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Britain spelt the death of European Fascism An analysis of Britains role in combating German Fascism 1920-33

Jamie Daniel Lake January 31, 2013

Part I


What is Fascism?

The term Fascism originates from the Latin word fasces. The civic magistrate in ancient Rome had lictors (guards) carry an axe which consisted of rods tied around it in a bundle; this weapon was used as a means of capital punishment - at the command of the civic magistrate himself.1 The fasces were a symbolic representation of strength, power and authority through collaborative unity. A single entity can be easily broken on its own, multiple entities working together, however, are dicult to break. This was copied by modern Fascists, for example, Benito Mussolini, party leader of the National Fascist Party (Partito Nazionale Fascista), in which in both his ag and emblem a fasces can be seen.2 The establishment of Fascism as a practical, modern-day political concept was conceived during Word War I (1919) by Mussolini who combined the political views at the time of both the left and right wings, this gave social scientists a hard time placing it on the left-right political spectrum.3 Roderick Stackleberg calls Nazism a radical variant of Fascism 4 and places both Nazism and Fascism on the right. His explanation is such that he believes Nazism is oppressing equality and the more a person considering inequality to be unavoidable or even desirable, the further to the right he or she will be. 4 For a long time, the actual meaning of the word Fascism has been strongly debated among scholars and political scientists. Fascism is such an incredibly powerful word that even its more specic forms have a very distinct message which cannot be split into single sentences.5 Its a complicated issue in a historical sense. A single denition cannot be agreed upon by political scientists and thus the concept must be understood on dierent levels. The application of Fascism is so vast and it can be thought of as a subsidiary of totalitarian power politics, a method of ruling which retains certain stylistic traits and a political ideology. Stanley G. Payne developed a listed denition of what he considers Fascism to be which he categorised into three separate portions of qualications, some of the main points are: Creation of a new nationalist authoritarian state not based on traditional principles or models
1 New World, Websters (2005). Websters II New College Dictionary. Houghton Miin Reference Books. 2 3 Turner, Stephen P., Ksler, Dirk: Sociology Responds to Fascism, Routledge. 2004, p. 222 4 Stackelberg, Roderick Hitlers Germany, Routledge, 1999, p 4-6 5 Gregor, A. James (2002). Phoenix: Fascism in Our Time. Transaction Publishers.

Positive evaluation and use of, or willingness to use violence and war The goal of empire, expansion, or a radical change in the nations relationship with other powers Anti liberalism Anticommunism Anticonservatism Attempted mass mobilization with militarization of political relationships and style and with the goal of a mass single party militia Specic tendency toward an authoritarian, charismatic, personal style of command, whether or not the command is to some degree initially elective 6


What causes Fascism?

As mentioned in section 1.1 there are variables and conditions that must be met in order for Fascism to ourish. These have been well thought about and organised into dierent sections of characteristic by Stanley G. Payne. 6 In order for Fascism to ourish, a strong sense of national insecurity is needed among its people. This is commonly used to unite the citizens of the country in a national front against whomever or whatever they believe is causing their current national decline in: socio-political or economic value or the decline in an indigenous race. This is their civil ethic, which should be established to the nation, in comradeship and the warriors spirit. 6 Generally, but not always, the country must be in a bad or dicult position for the citizens of the country to vote in a leader with an often obviously selsh political agenda and ill-conceived ideologies. The leader is usually charismatic, a speaker with great oratorical skills and in a position tostrike an emotional connection with the public, a common struggle. 6 Usually, a political demagogue is created which exploits the fears and pride of the peoples. Adolf Hitler exploited the peoples hatred for the Jewish for the unstable Economic position the country was in. Ian Kershaw speaks about this in his book on Hitler.7 8 Hitler had to gain support to get into power, and he didnt have enough control to simply form an implemented dictatorship, he had to win the support of the people. This meant turning them against the out-group. This is very common in Fascism and is a form of demagoguery that employs the leader to demonise or dehumanise the group that is at the heart of the problems of the country, this can be done through animalistic terminology, which Hitler used, or through other methods of dehumanisation. Hitler developed and implemented
6 Stanley G. Payne. A History of Fascism, 1914-1945. University of Wisconsin Press, 1995. p. 7. 7 Kershaw, Ian Hitler 1889-1936: Hubris, The Penguin Press (1998) 8

a name for the Jews which was Untermenschen, which directly translates to sub-humans.9 Hitler refers to propaganda as an instrument 10 and notices that It was during the War, however, that we had the best chance of estimating the tremendous results which could be obtained by a propagandist system properly carried out. 10 These techniques have been employed time and time again under Mussolini in Italy, Hitler in Germany, Franco in Spain and Mosley in Great Britain. These men were all very much in support of each other, Hitler is noted saying, Theres no doubt at all that Mussolini is the heir of the great men of that period.11 Here you can see how the leaders of similar political ideologies and agendas unite, in nationalist pride, to protect their countries from the national threat of democracy and communism.


The essay and cases of Fascism.

