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The Nazi Party 1920 33 Notes

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The Rise of the Nazi Party 1920­33 ­ Notes The Early Years ­ 1920­9: 1920­23:

Hitler + Drexler, party founder, drew up party's 25­point programme in 1920 Hitler's powerful speeches helped boost membership to 3300 by 1921 Nazi salute, swastika + uniform of armed guards gave v.clear identity 1921, Hitler shrewdly became party chairman + fuhrer (leader) Armed squads organised + set up as SA 1921 under Ernst Rohm Party established first newspaper 1921 (People's Observer) 1923, party membership of around 20,000, influential in Bavarian RW politics, but still a fringe
party nationally

Munich Putsch:

1923 Beer Hall/Munich Putsch an attempt by Hitler to seize national power Plan doomed due to grossly overestimating level of public support But subsequent trial a propaganda success, Hitler a national figure + evoked patriotism V.lenient sentence of 5 yrs given, + only served 10 months, showing judicial sympathy for RW

• Wrote Mein Kampf in prison

• Key Nazi ideas of racism, anti­democracy + nationalism expressed in Mein Kampf (+ in 25­point
programme) Party re­founding ­ 1923­9:

• When Hitler left prison December 1924, party in disarray + split into factions with declining
membership, but party officially re­founded Feb 1925

• Gained 3% and 907,000 votes in the December 1924 elections

• Hitler decided to try to gain power legally, but not everyone agreed with new legality policy

• Also thought he must gain absolute party control + gained supremacy + support for
Fuhrerprinzip at 1926 Bamberg party conference

• Nationalist + anti­capitalist/socialist divide in party (epitomised by opposition of Gregor Strasser) remained + regional party hostilities

• Party structure reorganised with regional gauleiters + vertical, v.hierarchical structure with
absolute power of Hitler firmly established + organised, centralised structure with index of all

• Gauleiter had responsibility of creating district (Kreis) and branch (Ort) groups, thus creating a

vertical party structure which didn't detract from Hitler's own power + control. New Nazi associations targeted support of particular groups in society, EG Hitler Youth, Nazi
Teachers' association, Union of Nazi Lawyers

Increasing membership, X4 increase 1925­8, EG 27,000 in 1925 to 108,000 in 1928 SS created in 1925, only 200 members in 1929, elite body with sworn allegiance to Hitler V.poor 1928 election result, 2.6% of vote + 12 seats w/only 800,000 votes BUT, made significant gains in rural + middle/lower middle class areas where discontent about
falling agricultural prices was higher

• EG rural + agricultural discontent shown as Nazis trebled its vote in province of Thuringia with

11.3% of vote, more than 1/10 for first time, suggesting Nazis could successfully exploit
economic difficulties with electoral success

• Nazi involvement in Hugenberg's campaign for a referendum on the Freedom Law have Nazism a national standing for the 1st time, Hitler made influential RW political contacts + brought
access to Hugenberg's powerful media empire

The rise of Nazism ­ 1929­32: Wall Street Crash:

• Wall Street Crash October 1929 + subsequent depression created opportunity + context for Nazi propaganda to be listened to + succeed

• Germany suffered particularly badly due to over­dependence on US loans + investment pre­
crash, which were quickly withdrawn after the WSC

• Value of German exports fell by more than 1/2, industrial production fell by more than 40% +
agricultural priced fell to below 1913 levels + 50,000 businesses went bankrupt

• Unlike GB + France, where democracy was long­established, new Weimar republic in Germany
+ people quickly lost confidence in entire system, leading them to seek more radical anti­
democratic solutions, new system associated with economic failure

• 1933, unemployment over 6M (1/3) but bedrock of support were those who thought political
change was needed to avoid a collapse in living standards, I.E. Mittelstand (lower middle class)

• Radical solutions to economic troubles more popular on both ends of political spectrum, KPD
vote rose from 3.2M in 1928 to 5.9M in 1933

1930 Election:

• Bruning GVT established 1930 after Grand Coalition collapse, but didn't hold a parliamentary
majority, so P.Hindenburg would use article 48 to rule by decree if needed

• GVT attempted to pass 1930 Financial Bill using article 48, but Reichstag passed bill
condemning tactic + so Reichstag dissolved

• 1930 election, Nazis increased no.seats from 12 to 107, with almost 6M more votes + 18.3% of
the vote (almost 1/5), now 2nd largest party

• AA + Nazi targeting of rural + middle/lower­middle class voters meant the Nazis gained at the
expense of the DNVP, DVP + DDP

• Nazis won 14.4% of vote in the Saxony region, over 9% higher than the previous year due to
successful targeting of poor farmers affected by depression

• AA, founded 1930, targeted disaffected peasants + expanded after 1930 elections, extending
Nazi influence to the countryside

• Almost 100,000 new members signed up Sep­Dec 1930

• Nazis popular with young (EG 2/3 of party members in 1930 were aged under 40), + half of
seats won by attracting first­time voters to the Nazis Chancellor Bruning:

• Parliamentary democracy gave way to presidential rule as Bruning relied on P.Hindenburg to
rule by decree to pass bills as he didn't have Reichstag majority

• 1930, 5 laws passed by decree to 66 in 1932, more than a X13 increase + 98 Reichstag laws
passed democratically in 1930 but only 5 in 1932

• Bruning's austerity in face of economic slump worsened crisis, labelled 'Hunger Chancellor',
didn't introduce work creation schemes or fiscal stimulus to boost economy

• 1932, P.Hindenburg won another 7­yr term as President, gained 53% of vote to Hitler's 36.8%

• Hitler lost by a lot, but enhanced powerful personal image nationally + Hitler had doubled Nazi

• May 1932, P.Hindenburg forced C.Bruning resignation due to:

• Economic Crisis ­ Bruning took no initiative to boost economy + worsened slump with
deflationary policies of cutting spending + raising taxes, EG exports fell by 1/3 1931­2 + UE
soared to over 5.5M

• Banking Crisis ­ Collapse of 5 leading banks summer 1931 (inc. Danat) led to financial
panic with the closure of all German banks for 3 weeks

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