Hitler’s Rise to Power

Posted: September 6, 2010 in World War 2
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With unemployment exceeding 6 million & the Weimar Republic entering its final death throes, the elections of 1932 were fought in a growing atmosphere of political violence & disorder. After the July Reichstag elections, the Nazis emerged as the largest party, but in the November 1932 elections the Nazi vote fell by 2 million, with their Reichstag seats reduced from 230 to 196. While the Nazi vote appeared to be in decline & the party’s tactics in disarray, an increase in support for Germany’s communists persuaded many industrialists & bankers to transfer their backing from the ineffectual conservatives & liberals to the Nazis. They were seen as the only bulwark against the growth of communism.

In December 1932, after a series of further political intrigues, Kurt Von Schleicher succeeded Franz Von Papen as a chancellor. However, in January 1933 Papen acted as a power-broker between business interests & landowners in political manuevers that were intended to oust Schleicher. The ensuing negotiations eventually resulted in Hitler becoming chancellor. The fatal miscalculations made by Papen – indeed by the conservative right & the German establishment in general – was to believe that Hitler & the Nazis could be “tamed” once in power. The establishment tried to use Hitler & his party to give itself legitimacy for a new authoritarianism. In reality it served to legitimize Nazism. Out of a labyrinth of intrigues, Hitler emerged the victor.

From World War II, H.P. Willmott, Robin Cross & Charles Messenger

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