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The Coming of Fascist Germany. Rise of Nazism: Hitler. How important is the individual in History? Borrowed ideas Mussolini, Darwin, Rousseau, Hegel, Nietzche His interpretation of them? Conventional or Unconventional early life? Hitler himself was very vague on his early life Why?

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rise of nazism hitler
Rise of Nazism: Hitler
  • How important is the individual in History?
    • Borrowed ideas Mussolini, Darwin, Rousseau, Hegel, Nietzche
    • His interpretation of them?
  • Conventional or Unconventional early life?
    • Hitler himself was very vague on his early life
      • Why?
      • Significance?
    • Page 55 of Hite and Hinton
post munich 1923 1929
Post Munich1923 - 1929
  • Trial
    • Turned into blistering attack on Versailles, Weimar and Kahr/Lossow
      • Nationwide coverage
      • Sympathetic Right wing judges
      • 5 Years sentence (eligible for parole after 9months)
        • Minimum for Treason
  • 9 Months in Landsberg Prison
    • Open prison
      • Could receive visitors, presents, cards, etc…
    • Dictated Mein Kampf to Hess
    • Temporarily resigned from Party
      • Allowed Strasser, Ludendorff and others fight over what to do next
        • Ride to the rescue on Release?
biding his time before rebuilding
Biding his time before Rebuilding
  • 1925 Presidential election
    • Ludendorff got less than 1% standing on a Nazi ticket
  • Hitler Refounded the party in 1925
    • Lays foundations of FuhrerPrinzip
      • Gave Hitler supreme power over policy and strategy
        • 25 points still kept
      • More formal rituals introduced
        • Uniforms
          • Brown shirts for SA
        • Flags
          • Red, Black and White flags with Swastikas
          • Wind up Communists
          • Same colours as Wilhelmine flag
        • Saluting
          • Heil Hitler (Hess the instigator)
        • Propaganda
          • Image building
organisation of nazis
Organisation of Nazis
  • The more socialist minded Strasser and Goebbels had built up a reasonably strong party structure in Protestant and Trade Union dominated North Germany
    • The Nazis would benefit but from this strategic shift
    • However, Hitler personally now had a viable rivals for the movement
      • Strasser and Goebbels
  • Bamberg conference 1926
    • Divide and rule principle
      • Outmanoeuvred more socialist minded Strasser
      • Promoted the very able Goebbels
creating a movement
Creating a Movement
  • He set up a network of local parties.
    • Gauleiter appointed directly by Hitler
  • He worked with other right-wing parties when necessary.
    • Eg Hugenberg’s DNVP over anti-Young Plan campaign of 1929
    • Hugenberg was the proprietor of a huge media empire
  • He set up the Hitler Youth, to attract young people to the party.
  • He created the SS
    • As a rival to the less than 100% dependable SA
  • He put Josef Goebbels in charge of propaganda
    • Appeal to feelings rather than argument.
    • using traditional and new media
      • posters, leaflets, radio and film, and organised rallies.
  • He cultivated the support of wealthy businessmen
    • promising them that he would destroy Communism and the Trade Unions.
    • This gave him the finance to run his campaigns.
  • Built up the idea of Volksgemeinschaft
hitler s financiers
Hitler’s financiers

Hjalmar Schacht, Head of the Reichsbank, organised fund-raising parties for Hitler.

Fritz von Thyssen, the German steel businessman

Alfred Krupp, the owner of Krupp steel firm

Emil Kirdorf, the coal businessman

IG Farben, the German chemicals firm, gave half the funds for the 1933 elections

The German car firm Opel (now a subsidiary of General Motors)

Schroeder Bank – on Jan. 3, 1933, Reinhard Schroeder met Hitler and asked him to form a government.  

And even some foreign firms including:

Henry Ford of Ford Motors. Hitler borrowed passages from Ford's book The International Jew to use in Mein Kampf and had a picture of Ford on the wall of his office.

