Causes of Nazi Rise to power
Weimar Germany was highly developed and had a strong civil society which was bad for
democracy since it encouraged fragmentation. Nearly everyone was part of some sort
Nazis had used existing institutions to further their support
1) Institutional Rules
The institutional system at the time was very fragmented. The system of
proportional representation was severe. This meant that forming a majority
government was nearly impossible. This also caused a degree of instability.
Presidentialism undermines democracy; president gets too much
concentrated power. According to Article 48: wide powers to rule by decree
if there is no legislative majority
In addition, the lack of majority gives the president power to appoint
2) Polarization between COMMUNISTS and NATIONALISTS
Both side were anti-democratic and ideologically opposed
3) Great Depression
There was high rate of unemployment and economical imbalance such as
At times like this non-democratic party supports increase; this is seen with
the Nazis growth in support because of economic crisis.
o Explains obedience as a top down approace
o He found people are willing to follow orders from an authority figure even if they did
o Experiment idea stemmed from understanding how Nazi gaurds were able to carry out
acts of terror.
o However critics argue that anti-sematic views were deeply entrenched in Nazi ideology
so the act was not performed simply because they were order to by authority. The
guards did not feel total hardship to carry out heinous acts. In addition, Germany being
a strong civil society did not have any organizations within protest against such
Rise of Nazis
Franz von Papen
Former Chancellor who was replaced by Schleicher and wanted
revenge. To remove Schleicher he encouraged President Hindenberg to
appoint Hitler instead. He justified Hitler’s appointment would help
Hidenberg control him.
von Papen also exploited his sole asset: his hold over the president
Paul von Hindenberg
He appointed Hitler as Chancellor even though he did not like Hitler.
Hidenberg comes from aristocracy and saw Hitler as crude. He was also
very old in age.
weak and fatally susceptible to manipulation after dismiss Schleicher he had not actual solution to the crisis he
created and instantly took Papen’s advice
German Social Democratic Party
o oldest political party of Germany. Public looked at the part as republican failure
and during the hard economic times people voted out of spite to support Nazis.
Reichstag fire 1933 Significance of event: Gave Hitler a reason to consolidate power.
He was given emergency powers. In addition, during 1933 elections Hitler gained
Nazi Storm troopers cult violence
o Thug like rather than military disciplinary
o Ran street battles against Socialist and communist paramilitaries
o Used infiltration tactics
Article: Hitler’s thirty days to power –Democracy, contingency and responsibility
By: Henry Ashby Turner
o January 30, 1933 Hitler attained a large measure of power through his appointment as
chancellor but this was short from his goal for absolute power.
o A mysterious fire gutted the Reichstag building in late February which enabled him to
take another step towards his goal
o The fire was seen as a contrived pretext that the fire signaled a Communist uprising;
Hitler used this as a catalyst to get the president to grant him emergency dec