This investigation will address the research question, to what extent was Germany’s post-World War I economic depression a causal factor in Hitler’s rise to power from 1919 to 1934? With the Treaty of Versailles, the German government was required to pay 132 billion gold marks of war reparations, drastically worsened with the US Wall Street crash. This effectively crippled the German economy and created a desperate people. For this investigation, Hitler’s private life history and pre-military career will not be analyzed. His political rise will be examined from the perspective of economic and social factors. Several primary sources will be explored, including the Hitler’s Mein Kampf and Hitler’s 25-Point Program. In addition, tertiary sources covering Hitler’s non-personal life and rise to power will be studied.
Part B: Summary of Evidence
The Treaty of Versailles, representing the formal end of World War I, was signed on June 28, 1919. This treaty calculated the liabilities for the German government at 132 billion gold marks, to be funded over the course of 37 years. The German mark suffered massive inflation; in 1913 it cost 4 marks to buy a US dollar. By 1922, it cost 7,000 marks.
Adolf Hitler, a veteran of World War I, joined the ranks of the newly named National Socialist German Workers, or Nazi, party (NSDAP) in 1919. On February 24, 1920, he published a document outlining the goals and beliefs of the Nazi Party called the 25 Points. These included the abrogation of the Treaty of Versailles, the exclusion of Jews from the German “race,” the prevention of Jews from living in Germany, and the formation of a national army. Hitler outlined the economic benefits of these proposals in a Munic...
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Halsall, Paul. "The 25 Points 1920: An Early Nazi Program ." Modern History Sourcebook. Accessed February 3, 2014. http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/25points.asp.
James, Harold. "The Causes Of The German Banking Crisis Of 1931." The Economic History Review 37, no. 1 (1984): 68-71.
Maier, Wendy A. "Adolf Hitler." In World at War: Understanding Conflict and Society. ABC-CLIO, 2005. Accessed February 4, 2014. http://worldatwar.abc-clio.com/.
Roberts, Priscilla. "Reparations: World War I." In World at War: Understanding Conflict and Society. ABC-CLIO, 2005. Accessed February 4, 2014. http://worldatwar.abc-clio.com/.
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