How did the Treaty of Versailles help Hitler to rise to power?  

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The Treaty of Versailles catapulted Hitler into power by cementing Germany's hatred for other European nations and encouraging them to defy the treaty's requirements.

The issue with the Treaty of Versailles was that it was so drastic. It extensively restricted Germany, from its military to its trade and much more, handicapping the country and forcing it pay extremely hefty reparation dues after the first World War. Hitler wisely used this to his advantage.

Already dabbling in radical ideas, and having written the Mein Kampf in prison, Hitler realized that the German people were frustrated by being shackled so drastically by the Treaty of Versailles. He took the opportunity when he began running for election to capitalize on the anti-outsider sentiment and bitterness that was growing up among the people of Germany. By focusing on this, he rallied people behind his cause, eventually using the nation's financial woes to persecute the Jews by accusing them of causing those issues. When the opportunity arose for the nation to openly defy the Treaty, he encouraged the nation to resist outsider influence and push forward in spite of potential repercussions. The result was that no repercussions came, because the nations in charge of enforcing the Treaty were weak in their policing, leaving Germany growing stronger and more willing to challenge their enemies.

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At the time, many people—and not just Germans—felt that the Treaty of Versailles was unduly harsh towards Germany. The Treaty put the sole blame on Germany for starting the First World War and punished the nation accordingly, stripping it of vast swathes of territory as well as imposing a crippling financial indemnity of $33 billion. These payments, called reparations, were designed to compensate the Allied powers for the enormous cost of civilian damage caused during the war.

As one can imagine, the Treaty of Versailles was deeply unpopular in Germany. Even some leading figures in the Allied countries thought that its provisions were way too harsh and would actually make the world less safe in the long-term. Sadly, their grim predictions turned out to be true as the German extreme Right, most notably Hitler's Nazi Party, was able to exploit widespread discontent with the Treaty and promise to restore the military greatness of a shattered and humiliated Germany.

Soon, the Treaty of Versailles became a litmus test for German patriotism, with those supporting the Treaty, however reluctantly, branded as traitors. This led to a vicious polarization of political life, in which slander, violence, and extremism became increasingly prominent. Such a toxic environment proved a godsend to the Nazis, who thrived in the polluted soil of Weimar politics. Though the Versailles Treaty did not lead directly to Hitler's rise to power, it nonetheless helped create the conditions that made it possible.

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Hitler and many other Germans on the far right pushed a national myth that Germany was "stabbed in the back" by socialists and liberals who concluded a peace with the Allied Powers. The Treaty of Versailles fed into this idea, in that it forced Germany to take sole responsibility for starting the war, forced the defeated nation to accept harsh punishments, and placed limits on Germany's military that were seen as a national humiliation by many Germans. Many of the people who had supposedly "stabbed" the nation in the back were represented in the democratic Weimar regime that took the reins of government after the war, and thus shouldered the blame for the spiraling inflation that resulted in part from the hefty reparations the nation had to pay to the Allies. Hitler and others especially identified Jews and Communists (and there was considerable crossover in Hitler's mind between the two) as insidious schemers who had brought the nation to defeat through their conspiracies. The Treaty of Versailles, and the Jews, Communists, Socialists, and even liberals who supposedly agreed to it, became an object of derision for many Germans, and Hitler gained popularity by railing against it. The symbolic importance of the German defeat in 1918, if not the Treaty itself, to the Nazis was demonstrated in 1940, when Hitler forced the defeated French government to sign articles of surrender in the same railroad car where the Germans had surrendered 22 years earlier.

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The Treaty of Versailles helped Hitler rise to power in Germany because it humiliated Germany and made Germans resent it and the people who forced it on them. 

The Treaty of Versailles treated Germany very harshly.  It took away much of their territory including all overseas colonies.  It forbade them to have a full-scale military.  It required them to pay reparations to the countries that had defeated them.  It forced them to state that the war had been their fault.  All of this made Germans very angry.  Germans felt that they had been treated unfairly because they did not think the war was all their fault.  They felt that the victors were simply being vengeful.  They hated the idea that they were forced to give up their power and to become a weak and helpless country.

In the wake of WWI and the Treaty of Versailles, political upheaval broke out.  This included violent clashes between rival factions.  It seemed as if the democratic government could not keep order or unity in the country.  This was exacerbated by the coming of the Great Depression in 1929.  Because conditions got to be so bad, Germans were completely disenchanted with the Weimar Republic.  They wanted change and they were willing to listen to people who could promise to make Germany great again, regardless of how radical those people were.  It was in this context that the Nazis were able to become popular.  They told people what they wanted to hear.  They seemed to offer the people a way out of their troubles and a way that they could regain what they felt they deserved.

Thus, the Treaty of Versailles helped cause anger and resentment in Germany.  That anger and resentment helped allow Hitler to come to power because he and the Nazis promised to fix all of their country’s problems and make Germany great again.

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