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Hitler and the Rise of the

Kevin J. Benoy

Hitlers Early Life

1889 at Hitler was

born on April 20, at
Baunau, a small
village in Austria,
near the Germany
border. Adolf

Hitlers Early Life

Successful at his
small village
school, |Hitler did
only indifferently
after his family
moved to Linz.
His father died
when he was 13.
Alois Hitler, Adolf`s father

Hitler`s Early Life

Two years after
completing school (at
age 15), Hitler moved to
Vienna, hoping to study
at the Academy of Fine
He failed the entrance
examination, but
remained in the capital,
hoping to apply again.
He continued to draw
and paint and took an
interest in History and

Hitler`s Early Life

In Vienna, the AustroHungarian Empire`s
multi-racial capital,
Hitler became
involved in the PanGerman Movement
founded in reaction
to the growth of PanSlavism.
This group was antiSemitic, anti-socialist
and anti-Catholic.

Hitler`s Early Life

Hitler was
impressed with the
work of such
historians as
Treitschke, who
said ``the Jews are
our misfortune.``
Heinrich von Treitschke

Hitler`s Early Life

He never won acceptance into
the Academy, but did remain
in Vienna.
In Mein Kampf he described
this time as the unhappiest in
his life not because of
poverty but because:
Vienna with its promiscuous
swarm of foreign races, Czechs,
Poles, Croats and the like, all of
them battening on that old
nursery of German culture
and in addition, the Jews-germ
carriers infecting the whole of
society, to be found here, there
and everywhere.

Hitler`s Early Life

To avoid conscription,
and having to serve
alongside nonGermans, Hitler moved
to Munich, in Germany.
He was happy here, in
``a city purely German
in population and
architecture, and
furthermore immune
to the alien canker
eating into the heart of
the Austrian Empire.``

World War I
Caught up in the enthusiasm
of the time, Hitler enlisted in
the German army in August,
He served throughout the
war in a Bavarian regiment
rising only to the rank of
He was wounded in action
and was awarded the Iron
Cross, first class.
He found fulfillment in the
army, enjoying life at the

Pro-war rally in Munich, August, 191

War`s End
The end of the war came
as a blow to Hitler.
When the war ended, he
was hospitalized
temporarily blinded from
gas at Ypres.
Reporting back to his unit
in Munich, he faced
demobilization, but was
given the task of
reporting on a new
political party: the
National Socialist German
Worker`s Party (NSDAP).

Early Years in the NSDAP

Rather than just report on
the Party, Hitler went so far
as to become its leader,
turning it into a party
capable of drawing crowds
of up to 2,000 at political
He also worked with the
Education Department of
the army, lecturing returning
soldiers on the dangers of
Communism and Socialism
and of how the Jews stabbed
Germany in the back.
He had a talent for oratory.

Beer Hall Putsch

Hitler, like Lenin, set out
to capture the masses.
Using his gift for public
speaking, pageantry
(uniformed followers,
banners, flags, marching
songs and rhythmic
chanting of slogans) as
well as his private army of
political thugs the SA, or
brownshirts, who beat up
hecklers Hitler created a
party base in Munich.

His partys demands
were characteristic of
nationalist groups at
the time, calling for:
Abrogation of the
Treaty of Versailles.
Anschluss (Union) with
Removing the
citizenship rights of

In addition, the party
held some leftist
Nationalization of all
department stores.
Banning speculation.
Abolition of unearned

Consequently, the
Nazis could appeal to
all levels of society.

Beer Hall Putsch

With the support of
General Ludendorff,
Hitler attempted to
take advantage of
unhappiness over
the Ruhr occupation,
to overthrow the
state government of
Bavaria on
November 9, 1923,
in preparation for a
march on Berlin.

