Adolf Hitler

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Student Question

What promises did Hitler make that influenced Germans to support the Nazi Party?

Quick answer:

Hitler's promises that attracted Germans to the Nazi Party included restoring German dignity and greatness, returning to traditional values and forms of governance, re-establishing male dominance and home-bound women, withdrawing from the League of Nations, opposing communism, discarding the Versailles Treaty, and blaming Jews and internationalists for Germany's problems. He also pledged to provide jobs, food, and prosperity amid the economic crisis of the Great Depression. These promises appealed to many Germans who were overwhelmed by rapid social and economic changes.

Expert Answers

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From the start of his political career after World War I, Hitler promised the German people, humiliated by the Versailles Treaty, that he would restore German dignity and pride. He would make Germany a great nation once again.

Hitler appealed to the many people who found the Weimar Republic to be too new and avant-garde. These individuals wanted a return to traditional values and traditional art. For a country used to monarchy, with a strong man in control, the idea of a republic—a representative democracy—was bizarre and unsettling. To traditionalists, God was supposed to appoint a leader for a country, and this top-down approach to governance provided a sense of security and normalcy that a bottoms-up elected government did not.

Hitler promised to put women back in the home and put the men in charge. He promised to take Germany out of the League of Nations. He offered an alternative to communism, which he closely associated with Judaism. He promised to get rid of the Versailles Treaty, restore law and order, and put the Jews, who many blamed for Germany's problems, back in their place.

Finally, as the economic situation of the German people deteriorated in 1930 as the Great Depression took hold, Hitler promised the German people jobs, food, and prosperity. For many people buffeted by the social and economic uncertainties of the 1920s, Hitler represented a traditional strongman who would straighten out the problems Germany faced.

In sum, Hitler understood that many Germans had too many changes too quickly and wanted a return to tradition, which he promised. He also offered Germans a scapegoat for their problems by blaming Jews, communists, and internationalists for German woes.

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