Hitler Became Chancellor in January 1933 Because He Was Leader of the Most Popular Party in Germany.’ How Far Do You Agree with This Opinion?

971 Words May 12th, 2013 4 Pages
Hitler’s assumption of power on the 30th of January 1933 was seemingly due to the mass popularity of the Nazi party. However it was far off achieving the 50% majority it needed to put Hitler automatically in power. As well as popularity, backstairs intrigue and the short-sightedness of those in power enabled Hitler to become Chancellor. The weaknesses of Germany’s political leadership were fundamental to Hitler’s success. In some senses the popularity of the party only provided an opening, available for exploitation.
Undoubtedly, Nazi popularity placed pressure on government and on President Hindenburg to make Hitler Chancellor. Their astonishing rise in votes since 810 000 in 1928 to 13.75 million in July 1932 was extraordinary.
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Most important of these was popularity in military circles. Essentially the army’s acquiescence and partial support for Nazis meant that when the SA surrounded Berlin in January 1933 threatening to seize power, Wilhelmstraße was left with little choice. There was as many as four times the number of Stormtroopers as Reichswehr, although the army had machine guns and flame throwers. The most pressing fact was that General von Hammerstein had told Hindenburg that many soldiers may refuse to obey an order to crush the SA. Whilst the threat of a violent coup pressurized government, that the army was not loyal arguably made Hitler’s appointment inevitable.
Ruth Henig argues that it wasn’t the strength of its enemies that brought down the Republic as much as the striking absence of its friends. Not quite a “Republic without Republicans”, but the political naivety of both parties and individuals in failing to cooperate was a considerable factor in Nazi success. Specifically, the SPD’s refusal as one of the strongholds of democracy: in November 1932 the left combined had 13.5 million votes, whereas the right had 12 million. By uniting, the Communists and Socialists had potentially the ability to overrule the Nationalists. Stalin’s preference of Hitler over the SPD, who he believed were the real enemy, ensured complete

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