Union Banking Corporation, New York (George Bush’s great-grandfather was president of the Corporation)

WA Harriman and Co., the American shipping and railway company (George Bush’s grandfather was vice-president)

Irenee du Pont, head of the American firm General Motors; he advocated the creation of a super-race by spinal injections to enhance children of ‘pure’ blood.

  • The basis of National Socialism
    • National Community
      • Restore hope to all Germans
      • Economic problems would be solved
      • Traditional German values would be promoted
        • The noble peasant and honest small businessmen would be protected
        • Militarism and respect restored to its preeminent position in German society
      • Germans would help themselves
  • Split personality of National Socialism
    • Equal opportunities for all Germans
      • But only pure blood Germans
      • Volksgemeinschaft not available to other lesser peoples
        • Jews particularly excluded
        • Notably, monarchists excluded privately (but not publicly)
the young plan 1929
The Young Plan 1929
  • 1929 Renegotiation of Reparations repayments
    • Actually significantly eased repayments
  • Referendum called
    • Nazis join with Hugenburg’s Nationalist DNVP in denouncing the Young Plan
      • If you supported the Young Plan – you were in favour of the Treaty of Versailles
    • Hugenburg owned a vast media empire
      • Gave Nazis first significant nationwide exposure
      • Also gave Nazis some nationalist credibility by being identified with Hugenburg and anti-Treaty campaign
    • Only received 14% in referendum
      • But
        • Nazis identified as being a serious opponent to the Government
the wall street crash
The Wall Street Crash
  • America sneezes
    • 1929 Sudden collapse in Wall Street Shares
      • Widespread panic selling
      • Urgent need for US investors to repatriate capital invested abroad
  • Germany Catches a cold
    • US short term loans had been invested in long term projects in Germany
    • Severe difficulties for German companies in covering capital outflows
    • Deflationary effect on economy
      • Germans still worried about Hyperinflation
        • Deficit financing frowned upon
        • Classical economic model praised balanced budgets
      • Massive layoffs and unemployment ensue
  • Paramilitary units blossom
    • Brownshirts offer food, clothing and accommodation for recruits
      • Likewise
        • Stahlhelm
        • Communist Red Shirts
        • SPD’s Reichsbanner
  • Bored, hungry, desperate recruits joined these paramilitary groups and fought proxy battles in the streets
  • Violence bred violence
  • Authorities losing control of large sectors of urban centres
mass unemployment
Mass Unemployment
  • Registered unemployed increased from:
    • 1.6 million in October 1929
    • 6.12 million by February 1932
    • In fact, it was probably nearer 8 million in total (33% of working population)
    • Including dependants, 23 million people were directly effected by unemployment
  • Germany’s Insurance system stretched to breaking point and beyond
    • Only designed with 800,000 in mind
    • Increased governmental expenditures when government trying to balance books.
fall of m ller government 1930
Fall of Müller Government, 1930