Beer Hall Putsch

Hitler heard that
politicians and
businessmen were
meeting in the huge
Buergerbrukeller a
typically large beer hall.
Hitler burst into the
meeting, with armed
followers and, after
firing a shot to get
attention, declared that
the revolution had

Beer Hall Putsch

With most of the
Bavarian government
held hostage, Hitler,
Ludendorff and other
followers set off to join
Ernst Roehm and his
men, who seized the
War Ministry.
The failure of the Nazis
to seize telegraph and
radio locations proved

Beer Hall Putsch

Alerted to the trouble, the

national government ordered
security forces to act and
Bavarian police also moved
into position.
On the 10th of November,
Hitler, Ludendorff and 3,000
supporters faced off against
the Bavarian police at
Shots were fired. 21 were
killed and a further 100

Beer Hall Putsch

Hitler and the Nazis ran.
Ludendorff was arrested.
After a few days in
hiding, Hitler was also
arrested and faced trial
for high treason.
Ludendorff was acquitted.
Hitler was sentenced to
only 5 years in Landsberg

Beer Hall Putsch

Hitler and colleagues in Landsberg Prison.

In the end he served

only 9 months in
relative comfort.
Here, he wrote the first
draft of Mein Kampf.
He also realized that
the path to power
could not come by way
of a coup, so long as
the Reichswehr stood
against him.

The later 1920s

The party had notoriety,
but little electoral
support in the 1920s as
Weimar Germany
recovered from the
Ruhr debacle and
prosperity returned.
It even looked like the
party would split on
left/right lines as Hitler
and Gregor Strasser
quarreled over policies

The Later 1920s

A new recruit, Josef
Goebbels, brought
mastery of
propaganda to the
party and helped
Hitler reunify the

Nazi Organizations
Another significant
development involved the
formation of youth
movements to
indoctrinate young people,
including the Hitler Youth
a recruiting ground for
future SA members.
The German Labour Front
provided a Nazi
alternative to the Social
Democratic and
Communist labour unions.

The Reichsparteitag
Hitler understood the
power of pageantry.
He introduced the
Reichsparteitag the party
rally in which paramilitary
reviews and torchlight
processions created a
feeling of Nazi pride.
Hitler said mass
demonstrations must bring it
home to the little mans mind
that although he is only a petty
worm, he is, nevertheless, part of
a great dragon.

Electoral Failure
In the 1928 elections, 12
Nazis were elected on
the basis of 800,000
votes nationally.
This paled in comparison
with the 9 million votes
of the Social Democrats,
or even the 4 million
votes of Hugenbergs
Conservative National
However, it did indicate a
significant core support.

Political Scheming
Stresemanns adherence
to the Kellog-Briand Pact
and the acceptance of
the Young Plan were both
condemned by Hitler.
Hitler allied himself with
Hugenberg and was
introduced to powerful
backers, including Fritz
Thyssen, the steel
Hitler and Thyssen

On October 3, 1929,
Stresemann died.
Weimar Germany lost
its strongest proponent.
Three weeks later, the
Wall Street Crash also
brought collapse of the
German economy.
American loans dried up
Unemployment followed.


In September 1929
unemployment stood at
In September 1930 it rose to
By September 1932 it was
By January 1933 it stood at
6,000,000 fully 1/3 of all
German adult males.
The German labour movement,
a strong supporter of the
Republic, was now divided
between the workers and the

Political Fallout
The Socialist Chancellor,
Mueller, tried to raise
additional funds for
unemployment relief, but
could not find enough
support in his coalition.
He turned to the
conservative President,
requesting emergency
powers to deal with the
situation but was refused.
Herman Mueller

Political Fallout
On the advice of General
Kurt von Schleicher,
Hindenburg forced
Mueller to resign,
appointing conservative
Heinrich Bruening in his
The Social Democrats
were asked to approve
budget cuts, but refused.
Bruenings proposals
were defeated.