The essay will focus on four cases of Fascism and come to a conclusion as to whether Britain did spell the death of European Fascism and the methods deployed by the Great British peoples to combat the transnational forces of Fascism present among various countries. The particular cases of Fascism that this essay will focus on are those that were present in the 1920-45 period that were large, powerful entities in terms of both their intrinsic national inuence and their extrinsic socio-political inuence. The essay will mainly look at Nazi Germany for the analysis or case study and use the other cases to dene fascism. The reason for the short period is because Im interested in what conditions allow the uprising of fascism to occur. Benito Mussolinis rule over Italy - the founder of Fascism.12 Adolf Hitlers rule over Germany - the persuader.13 Francisco Francos military rebellion during the Spanish Civil War.14 Oswald Mosley as the founder of the BUF (British Union of Fascists).15
9 Rosenberg, Alfred (1930) (in German). Der Mythus des 20. Jahrhunderts: Eine Wertung der seelischgeistigen Gestaltungskmpfe unserer Zeit [The Myth of the Twentieth Century]. Munich: Hoheneichen-Verlag. p. 214. 10 Hitler, Adolf. Mein Kampf, Houghton Miin Company, September 15, 1998 11 Trevor-Roper, Hugh. Hitlers Table Talk 1941-1944, Weidenfeld & Nicolson Ltd, London, 1953. 12 Members of Fasci Italiani di Combatimento (Italian Fasci of Combat) , Il Popolo dItalia (The People of Italy), 6 June 1919. 13 Hollander, Ethan J (PDF). Italian Fascism and the Jews. University of California. 14 Paul Preston, The Spanish Civil War, Harper 2006, p.79 15 Thorpe, Andrew. (1995) Britain In The 1930s, Blackwell Publishers.

Part II

Britain versus German Fascism

2 Britain and the Treaties of 1919-1920
Nothing much like the First World War had been seen before in history. Its consequences shook the world. A generation of men had perished at the hands of brutal warfare. Political order was disrupted across the world. Empires diminished in every way. Germany, Russia, Austro-Hungary, Britain, France, Italy, Romania, Poland and many more felt the eects of this catastrophe. Anglo-American ties had been tested as the US continually kept Britain and France from collapsing under the never-ending pressure of nancial issues and problems of resourcing. All countries were at a huge loss, broken Britain, now the victors wanted more than just the win; they wanted payback for the huge sacrices they had taken in order to keep the balances of humanity. Britain must now avoid war at all cost. This war must be the war to end all war. As written in section 2 Britain, although the victors, needed payback. They needed to restore their place on the hierarchical powers of Europe. They formulated treaties which would have payment of massive reparations and cede territories occupied under false or illegal pretences. Britain had lost over 650,000 men and women with over 1,500,000 men and women wounded according to the report by the War Oce 16 - the win alone did not outweigh the massive loss that the British people had suered. On January 18th 1919 the Treaty of Versailles between the Allied powers and Germany was proposed and signed on June 28th . It was a peace treaty with provisions of varying magnitudes. Importantly to the Allied powers and for this reason rather controversial was a section stating Germany had to accept full responsibility for causing the war along with its then Allies. The Allied and Associated Governments arm and Germany accepts the responsibility of Germany and her allies for causing all the loss and damage to which the Allied and Associated Governments and their nationals have been subjected as a consequence of the war imposed upon them by the aggression of Germany and her allies.

There were obvious provisions which required Germany to make certain concessions in terms of land. The writers had included clauses of reparations to certain smaller countries that were aected by the World War and made provisions of disarmament - the general idea that Germany must keep a small army, permanently weakening it or inducing pacism upon the state. Britain had made
16 The Army Council. General Annual Report of the British Army 19121919. Parliamentary Paper 1921, XX, Cmd.1193.,PartIV 17 rdh7/wwi/versailles.html - Peace Treaty of Versailles. Part ~ VIII, Articles 231-247 and Annexes.

progress in resisting Fascism. At this point, if Britain had followed through with its plans of disarmament and weakening, it would have taken away some of the contextual factors that were spoken about in section 1.1 that encouraged or allowed the Fascist ideology to ourish as it did. Britain then proposed that reparations should be made in the order of then 6.6 billion, a gure which was at the time incredibly unreasonable and probably lead to frustration and anger on the side of the axis. This sum would cripple Germany forever; it would never be dependent again. John Keynes called it Carthaginian18 19 and argued that these terms were just unrealistic and too harsh. His arguments were convincing too many British and American politicians. Due to the originally unrealistic sums for reparations and ever-changing political goals of The Entente Powers 20 it left compromise in places. No country was completely satised and this meant Germany never became pacied in the slightest or even permanently weakened. This compromise is known as the unhappy compromise and is written about by Harold Nicolson. 21 22 This is where Britain started to lose sight of having hold over Germany, now that the monarchy was abolished23 anything could happen. Germany at an immense loss; any man could now win an election - little did Britain know, it would be Hitler. Britain, by not concentrating on the political landscape emerging in Germany allowed certain things to occur which probably wouldnt have gone ahead if political discretion had been taken. Britain had an opportunity here, to avoid war, to make peace, to get reparations and repudiate the birth of Fascism. By making unrealistic settlement oers nationalistic passions were kept alive - stimulated by the war - as more and more peoples were aggrieved with the outcome of the Treaty. On June 4th 1920 the Treaty of Trianon was signed between Hungary and The Entente Powers 20 this Treaty dened the borders of Hungary a then state of Austria-Hungary.24 It meant that because these borders were being redened, populations had to be moved by certain demographics. This was an opportunity for Britain to play monopoly with the businesses and people of Hungary. The idea was to essentially encapsulate Hungary and Austria in a band of countries or political areas which were allied not to the axis25 (thus, establishing a
Lentin, Germany: a New Carthage? History Today (Jan. 2012). word has a double concept, both of which apply in this instance. Firstly, it can imply an imposition of a very brutal peace treaty which often implies the total subjigation of the country or state under observation. It can also be seen as the imposition of peace upon a state or country and originates from Carthaginian times when Rome burned Carthage to the ground, systematically, in 146BC 20 Britain, France and Russia 21 Harold Nicolson, Diaries and Letters, 193039 22 quoted in Derek Drinkwater: Sir Harold Nicolson and International Relations: The Practitioner as Theorist, p 139 23 9 November 1918: Article 227 17 prosecution of Wilhelm for a supreme oence against international morality and the sanctity of treaties. 24 Treaty of Peace Between The Allied and Associated Powers and Hungary And Protocol and Declaration - 25 Macmillan, Margaret. Paris 1919: Six Months that Changed the World. Random House.
19 This 18 Antony.

