Hitler's rise to power
Hitler's rise to power cannot be attributed to one event, but a mixture of factors including events happening outside Germany, the strengths of the Nazi party, and the weaknesses of other parties within Germany. Hitler used these factors to his advantage and in 1933 he legitimately gained power to become chancellor.
In 1929, the American Stock Exchange collapsed, and caused an economic depression [Economic depression: The slowing of economic activity, which usually results in high unemployment, a sharp drop in prices and a fall in production. ]. America called in all its foreign loans, which destroyed Weimar Germany. Unemployment in Germany rose to 6 million.
The government did not know what to do. In July 1930 Chancellor Brüning cut government expenditure, wages and unemployment pay - the worst thing to do during a depression. He could not get the Reichstag to agree to his actions, so President Hindenburg used Article 48 to pass the measures by decree.
Anger and bitterness helped the Nazis to gain more support.
Many workers turned to communism, but this frightened wealthy businessmen, so they financed Hitler's campaigns.
Many middle-class people, alarmed by the obvious failure of democracy, decided that the country needed a strong government. Nationalists and racists blamed the Treaty of Versailles [Treaty of Versailles: The peace treaty signed by the Allies and Germany at the end of the First World War, on 28 June 1919. ] and reparations [Reparations: Monetary compensation from one country to another for having started a war. ].
In 1928, the Nazis had only 12 seats in the Reichstag; by July 1932 they had 230 seats and were the largest party.
The government was in chaos. President Hindenburg dismissed Brüning in 1932. His replacement - Papen - lasted six months, and the next chancellor - Schleicher - only lasted two months. Hindenburg had to use Article 48 to pass almost every law.
In January 1933, Hindenburg and Papen came up with a plan to get the Nazis on their side by offering to make Hitler vice chancellor. He refused and demanded to be made chancellor. They agreed, thinking they could control him.
In January 1933, Hitler became chancellor, and immediately set about making himself absolute ruler of Germany using Article 48.
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