Political Fallout

Heinrich Bruening

Bruening turned to
Hindenburg, requesting
emergency powers which
were granted this time.
The deficit was reduced at the
expense of the unemployed
and old age pensioners.
When the Reichstag
protested, Bruening dissolved
it and called for new

Nazi Breakthrough
The Nazi seat total
rose from 12 to 107.
The Social Democrats
were still the largest
party at 143, but they
lost votes to he
Communists (77
seats) and the Nazis.
Hugenberg supporters
began to move to the
Nazis too.

Political Chaos
Street fighting
between the Red
Fighters (Communist
thugs), the
Stahlhelm (National
Party thugs) and the
SA brownshirts
continued unabated.

Political Chaos
Bruening continued to
govern for 2 more
years but only
through using
emergency powers
granted under Article
48 of the constitution.
Meanwhile Nazis took
control of several
state governments.

Harzburg Front
In October, 1931,
through intermediary
Hjalomar Schacht, a
financier, the Harzburg
Front was formed,
allying the Nazis,
Conservatives and a
number of Rhineland
The proclaimed
themselves ready to
seize power.

Harzburg Front
In this more radical
atmosphere, Hindenburg,
who had been considered a
right wing candidate when
he ran for office in 1925, was
now seen as a moderate in
the election of 1932.
He told his friend, Franz von
Papen, now I have been
chosen by the Let, whereas
the Right, my own people,
have put up this Lance

1932 Presidential Election

The election took two
rounds to conclude.
Hitler received 11.3, then
13.4 million votes.
Hindenburg won 18.6, then
19.3 million votes.

By now Nazis and

Communists, the two
parties openly favouring
an end to the Weimar
republic ,dominated the

Bruenings Gambit
Bruening continued
to govern, but only
because of the
support of a senile 84
year old President.
Acting boldly,
Bruening banned
Hitlers SA and SS.
This action led to his

Bruenings Fall

Franz von Papen

Von Papen, a friend of

Schleicher and
Hindenburg, sought to
put together an alliance
to keep Hitler from
power, but to do so, he
made a bargain with
Hitler to end the ban on
the SA and SS in return
for support of a Papen
government in the

Franz von Papen

Von Papen became
chancellor but could not
cope with events that
Street fighting continued.
Von Papen reacted with
dictatorial measures.

New elections brought

greater Nazi success
13.7 million votes and
230 seats.

Nazi Tactics
Once again the Nazis
considered launching a
coup detat, but Hitler,
fearing the Reichswehr,
agreed with Goebbels that
a pseudo-legal entry into
government was needed.
On the one hand the Nazis
attacked von Papen for his
dictatorial use of Article
48. On the other hand
they openly used terror
tactics in the streets.

Internal Division
Internal trouble once
again threatened to split
the Nazis as Strasser
again broke with Hitler
over Hitlers refusal to
introduce more socialist
policies & because of
Hitlers ties to big
Von Papen called for fresh
elections, hoping to profit
from Nazi divisions.

Schleicher Rules
The Nazis lost 2 million votes and 34 seats
but none of the moderate parties gained
strength and 1.4 million fewer voters turned
Hindenburg offered the Chancellorship to
Hitler then withdrew the offer when Hitler
demanded unlimited power.
Von Papen asked that he be allowed to govern
without the Reichstag but was refused.
A new cabinet was formed by Schliecher but
it lasted only 2 months.

Schleicher Rules
Schleicher convinced
Hindenburg he could
bring Strasser and
the bourgeois parties
into an anti-Hitler
alliance. He was
determined to defend
the Reichswehr
against the threat of
Hitlers personal
forces, the SA and SS.
General Kurt von Schleicher

Hitler Comes to Power

Hitler countered Schleicher easily.
The masses were with him, not the general.

The economic crisis undermined all governments

and all political leaders plotted and counter-plotted.
In the end, Von Papen toppled Schleicher by
striking a bargain with Hitler, who agreed to
abandon his demand for unlimited power and enter
into a coalition cabinet with Papen, Hugenburg and
other conservatives.
Hindenburg appointed Hitler Chancellor on January
1, 1933.

