AS History: Unit 1 – Seeds of Evil

Consider the status of the following statements.Are they accurate or
inaccurate? Where inaccurate, give reasons and evidence on which you base
your decision. Sometimes a statement may be accurate but of only limited
value. For example, it may over-simplify matters or conceal as much as it
reveals. Where this is the case, explain how you would qualify or amend
the statement.

1. The rising tide of electoral support for the Nazis made it difficult
for Hindenburg to defy public opinion and resist appointing Hitler as

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I think this statement is quite accurate. It would have been very hard for
Hindenburg to just ignore the fact that Adolf Hitler was the leader of the
most popular party in Germany. It would have also been in the mind of
Hindenburg that the NAZIS had never had the majority in the Reichstag. All
the other major parties in Germany had been given a chance, the SPD had
been the leading party throughout, and during their reign there had been
many different chancellors of many different parties, who had tried and
failed to deliver.

It was not just a simple fact of choosing someone to be chancellor. At this
time there was a very bad crisis, the great depression. After chancellor
Mueller was forced to resign, a wave of chancellors came. Hindenburg was
very old and relied a lot upon his advisers to help him make his decisions.

At the time when the NAZIS were at their peak, people who were relatively
unknown were brought in as chancellor, notably Von Papen. Hitler was of
course a very well known and popular man. Hindenburg could not hide this
fact and would have been tempted to give him a chance. But he did not give
him the chance when Hitler’s support was at its peak, he decided to give
him the chancellor under what seemed to be his terms, not Hitler’s as he
had previously demanded. This is because he had arguments against Hitler,
for example although Hitler claimed he lead the largest party in Germany,
they were in decline.

2. It is alarming to think that so many Germans between 1930 and 1932
decided to give their vote to a party committed to another world war
and the genocide of the Jewish people.

I do not think this statement is completely accurate. The people did not
directly know this is what the NAZIS intended to do, as they did not go
around campaigning the fact that if they were elected they would start a
world war, eliminate communism and rid of the Jewish society. They were not
secret about the fact they did not like the communists, but campaigned to
those who did not want to see a communist revolution, the land owners and
upper class of Germany. They did not say to people they were going to
exterminate all the Jews although Hitler made it known he despised them.

Instead the NAZIS campaigned to those who had problems in society, notably
peasants, the young, the old, white collar workers and small business
owners. They specifically broke Germany up in to categories and promised
each group what they wanted, or at least something which would convince
them to vote for them, for example they promised the peasants foreclosure
on their land so they would not lose it, and respect for their work. The
public were voting for benefits they would receive from doing so, or if
they weren’t voting for this reason, it was because they were disillusion
by other parties.

3. Growing support for the Nazis had more to do with the personal
popularity of Hitler than with enthusiasm for National Socialist
ideology. The typical Nazi voter was not a Nazi.

I do not totally agree with this article. Although Hitler’s main asset was
his ability to public speak and persuade people, he could not have done
this for millions of voters. “The parties success in getting its message
across to the electorate may have been less due to both Hitler and the
national propaganda machine than is often imagined, for, despite Hitler’s
hectic speech activities, there were, after all, limits to the numbers of
those he could reach directly.” Says Jeremy Noakes in his article “The rise
of the NAZIS” I agree with his statement.

I also agree that the typical NAZI voter was not a NAZI. This is because
prior to their sudden success, the NAZIS were the smallest party in
Germany. They had not changed their policies, just their method, so how can
they have gained so many members in such a short space of time, answer,
they didn’t. NAZI voters were voting for change. They wanted to give a
small party a chance to prove that they could do a better job than the
larger parties. As the votes show, in November 1932, they had lost 2
million votes in 4 months, if that was to carry on, they would have been
back to the state they had been in long before their surge of votes. The
truth is we can never be sure what the NAZI voters actually thought of
Hitler, and why they voted for him, but we have ideas why.

4. By late 1932 Nazi electoral support was in decline. Nazi voters were
often registering a protest when voting for the party.They were
essentially a volatile group of voters and would have abandoned it in
droves had not Hindenburg made the fatal mistake of offering Hitler
the chancellorship in January 1933.

This is a very interesting statement. In 1928 the NAZIS had 12 seats in the
Reichstag. By 1930 this vote had risen and given them 107 seats, now the
second largest party in Germany. By 1932 when the depression was at its
peak, the NAZI vote rose to give them 232 seats. 4 months later however
they had lost a staggering two million votes. This is very speculative.

Surely a great loss like this would mean a constant decrease for a party
who had never had never been the most numerous in the Reichstag. It seems
certain that they could not recover and continue to gain such massive votes
and would eventually decrease to the slumber they had been in in the past.

The Nazi had been promising to end unemployment, something in which no
party had managed to achieve in the past, however, Dick Geary in his report
“Who voted for the Nazis” says ‘It has been assumed that the rise of the
Nazism was inextricably inter twined with unemployment. As unemployment
rose dramatically after 1928, peaked in the spring of 1932 and then
declined, so did the national socialist vote. However, Nazi party members
were usually in employment; and unemployment was concentrated in those
places where the Nazi vote was relatively low. There was a negative
correlation between unemployment and NSDAP electoral support.” This proves
that the typical Nazi voter was not as people assume unemployed, nor a Nazi
member as the Nazis did not have 13.7 million members.

Hindenburg decided to offer Hitler the chancellorship under his terms
because he knew he would take it, because his party was in decline. This
was a fatal mistake as they thought they could tame him and use him. They
wanted to use his right wing popularity, but this was a mistake as it was
Germany’s first steps to a military dictatorship.


Do not write more than 200 words in response to any of the questions.

explaining Hitler’s electoral success/bps


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