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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 1920 9 Notes

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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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