Firstly, the economic depression was one of the vital reasons why Hitler was able to come to power in the 1930’s.In the late 1920’s, German was recovering from the hyper-inflation of 1923, its manufacturing was at its post-war high. Twenty-two percent above what it had been in 1913. In September 1928, Germany had 650,000 unemployed.
Unfortunately, on 5th October 1929, the U.S stock market had a great fall of prices and as a result of that, they had no option but to retreat back the loans that they had given to Germany to help rebuild their economy and pay their reparation. Furthermore, Germany was given only ninety days to start repayment because the lenders in the U.S market were bankrupt due to the Wall Street crash.
Consequently, by September 1930 Germany’s manufacturing had fallen seventeen percent from that of 1927 level. Bankruptcies were increasing, farmers were throbbing. Some in the middleclass feared sliding into the lower class. And some in the middleclass blamed the economic decline on unemployed people being unwilling to work- while hunger was widespread. Factories closed down and those in work had to take low wages. The old resentment of the Weimar government re-emerged and people blamed the government for the crisis. The German people began to lose reliance in the parliamentary democracy and turn to those parties that offered a fundamental solution to their problems such as the Nazi and the communists.
In addition, the Weimar government inability and weakness to deal with the misery that Germany is faced with, made matters worst, it tried to save money by cutting welfare payments. Some jobless people had no money coming in at all and they were forced to live in shanty towns and beg for food. This led to Hitler utilizing the government’s problems by holding vast assemblies and touring Germany, promising to reinstate the German economy. In 1930 the parliamentary coalition that governed Germany fell apart, and new elections were held. The biggest winner in these elections was Adolf Hitler’s National Socialist Party. From twelve seats in the parliament they increased their seats to 107, becoming the second largest political party in Germany.
However, the largest party was still the Social Democrats, and this party won 143 seats and 24.5 percent of the vote. Communists’ party candidates won 13.1 percent of vote and together the Social Democrats and the Communists were large enough to claim the right to make a government. But they were hostile with one another and they couldn’t come to terms with each other. The Comintern at this time was opposed to communists working with reformers, and the communists believed that a collapse of the parliamentary government would hasten the revolutionary crisis which would enable them to impel into power.
Moreover, after the election president Hindenburg selected Heinrich Bruning of the catholic centre party to form a government but his party had only received only 11.3 percent of the vote- less than the communists. However, Bruning did not have majority parliamentary support needed to rule and as chancellor he ruled under Hindenburg’s emergency powers. It was the beginning of the end of democracy in Germany. He attempted to restore economic equilibrium by high interest rates and by balancing budgets and no emergency deficit spending but still the economy continued to fall.
Meanwhile, Hitler was looking good to many Germans because he seems to be a man who believed in something and wanted radical change that fluctuated from the alternatives offered by socialists and communists. Furthermore, he appeared to be truly devoted to Germany and a sincere nationalist. He was charismatic with his speeches and also travelled all over Germany preaching his scheme; he demoralized the government problems by holding huge assemblies and spreading propaganda to the people and promising them reforms for a better Germany. The socialist elements of the party’s programme were forgotten as Hitler tried to win support from the middle-class and the industrialists by being anti-communist.
In addition, he had the support of the army because he promised to reverse the Treaty of Versailles and rearmament, these assurances appeals to those who believed that Germany was stabbed at the back in the theory of ending the war. Many armed forces seem to like the idea. Furthermore, he also promised to deal with the employment predicament and build a strong government. Clearly, these fascinate millions of people who were out of job or fear of losing one as a result of the great depression.
It also intrigued the middle-class Germans who remembered the complications of 1923. Notably, many women were very impressed by its emphasis on family life and self- discipline, this message was toughened by profound propaganda campaigns. Arguably, he was a very accomplished and impressive public speaker and also had colleague like Joseph Geobbles who make a very use of propaganda. Those who opposed the Nazis and speak wrongly about them were visited by the storm troopers and persuaded to stop or face the consequences.
However, as time goes on, the depression was still worsening and in 1932 unemployment rose to 30 percent – 5,102,000 in September of that year. The president seven-year term leadership was ended, and aged 84. Hindenburg ran for re-election, his major opponent for the presidency- Adolf Hitler. Neither of them won majority and in the runoff campaign Hindenburg won 19.1 million to Hitler’s 11.4 millions. But in the parliament election held in April that year, Hitler’s party, the national socialists increased their seats from 107 to 162, becoming the largest political party in Germany. Hitler has lost the presidency election, but his campaign had paid off.
Furthermore, Hindenburg had become disgruntled with his present chancellor, Bruning and the hunt for a new chancellor was on. Bruning still lack the parliamentary preponderance and without Hindenburg support he was forced to resign. Hitler saw himself as tough opponent to replace Bruning but unfortunately the aristocratic Hindenburg disliked him and sees him as a rabble-rouser of working class type and believing that the Hitler’s party is indeed socialists.
However, in the late 1932 Bruning was replaced by von Papen as a chancellor, who was later overthrown by von Schleider. As a result of that, von Papen retaliated and plotted revenge. By January 1933, he persuaded President Hindenburg to replace von Schleider with Adolf Hitler and himself as vice-chancellor under- minding that he can manoeuvre Hitler.
In addition, on 30January 1933, Hitler became chancellor but he wasn’t a man to be manipulated. He made sure that he retain his power and eliminate tough opposition such as the communist, by using his men to plot a fire on parliament building then attributed it to a communist conspiracy in order to make revolution and have his toughest rival framed and its party eradicated. After the despicable incident of the late February, Hitler now moved against the social democrats and their trade unions. In May and June their headquarters were occupied, they were declared enemies of the people and the state and more communists were arrested and imprisoned.
In conclusion, the economic depression was one of the reasons why Hitler was able to come to power but there were also other important reasons before the depression which also enables him to become chancellor in 1933, for example the armistice, the treaty of Versailles and the Munich putsch.
In addition, from my own perspective I think that the depression was what led to Hitler coming to power in 1933 but on the other, his ability to use the outcome of the depression and the instability of the Weimar government is also one of the vital reason that facilitate him to becoming the chancellor. Therefore, I agreed that the depression was essential in Hitler rising to power but it wasn’t the most fundamental reason why he became chancellor in the 1930’s.