Was the success of the Nazi Party more to do with Hitler than any other factor?

Essay by dave07High School, 10th gradeA, May 2008

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There are many conflicting views on why the Nazi Party came to power in pre–World War II Germany, but they all seem to centre round Adolf Hitler, the Party leader at the time. But was Hitler the main factor for the rise and rise of the Party, or was there more to it than him?Hitler himself believed that it was his own destiny to become the leader of the Nazi Party – he called it the “Inevitable Truth”. He believed that the Nazis would have been nothing, without him. He was responsible for carrying–out the Nazi Party’s strongest single element, which was anti–Semitism, leading to the Holocaust and the attempted mass–extermination of the Jewish people. He was able to justify his ridiculous policies with his own charisma. He was a man famous for his speeches at the huge Nazi rallies, and his skills at various forms of propaganda.

He could twist anything an opponent of his said to win over the support of the public, easily. Hitler came-up with the Nazi Party’s “Twenty–Five Point Plan”, a carefully thought–out party programme, that illustrated to the German population just what voting for the Nazi Party would do for them. He was a very clever man, and after the failure of his “putsch” in Munich in 1923, he decided to switch his attention to achieving power legally and then changing Germany afterwards.

However, aside from Hitler, there were two other major factors that contribute as to why the Nazi Party were such a success, and they are the Great Depression, and the fact that the Nazis were really helped into power. The Great Depression was a great chance for the Nazis to show the German public that the Weimar Republic was bad news for them. The Great Depression let the Nazis lie to the public, telling them that it was Weimar’s fault that there was another economic crisis in Germany, and that, under Weimar ruling, these great problems would keep reoccurring. In the Nazi Party’s “Twenty–Five Point Plan”, there policies were particularly appealing to the unemployed, lower classes, and the elderly, all of whom were hit hard by the Depression. This gave the Party a whole load of supporters who believed that the Nazis were the only people that could save Germany from more ruin. The Nazis were also helped to power by the brake–up of Germany’s coalition government parties. Slowly, the Chancellor’s made more and more use of Article 48 – a clause that gave them “emergency powers”. This meant that the country was slowly becoming a dictated state, and the political unrest was used by the Nazis to show themselves off as the moderate party, and their opponents as extremists. Once the Nazis had become the largest party in the Reichstag, which happened in July 1932, various leading politicians gave Hitler power, hoping that he would do what they wanted with it, and be able to use him as a “puppet”. Sadly, this idea failed, and Hitler was left with the power he needed, and used, to send Germany to war.

So, although Hitler was a great orator and manipulator of propaganda, it was shown that in actual fact, he was not the main factor in the success of the Nazi Party. The Nazi Party was in fact helped to power by a few key events, namely the Great Depression, caused by the Wall Street Crash, in the USA.

Bibliography: Weimar and Nazi Germany - Stephen Lee