What programs and tactics did Hitler employ to consolidate his rule and make Germany more powerful?

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hi1954's profile pic

hi1954 | Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

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What most consolidated his grasp on Germany was his combination of patriotism, ethnic nationalism and economic recovery, backed by the fund-raising ability of the businessmen in Britain, Switzerland and America who backed him as well as German industrialists.

Hitler's programs to rebuild the German economy were actually quite extensive and far-seeing.  His personal issues relating to his mother's death by cancer and his traumatic experiences at the end of the First World War turned him into the monster we know him as, but as a politician and architect of German economic recovery his work was quite progressive.  It was his idea alone to build a series of superhighways to both create jobs and stimulate the economy, plus bind the country together in a quick transportation system, and to design a cheap and economical car (the volkswagen or "people's car") which the average German could afford.  He used such talented people as financier Hjalmar Schact to put Germany onto a solid economic footing so the banks could be restructured with credit from the British, etc.  For the short-term recovery of Germany he was invaluable in that he knew how to manipulate the industrialists and bankers, but of course in the long run it was most unfortunate for the entire world that he had such strong support among the business and military authorities of the German state.

Hitler was an agent of German military intelligence when he joined the National Socialist Worker's Party, and then under orders resigned from the army to commit himself full-time to political organization.  As early as 1923 he was receiving large sums of money from industrialists such as the Thyssen steel and Krupp arms businesses.  He was successful at raising money from Swiss and American banks and businesses as early as the same year, including Brown Brothers Harriman, the American investment bank.  His grasp of propaganda technique was far ahead of his time, and he radiated sincerity in his speeches.  He adopted a bluff man-to-man style in personal meetings with powerful individuals, and was a master at tailoring his message to whichever audience he was addressing at the time.  Public works projects went hand in hand with right-wing tactics such as the suppression of trade unions, while the left-wing was mollified by semi-socialist programs such as increased health and unemployment benefits.  The problem of course was that the people who backed him believed they could control him, while he built a second military system in the SA and SS, installed control over the courts through the Nazi party structure and built such a powerful image through economic success.  The regaining of German territories taken by the Versailles Treaty also deepened his support among the people. Rearmament helped, but was actually one of the lesser parts of the economic recovery.

Perhaps the best overall reading on this subject would be Adolf Hitler by John Toland, although the book leaves a lot to be desired in determining just who financed Hitler's rise to power.

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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To make Germany more powerful, the main thing that Hitler did was to rearm.  He did this under a variety of pretenses since Germany was not officially allowed to have much in the way of armed forces.  Hitler, for example, put a lot of effort into the national airline, which was really just cover for developing airplanes and pilots for an air force.

Hitler also used diplomacy.  He was able to get the Western powers to feel bad about the Treaty of Versailles and, therefore, not to be too suspicious of Germany as it tried to gain power.

As far as consolidating his rule, he ruthlessly killed off people who might challenge him for control.  He also set up things like the secret police and took other steps to suppress dissent.

Probably, though, your text has specific facts you are supposed to know, so you might want to check for what those are.

brettd's profile pic

brettd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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Hitler's real genius in ruling Germany was his ability to play off rival factions in his government against one another while he maintained authority.  Early in his reign, the Nazi Party staged the Reichstag (Parliament) fire, blaming it on two hapless communist patsies.  Hitler declared a national emergency and used the fire as an excuse to round up opponents of any political stripe.  He took dictatorial powers for the duration of the emergency and then never gave them back.

In the same year, he ordered the "Night of the Long Knives" and purged the SA (Sturmabteilung) even though they were one of the groups that helped him come to power.

He established a network of concentration camps starting with Dachau, and imprisoned communists and political opponents, among others.  Then he gave unprecedented power to the German Secret Police, the Gestapo, and control within the party to the SS (Schutzstaffel - Security Group).

To get his country out of economic ruin, he made an alliance with powerful industrialists and borrowed money to rebuild his military from scratch, creating tens of thousands of jobs and fulfilling his campaign promises of employing Germans and restoring their imperial greatness.

A book called Order of the Death's Head by Heinz Hohne is very good at detailing how Hitler consolidated power.

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