Explain why Hitler was able to rise to power.

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are four main reasons why Hitler was able to rise to power.  Let us examine each of them.

First, Hitler was clearly a charismatic man.  We know that he had a quality that attracted people to him and made them want to follow him.  If he had not had this quality, he would not have been able to attain power.

Second, many Germans were very unhappy in the years after World War I.  They felt that the Allies had treated them very harshly and unfairly in the Treaty of Versailles.  That treaty had, for example, taken away much of Germany’s territory, prohibited Germany from having a full military, and forced Germany to admit that the war was all its fault.  This humiliated the German people and made them want to get revenge against the Allies.  In addition, the Great Depression harmed Germany’s economy just as it harmed the economies of many other countries in the world.  By the early 1930s, Germans were angry about their country’s status in Europe and they were also angry about the economic hardships they were undergoing.  When people are this angry, they are much more likely to accept radical ideas such as those that Hitler espoused.

Third, Hitler was able to rise to power because his ideas were not that repugnant to most Germans.  Hitler did not originally campaign on the idea of actually killing all the Jews.  Instead, he argued that they were a threat to Germany and that they should have their rights curtailed and that they should not be seen as good Germans.  This was broadly acceptable to many Germans as there were not that many German Jews and they were not particularly popular in Germany (as in many other parts of Europe and indeed the United States).  Since Hitler was “only” proposing to take away various rights from an unpopular minority, his ideas did not repel many Germans.

Finally, Hitler was able to rise to power because he and the Nazis were ruthless and willing to be violent.  Once Hitler was Chancellor, he and his movement were willing to use questionable legal tactics as well as simple violence to suppress all opposition.  Once they got into power, they were willing to do whatever it took to keep that power.

For these reasons, Hitler and the Nazis were able to rise to power in Germany in the 1930s.

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