Nazi Germany After World War I, or The Great War as it was known back then, Germany was left devastated both financially and, since German propaganda had not prepared the nation for defeat, emotionally, resulting in a sense of injured German national pride. But because Germany was stabbed in the back by its leftwing politicians, Communists, and Jews, or more colourfully known as the November Criminals, it was still widely believed that Germany had not truly been defeated. When a new government, the Weimar Republic, tried to establish a democratic course, extreme political parties from both the right and the left struggled violently for control. The new regime could neither handle the depressed economy nor the rampant lawlessness and disorder. Amongst all this confusion and squabbling, one party and one man seemed to stand out. The man was Adolf Hitler and the party was the German Workers Party (DAP) later to be called the National Socialist German Workers Party (NSDAP) or more widely known as the Nazi Partys.
The German Workers Party (DAP) was just another party espousing a right-wing ideology, like many other similar groups of demobilized soldiers. However this simplicity of the party would have been the attribute which would have attracted Hitler the most. This allowed Hitler to pour his beliefs into the party and mold it into his image. Soon after his joining of the party, Hitler renamed it to the National Socialist German Workers Party (NSDAP) but even then it was merely a gang of unemployed soldiers whos spirits had been crushed and whos guns had rusted away. But after Hitlers first public presentation, in a beer cellar, things started to change drastically.
With the money from the first presentation used to buy more advertising and print leaflets, the Nazi Party was starting to act and look like a real party. Hitlers beliefs of national pride, militarism, commitment to the Volk and a racially pure Germany as well as anti-Semitism soon attracted supporters by the hundred. Although the German Workers Party started out as a small right-wing organisation, with Hitlers joining, it gained support. The German Workers’ Party now featured Hitler as the main attraction at its meetings. In his speeches Hitler railed against the Treaty of Versailles and delivered anti-Semitic tirades, blaming the Jews for Germany’s problems.
At this point in time the Nazi Partys ideals seemed to attract members who were part of the labour sector in society or workers. These were the men and women who worked in industrial institution such as factories. These people were often threatened by unstable employment and therefore pay, but Hitler offered stable employment and pay. The Nazi Partys policies based on anti-Semitism, Lebensraum (Livingspace), economic and social reformsincluding nationalization of the trusts also attracted the workers. Times were changing, however, and Hitler was ready to make the next step in consolidation his power. Hitlers extraordinary public speaking skills were utilised to gather supporters for the Nazi Party.
The mid 1920s were a tense and strained period in which much happened. The SA (Sturm-Abteilung or Stormtroopers) had been well established and its numbers were increasing steadily. The swastika had been introduced and was now widely used to represent the Nazi Party. The Nazi Party, now notorious as being the direct opposite of the Communist Party, gained the support of many fearful middle-class Germans who knew of the ever possible threat of a Communist revolution. As hyperinflation set in Germany, pockets of people were empty but people stood by their government, admiring its defiance of the French.
But in September of 1923, the German government made a fateful decision to resume making payments. Bitter resentment and unrest swelled among the people, inciting extremist political groups to action and quickly bringing Germany to the brink of chaos. The Nazis and other similar groups now felt the time was right to strike. The German state of Bavaria where the Nazis were based was a hotbed of groups opposed to the democratic government in Berlin. By now, November 1923, the Nazis, with 55,000 followers, were the biggest and best organized. With Nazi members demanding action, Hitler knew he had to act or risk losing the leadership of his Party.
This was the Munich, or Beer Hall, Putsch. In the 1920s the Nazi Party became confident enough to attempt a coup. The Putsch was an utter disaster and after his release from confinement, Hitler vowed that he would take power legitimately and not by force. After the ban on the party was raised in 1925, Hitler sought to consolidated the support from the working class by increasing the anti-Semitic propaganda and further ensuring them that the Nazis would guarantee employment. Despite the rise in support, the Nazis were in fact losing ground in the only place it mattered – the Reichstag.
After four years of reorganization and campaigning, in the Reichstag elections of 1928 the Nazis fell to just twelve deputies. And the fact that the Communists had four times as many seats as them did not help. The Nazis, therefore, decided on another change in policy as they were getting nowhere with the workers. Hitler sought support from the middles class with his virulent anti-Communism and promises to control trade unionism and support from the farmers by promising them high prices for their products. Hitler gained support from both the middle class and farmers and membership doubled between 1927 and 1929.
Would this growth have continued at the same rate? Who knows. But in 1929, events that even the Nazis didnt have control over launched them on a course set straight to power. Seizing power legitimately rather than forcibly was vowed by Hitler after the disastrous attempt at a coup. Germany wasnt the only country affected by the Great Depression but it certainly was hit particularly bad. This is due to the fact that American banks recalled the loans which were keeping Germanys industry moving.
As a consequence, the economy came to a stop and millions of people lost their jobs. The response of the government was, of course, to try to get Germany out of the depression. But how? One way would be to print money and increase government expenditure. But the members of the government were more afraid of a period of inflation than one of unemployment. So instead they perform blunder upon blunder and raise taxes, cut wages and reduce unemployment benefits.
This caused people to turn to other parties for answers. As usual, the extremist groups were the ones with the answers. In the election straight after the Great Depression, the Nazis experienced a rise from 12 seats in 1928 to 107 seats in 1930. As did the Communists from 54 to 77 seats. Although the economic depression was felt globally, Germany was one of the countries to be hit the hardest. There were many techniques which the Nazis used to gather support many of which had been use previously by themselves and also by other parties.
The big question would, of course, be How did the Nazis do it? In the 1930s the Nazi Party utilised all possible techniques to gather support from all around Germany. The history of many Nazi Party members lead back to WWI and so with them came the same obedience, organisation and teamwork which was present in the army. Propaganda was well organised and popular ideas and slogans were repeated over and over. Promises to voters were made to gain their votes and unlike other parties the Nazis were extremely flexible and watched the response of the people and adapted quickly to satisfy them. Hitlers extraordinary public speaking skills incorporated with the use of technology enabled him to fly to four or five mass rallies per day compared to Hindenburgs one election speech.
All these techniques allowed Hitler and the Nazis to become the largest party in the Reichstag by 1933 advancing to 230 seats or 43.9%. And they were not going to stop at that. Various techniques were utilised by the Nazi Party throughout the 1930s which ultimately lead them to success. In conclusion, the techniques used by the National Socialist Workers Party widely changed between the years 1920 and 1933. Crawling out from amongst the rubble of defeat after WWI, the Nazi party which started out as a mere group of demobilized soldiers managed, with the help of Adolf Hitler, to gain support from the workers in society. Hitlers extraordinary public speaking skills became an attraction at his speeches and this gathered further supporters for the Nazis. After gaining enough support, Nazi members demanded action and so Hitler together with his supporters staged the Munich, or Beer Hall, Putsch.
After failing disastrously in completing the putsch successfully, Hitler vowed to seize power legitimately rather than forcibly. As the Great Depression set in, global economic activity slowed but Germanys economy was one of which was hardest hit. Throughout the use of manipulative technology, organised propaganda and well organised skills as well as many other colourful techniques the Nazi Party managed to gain the most seats in the partys history as well as the history of the Weimar Republic. The ways in which Hitler and the Nazis adapted to and manipulated the vulnerable German people allowed them to progressively gain more support more votes and more power. Until, finally, on 30 January, 1930, Hitler was appointed Chancellor.
From here on in, Hitler was setting the rules of the game. Bibliography www.waffenss.com History Essays.