands to return power to Germany was an idea that many Germans believed was deserved for their nation. Hitler used all of these small ideas to influence the population of Germany and reach his desired goals. But this was only one of the ways that Hitler used crisis to fuel his party in it’s advance to power.
Another way that Hitler was able to use crisis to his advantage is his quest to bring the Nazi Party to power was overcoming the weak government of Weimar Germany. Weimar Germany was the democratic government that rose to power after the end of World War I. This government did not have the best means of starting and becoming a successful system. The Weimar Republic was born from defeat and was forced into peace. The Republic came to power when the political parties were in conflict with one another. Not only were the two main parties in conflict, but the democratic party itself was in an internal conflict. Weimar Germany faced threats from both the left and the right. Spartacus Revolt and the Munich Soviet Republic were two threats from the left side of the government. Kapp Putsch and Hitler’s Beer Hall Putsch a couple of threats from the right side of the government. This caused a tear between the two sides of government and a quick route for Hitler and Nazi Germany to climb to the top of politics. In 1923 something astonishing happened to the German currency with a catastrophic hyperinflation. However this did not last long, the economy stabilized in late 1923. Although Weimar Germany had regained a stable economy it was still lacking something to drive it forwards. Epstein stated, “…the economy was organized in cartels that fixed prices, marketing, and production and thus undermined free enterprise”(Epstein 18). Weimar Germany’s economy had become stable but still had little faith from its people due to the lack of competition. Then in late 1929, the New York Stock Exchange collapsed and the United States went into an economic depression. The United States was forced to pull its loans from German businesses and the German economy began to collapse. Epstein said, “The Depression sealed the fate of the Weimar Republic – and opened the door to Nazi triumph”(Epstein 33). Hitler realized the lack of faith the country had in its government and used it to his advantage. Hitler stated in his manifesto, “The parties of industry and big business promised the salvation of the German economy, of German Industry: The German economy and the whole of German industry is going under!”(Hitler 42). Hitler used this fall of the German economy and the lack of trust the people of Germany had with the Weimar Republic to sway the opinion of average German citizens. He proposed solutions and the German people wanted something new. Hitler was successful with swaying votes and with the split of votes between the left and the right he was able to bring the Nazi Party to victory. The crisis of the government of Germany helped the Nazi Party seize power.
The storm of crisis leftover from a fallen Germany created the perfect scenario for Hitler and the Nazi Regime to rise to power. The ignorant youth from World War I desiring revenge against its enemies and a return of German nationalism along with the Weimar Republic that some say was doomed from the start created a series of endless crisis in Germany. Hitler and the Nazi Regime used this crisis to catapult the party into power and win an election. The Nazi party thrived in crisis and may not have gained power without it.
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