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A Seize of Power
After WWI, Germany was in a exceedingly unpleasant state. It had been forced, by the Treaty of Versailles, to take full blame for the war. This meant that Germany would have to pay reparations for all of the other countries. Reparations were even harder to pay since Germany was in the midst of one of the worst stagflation epidemics in history. Not to mention a brand new government, one that had nothing to do with the signing of this treaty, had taken over power. All of the people of this once superpower of a country were in a state of perplexity because they had lost a war that had been fought entirely on enemy soil. Germany was searching for an answer to its insurmountable problems, and found that answer in a Nazi named Adolf Hitler.
Hitler was born in Austria, into a troubled house. He had aspirations of becoming an artist, but those subsided when he was rejected from the college of art he planned on attending. He had started listening to a man named Lueger, who was at that time the mayor of Vienna. Lueger was a Nazi, with strong anti-Semitic views, which seemed to be a logical answer for Hitler and his problems. It was around this time that Hitler was drafted by the army. Instead of going to fight for his country, he chose to flee to Germany. Which is a bewildering thought seeing as how he voluntarily joined the German army when he got there.
After the war, Hitler joined up with a right wing campaign whose job was to spy on other government groups. Upon spying on one of the parties, the N.S.D.A.P. or Nazi party, he found that he had a lot in common with their views. He decided this was his calling so he ended up joining that particular party. While in this party, he found out about his abilities to draw a crowd and make them believe what you are saying. It was at this time he started his famous speeches that could captivate and somewhat hypnotized whoever happened to listen in. He started speaking in beer halls, and gaining a lot of attention. He would speak on many topics, giving his ideals as the basis for what Germany should be. He wanted to make Germany the great dynasty it had once been. The party was growing at an astounding rate, mostly attributed to Hitler’s use of the “gift of gab” in the taverns.
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Hitler started organizing groups known as the S.A., or storm troopers, to cause havoc for opposing parties, mainly the communists. He had modeled this militia after Mussolini’s fasci. In November of 1923, Hitler ordered the SA to arrest the mayor of Munich, and the leader of the garrison, in an attempt to start a coo of Germany’s Weimar Republic. The plan might had been successful was it not for Ludendorf, a great German leader of WWI, letting the leader of the garrison go after he had pleaded, apologized, and claimed loyalty to the Nazis. The general then went to his troops and organized them for the S.A.’s attempt to take over Munich. When the SA does get to Munich, they are halted, and opened fire on by the garrison. A lot of them were either killed, or sent to prison, as was Hitler’s case.
While he sat in confinement serving a five-year term for treason (a capitol offense), he wrote his thoughts out in the infamous book, Mein Kompf. Upon his release from lockup, he came to find the Nazi party was not as powerful as it had been before his incarceration. It is then that Hitler realized that it would be impossible to overthrow the government in violence. Instead of seizing power through bloodshed, Hitler was going to rise to power politically, once he found a way to get in. This way was lit when the great depression hit the United States. Since the U.S. was giving money to Germany, when the depression came about, Germany stopped receiving funds. That in turn sent Germany’s economy on a downward spiral. Throughout all of this chaos, Hitler unlocked the path. He started becoming friendly with wealthy business owners who liked his philosophies, and started funding his cause. He started heavy campaign tactics to win support for the Nazi Party. This was made evident when in 1929 they had only had 12 representative is Reichstag, but in 1931, just two years later, they had 107, approximately one quarter of Germany’s parliament were Nazis.
With his Nazi underlings in place in the Reichstag, it seemed only perfect to Hitler that the presidential elections were coming up. So he focused all of his attention on campaigning for the 1932 elections. Hitler’s political stands on current issues involving Germany were extremely vigorous. He had started pointing the “Stab in the back” theory at the Jews, he promised to get revenge on Great Britain and France, and he wanted to make Germany the great nation it once had been. When the elections came around, it was Hitler against Hindenberg, another WWI veteran. Hindenberg was counting on the support from business owners and from the respect he had earned in the war. With that support he came out of the elections as president.
