Q3. Enumerate the conditions conducive to rising of Nazism in Germany. Discuss the rise of Nazism and Hitler.
Nazism triumphed in Germany within eleven years of the fascist capture of power in Italy,. Nazism was the German version of fascism & was much more sinister than the original Italian version The Nazis, under the leadership of Adolf Hitler, established the most barbarous dictatorship of modern times.
After unification of Germany it had unsuccessfully sought to satisfy its imperial ambitions through war. The outbreak of revolution in Germany towards the end of the First World War led to the collapse of the German monarchy. However, even though Germany became a republic, the forces behind the monarchy the industrialists, the big landowners and the officers of the army remained quite powerful. The government of German republic was not able to destroy their power. These forces began to turn to the anti democratic forces represented by Nazism to extend their power and to check the power of the socialist movement,
The rise of Nazism and Hitler.
The term ‘Nazism’ derived from the name of the party which Hitler founded in 1921, “National Socialist German Workers Party” for short Nazi Party. Like Mussolini, Hitler had also planned to capture power through a march on Berlin. He was arrested and jailed, but released long before his term was over. In jail he wrote his book Mein Kampf (literal meaning ‘My Struggle’) which expressed some of the most monstrous ideas of the Nazi movement. He glorified the use of force and brutality, and the rule by a great leader and ridiculed internationalism, peace and democracy. He preached extreme hatred against the German Jews who were blamed not only for the defeat of Germany in the First World War but for all the ills of Germany. He glorified violent nationalism and extolled war. The dreadful ideas of the Nazis found favor with the army, the industrialists, the big landowners and the anti republican politicians. They began to look upon Hitler as the savior of Germany.
The Nazis capitalized on the sense of humiliation which many Germans felt at their defeat in the war and the unjust provisions of the Treaty of Versailles. They also exploited the misery of the people which had worsened due to the reparations which Germany was made to pay to the Allied powers.
In 1929 the Great Depression occurred, which affected all the capitalist countries of the world. As a result of this crisis, eight million workers, about half of the working population of Germany, were rendered unemployed. It was during this period that the Nazi Party, which was no more than a conspiratorial group in the beginning, began to spread its influence. The Social Democratic Party and the Communist Party were powerful parties with huge following. These two parties, however, failed to unite against the Nazis.
The victory of Nazism in Germany, like that of fascism in Italy, was neither the outcome of a popular uprising, nor the result of a sham march on Berlin such as Mussolini’s on Rome. In the elections held in Germany before Hitler came to power, the Nazi Party had polled fewer votes than the Socialist and Communist vote put together. It had won only 196 seats out of a total of about 650. Hitler’s coming to power was the result of political intrigues. In spite of his poor showing in the elections, Hitler was appointed the Chancellor of Germany by the President of Germany on 30 January 1933. Within a few weeks, the entire fabric of democracy in Germany was shattered. Soon after coming to power, Hitler ordered fresh elections and let loose a reign of terror. Assassination of anti-Nazi leaders was organized on a large scale. On 27 February 1933, the Reichstag (Parliament) building was set on fire by the Nazis. The Communist Party Germany was blamed for the fire and was suppressed. In spite of the terror organized by the Nazis, the Nazi Party could not win a majority of seats in Parliament. However, Hitler assumed dictatorial powers and, in 1934, became the President.
Trade unions were suppressed and thousands of socialists, communists and anti-Nazi political leaders were exterminated. The Nazis started huge bonfires into which the works of some of the best writers of Germany and other countries were thrown. Besides socialists and communists, Jews were made victims of an organized campaign of humiliation and violence. Within a few years they were to be completely exterminated. Simultaneously, a massive program of militarization was launched and preparations for war began. The victory of Nazism was a calamity not only for the German people but for entire Europe and many other parts of the world. It brought in the Second World War. The policies and acts of the fascist governments of Italy and Germany which ultimately led to the Second World War.