geo-political shift, spreading the power across multiple entities to avoid another war). These political areas would need to be larger than both Hungary and Austria thus eliminating any kind of civil war/coup-like backlash from disillusionment; although it was known what was going on, due to its clear proposal in the Treaty itself. Its advantages were clearly on the allies side and Hungary didnt seem to mind. Austria-Hungary, being a supporter of the axis had to be dissolved: It was growing at a trumendous rate due to its autarkic26 economy:27 during the early 20th century its GNP28 grew by 1.76%.29 This rapid economic expansion meant that if Germany wanted to reacquire inuence they knew who to go to. This was a threat to Britain and the rest of The Entente Powers 20 and their intentions, at the time, were correctly placed - their execution left Hungary in an economic depression, however. In the Coolidge Report Professor Coolidge noted that there were propagating economic issues.30 This, obviously, left both Hungary and Austria in a situation which evoked a national sense of seeking payback. Unemployment rates were incredibly high in both states and industrial output dropped by more than 65%.31 At this point, both states had little to lose going into another war - and Britain didnt address the issues. Perhaps, if Britain had addressed such issues, then Hungary and Austria would have not been so quick to aid the axis in the soon-to-come war: this would have been another step in reducing fascist ideologies.


From Weimar Republic to Nazi Germany


According to Adolf Hitler, leader of the Nazi Party, Germanys economic downfall was simply due to the harshness of the Treaty of Versailles, problems with democracy and on the stab-in-the-back myth.32 This was partly true, some of it, however was just falsied information propagated and supported by the right-wing circles of Germany during the periods of 1918 and onwards. During the uprising of the Nazis they made the myth an integral part of their history, labelling the Weimar Republic 33 as the November Criminals, who exploited the stab-in-the-back to gain power - whilst betraying the nation for their own, personal gain. They portrayed the Weimar Republic 33 as:
economy or state which is considered self-sucient. 1911: Hungary/Commerce - Commerce 28 Gross National Product - the sum of the market value of the countries residents products and services in one year. Varying from GDP in the sense that it is not geographically dependent 29 Good, David. The Economic Rise of the Habsburg Empire 30 Francis Deak, Hungary at the Paris Peace Conference. The Diplomatic History of the Treaty of Trianon (New York: Columbia University Press, 1942) p 45 31 K. Rotschild, Austrias Economic Development Between the Two Wars (London, 1946). 32 The Dolchstolegende - Translates to myth despite the similarity between legende (German) and legend (English). 33 The federal republic and parliamentary representative democracy formed in 1919 in Germany replacing the imperial form of government.
27 Britannica 26 An

a morass of corruption, degeneracy, national humiliation, ruthless persecution of the honest national opposition fourteen years of rule by Jews, Marxists and cultural Bolsheviks, who had at last been swept away by the National Socialist movement under Adolf Hitler and the victory of the national revolution of 1933.34 The 14 years that the Weimar Republic was in power were not easy. After World War I they faced a constant uphill battle against hyperination, extremism - paramilitaries and keeping the general population happy whilst repairing contentious relationships with those involved in World War I. The government didnt do a terrible job, things in Germany were as they were everywhere else, in fact, and restructuring Germanys debt through the Dawes Plan35 and Young plan36 meant that the country paid a fraction of what they were originally intended to payback. Payments were reduced twice through these acts of scal restructuring.38 The last payment ever to be paid was on the 3rd of October 2010.39 The British continually conciliated the Germans here - constantly let them o the hook. This caused tensions in Britain to rise between the nations once again, the British people had an image of the government appeasing the German government and allowing them to quite literally, get away with murder. This alleviation was somewhat necessary, however, the reparations were too high to start with in the Treaty of Versailles and they were reduced incrementally. Britain, once again, should have stuck to a particular course of action. It gave the idea of a weak nation, needy, willing to take anything it could get. The ball was in the Germans court and they had too much control.


The Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (German Workers Party)

On March 7th 1918 a German nationalist formed a branch of a league known as Freier Ausschuss f ur einen deutschen Arbeiterfrieden.40 The branch formed was the Committee of Independent Workmen. 41 The views of this branch were those of a militant nationalist, the extreme opposition of the armistice42 , Treaty of Versailles 41 , anti-Semitism43 , authoritarianism45 , anti-monarchist46 ,
Eberhard. The Weimar Republic New York: Routledge, 2005. p.140 by the Dawes Committee attempting to solve the reparations problems. Its failure allowed the Young plans adoption. 36 The Young plan was successful in making incrementally decreasing reparation demands37 38 Marks, Sally, The Illusion of Peace: International Relations in Europe, 1918-1933, St. Martins, NY, 1976, p 96-105 39 Germany makes nal payment for WWI reparations - JPost International. http: // 40 Free Committee for a German Workers Peace) 41 Shirer, William L. (1991) [1960]. The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. London: Arrow Books Ltd. p.33 42 An arrangement that ended the ghting in the World War I going into eect on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th Month of 1918 43 Hatred or prejudice of the Jews44 45 Longing for a leader or characterised by submission to authority. 46 The opposition to monarchy
35 Proposed 34 Kolb,

anti-Marxist47 as well as the belief of nationalism in that Germans were part of the Herrenvolk or Master Race and were entitled extra rights due to their superiority among other nationals. In many ways, Drexler set the standard in Germany for the nationalist party and the term fascist wasnt employed or applied at any point during his time. During 1919, Drexler broke o from the Free Committee for a German Workers Peace and formed his own political party based on a uniting of political ideologies from his Committee of Independent Workmen and The Political Workers Circle which was led by a newspaper reporter Karl Harrer. 48 After the uniting the new name for the party was the Deutsche Arbeiterpartei, (DAP) (German Workers Party). 48 Those that were deemed part of the Aryan race would receive social welfare - a reward for inheriting characteristics.49 They were a small part of the many v olkisch50 movements taking place. The ideology at the time was strictly and explicitly anti-Semitic and declared that the national community must be free of Jewish peoples. They raised money by selling a tobacco which they called Anti-Semite. 51 The party was extremely opposed to non-nationalist political movements, and opposed strongly the Social Democratic Part of Germany and the newly formed Community Party of Germany. It was a ght against Bolshevism. They were threats, as written in section 1.1 and section 1.2, to Fascism and although the party didnt declare itself Fascist from the beginning, its ideologies and political mentality certainly t the descriptions of Fascism written in this essay - that is to say, Fascism is not something any man can invent, it is an extension of human behaviour and thereby a natural occurrence. The small size of the party (less than 60 members 52 ) meant it didnt reach an audience broad enough to cause a wide-spread destruction. It caught the attention of the German authorities, however. There is very little evidence to suggest that Britain had any insight as to what was going on, but the party was causing enough trouble for the authorities to ag them as a party with potentially subversive tendencies - so why was Britain not aware, and why did they not intervene?


Hitlers rst appearance

During 1919 a corporal, Adolf Hitler, was stationed in Munch, 52 was sent by Captain Mayr, to investigate the DAP.53 A party meeting on the 12th September 1919, in which Gottfried Feder was talking about how capitalism can be eliminated, there was a visitor who questioned the validity and soundness of
- the opposition to communism F. L. The Rise of Fascism. University of California Press. p 91 49 Spector, Robert, World Without Civilization: Mass Murder and the Holocaust, History, and Analysis (University of America Press, 2004), p 137 50 Populist movement where v olkisch means ethnic 51 Dan van der Vat: The Good Nazi: The Life and Lies of Albert Speer, p 30. George Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1997 52 Fest, Joachim, The Face of the Third Reich (Penguin books, 1979), p 37 53 Rees, Laurence, The Nazis A Warning from History (BBC Books, 2 March 2006), p 21
48 Carlsten, 47 Anti-communism

Gottfried Feders arguments. Hitler defended Feder from the opposing attacks on the talk, and made somewhat of an impression on the members with his oratory skills. Hitler recalls that the professor left in acknowledgment of Hitlers oratorical victory. 41 52 There are sources of Drexler informing a close friend that Hitler has: got a gift of the gab. going on to recognise that We [DAP] could use him [Hitler].
52 54 52

He was thenceforth invited to join the party and accepted after some thought and hesitation. During his time as a member of the DAP (the seventh executive member)55 he was making a speech in front of a small crowd of 111 people and was the second speaker of the event. Hitler is noted as saying this is when he noticed that he could really make a good speech 52 . This was where it began for Hitler in many ways. This seems to me to be a particularly proud moment for Hitler: hes acknowledged, given power, authority, respect and acceptance. Hitler continued the trend of small-group talks and speeches, no doubt he was born with incredibly oratorical skills, but this certainly improved them. As written in section 1.2 propaganda was a key part of the Nazi Parties rise. After sometime Hitler became a prominent member of the organisation, in control of propaganda, public speaking and aairs and administration for the organisation; henceforth he gained larger audiences. 56 Consequently, the party gained publicity - Hitler opened it up. On the 24th of February 1920 in M unchen Hitler organised a speech that would be heard by 2,000 people. This wasnt in the partys best interest. Harrer, the newspaper reporter, resigned and completely disagreed with the direction the party was heading. 41 More importantly, however, it was this speech, the most important speech for the party, that attested the 25 point plan that DAP would become famous for. 41 This speech also enunciated the plan of action that DAP would pursue. 56 The 25 point plan formulated by Hitler, Feder and Drexler 41 agrees largely with the introductory denition of fascism in section 1.1 and was based around Anti-Marxist ideologies Anti-Democratic ideologies Anti-Semitism Anti-capitalism Anti-liberalism
54 Toland,

John (1976). Adolf Hitler. Garden City, New York: Doubleday & Company. p

55 Rees, 56 T.

Laurence, The Nazis A Warning from History (BBC Books, 2 March 2006) L. Jaman, The Rise and Fall of Nazi Germany (New York University Press, 1956)