Even though he was defeated, Hitler was not deterred in the least in his quest for conquest on the German government. He opened a new course of action, which focused on the parliament. Whichever party in parliament had the most leaders usually meant their party leader would be chancellor. So the N.S.D.A.P. focused on getting the majority of parliament to be its own members. With intense campaigning, their plight was successful. The Nazi party in the Reichstag went from its former 107 party members, to 230, which was over half of the seats. Although they did hold the majority, they did not get the chancellor of their choice. Instead, Von Papen had been appointed in the place Hitler was hoping for. With the amount of Nazi influence over the government, it was impossible for the new-fangled chancellor to get anything approved by the governing body. Von Papen tried to lower the amount of control the Nazis possessed by calling for new elections of the parliament. This tactic failed when the final count after the elections showed the Nazis with 250 members. Hindenberg decided to appoint a new chancellor, Von Scheicher, who immediately calls for re-elections. However, these elections were a success for the new chancellor, and Nazi affiliates within the Reichstag dropped to 196. Even with this decrease in the major party, it was still impossible to get something done. This situation cased Von Scheicher to go to Hindenberg and request that Hitler should take over as chancellor in hopes that this will progress towards a cure for the countries many severe problems. Hindenberg did not like the idea at first, but realized that it was the only way. Hindenberg placed conservative in other posts, in hopes of keeping Hitler’s power at a minimal but substantial state. So in January of 1933, Hitler takes what is quite possibly the decisive factor in his assumption of power, because it put him, for the first time, in a position of political power. With his strong inhibitions, and poise to maintain goals he was after, this was the gateway to his dictatorship.
After Hitler’s reception of Chancellor of Germany, the Reichstag building somehow burnt down (many believe that it was at Hitler’s orders), with the only person around being a mentally deficient “communist.” Hitler used this scenario to make the commies out to be a flaw of society, and was granted the right to suspend all of a communists civil rights, and send them to prison camps. This was key to Hitler’s maintaining power because communism was the next largest party to Nazism, and with no communists, that means no rival.
With the government at his whim, Hitler now needed to find a way to persuade the army to motivate upon his commands. The army was hesitant to side with Hitler at first because they did not like Rohm, who was the leader of the S.A., because he wanted to abolish the old army, and make his storm troopers the new one. Hitler planned to kill all of the old S.A. leaders, and form the S.S. These were his own personal bodyguards, but now the army was pleased with his actions and took a personal oath to Hitler, not Germany.
Now that everything was coming together for his supreme rule over Germany, there still remained some obstacles. These were dealt with in each of their respected ways. The chancellor prior to Hitler, Von Scheicher, was assassinated along with the leader of the garrison in Munich. This left only one obstruction in Hitler’s path, President Hindenberg. Since he was nearing his own demise, Hitler decided to just wait it out. Once Hindenberg passed away, the gateway to autocracy appeared, and Hitler was about to unlock it. Hitler could not just assume presidency, but he knew with his popularity and support, that he could win an election. Hitler determined that a plebiscite (a vote of yes or no to resolve a situation) was to be called to clear the vacancy of president. With the vote going how Hitler had expected, he assumed absolute power titled himself Fuhrer. Since Hitler had no powerful opposition, he reinforced that fact by banning all other parties, making Germany a one-party system. This was the final step in completing his pursuit of authoritarianism, and it had been accomplished. Hitler was now the ruler, or Fuhrer of Germany.
Throughout the 1920’s and 30’s, Hitler realized the potential of his party, and the clout that would come with leading it. He took every opportunity he came across to assert and build the Nazi’s power. Once his party members were in place, it was just a matter of time before he climbed the political ladder to assume absolute power over Germany, and its citizens. His success was mainly due to a strong nationalistic view he gave to the people, and giving them a reason that all of the problems had come about, the Jews. Hitler’s assumption of power was a brilliant scheme he had devised, and he took full advantage of the power he was