Explain the rise and fall of Hitler.

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Hitler’s rise can be attributed to the aftermath of World War I.  After WWI, Germany was forced to sign the Treaty of Versailles in which its country was treated very harshly.  The treaty took away German territory, forbade it from having a full military, forced it to admit responsibility for the war, and required it to pay reparations to the victors.  All of this made many Germans very angry and caused them to want to strike back in some way.

The end of WWI and the ensuing years also brought social and political turmoil.  When Germany lost the war, its monarchy fell and a republic was put in its place.  There was a great deal of political upheaval around that change, and the upheaval got worse when the Great Depression hit.  This social and political upheaval made many Germans nervous about the new system and hungry for leadership that would bring calm and order.

These factors (along with his personal attributes) allowed Hitler to rise to power. Hitler promised to make Germany great again. He promised that he could restore order by having everyone fall in line behind Nazi policies.  This sounded very good to many Germans who were tired of the disorder and of being pushed around by the winners of WWI. This led to the Nazis gaining enough popularity that Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany.

Hitler’s fall was a result of his hubris. Hitler believed that the force of his will could get Germany anything he desired.  He felt that he was so militarily and politically talented that he could pull off anything he wanted.  This is why, for example, he rashly declared war against the United States after Pearl Harbor and why, a few months earlier, he had even more rashly invaded the Soviet Union.  Hitler could probably have dominated all of Western Europe indefinitely, but he was so ambitious and so sure of his abilities that he had to push for more.  This led to the destruction of Germany and his own downfall.

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