This is an extract of our Essay Plan ‘No More Than A Fringe Irritant In German Politics.’ How Far Do You Agree With This View Of The Strength Of The Nazi Party In The Years 1920 9 document, which we sell as part of our Edexcel A-Level History; Kaiser to Fuhrer; Germany 1900-45 Notes collection written by the top tier of University Of Oxford students.
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Essay plan 'No more than a fringe irritant in German politics.' How far do you agree with this view of the strength of the Nazi party in the years 19209?
Weaknesses (and thus only a fringe irritant):
* Early years limitations:
* Nationally a fringe party in the early years. Membership of 55,000 in 1923 had declined to 27,000 by 1925, + influence limited to Bavaria.
* 1923 Munich Putsch showed lack of widespread support for party's beliefs +
foolishness of trying to gain power through a putsch. Hitler sent to prison. More of a paramilitary group at this stage than serious, organised political party.
* Didn't even dominate Bavaria early on, as BVP (Bavarian People's Party, founded 1918) consistently most voted for Bavarian party + consistently won most seats in Bavarian Lantag, beating the Nazis.
* Before 1925 reorganisation, no structure to party, and an unprofessional motley crew of RW extremists.
* Electoral evidence:
* Gained only 3% and 907,000 votes in the December 1924 elections
* May 1928 elections, went backwards, gaining only 800,000 votes, 12 seats 2.6% of the vote.
* Small proportion of the vote suggests they were still a fringe party in 1928 with little to no influence on German politics.
* Nature of political system:
* Poor Nazi electoral performance 19209 in spite of favourable electoral system. PR system should be v.good for small/fringe parties who can have a real chance of converting votes into seats + gaining influence. BUT, Nazis didn't manage to do this 19209. Strengths & Potential (and thus not simply a fringe irritant):
* Effective political machine + reorganisation:
* May not have succeeded YET in gaining significant national influence politically, BUT Nazis did become an effective, organised political machine by 1929, which meant they weren't just a fringe irritant, but a serious party ready to capitalise on favourable circumstances + become a nationally successful party.
* Hitler established the Fuhrerprinzip at 1926 Bamberg party conference + gave party new order + stricter hierarchy, helping to project an image of strength + stability that would be popular later (i.e. when Weimar in disarray)
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