The party, in hind sight and existentially was incredibly fascist already. The organization at this time was renamed again to include National Socialist and thus incorporate more of the low-middle classes of Germany. It was now known as NSDAP or Nazis, Hitlers proposition for the renaming was the Social Revolutionary Party but another party member pushed and persuaded Hitler to follow the NSDAP naming. 57 Notice how Hitler is not considered the leader of the party now, people were coming to him to clarify and agree things. The member of this party truly looked up to Hitler as a political strategist and philosopher. This speech was heard by 2,000 people, the ideologies were reaching massive audiences now and Hitlers party NSDAP was the talk of the country. How could Britain now pick up on this? What could Britain have done? Perhaps Britain felt that getting involved with newly emerging political parties stepped the line of their democratic styles, perhaps they didnt think the party would amount to a force that was to be reckoned with. Either way, fascism, being a fact of modern political history, may not have had alarm bells ringing among politicians as it does now, in hindsight. During the months of 1920 many historians consider the party not to have had any real signicance in terms of political revolution. 41 I, personally, nd this hard to believe considering the party had 3,000 members in the closing months of 1920 52 - I dont see how the party went unnoticed by British politicians and authorities. 3.3.1 Establishing Hitler as the problem of Germans Fascism

Hitler, being a young corporal, was obviously in contact with many people in the army. This would aid the party in the later militarisation of the organisation. In fact, during Hitlers early days of speaking publically, there were obivously, many objectors, but, Hitlers military friends promptly defended him, ejecting them by force, and any disrupters ew down the stairs with gashed heads. As mentioned in section 3.3 Hitler held a speech to over 2,000 people and was heckled by protesters from the opposing political wing, but his military friends were there once again, this time armed with truncheons and once again ejected by force. This was the basis for the SA which will be spoken about later.58 Hitler was the reason of most Germans association with the NSDAP, he was a powerful speaker. 52 Hitler motivated nationalistic ideologies among the now mouldable minds of post-World War I Germany. His characteristic ruthlessness, gave the German people the idea that he was a dominant gure, a man that was straight and had no doubts about his abilities in xing the countries problems. Hitler was named party chairman on July the 28th 1921 and took full advantage of this: scrapped the rules of democratic election from the party, named himself the F uhrer 60 and gave himself the power of full governance over the partys policies and strategy. It was now that he realised that the party could be much more than a voice for
57 Heiden, Konrad (15 September 1933-09-15). French). 5859 60 Leader

Les dbuts du national-socialisme (in


the minority. He could make this a revolution. The next ambition of his was to overthrow the Weimar Republic. Around this time, the SA (Sturmabteilung Storm Troopers), established themselves as a kind of party militia and started their violent attacks on other parties, most of which were on the grounds of libel. Other parties conjured disparaging statements about the NSDAP, whether true or false, they gave the party a negative, inferior image in terms of the validity of their partys ideologies and the party itself. Britain should have had an eye on the political landscape of Germany. It was as if the period of time between the First World War and the approaching Second World War Britain were ignoring the emerging socio-political backlashes of their treaties and inuence upon the countries economic, social and political landscape. Hitler externalised. He externalised the problems that Germany were facing. He externalised his hatred for his lack of attention as a child. He externalised the pain he felt at the hands of cold, unloving parents. He externalised his hatred for certain walks of life. He externalised his hatred for the reasons he was not successful in early life. He externalised all of this. Thus, the problem was not with the Germans, in his mind, Germany was well within reason in starting The First World War and shouldnt be facing the problems that they were. It was Britains fault, Frances fault, the Soviet Unions fault. These systematic externalisations lead him to extreme ideologies that were illogical and displayed the perverted nature of Hitlers inner workings. Britain, France and the Soviet Union were, in Hitlers eyes, being dictated to by the Jews. 61 Externalisation was the root of Hitlers evil: anti-Semitism and Germanys enemies. The two goals of elimination existed always in the mind of Hitler and the minds of his principal lieutenants. These nationalistic and racial ideologies were ever-dominant in the nature of the parties doings and ever-present in the nature of the parties wrong-doings.

The NSDAP gains prominence

During the month of January 1923 Ruhr was occupied by the French army as a warning to Germanys government in its failiure to provide the axis end of the reparation payments. The government at the time resigned, economic chaos struck the country acutely, once again and the then German Communist Party attempted to start a revolution of sorts - this failed. The German peoples, outraged at the foreign militirisation of their land, they were struck by nationalistic sentiment. The Nazi party was nally of interest to the masses and gained prominance as its membership count now rose sharply to 20,000. 62
61 Hakim, Joy (1995). A History of Us: War, Peace and all that Jazz. New York: Oxford University Press. 62 Kershaw, Ian (2008). Hitler: A Biography. New York: W. W. Norton & Company.



