How did Hitler become the leader of the Nazis?

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Although Adolf Hitler was born in Austria, he served in the German army during World War I. Embittered by the country's loss in the war, he joined the German Workers' Party (DAP in German) in 1919, a party that had an anti-Semitic ideology in a misguided attempt to restore a...

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Although Adolf Hitler was born in Austria, he served in the German army during World War I. Embittered by the country's loss in the war, he joined the German Workers' Party (DAP in German) in 1919, a party that had an anti-Semitic ideology in a misguided attempt to restore a sense of German nationalism. He became the leader of the Nazi Party (NSDAP) in 1921 and gained a following by criticizing the terms of the Treaty of Versailles, which forced Germany to accept guilt for causing World War I and to pay heavy reparations. Ernst Rohm, head of the  Sturmabteilung (SA), a Nazi organization, became one of his adherents, and in 1923, they mounted the "Beer Hall Putsch," in which they attacked a political meeting being held at a beer hall in Munich. After this incident, in which Hitler announced his plans to start a new government, he was imprisoned for a year. During his time in prison, he dictated his book, Mein Kampf (My Struggle), spelling out his ideas for a future Germany restored to greatness through anti-Semitism and militarism.

In 1932, Hitler came in second while running to be president of Germany, and the President appointed him Chancellor. His popularity was fueled in part by the German peoples' reaction to the suffering caused by the Great Depression. He used a suspicious fire at the Reichstag, or Parliament, to suspend civil rights. Through the Enabling Act, he was also able to gain control over the presidency and make his cabinet the legislative body in Germany. By 1933, the Nazis became the only political party allowed in Germany, and in 1934, during the Night of the Long Knives, the Nazis killed off their political opponents. Hitler became both chancellor and President. He embarked on a program of militarization and expansion that eventually resulted in World War II and the murder of millions of Jews and others deemed inferior by the inhumane Nazi ideology.

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