Adolf hitler
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ADOLF HITLER. Born in 1889 Braunau, Austria Father was moderately well-off customs official Intelligent but did not do well in school. YOUNG MAN HITLER. Turned down for admission to Austrian Academy of Graphic Arts Worked as wall-paper hanger and painted and sold postcards

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Adolf hitler


  • Born in 1889

  • Braunau, Austria

  • Father was moderately well-off customs official

  • Intelligent but did not do well in school

Young man hitler


  • Turned down for admission to Austrian Academy of Graphic Arts

  • Worked as wall-paper hanger and painted and sold postcards

  • Compulsive; did not smoke; drank rarely; vegetarian; perhaps a lady’s man

  • Joined German army in 1914

    • Wounded in 1916

    • Decorated three times for bravery

    • Superiors found him unfit for promotion to officer rank

Post war hitler


  • Moved to Munich after war

  • Joined German Workers’ Party

    • Became leader of group by 1920

    • Renamed it National Socialist German Workers’ Party (Nazi Party)

  • Organized paramilitary branch known as “SA”

    • Sturmabteilungen

    • Led by Ernst Rohm

    • Offered comradeship and outlet for violence to frustrated veterans

Beerhall putsch


  • November 9, 1923

  • Hitler and Nazis try to seize power in Munich and then march on Berlin

  • Loyal troops put down putsch easily

  • Hitler is arrested and sentenced to five years in prison

    • Only served one year

    • Turned to “legal” tactics to build support

Mein kampf


  • Germany had been “stabbed in the back” by Jews and Communists during WWI

  • Solution

    • Germany had to rearm

    • Germany had to conquer “lebenstraum” to the east and south at the expense of the racially inferior “Slavs”

    • Germany would then draw on the resources of its expanded territory to reassert its rightful place in the world

Moving to the right


  • Nazis convinced Germans that their problems did not come from the fact that Germany had fought in WWI

    • But from the fact that Germany had not won WWI

  • In early years, Nazis appealed most to lower middle class

    • But still only won 3% of vote in 1928 elections

  • Political center was nonetheless starting to crumble

    • Witnessed by popularity of National People’s Party

    • Caused partly by death of Stresemann

The great depression


  • All economic progress since 1923 was undone overnight

    • Business failures

    • Skyrocketing unemployment

    • Devastated prices

  • Eroded support for the centrist coalition in the Reichstag

    • Coalition collapses in March 1930

    • President Hindenburg declares state of emergency and rules by decree

Post depression elections

September 1930

Nazis receive 18% of vote and win 107 seats in Reichstag

Communists also increase their percentage of vote and seats in Reichstag

Social Democrats lose seats (but remain largest party in Reichstag with 143 seats)

May 1932

Hitler challenges Hindenburg in presidential election

Hitler loses elections but still garnered 11 million votes

Hindenburg: 13.5 million

Communist candidate: 4 million


Elections of november 1932


  • Franz von Papen named Chancellor in June 1932

  • Calls for new elections in November 1932

  • Results

    • Nazis emerge as largest party in Reichstag (192 seats)

    • Social Democrats (121)

    • Communists (100)

    • Catholic Party (90)

  • Footnote: Nazis received 2 million less votes than they had in the 1932 presidential election

We ve hired hitler


  • Van Papen resigns, replaced by Kurt von Schleicher in December 1932

  • Von Schleicher resigns and von Papen returns as chancellor

    • Tries to create coalition government with Nazis

    • Convinced Hindenburg to appoint Hitler as chancellor while von Papen remained vice-chancellor

    • Hitler sworn in as chancellor on January 30, 1933

Reichstag fire


  • February 27, 1933

  • Police arrest deranged homeless Dutch communist with starting fire

  • Hitler persuades Reichstag to vote an emergency decree which suspended all individual rights and which gave him the authority to maintain order by any means necessary

    • Hitler then suspended rights of all those accused of crimes against the state

    • Thousands of Communists then imprisoned or executed without trial

Enabling act


  • March 23, 1933

  • Extended emergency powers that Hitler had received after the Reichstag fire into eternity

  • Transferred all remaining political power that the Reichstag had to the executive branch

    • Eliminated legislature as a branch of government

Attractions of nazism


  • SS(Schutzstaffel)

    • Security units that guarded Hitler

    • Provided means of social mobility for Germans

  • Joining groups like the SS provided young Germans with:

    • Status

    • A chance to wear a special uniform

    • Recognition for their contribution to the Nazi cause

  • Nazis drew members from all walks of life

    • Especially from the various levels of the middle class where status and social mobility were highly valued

Night of the long knives


  • June 30, 1934

  • Purpose was to reduce power of Ernst Rohm and SA

  • Carried out by Gestapo and SS

  • Arrested thousands of key SA members and executed 80 of them (including Rohm)

    • Also arrested a number of leading conservatives and military officers

  • SA was officially disbanded

  • Hitler justified bloodbath by claiming it was necessary to save Germany from a plot designed to destroy her

Der fuhrer


  • Hindenburg dies in August 1934

  • New presidential elections are not held

    • Hitler simply assumed the position of president and chancellor

  • Military swears oath of loyalty

  • 90 % of German voters approve all of this in a referendum on August 19, 1934

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