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A Desperate Nation: Hitler's Rise to Power

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A Desperate Nation: Hitler's Rise to Power

With a bit of hair and square mustache on his often, solemn face, Adolf Hitler seemed like a typical figure when he first entered into politics. He was often described as a public speaker who would rant and rave until his voice was hoarse and could no longer be heard. With the help of fanatic disciples and gullible masses, Hitler became an evil genius that changed Germany and the rest of Europe through unleashing the most terrible war in history and unprecedented genocide in which more that six million Jews were slaughtered.

Germany was not a backward country at this time that preyed on by ignorance, but instead they were one of the advanced nations in the world known for immense scientific and cultural achievements. The disciples that followed Hitler were cultivated, well-educated and learned men. On September 15, 1930, there were accounted reports saying that Hitler's National Socialist German Workers Party had attained a stunning electoral triumph. Many people in Germany saw his party as a minor declining party, however, after the polls closed on September 14 results suggested otherwise. The NSDAP was now the second largest party within the Weimar Republic. Originally, the NSDAP was founded under the name of Deutschearbei Partei which was considered like any other minor party which was typically just a debate society that was located on the outskirts of German politics just immediately following the post-war period. At the beginning of January 1919 it had roughly thirty members, and would be still considered this way if it weren't for the joining of Hitler in late 1919.

Born in Austria in 1889, Adolf Hitler seemed like a typical boy. Being rejected twice from the Vienna Academy of Art in 1907, no one would have guessed how badly this would affect history. After World War I broke out, he enthusiastically joined the military of Germany because he felt his life was going no where and this was a way to fill in the void. He proved himself to be a dedicated and brave soldier even though he was temporarily blinded by gas and shot in the leg. His commanding officers never gave him a leadership position due to the lack of skills they thought he hadn't attained.

Hitler became delusional and very angry at the fact that Germany had lost the war. This resulted in him, and many other soldiers, becoming very nationalistic and anti-Semitic. At the end of the war Hitler realized that his purpose in life was to become the leader of Germany. Due to Hitler's remarkable ability as a magnetic public speaker, he became the first leader that shot the NSDAP into the limelight of Munich which later resulted in national recognition.

In the beginning, the party was like many other German parties, all nationalistic, anti-Semitic, anti-Marxist and anti-Weimar Republic, with the exception that the DAP was determined to win the support of the working class. Hitler's party emphasized it's commitment to "ennobling the German Worker" (Ley). They used the Jewish community as a scapegoat for the problems within Germany. Even though the Jews accounted for only one percent of the German population, six hundred thousand; the party suggested that the Jews were living in Germany in an attempt to take over the country.

Hitler's tireless activity within the tiny DAP, transformed the party into a prominent political organization through his great success as a public speaker. He soon became indispensable. He changed the name of the party to National Socialist German Workers Party; Nazi for short, and became a member of the executive committee as well as propaganda chief. During the 1920, Hitler's reputation as a speaker began to spread and soon started to gather large audiences. He strategically had public appearances orchestrated to be in the late afternoons so his audience could attend after work; a time when they were to be more susceptible to what he had to say. His appearance and the passion in his words seemed as though it put a spell on his listeners. Because Germany's people were grim and depressed, Hitler took full advantage of their weaknesses. Everyone, including, doctors, lawyers and much of the upper class began to join the Nazi party.

In order for Hitler and his party to be shown with promise, he dressed his creed with symbols of power. He made his followers wear brown shirted uniforms and called them the SA's; storm troops. This named inspired fear into every kind of German. Before Hitler took the swastika has his main sign, the symbol was a spiritual one that meant life for many cultures. He created a Nazi flag that had a red banner a white circle and a black swastika. After hearing Hitler speak, many followers left the meetings shouting "Hail Hitler! Hail Hitler!" and went out into the streets with anger and beat up Jews singing "When the Jewish blood flow from our knife, and then everything is much better!" (Johnson.) It was noted that about ten to twenty Germans would gang up on one Jew and beat them, typically until they were dead. The public typically did not intervene either out of fear or sentiment. Often times the Weimar Republic was not successful in stopping the brutality because they were not strong enough or the beating would stop before the German government could intervene.

During this time, from the end of World War I until the demise of the Nazi party in 1933, the Weimar republic was not strong enough due to a series of overlapping political, economic and social problems. Hostility rose towards the WR because of the result of the Versailles Treaty. Germany believed with Wilson's Fourteen Points tactic therefore agreed with the allies to stop the fighting on basis for a negotiated peace treaty. However, Germany soon found out that the treaty was not negotiable and the country was advised to either agree or to be taken over. According to the treaty, Germany was charged with the responsibility of the war and was then stripped of its colonial empire. In addition the country had to pay heavy reparations for the damage the war caused as well as give up a huge chunk of their land. The allies were determined to get their revenge, which resulted in seriously disrupting the political and economic life of Germans and non-Germans alike.

By 1923, Hitler was already in full control of the Nazi party and by this time was ready to see how far he could sail in political waters. Being convinced that the Republic could face possible revolution; Hitler saw the government as being vulnerable due to post war conditions. Germany was becoming poor due to paying for the pensions of the war dead, as well as paying for war reparations. This resulted in high inflation and dramatic deterioration of the Reich marks value. By August of 1923 the exchange rate



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