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The Nazis’ Struggle for Power 1919-1933


I.

The German Civil War (1918-1923)

• Anti-War Movement Wins! • Kaiser Flees • Social Democrats proclaim the “Weimar Republic”

• AT LAST: DEMOCRACY IN GERMANY? • But: Pro-War Groups arm themselves • 1918-1923: CIVIL WAR


The German Civil War (1918-1923) • Open Warfare Continues 19191923) • The FREIKORPS – pro-war vigilantes; anti-peace; antidemocracy; antiSemitic – instead of a democracy, they demand a military dictatorship!


The German Civil War (1918-1923) • Democracy Doomed? • Doom #1: ferocious hostility of pro-war groups: violent, authoritarian, antidemocratic • 1920 Kapp Putsch – failed effort by Freikorps to seize power


The German Civil War (1918-1923) Doom #2: The Versailles Treaty – • Loss of territory • Reparations – Billions to be paid for 50+ years • Humiliation (Art. 231:“War Guilt Clause”)


Almost all Germans were enraged by the Versailles Treaty – above, “Germany after the treaty;” “Germany cuts through the treaty;” “Versailles executes Germany!”


The German Civil War (1918-1923) Doom #3: HYPERINFLATION • Marks/Dollars • 1914 $1 = 4 marks • 1919 1 = 14 • 1921 1 = 76 • 1922 1 = 493 • Aug 23 $1 = 4, 620, 455 • Nov 1923 $1 = 4,200, 000,000,000


Children use packs of Marks as building blocks; after the inflation, children hold a New Mark, and show how many Old Marks it was worth; a 50 Billion Mark postage stamp Middle classes all but wiped out; profound fear of disorder; “Any Order is better than Disorder!!�


The German Civil War (1918-1923) Democracy Survives • 1924 economy stabilizes • 1924  pro-war/ anti-democratic groups die out • 1924  “Weimar Culture” (experiment, energy, excitement!)


II. Origins: Hitler and the National Socialists (1919-1923) • Sep 1919: AH, as Army Intelligence Agent, attends meeting of the National Socialist German Workers Party (its eventual name) • 30 (?) members


Origins: Hitler and the National Socialists (1919-1923) • Oct 1919 – AH speaks to group • “I Discovered My Vocation!” • AH expresses furiously all the resentments, fears, hates, of his little group • AH becomes professional politician


Origins: Hitler and the National Socialists (1919-1923) • 1919-1923: Munich’s chaotic politics • November 1923: BEER HALL PUTSCH • Nazis attempt to take over Bavarian State Gov’t; police break up the march; AH arrested


III. Nazi Ideology • 1924: 5 months in confinement • MEIN KAMPF


Nazi Ideology EUROPEAN FASCISM • 1922: Mussolini takes power, legally, in Italy • • • • •

AUTHORITARIANISM MILITARISM NATIONALISM/ RACISM IMPERIALISM Fascist-like movements across Europe (UK; Spain; France; Poland; Hungary)


Nazi Ideology 1. KAMPF (Struggle) 2. VOLK (Folk) 3. BLUT UND BODEN (Blood and Soil)

4. FÜHRER (Leader) 5. VOLKSGEMEINSHAFT (Folk-Community)

6. LEBENSRAUM (LivingSpace)


IV. The Struggle for Power (1925-1933) 1925: • AH consolidates his hold on the NSDAP • A “Führer” party – AH’s word is party law

• Aggressive tactics – rallies, posters, parades

• The Storm Troopers (“SA”) – a

“party army” – security for AH; attacks on rival parties


1929 – The Wall Street Crash • Crisis • Problem-Solving • Catastrophizing: Apocalypse! Collapse of reasoning ability; Us v. Them; Fantasy solutions; Yearning for a Father-figure


1930 • Political crisis – “normal” political parties can’t agree on action • Chancellor Brüning begins to “Rule by Decree” (allowed in “Emergency Situations” by Art. 48 of the Constitution) • ELECTIONS: Nazis win 18.3%


1931 • Germany economy shuts down – mass unemployment, mass business failures • Communists call for Communist Revolution! • Conservative/ Liberal/Moderate parties clueless • Nazis call for a

“National Revolution!”


What did people understand by the term “NATIONAL REVOLUTION?” • • • •

Law & Order “Traditional values” National Unity National Pride (“we don’t need the rest of the world!!”) • From endless debates & elections  LEADER & FOLLOWER


1931 – Hitler’s Tactics 1. Hegemony on the Right: NSDAP as the “Conservative” Party (“traditional values;” “patriotism; “we’re the ‘Real’ Germans!) 2. Appeal to the terrified Middle Class (most workers voted for Communists or Social Democrats; AH vows to protect the Middle Class – he’ll protect property, restore law & order, return to traditional values, restore patriotism, etc.


1931 – Hitler’s Tactics 3. Use the Political Revival as a moment for political conversion: night rallies; patriotic music; “testimonial” speakers; warm-up speakers … then the star!


1931 – Hitler’s Tactics 4. AH as Celebrity: J. Goebbels; AH as “common soldier,” who “returned to save the nation;” no family; given all for the country; he’s the very incarnation of the people! AH is superpatriotism incarnate! Excitement: airplanes; fast cars; crowds of photographers; swooning groupies …


1931 – Hitler’s Tactics 5. Terror – Stormtroopers • Hoodlums mobilized for politics • break up opposition meetings • street fights • intimidation • cult of super-patriot hyper-masculinity


1932: Depth of the Great Depression • Jan: “Dusseldorf

Club Speech” – speaking to business Tycoons, AH vows to protect corporations & break unions • Mar-Apr – AH loses Presidential election to Paul von Hindenburg (old, infirm, mentally unstable)


1932: Depth of the Great Depression • July Reichstag elections: 37.3% of vote! The highest vote the Nazis ever receive • Nov Reichstag elections: 33.1% of the vote – support drifting off?


1932: Depth of the Great Depression • Dec: The Reichstag can’t agree on measures to combat the Depression; • first Chancellor Brüning fails; • then Von Papen; • now Von Schleicher fails to reach democratic solution


1933 • Jan: President von Hindenburg asks AH to form a CONSERVATIVE COALITION GOV’T • (Consensus: he’ll not last a year!)

Opkomst van Adolf Hitler  

Boek over de opkomst van HItler

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