- Term Papers, Book Reports, Research Papers and College Essays

To What Extent Was the Rise to Power of the Nazis Due to the Wall Street Crash?

Essay by   •  January 15, 2011  •  Essay  •  1,981 Words (8 Pages)  •  2,492 Views

Essay Preview: To What Extent Was the Rise to Power of the Nazis Due to the Wall Street Crash?

Report this essay
Page 1 of 8

To what extent was the rise to power of the Nazis due to the Wall Street Crash?

Historian Carr writes "It is inconceivable that Hitler could have come into power had not the Weimar Republic being subject to the unprecedented strain of a world crisis", thus he thinks that the Wall Street Crash was the cause of problems in Weimar leading to the rise of the Nazis. In 1933 the Nazi party took control of Germany, installing Hitler as chancellor. Evidence would suggest that the Wall Street Crash was a major factor in the Nazi's rise to power, however there were other factors such as the fall of the Weimar Republic and the attraction of the Nazi ideal. Historian Conan Fischer says that "The worsening economic situation triggered the slide towards some form of authoritarian government". Thus he sees the economic problems in Germany as the cause for the Nazis rise to power. In the 1920's a confidential government report in said of the National socialists, "Today it is a numerically insignificant, radical, revolutionary splinter group that is incapable of exerting any noticeable influence on the great mass of the population or on the course of political developments". This shows that the party had little precedence in its early years and later events lead to its rise in popularity.

The Wall Street Crash brought mass unemployment to Germany. The phrase "When the Americans sneeze, Europe catches a cold" accurately describes the cause of the mass depression after the Wall Street crash. Germany's reparation payments from the First World War had been restructured so that they could afford to pay them. Restructuring of the Treaty of Versailles under the Dawes Plan of 1924 and The Young Plan of 1929 enabled Germany to pay reparations propped up by large loans from America. Stresseman, chancellor of Germany till his death in 1929 described Germany's situation as "Germany is in fact dancing on a volcano. If the short-term credits are called in, a large section of our economy would collapse". The crash of the American stock markets meant that they called in their loans in order to help their economy. This meant that Germany had its source of money to pay off reparations immediately removed which put it in an impossible situation. The collapse of the stock market had an impact on world trade which decreased the amount of German exports, which also hit the country, reducing income. In the winter of 1928/9 the number of homeless people in Germany went up to 1.5 million people from 600,000 and then up to 6 million on 1932. Small family business' in Germany collapsed because they had no savings and the economy collapsed. The diseases tuberculosis and pneumonia reappeared in Germany which shows the state of distress that the country was in. Infant mortality also increased during this period. The depression made the lives of the German people very hard. They looked for someone to blame and their first instinct was to blame the leaders of the country, the Weimar Republic. The people had started to doubt the ability of Weimar to lead the country forward and this made more extreme groups such as the Nazis and the Communists more plausible options for government. Fischer wrote "The worsening economic situation triggered the slide towards some form of authoritarian government", thus he sees the Wall Street Crash as a major factor in Germany's acceptance of extreme party's. Nicholls opinion is "Misery and fear of misery fed on one another, leading eventuallyÐ' an upsurge in Nazi support" which backs up this view that people supported more reactionary parties in times of hardship. The people of Germany felt hard done by and looked for solutions to their problems with a change of government. The Nazi's also played on peoples hatred towards the treaty of Versailles which was felt to be very unfair on Germany and economically crippling. No government could stop the troubles that the depression had cause and it created further chaos in the Reichstag where people started turning on each other to try and settle the troubled times. The sudden popularity was shown in the elections held at these times. In the lead up to the depression the Nazis had 12 seats and just two years later in the peak of the economic crisis the Nazis had 107 seats. This reflects the dissatisfaction that was shown in the present government and the fact that Hitler was the only person who promised the solutions that they people wanted. Many historians have stated that if Stressman had not died in 1929 then Germany may have recovered to its former strength and Hitler may never had the chance at gaining power. From 1930 onwards the country is being ruled by presidential decree through the use of Article 48, so therefore no party could gain a majority for the German economy to get back on its feet. Hitler took advantage of these times of hardship and promised these desperate people what they wanted, employment and a way out of these poverty times. Hitler was the only option left, and is desperate time people look for desperate politics to solve these problems. Weimar

The Weimar Republic came into being on November 1918 and was born in the throes of military defeat and social revolution. In January 1919, a National Assembly was elected to draft a constitution. The government, composed of members from the assembly, came to be called the Weimar coalition and included the SPD, the German Democratic Party and the Centre Party. Weimar was a rushed and often referred to as a Ð''mistaken democracy'. Its been said "The dysfunctional nature of Weimar democracy ... aided in the rise of Nazism". This shows weakness from the start for Weimar. The Weimar republic started in chaos, spent much of its short life in chaos, and dissolved without putting up much resistance." The treat of communism that had taken over large parts of Europe of the people were scared that it would happen in their hometown, so their solution was to sign the agreement of democracy. The fact that Germany had never experienced a democracy was major reasons in its downfall, histories have often said, " Germany is used to ruling itself, rather that being ruled by a democracy". During the late 20's and early 30's the hostility of the German people were growing at an exponential rate. Living in a constant state of depression and poverty made these people search for an answer to these problems. People linked all these problems with the Weimar government "They were tired of misery, tired of suffering, tired of weakness. These were desperate times and they were willing to listen to anyone, even Adolf Hitler." One historian said. Hitler promised these people the solutions they wanted. Once he gained he exploited all the flaws of



Download as:   txt (11.6 Kb)   pdf (133.3 Kb)   docx (13.2 Kb)  
Continue for 7 more pages »
Only available on