The Beer Hall Putsch

On September the 27th 1923 Hitler released news that the NSDAP would be holding 14 large-scale meeting with party members and the public. These 14, large-scale meetings were heard by many people across Germany, why not Britain? An advantageous moment in time Hitler had grasped. His plan was to simply stage a coup 63 against the November criminals, spoken about in section 3.1 and the current German National Government. The ideal scenario being that the putsch would spread to Berlin. On 26th September 1923 the then Bavarian Prime Minister, Eugen von Knilling, declared a state of emergency over Bavaria following a series of systematically violent instances of political unrest. The Bavarian government declare the state of emergency to hinder Hitlers putsch. Knilling appointed Gustav von Kahr the state commissioner and granted him full dictatorial governing powers. Kahr, Otto von Lossow and Hans Ritter von Seisser formed a trimvirate64 against Hitlers plans. 62 In light of the news released on the 27th Kahr instantly banned the meetings. 62 Hitler was put in a dicult position, severe relations with a respected dictatorial governing power and break the law, or, lose the trust of some followers and risk their memberships at the hands of the Communists - Hitler knew that some people would inevitably join the Communist party if the Nazi party showed weakness. 62 As written in section 1.3 Hitler was some what of a persuader and he set to work on Kahr and his triumvirate, he needed their support. The triumvirate had their own ideas, they were looking to form a nationalistic form of dictatorship without the help of Hitler. 62 Hitler, angered at the rejection of Kahr and his triumvirate saw this critical moment and noticed the opportunity to gain support through successful popular agitation. 62 Hitler took the SA to the B urgerbr aukeller, a beer hall situated in Munich where Kahr was making a speech in front of a 3,000 man audience. 65 As night drew over Munich over 600 SA stormed the beer hall and machine guns were installed around the auditorium. Hitler could not be heard over the 3,000 man crowd, one shot was red from Hitlers pistol - into the ceiling, he jumped up onto a table and yelled: The national revolution has broken out! The hall is lled with six hundred men. Nobody is allowed to leave! Going on to state that the current Bavarian government was to be deposed and the formation of a new government with Ludendor was underway. 62 Kahr and the triumvirate were ushered into a separate room at gunpoint and Hitler made demands that they support the putsch. 65 Just three days ago Hitler had made a promise not to go ahead with his . 63 66 The plans. Hitler said to Lossow that he wouldnt attempt a coup dEtat
63 A coup dEtat is an attempt at overthrowing the current government, usually by militarised means, or force. It is also known as a putsch in German. 64 A regime, typically political, that is lead or formulated by three powerful individuals. 65 Piers Brendon, The Dark Valley: A Panorama of the 1930s, p 36 66 Knickerbocker, H. R. (1941). Is Tomorrow Hitlers? 200 Questions on the Battle of Mankind. Reynal & Hitchcock. p 12


notion of collaboration was now unavailable, he had just been escorted out of the beer hall under the command of a man with a group of guns trained on him. Present at the time was Dr. Karl Alexander von M uller, a professor of modern history at the University of Munich, and he recalls that the speech was an oratorical masterpiece, which any actor might well envy. He began quietly, without any pathos... I cannot remember in my entire life such a change in attitude of a crowed in a few minutes, almost a few seconds. There were certainly many who were not converted yet. But the sense of the majority had fully reversed itself. Hitler had turned them inside out, as one turns a glove inside out, with a few sentences. It had almost something of hocus-pocus, or magic about it. Loud approval roared forth, no further opposition was to be heard.67 Despite Hitlers eorts and oratorical prowess on the morning of 9th November 1923 it came to Hitlers realisation that the coup wasnt successful and that the Putschists68 did not know who or what they were ghting for anymore and this eventually lead to a lot of people giving up. This in mind, Hitler and his then associates had to formulate a plan to rekindle the ame of nationalism inside these followers souls. Ludendor is claimed to have shouted Wir marschieren! or We will march!. At this point, all forces combined in a nationalist front of approximately 2,000 men and marched to the Bavarian Defence Ministry at which point they were greeted by 100 soldiers. The feud began and it is not known who red the rst bullet but it resulted in the death of 4 state ocers and 16 Nazis. 41 This was printed in newspapers and heard of globally, if Britain had no idea what was emerging now, they would surely remain ignorant until the problem was staring them in the face. This gained the NSDAP incredibly bad press not just on a national stage, but to the whole world. The Western democratic countries were well aware of the political implications of a right-wing nationalist government gaining power. At the moment, it looked like things were settling down and that maybe there would be no need for intervention. Both Hitler and G oring were injured quite severely, the full extent of the injuries sustained by both men is unkown but it is documented that G oring was shot in the groin. The some 2,000 men and women ed and many were later arrested, that included Hitler who was arrested on the 10th of November 1923. 41 4.1.1 Hitler: Trial and Prison

On the 10th of November 1923, two days after the Beer Hall Putsch, Hitler was arrested. He was tried with high treason in a Peoples Court.69 There were some semi-strict punishments that the NSDAP and Hitler had to pay. At this point, G oring had ed the country to Austria where he could not be tried or
von M uller, Karl Im Wandel einer Zeit - In the Change of Time. 1966. involved with the Putsch/Coup 69 [The Hitler Trial Before the Peoples Court in Munich]. 1924.
67 Alexander 68 Those


