ADOLF HITLER ESSAY 8
Defeat in WWI shocked the German people. Despair increased as the army returned to a bankrupt country. Millions of Germans could find no jobs. A weak republic had replaced the defeated empire.
After the war Hitler returned to Munich and joined a small nationalist group called the German Workers’ Party. In 1920 this group changed its name to the Nationalist Socialist German Workers’ Party, which became known as the Nazi Party. The Nazis called for the union into one nation of all Germans, including those in other countries
. They favored the creation of a strong central government
and cancellation of the Versailles Treaty
Hitler was a skillful schemer, politician, and organizer. He became a leader of the Nazis and built up party membership quickly. Hitler attacked the government, and declared that only the Nazi party could assure jobs for the workers and greatness for Germany. He also organized a private army of men who became known as Storm Troopers. They fought Communists and others who tried to break up the Nazi rallies. By Oct, 1923, the Storm Troops numbered 15,000 men, armed with machine guns and rifles. Hitler used brown-shirted uniforms and the swastika emblem to give his followers a sense of unity.
On Nov. 8, 1923, at a rally in a Munich beer hall, Hitler proclaimed a Nazi revolution. The next day he tried to seize the Bavarian gov. in what became known as the Beer Hall Putsch (revolution). Hitler led more than 2,000 storm troopers on a march against the government. The police opened fire and killed 16 Nazis. The plot failed, and Hitler was arrested for treason and sentenced to five yrs. in prison. Many great changes had taken place in Germany during Hitler’s imprisonment. The nation had showed signs of recovery after WWI.
By this time also, Hitler had assembled the men who would help him rise to power. They included Paul Joseph Goebbels, the chief Nazi propadandist; Herman Goering, second in command to Hitler; Rudolf Hess, Hitler’s secretary and deputy; Heinrich Himmler, who became the parties chief executioner; and Alfred Rosenberg, the party philosopher. Hitler moved steadily toward dictatorship. He had no place for freedom under his government, which he called the Third Reich. On Feb.27, 1933, the Nazis burned the Reichtag (parliament) building and accused the communists of setting the fire. Hitler persuaded Hindenburg to sign a law “for the protection and the people of the state.” This law wiped out individual rights in Germany and gave the Nazis complete control.
By 1933, the gov. outlawed freedom of the press, all labor unions, and all political parties except the Nazis. The Reichtag gave Hitler full lawmaking and financial powers. By the time Hindenburg died in August, 1934, Hitler ruled Germany completely. From 1933-1939 Hitler prepared Germany for war. He rearmed the nation first secretly and then in open violation of the Treaty of Versailles. Because of the fear of another world war no nation did anything to stop Hitler.
In 1936, Hitler sent troops into Germany’s Rhineland in violation to the Versailles Treaty. The military occupation of the Rhineland was the first of the Nazi dictator’s victories without war. In March, 1938, Hitler absorbed Austria into Germany. In September, with the consent of France and Great Britain, he took over the German areas of Czechoslovakia. After each move Hitler said he wanted no more territory. But after each success, he planned a new take over. He grabbed the rest of Czechoslovakia in March,1939. Poland came next on Hitler’s list. Britain and France had promised to protect Poland from Nazi attack, but Hitler did not believe they would. In August, 1939, Hitler singed a treaty of friendship with Joseph Stalin of Russia. The treaty assured him that Russia would not challenge a German attack against Poland. A few days later on September 1, 1939, German tanks rolled into Poland. Britain and France then declared war on Germany, World War II had begun.
Hitler’s armies quickly overran Poland. In the spring of 1940, they conquered Denmark, Norway, Belgium, Luxembourg, , and the Netherlands. Mussolini, Italy’s dictator was impressed by Hitler’s victories and declared war on Britain and France in June of 1940. On June 22, 1940, France surrendered, now Britain stood alone. Hitler kept delaying an invasion of Britain. Instead he sent his armies over Yugoslavia, and Greece. In 1942 the war turned against Hitler. The U.S. had entered the war in December 1941, and was pouring huge amounts of supplies into Britain and Russia. By 1944 the Russians were pushing Hitler’s armies back toward Germany.
While his empire lasted, Hitler directed the Nazis in a campaign of mass slaughter. About six million Jews were killed in Nazi death camps. In early 1945, the allies raced on to the heart of Germany. Hitler’s armies were retreating everywhere. On April 30, 1945, Hitler and his wife committed suicide by swallowing poison, Hitler also shot himself. Seven days, Germany surrendered.