Hitler’s Rise To Power

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Following Germany’s defeat in World War I, the leading powers the United States, Great Britain, France and the other allies ratified the Treaty of Versailles, which included extremely harsh conditions for Germany. Threatened with invasion, Germany retained no option but to accept the treaty, bearing complete blame for the war and agreeing to conditions that involved heavy reparations, limited armed forces, and ceding territory to neighboring countries. The limitations plunged Germany into an economic crisis that only deteriorated with the outbreak of the Great Depression.

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The hopeless situation in which Germany appeared

The war brought Germany into wholesale destruction. Being under the control of the treaty terms, the German people suffered. In 1923, the state was unable to pay the war reparations required by the agreement, which resulted in the invasion and occupation of the Ruhr Valley by France and Belgium. When the German people declined to collaborate with the French and Belgians, with the backing of the Weimar government, they were able to force France and Belgium to pull out. At this time, the American government provided Germany with a substantial sum of money to restore its economy. As a consequence, Germany’s economy increased and its relations with other countries warmed. This continued merely until 1929, when the Great Depression started in the United States, causing mass unemployment. The German economy was powerless because it was created by foreign money, trade and most of the country’s credits were received from the United States. The Great Depression spread poverty and disaster across the nation and the German people desperately started to seek a decision that would head them out of the dreadful circumstances in which they found themselves.

The formation of the Nazi Party

Quite soon after these events, the Nazi Party began to thrive. Before the Great Depression, the Nazi Party developed gradually and gained a negligible number of followers. In 1923, a figure named Adolf Hitler tried to topple the German government but was not successful. Realizing the appalling circumstances in which his native country found itself, he searched for an alternative option by running for a government position. The German people trusted that Hitler would head them out of the depression they were in. He promised the German people a more contented life and a flourishing state. He appealed to the jobless and the representatives of the lower middle class. In 1933 Hitler became chancellor and quickly seized power, completely destroying German democracy. Applying racist and despotic philosophies, he abolished elementary freedoms and brought everything under total control. In just a few months, Hitler obtained the broad spectrum of power, compelling organizations, political parties and state governments to submit to Nazi views and positioning them under Nazi domination. As a result, education, culture, economy, and legislation were under Nazi rule. By July 1933, the Nazi Party was the merely political party permitted in Germany. The promotion of Nazi Party members to federal office provided Hitler with an opportunity to wield more power than other government officials.

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The persecution of Jews

In addition, due to the depression in Germany and the people’s longing for change, it was possible for Hitler to exploit the German people by manipulating them and blaming Germany’s troubles on a particular group of people, and that was the Jews. By spreading fear-based propaganda, he was successful in persuading the German people that the Jews were indeed the issue and that the sole answer to this issue was to eliminate them. The media, broadsheets and proclamations were used to propagate anti-Semitism, which enabled the Nazi regime to successfully enforce laws that limited and excluded Jews from society. Jews were forbidden to attend public schools, universities, entertainment venues, and places intended only for pure-blood Germans. Jews were required to carry identity cards and wear the Star of David on their clothing constantly. They were rounded up and deported to concentration camps. Although Jews were the most numerous, they were not the exclusive group aimed at, but also the physically and mentally disabled, homosexuals, gypsies, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and anyone who was not part of the supreme race.

The Holocaust

Furthermore, these concentration camps imprisoned millions of people and were intended for their extermination. Overcrowding in the camps resulted in the establishment of execution camps, where prisoners were shipped and murdered upon arrival. These people were placed in gas chambers where they were incinerated alive. Those in other camps starved to death from backbreaking labor, hunger, and diseases/epidemics that emerged and spread rapidly throughout the camps. This disastrous tragedy, commonly recognized as the Holocaust, took the lives of millions of people, including Jews, Gypsies, Jehovah’s Witnesses and many other identity groups.


In this way, capitalizing on Germany’s economic vulnerability after the First World War and the Great Depression, Adolf Hitler succeeded in attaining a vast level of prosperity and authority by employing violence and propaganda that created fear and hatred of the Jewish people and brought about one of the most notorious instances of genocide.

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