Figure 1: The bottom plate commemorating the deaths of the state policemen who died on the day of the Beer Hall Putsch. To the members of the Bavarian Police, who gave their lives opposing the National Socialist coup on 9 November 1923

charged.70 Hitlers sentence was not a major issue, it was light, but the NSDAP no longer had any means of spreading its propagandised ideologies due to their newspaper, the V olkischer Beobachter being shut down.71 One of the few times Hitlers anti-Semitic messages did not shine through - he moderated his tone and pleaded to the judge that his actions were all in seless devotion to the Volk. 72 Rather admirably, and like any good leader, Hitler took full responsibility for the events that unfolded the previous days leading up to the trial. This lead to more and more people calling him the F urher due to this somewhat seless act.73 He was, on the other hand, just telling the truth, it was his sole responsibility that events unfolded as they did. At the time, the German prison system oered three types of jail sentencing. Festungshaft was Hitlers sentence and this was the littlest of the three sentences a criminal could receive. It meant that Hitler would not be forced to work and live in a 2 3 meter cell. He had decent living conditions, and was allowed a visitor daily for multiple hours. Hitler sentence was cut and he was released after 9 months of imprisonment for good behaviour. 72 74 A failed attempt at coup but it achieved the NSDAP more than national exposure. 72 Hitlers time in jail made him re-think his point of attack. He knew that the only way he could win the hearts of the German people was to abide by the book, and do everything strictly within the realms of the law. He
70 Hermann Goring (German minister) - Britannica Online Encyclopaedia. Retrieved 2013-03-11. 71 V olkischer Beobachter - The Peoples Observer 72 Claudia Koonz, The Nazi Conscience. November 30, 2005. Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. 73 Piers Brendon, The Dark Valley: A Panorama of the 1930s. Vintage (January 8, 2002) p 38 74 The Hitler Trial before the Peoples Court in Munich - Vol. 3 By H. Francis Freniere, Lucie Karcic, Philip Fandek, Harold J. Gordon Jr. University Publications of America (1976)


no longer saw violent revolution as a method of coup or winning support. It was during this period that many of Hitlers greatest political ideologies came into fruition, given that he had written them down in the semi-autobiographical political manifesto Mein Kampf 75 10 This book was published and Britain, if they were looking at the nationalistic strength of post-World War I Germany would have gathered this book as an incredibly important piece of intelligence due to its in-depth depiction of Hitlers Germany. Britain was really slacking here and could have done so much more to protect themselves earlier and at least have been ready for something to occur. llMein. The German people would go on to refer to him as Hitler Legalit e which translates exactly to Hitler the Legal One.

The Rise to Nazi Power: 1925-1933

With Hitlers release in December 1924 and the NSDAP pretty much nonexistent due to the lack of collaboration and input from the leader, Hitler decided to launch a new party. His name already in the eye of the media for his nationalistic, right-wing ideologies and strong pan-Germanic views, he founded the Nazi Party. It consisted of many of the same people as the NSDAP with the same views - it was the NSDAP, but with a new start, a less violent beginning. Britains involvement was still minimal during these times, despite the party gaining some kind of political power and prominence among over 800, 000 Germans. Britain had completely removed itself from the workings of the German political, social and economic system and left them to tend for themselves. Did Britain know, once again, that the hooked crosses that were soon to be aunted in the streets of Germany would become a symbolic representation of evil, oppression and terror? Hitler was no longer in obscurity, the light was now close and nobody was stopping him from achieving his goals.


The German election of May 1928 - Seeking electoral success

On 20th March 1928 the German election was held and the party achieved only 12 seats, which then, was 2.6% of the vote. This meant that it had 810, 127 voters across the nation. Hitlers rst assumption was that his party would not be a success; he assumed that his pan-Germanic views did not coincide with those of its inhabitants. Eventually however, getting over this small downfall he came to the conclusion that the Germans simply needed to know more about the goals and ambitions of the party. Against the wishes and advice of his publishers Hitler released a second book. He thought that this would spread the word of the NSDAP, Zweites Buch. The book gained little attention. Despite claims of Hitlers new-found, non-violent viewpoint the SA instigated
75 My



a period of systematic antagonising to the Rot front76 by marching into Communist meetings and starting violent altercations with those involved. Nearing the end of the year of 1928 the party membership showed a record high of 130,000 loyal party members. The actions of the SA became more and more violent, after the Rot front, in retaliation, interrupted one of Hitlers speeches the SA stormed the streets of Nuremberg and killed two bystanders. Hitler had to straighten the party and its associates out if he wanted to gain any kind of recognition from the German people.


The German referendum of 1929

As spoken about before there was strong opposition to the Young Plan among German Nationalists. The opposition was led by Alfred Hugenberg who set up a league of many right-wing organisations to campaign against, in unity, the Young Plan. The organisation was a congregation of pan-Germanics and Nationalists, including the Nazi party. 77 The choice to add the Nazi Party to the organisation was surprising considering the partys deployment of the most violent of tactics up to this date - not to mention its anti-capitalist rhetoric. Alfred Hugenberg, the leader of the league took note of the dynamism and youthful enthusiasm shown by the Nazis. He is noted saying that he wished to use them as a drum in the struggle against the Young Plan.78 Various alternatives started to shine through such as the right-wing league proposition of the Freedom Law 79 80 as an alternative to the Young Plan. 79 It was unlikely that the vote would pass to renounce the policies put in place by the Young Plan, and it didnt, but the very fact that the congregation managed to collect enough signatures in support was a shock - enough to cause a referendum!81 The referendum is of importance to the essay because it was favourable to the Nazi Party at the time. It allowed full exposure in Hugenbergs widely read newspapers and gave the Nazis free publicity and Hitler became a household name across Germany, more so than he was already. 77 Moreover, Hitlers political involvement in a controlled, stable, academic and thoughtful way gained him credibility which was previously not seen due to his outrageously violent methods of gaining political fame - or infamy. 77 This credibility and what Hugenberg called dynamism and youthful enthusiasm shone through and in 1929, the Nazis were seen with 11% of the vote in Thuringia82 83
76 Roter Frontk ampfer-Bund RFB or Alliance of Red Front-Fighters ARFF was a non-party in practice a paramilitary organisation under command of the Communist Party of Germany. 77 Nicholls, A.J, (2000), Weimar and the Rise of Hitler, London: MacMillan Press, Ltd 78 Nick 79 Eyck, Erich, (1964), A History of the Weimar Republic, Volume II: From the Locarno Conference to Hitlers Seizure of Power, Translation, Oxford University Press. 80 This would renounce the war guilt clause and return the occupied German territories to Germany. It renounced also the reparations. 81 Mommsen, Hans, (1996), The Rise and Fall of Weimar Democracy, Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. 82 A federal state of Germany 6,244 sq mi. One of Germanys 16 states 83 Kolb, Eberhard, (1988), The Weimar Republic, New York: Routledge