  • Dispute over Unemployment benefit
    • Right wing DVP wanted to cut back unemployment payments
      • Balance books as per classical economic orthodoxy
    • Left Wing (Trade Union sympathetic) SPD wanted to protect unemployment benefits
  • Fundamental disagreement plus increasing lawlessness in Germany lead to resignation of Muller government
    • March 1930
br ning government
Brüning Government
  • President Hindenburg appointed Centrist/liberal government under Brüning
    • Imposed austerity budget
      • i.e. cuts to balance budget
      • Defeated by parliament but passed by Article 48 (presidential decree)
      • Parliament still protested so Hindenburg dissolved parliament and called for new elections
the nazi party s first electoral breakthrough
The Nazi Party’s First Electoral Breakthrough
  • Nazis win 107 seats
    • Up from 12 in previous election
  • Although Communists also do well
    • Up to 77 seats
  • Nazis not tainted by association with government policies
    • Purely oppositional
    • Seem to offer an alternative
    • Soup kitchens, brown shirts, etc… seem to offer some practical examples of their good intentions
br ning government hobbles along
Brüning Government hobbles along
  • Pro-Republic parties do poorly in elections
  • Brüning needs to have tacit support of SPD to avoid being voted down by anti-Republic parties
    • i.e. Nazis and Communists.
  • What’s in it for SPD?
    • SPD hopes that it can restrain worst excesses of austerity measures
    • SPD hoping to avoid Brüning having to turn to Nazis for support
    • SPD needed support of Brüning’s Catholic party in order to continue running Prussia State legislature
  • Costs to SPD
    • SPD unable to offer opposition
    • SPD will be associated with unpopular Austerity measures
br ning government hobbles along28
Brüning Government hobbles along
  • Nazis turned up in their brownshirts
  • Nazis and Communists frequently shouted down speakers
    • Fights often broke out in or around the parliament building
  • Brüning had no clear majority
    • Increasingly relied on using Hindenburg’s Article 48 to get laws passed
    • Parliamentary sessions were cut back to avoid unnecessary confrontations
      • 1930 it met for 94 days
      • 1931 it met for 42 days
      • 1932 it met for just 13 days!
  • The precedent for an authoritarian government had accidentally been set.
the fatal split in the left
The Fatal Split in the Left!
  • SPD steadily lost support
    • Blamed for coming up with Weimar benefit system in the first place
    • Seen as being ineffective in standing up to austerity measures
    • Unable to form a government by itself
    • Losing support to more activist and oppositionist Communists and even to National Socialists
  • KPD (communists)
    • Under strict orders from Stalin not to help Social Fascists (SPD)
    • Disorder in Germany seen as a good opportunity to launch full communist revolution
the harzburg front
The Harzburg Front
  • Meanwhile the right seemed to be unifying!
  • Named after Bad Harzburg anti-republican rally
  • Nationalists coalesce
    • Press Baron Hugenburg’s DNVP, Monarchists and Stahlhelm
  • Again, gives Nazis some respectability to be seen with respectable nationalists.
br ning s increasing unpopularity

