What were the significant events that took place as Nazism became powerful?

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larrygates eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The first significant event in the rise of National Socialism ("Nazi" was a pejorative term) was the failed Beer Hall Putsch in which Hitler and other National Socialists attempted to take over the government of Munich by coup, much as Mussolini had taken over the Italian government. Upon the failure of the Putsch, Hitler was sent to prison where he wrote his political testament, Mein Kampf. The National Socialists were aided by the Great Depression when German unemployment reached 43 per cent.

Other political ideologies at the time were the Communists and the Social Democrats.The Communists refused to cooperate with the Social Democrats even though the two parties together outnumbered the Nazis in the Reichstag.  German Communists were blinded by the hatred of socialists and by the belief that Hitler’s fascist ideas represented the last throes of capitalism and a communist revolution would soon follow. Social Democratic leaders pleaded with the Communists for a temporary alliance to stop Hitler, at one point even posing their pleas at the Soviet Embassy, but there was no use. This lack of cooperation was exacerbated by a fire which destroyed the Reichstag. The fire was blamed on a young Communist radical who was subsequently guillotined. There was substantial thinking among historians for many years that the Nazi’s had started the fire to intensify the dispute with the Communists; however recent historical evidence indicates that the young man was indeed a Communist agent intent on bringing down the government by any possible means. Ironically, his actions played into the hands of Hitler.

Hitler was an expert in dirty backroom politics. He gained the support of people in the army and big business, who thought they use him to their own advantage. Conservative and nationalistic politicians also thought that they could use him. Thus, when Hitler demanded that he be named Chancellor as a condition of joining the government, they accepted his demand. On January 30, 1933, President Hindenburg named Hitler as Chancellor. The Reichstag fire, after a particularly raucous election, played easily into Hitler’s hands. He used the fire to persuade President Hindenburg to invoke the Emergency Powers provision of the Constitution, which allowed rule by decree. Emergency acts were passed which practically abolished freedom of speech and assembly as well as most personal liberties. When the Nazi’s won only 44 per cent of the Reichstag seats Hitler outlawed the communist party and had its representatives in the Reichstag arrested. On March 23, 1933, the Reichstag passed the Enabling Act which gave Hitler absolute dictatorial power for four years. Under the guise of legality, the Nazi’s slowly dismantled the opposition, and Germany was soon a one party state in which only the National Socialist Party was legal.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There were a number of significant events in Germany as the Nazi Party rose to power.

The first was the Beer Hall Putsch in Munich.  This attempted rebellion did not work, but it pushed the Nazis to prominence.

The second was the election of 1930.  In this election, the Nazis gained enough seats in the Reichstag to become the second largest party in German politics.

This led eventually to the third, and most importatnt, event in the Nazis' rise to power.  That event was the appointment of Adolf Hitler as chancellor of Germany.  This happened in January of 1933.

Of course, behind all of this was the economic and social turmoil that was rocking Germany in the years after WWI.  There are no single important events in that process, but the turmoil allowed the Nazi ideology to become popular and allowed the Nazis to rise to power.