Hitler and the Reichstag victory

On September 14th 1930 a milestone in electoral results was reached by the Nazi party. They had gained 6,406,397 votes in national polling to emerge as the second largest party in Germany. They obtained 107 seats in the Reichstag. Hitler had put a lot of money behind the campaign and over 1,000,000 pamphlets were printed and distributed and 60 trucks were commandeered for use in Berlin alone. Hitlers methods proved successful, in areas where campaigning was less intensive, the total dipped to 9%. Hitler also used The Great Depression as a factor in gaining his success electorally. Now, Hitler with 6,406,397 supporters and rising, nearly had the country in his hands. At this point, Britain had no excuse to not intervene, they could see that if more power was gained by Hitler he could be a possible threat and he had clearly voiced his opinions on the reparations and it was clear on more than one occasion that his strong nationalism overthrew his ability to think respectively of the quantitative proportions of damage that some policies have on his beloved country. These non-violent methods that were employed in Hitlers mind were not present during and after the election. The SA were now an organised party militia and began their rst major anti-Jewish action on the 13th of October 1930 where they smashed the windows of the stores at Potsdamer Platz which were Jewish-owned. 61 During the 10th of April 1931 the Nazi party had around 800,000 members which were carrying cards and strong supporters of the strong nationalist movement. The government at the time led an Emergency decree for the Preservation of State Authority and banned the paramilitaries and party malitias associated with the Nazi party, including the SA and SS.84 The anti-Semitic messages were not received well by the whole of the German population and the above action was instigated through a trial involving multiple SA men assaulting unarmed Jews in Berlin. This was later repealed by the Chancellor of Germany on the 30th of May 1931 and is simply due to the ambivalence about the fate of the Jews that was supported by the culture of anti-Semitism that pervaded Germany at the time.85 Another vote was held and at the end of July, the Nazi party gained 14, 000, 000 votes which secured 230 seats in the Reichstag. 83 On the 28th of February Hitler persuaded Weimar Republic President to grant him as German Chancellor. 83
84 1932: SA and SS banned. Federal Chancellor Willy Brandt Foundation. Retrieved 2013-01-03. Basing his actions on the Emergency Decree for the Preservation of State Authority, Reich Defence Minister Wilhelm Groener bans Hitlers Sturmabteilung (SA) as well as his Schutzstael (SS) on 13 April 1932. 85 Goldhagen, Daniel (1996). Hitlers Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust. New York: Knopf. 28 January 1997



To conclude, I think I have fully explored the social, political and economic reasons for the up rise of Fascism and how this can snowball out of control in some circumstances. I have explored the concept of fascism and have thought about it in dierent instances where it was prevalent during the periods mentioned. Britain could have done a lot more in terms of resisting fascism. Theyre attempted reparations failed and they should have settled upon a single gure instead of going through the unhappy compromise. 21 That said, they were successful in other areas which included gaining the signature of the various Treaties. This allowed Britain some control over Germany which they did not exploit or use to their advantage. Britain was not observant enough of the emerging politics of Germany and was too relaxed about the up rise of far-right politics which obviously later lead to World War II. All of this said, hindsight is 20/20 and there were obvious attempts made by the allied powers to diuse the uproar of fascism: the Treaty of Versailles included provisions of disarmament. 17 There was an obvious attempt to induce pacism upon the state - or at least an attempt to permanently weaken it - these plans would have removed the factors that contribute to fascism as a force of coup and encouraged the ideals of international unity. The Treaty of Versailles had its aws and is spoken about by Harold Nicolson 21 . He coined the term unhappy compromise. This, combined with the Carthaginian reparation demand fuelled nationalistic passions. In the last section you can really see the numbers of supporters that Hitler had and one wonders why Britain didnt act upon this - was there an obvious uprise of nationalistic politics during that era? Yes. So why didnt Britain respond? Britain never manipulated and took control of the full advantages of winning the rst war. It, at one point, was able to play monopoly with nations surrounding Hungary - a massive supporter of Germany - to encapsulate Austria-Hungary with a band of politically neutral or allied countries. The continual appeasement the British took part in angered British citizens and made it seem like we were the losers. Realistically, Britain had its hands behind its back for a large chunk of this period - it was struggling to make everyone happy and truly suered from compromise in places. Britains attempts were strong but not strong enough in ghting the transnational forces of fascism prevalent in the rst half of the mid-20th century.


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