General Government expenditure restrained

Taxes increased

Civil Servant salaries cut

Wages frozen to 1927 levels

Unemployment benefit harder to get


Law and Order


Agricultural subsidies

Particularly for Prussian estates!

All in line with classical economics!

Hoping to hold out until the general worldwide economy picked up.

Particularly concerned with Hyperinflation!

Brüning’s increasing unpopularity
1932 presidential election
1932 Presidential Election
  • Brüning refused Hindenburg’s request to be reelected by a simple unopposed plebiscite
    • This strained Bruning’s relations with the President
  • At the height of economic difficulties
  • Hindenburg a stalwart of the nationalist right.
    • However, he lost support in his traditional heartland east
    • But, he gained new support from pro-republic parties in the West eg SPD and Catholics
  • Hindenburg received 53% of votes
  • Hitler received 37% of votes
  • Once again, even though they lost, it showed that the Nazis were the only effective opposition
br ning s downfall
Brüning’s Downfall
  • Scrapping Grain subsidies!
    • It was difficult to continue subsidising aristocratic East Prussian landowners in a time of national crisis.
    • This was anathema to Hindenburg who was determined to defend his aristocratic heritage
  • Plus Backroom intrigue
    • General Schleicher was negotiating with Hindenburg to see his old friend von Papen take over chancellor
    • Papen was a centrist too (so would not overly alienate Brüning’s party.)
    • The ‘Cabinet of Barons’ would offer a more nationalist agenda for Germany and would protect aristocratic privilege.
    • Schleicher promised new elections and a lifting of the ban on the SA if Nazis did not oppose the creation of new nationalist government
the cabinet of barons
The Cabinet of Barons
  • So called because of the quantity of barons, aristocrats and nationalists in the government.
  • Ideologically confused government but generally pro-monarchy and pro-business
    • Unemployment benefit cut yet further
    • Increased payments to Eastern farmers
  • Had to call for new elections in 1932
the prussian coup
The Prussian Coup
  • The ban on the SA was lifted on June 16th
    • Violence immediately erupted between Brown shirts, red shirts and Reichsbanner
      • 100 died mostly in Berlin
  • Disturbances used as an excuse by Papen to remove the SPD dominated government of Prussia (who were responsible for the police force)
    • SPD and Unions were stunned and did not know how to react
      • KPD ordered not to help SPD (Social Fascists)
    • SPD busily fighting National elections anyway
  • Not a healthy democratic precedent by Papen
    • Hitler and Goering interested by the muted response of the Left
      • Will use as a role model later!
the real nazi breakthrough
The Real Nazi Breakthrough
  • 1932 July elections
    • The Nazis received a stunning 37% of the vote?
    • Giving them 230 seats – by far the largest group
      • Who voted for the Nazis?
        • Look at pages 119/121 and
      • Why?
        • Compare what the Nazis were offering to what Weimar politicians were offering
          • Look at some of the election posters on pages 124/5
      • Page 128 will also be helpful
hitler wants a share of the spoils
Hitler wants a share of the spoils
  • With 230 seats, Hitler requests to be made Chancellor of a Presidential government
    • i.e. will be allowed to issue decrees rather than rely on Reichstag votes
      • Just like Bruning and Papen
  • Hindenburg flatly refuses
  • The Nazis vote against Papen in the Reichstag
    • September no-confidence vote, 512 – 42
      • Required a new election under Weimar constitution
  • Election fatigue sets in
november 1932 the options
November 1932 – The Options?
  • Germany is still in the depths of Economic Depression!
  • Hitler
    • After sole control for Nazis – A presidential Cabinet
      • But power, finance and support slipping
  • Papen
    • Keen to stay as Chancellor
    • Wants Authoritarian government
      • Replace Reichstag
      • Use Army to impose order
  • Hindenburg
    • Tired but still sticking to the letter of the Weimar constitution if not to the Spirit
  • SDP
    • Embroiled in a battle for survival amongst the working classes
      • on the left against the KPD
      • On the right against the National socialists
  • Schleicher
    • Look for a grouping in favour of National reconciliation
nazi stumble
Nazi stumble?
  • Nazis lost 2 million votes between July and November?
    • Why?
  • Hitler’s uncompromising attitude to power questioned internally
    • Seen as irresponsible
    • Allowing power to ebb away
  • Trade Unionist Strasser approached by Schleicher to form a government of national reconciliation
    • Diagonal Front
      • Trade Unions, Left Nazis, Conservatives and land reformers
      • Tame the Nazis by compromising them by the day to day running of government
the schleicher government
The Schleicher Government
  • Schleicher advised Hindenburg that Papen’s authoritarian designs would provoke a Civil War.
  • Hindenburg followed Schleicher’s advice and reluctantly fired his friend Papen
  • Schleicher’s Diagonal Front new government was immediately dealt a blow by Strasser’s inability to join the government
    • Hitler expressly forbade Strasser from tainting National Socialism
      • National Socialism was to be the alternative to the Weimar government
schleicher hobbles along
Schleicher Hobbles along
  • With no natural body of support, Schleicher also needs the backing of Hindenburg to get laws passed with Article 48!
  • Schleicher’s measures to deal with unemployment and depression manage to alienate the left and the right!
  • Intrigue
    • Papen, Oskar Hindenburg and Hitler meet secretly to discuss a majority government!
      • Hitler determined to be Chancellor
papen hitler bombshell 16 th january 1933
Papen – Hitler Bombshell16th January 1933
  • Papen convinces Hindenburg that he can control the Nazis
  • In return for Hitler’s 196 seats of support:
    • Hitler only wanted himself as Chancellor
    • Frick as Minister of Interior
    • Goering as Minister without portfolio
      • But with special responsibility for Prussia
  • Papen and the Nationalists would retain the 12 other cabinet seats including the key control of the economic, defence and foreign ministries
  • Germany would at last have a strong, stable government that reflected the will of the German people?!?