National Socialism

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorHigh School, 11th grade February 2008

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The rise of National Socialism in post-WWI Germany is an understandable reaction to the problems of the Versailles Peace Treaty, considering the German attitudes and beliefs at the time. These attitudes and beliefs were the result of generations of Prussian militarism, extreme racist nationalism, and, most importantly, the failure of the Treaty of Versailles signed in June of 1919. The rise of the Nazi party, and their extremist National Socialist doctrine appealed directly to these attitudes and beliefs that permeated Germany society after the first World War.

Since the unification of Germany in the late 19th century, attitudes of nationalism, Prussian militarism and expansionism saturated German society. As one can clearly see in the writings of the influential German historian, Heinrich von Treitschke, war and territorial expansion were seen as being necessary to the preservation and advancement of German society. He states that, “War is for an afflicted people the only remedy… Those who preach the nonsense about everlasting peace do not understand the life of the Aryan race, the Aryans are before all brave.”

The mobilization of the people and resources, for the purpose of making war, were believed to be the means of preservation and advancement of German society. These ultra-nationalistic attitudes and beliefs resulted in widespread German enthusiasm with the coming of war in 1914. As expressed in a German newspaper, The Post, “Another forty years of peace would be a national misfortune for Germany.” With the armistice that took effect November 11,1918, the Great War had come to an end, four long years after it had begun. The German military machine had lost the war, and with it, hopes of German dominance in European affairs. Utterly defeated, the new German government (the Kaiser had abdicated at the end of the war) had no choice but to comply...