How Hitlers Ideas Interacted With the Attitudes of Ordinary Germans

Date:  2021-05-24 01:36:14
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In the 1920s, the Nazi Party was small and appeared insignificant. Most of the people did not believe that the party had the potential to gain power. In 1928, the party only won 12 seats out of the total 400 in the Reichstag (Sutton, 16). However, by 1933, the Nazi Party had already managed to become the biggest party in Germany and their leader, Adolf Hitler, was the chancellor of the country. The Nazi government eliminated all opposition and consolidated power, making Germany a dictatorship country. This government, under Hitler's rule, was involved in some atrocious acts such as the Holocaust that led to the gruesome murder of over 6 million Jews. In spite of the harmful acts perpetrated by Hitler and his government, he still had support from a significantly large number of ordinary German citizens and maintained his power until the end of the Second World War. This support is highly due to the manner his ideas interacted with the attitudes of the ordinary Germans. This essay is an analysis of some of the factors that helped Hitler maintain his position as head of Germany.

The Effects of the Great Depression

The Great Depression experienced between 1929 and 1939 is the most significant economic downturn ever encountered in the western world. In the United States, the recession began with the Wall Street panic that wiped out many investors. As a result, American banks started recalling the money they had loaned to Germany, thus, spreading the effect of the recession in Germany (Sutton, 39). As businesspeople lost money, they started cutting down on production, causing the laying off of a significantly large number of workers. The rate of unemployment kept rising as there were fewer people able to buy goods, thereby affecting the industries, a fact that led to a vicious cycle of poverty. By 1933, there were over 6 million Germans already out of work and a lot of people were living in misery (Sutton, 47). A lot of individuals who were previously part of the middle class lost their homes, businesspeople went bankrupt, and farmers lost their farms. The Great Depression was being experienced worldwide; hence, there was no way the country could get assistance from other nations. All people were suffering and desperate for a solution to the country's problems. This setback was a chance for Hitler and his party to take full advantage.

Hitlers Ideas

Adolf Hitler had worked hard to reorganize the Nazi Party after his release from prison in 1924. However, the party had not managed to attract people's attention; thus, they did not do well in the 1928 elections. After the Great Depression, the people got attracted to Hitler's ideas. He had set out most of his ideas in the autobiographic book he wrote while in prison, Mein Kampf. He believed that the weak leadership of the current government caused the problems the country was facing. He was against the country being a democratic state and promised that the country needed one adamant leader (Fuhrer), who would be in complete power (Sutton, 115). He promised the Germans that a strong leader like him would have the power to correct all the wrongs of the country and make it great. He also believed that Germany would be great if the Treaty of Versailles was done away with and that the country turned into a great military state by increasing the army. He was against communism and promised to do away with the idea when he got into power (Sutton, 126). He proclaimed that the Aryan people were the superior races and any other races were inferior. However, above all, Hitler was in support of anti-Semitism. His argument was that the Jews needed to be eliminated to purify the human race and prevent them from taking over the world (Sutton, 137). Principally, Hitler preached that the Germans were to love their country more than they love their lives. He added that their contribution to the growth of the country was more important than their individual lives, thereby encouraging them to stop political and old class divisions.

By the 1930 elections, most of the people of Germany had completely lost faith in the ability of the government to solve the ongoing problems. The government was in support of communism that promised to restore wealth and share it among the Germans; thus, the working class people voted for them. The middle class turned to the Nazi government, enabling them to win 107 seats in the Reichstag. However, the government still had more seats hence they remained in power. The politics that followed led to the appointment of Hitler as the Chancellor in 1933.

The Effects of Hitlers Ideas on the Germans

The primary strategy used by Hitler and his Nazi government to gain the support of the people was through propaganda. Hitler believed that if one tells a lie and repeats it repeatedly, the people would eventually believe this lie as the truth. This belief is what he did, and it worked. Within a year of being Chancellor, Hitler had already managed to change Germany into a dictatorial country led by the Nazi government (Sutton, 173). He was determined to turn the country into a totalitarian state with him as the leader, hence, supported the Enabling Act that did away with democracy completely. He combined the power of the Chancellor and that of the president giving him all the power he needed to control the country entirely. However, by this time, not all the Germans were in support of the changes he was making. He decided to use horror to make sure every person in the country obeyed him. The police were given the power to terrorize and arrest all people who were against the Nazi government.

Hitler established various organizations that would help him enforce his new dictatorship rules. One of the organizations was SS, Hitler's personal army, which was responsible for undertaking all his dirty work (Sutton, 177). Many people were killed by this organization, including Ernst Rohm, the military leader, when Hitler decided to murder him. In 1936, the group was given power over the ordinary police force. Hermann Goering, the military leader, also set up the Gestapo, to assist the Nazi government maintain its power. Hitler's government also created concentration camps, where all anti-government Germans were sent to ensure that they did not form any rebellion against the government. During this time, the courts were as good as useless because the arrested people were sent to the camps without standing trial. Having a trial would not have been very helpful because all the members of the justice system were the Nazis. In 1934, the people's court' was set up, and by 1939, over 500 people had been sentenced to death (Sutton, 210). The camps were also used as the extermination sites for the Jewish people as the Jews were unfairly captured and killed in the camps. By the end of the Nazi rule, over 6 million Jews had been killed. Additionally, Germans civilians had no chance of overturning the Nazi government due to the millions of Nazi informants located in all parts of the government. Every town in the country was divided into small units, which a Blockleiter (block warden) guarded the unit and reported any suspicious activity to the government (Sutton, 272). With all these measures in place, it was not easy for the Germans to overthrow Hitler from power until his demise at the end of the World War II.

Conclusion

In summary, Adolf Hitler managed to take advantage of the Germans when they needed a leader the most. Propaganda played a big part in Hitler gaining and maintaining power, without which he would not have managed to convince the Germans to elevate him to power. The Germans were in extreme need of a leader who would relieve them from the suffering they were under as a result of the Great Depression. Hitler came with ideas that seemed promising and convinced a whole country to accept him, a decision most of them would come to realize was not the best.

References

Rosenbaum, R. (2014). Explaining Hitler: The search for the origins of his evil. Da Capo Press.

Sutton, A. C. (2010). Wall Street and the rise of Hitler. Clairview Books.

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