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Lecture 9

Lecture 9--Rise of Hitler.docx

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Political Science
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Lucan Way

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Final Exam ● Multiple Choice (major terms, major concepts) ● Theoretical response short answer (rational vs. nonrational, structuralist vs. voluntarist) GIVE EVIDENCE. ● Basic short answer ● Essay (Comparative analysis of major events using major concepts) ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Continued from Lecture 8 Mystery of the Great Terror ● Even if you were the top of the elite, you were still under threat. Why? Terror as irrational (product of Stalin’s individual psychology) ● There was absolutely no serious opposition. Enemies out of thin air ● Stalin as a paranoid maniac ○ Stalin had a very abusive father ● Influence of Georgian Culture (notion of honour and revenge. Stalin was very easily offended) ● Experience in seminary Terror as rational ● A way of centralizing power ○ Increasing atomization and distrust ○ Undermining efforts to organize against Stalin ● Terror and war fears ○ Past repression created enemies -- 1.5 million former party members/repressed Kulaks (his past repressions made new enemies) ○ Efforts to eliminate the “fifth column”, which means killing nationalities that might support invasion. Germans and Polish living in the Soviet Union etc. Problems with Both these Arguments ● Non-rational: Stalin focused arguments ○ But, He can’t do it all himself, he needs the participation of all the other members, but the terror was directed at these people! The elite was essentially made to go after themselves ● Rational response to fear of war ○ But it’s also rational to accommodate the potential opposition so they wouldn’t be violent. Wouldn’t killing the people in the “fifth column” make more German and Polish enemies? WHY?! (Constructions of Rationality) ● Why certain ideas make sense to people, a lot of it come from beliefs and ideology. ● Role of Ideology ○ View was that any sort of change in class structure was an inherently violent process. The upper class won’t give up power without a fight. They saw class conflict everywhere. ● Impact of Civil War ○ Surrounded by capitalist powers that were against communism ○ Created incredible paranoia (everyone is out to get you), and the only way to deal with this was violence ○ Cheka (secret police) didn’t exist before the civil war ○ Any opposition against the communist party was considered to be treason ● The Terror already fits the mindset of the party. ● Had powerful means of carrying out Terror ● Party discipline makes it dangerous to oppose Stalin/Terror. No serious attempt on life of Stalin that we know of. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Lecture 9--Rise of Hitler and the Nazis What explains the rise of the Nazis to power in 1933? ● Through the Turner reading you see personal choice (voluntarism) Germany in the 1920s ● Highly developed country ○ Major industrial power in the late 19th century, major chemical industry ○ Highly educated urban population (Einstein, Bauhaus, Quantum mechanics) ● BUT it had no democratic history ○ Monarchy until 1918 ○ Aristocracy (Junkers) dominate 1920s.1930s ○ Paul von Hindenberg elected as President (he himself thought democracy was not that great ○ MISSING A SLIDE Weimar Germany (WWI to WWII) ● Hostile International Context ○ Germany loses WWI (1918) and forced to sign unfair Treaty of Versailles 1919, which forced high reparations--pay for the cost of the war. ■ Forced foreign control over Reichsbank, railways ■ This is already a country ravaged by war ● Formation of the Weimar Republic ○ Abdication of Emperor 1918 ○ Democratic Constitution 1919--women were allowed to vote ■ Constitutional rules ● President had a shit load of power ○ Could appoint Chancellor (Prime Minister) without parliament majority. Could disband parliament without parliamentary consent. ● Proportional representation ○ Most systems have a limit (i.e. party has to win by 5%) but in Germany, it was straight percentage of the vote. You could get into parliament with just 0.1% of vote. ○ = Fragmented party system. It is impossible for any party to form a workable majority. Polarization between Communists vs. Nationalists ● Communist Threats ○ Russian Revolution--they wanted to send in Trotsky to Germany at one point. A short-lived “Soviet Republic of Bavaria”, which failed in 1919. ● Right-wing reaction ○ Right willing to support the Nazis against Communists. Didn’t want a German Lenin. They were the only ones capable of beating that extreme. ○ Paramilitary violence ■ Street battles against the communists, and a general sense of chaos. Economic Crisis ● Hyper inflation in early 1920s. German Mark was 4.2/dollar in 1914, but 1 million/dollar in 1923. ● Great Depression 1929-1933 ○ Deflation, 40% economic decline ● Unemployment (30% to half the population in 1932) ● None of this is good for democracy! Extreme instability ● Incredible turnover of government in Germany ● Paramilitaries rampant ● After 1930, the President simply rules by decree, because the legislature was so fragmented National Socialist German Worker’s Party (Nazis) vs. Traditional Nationalist ● Nazis: Aggressively nationalist, anti-democratic, ant
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