Hitler Comes to Power

Hitler came to power
legally and with the
support of more of the
German people than
any other leader of his
time could muster.
However, his rise was
not entirely democratic.
German democracy
was seriously
undermined by the
economic crisis.

Hitler Comes to Power

Weimar democracy had
been debased from the
moment when Hindenburg
allowed Bruening to govern
under the provisions of
Article 48.
In addition, elections were
held in an atmosphere of
terror directed by the
extremists of the Left and
Though in power, there was
no guarantee he could
remain there.

Hitlers First Days

Hitlers first cabinet
reflected the Harzburg
Front with 3 Nazis
and 9 independent
including von Papen.
Hindenburg felt the
Nazis could be tamed,
though a massive
torchlight parade that
night hinted otherwise.

Hitlers First Days

Two days later, Hitler
called on the German
people to give us four
years and then judge
He dissolved the
Reichstag and called for
new elections in March,
hoping to gain the 2/3
majority needed to
change the constitution.

1933 Election
Goering used the
Prussian police and the
SA to soften up voters
for the election.
Nazi terror was
On February 27, the
Reichstag buildings
burned down.
Goebbels and Goering
claimed the KPD were
behind the arson.

1933 Election
Hitler persuaded Hindenburg to pass Ordinances
for the protection of the German state and defense against communistic acts of
terror endangering the state.
Civil liberties were stripped:
Freedom of speech, press and liberties were lost.
Postal secrecy was surrendered.
Habeas corpus and the inviolability of home and
property was stripped.

Opposition newspapers were closed and

opponents jailed.

1933 Election
Despite the terror,
only 44% supported
the Nazis.
Even in coalition with
conservative allies,
Hitler lacked the 2/3
majority he needed.
However, Hitler
continued to rule
under the emergency

Establishment of a Police
Concentration camps were established and
opponents disappeared to be tortured or killed.
The Enabling Act of March 1933 deprived the
Reichstag of real power.
Now Hitler made laws without the approval of
Parliament, even if they violated the constitution.
The law was to be in place for 4 years.
All of the Centrist parties supported it and only 94 of
the 120 Social Democrats opposed it. The 81
Communists could not vote. However, belligerent
and uniformed Nazis filled the Reichstag instilling fear
in their opponents.

Establishment of a Police
Hitler used the act to
transform the country.
Soon the Socialist and
Center parties were
Hugenburgs party
disbanded voluntarily.
A new law of July 14,
1933 made the
NSDAP the only legal
party in Germany

Establishment of a Police

Germany was transformed from a federal to a

unitary state.
Cabinet votes were eliminated.
Non-Aryans (Jews) were dismissed from all
government jobs.
Strikes were forbidden, and all unions
abolished, replaced by the All-German Labour
Front a Nazi organization.
Education and culture came under the
scrutiny of Goebbels and were purged of
politically unreliable elements.

Establishment of a Police
When another election
was held in November,
1933, the NSDAP took
92.2% of the vote.
Only 3.4 million
Germans dared vote
against it and their
ballots were traceable,
though they did not
know it at the time.

Establishment of a Police
There remained only
one group in Germany
that could challenge
Hitler the army.
The old, aristocratic,
conservative General
Staff distrusted Hitler,
fearing that he
intended to replace
the army with the SA
and SS.

Establishment of a Police
Hitler decided to cut
a deal with the
The SA leader, Ernst
Roehm had become
something of an
embarrassment to
Other Nazis, like
Strasser, were also

Establishment of a Police
Hitler unleashed the SS on

the brownshirts in return

for an army promise to
stay out of politics.
Roehm, Strasser,
Schleicher, prominent
Catholics, monarchists
and others were executed.
Von Papen was
arrested,but not shot.
74 officially died, though
the unofficial total was
around 1,000.

Der Fuhrer
Two months after
the Night of the
Long Knives
Hindenburg died.
Hitler combined the
posts of Chancellor
and President.
The new Reichswehr
loyalty oath was to
Hitler himself.