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Part C: The Rise of Nazism


The rapid rise of the Nazi Party during the early 1930s to become the largest party in the Reichstag deserves careful consideration. The character and polices of the Party, its power structure, its methods and its leadership all require attentions.
Notes will be needed on the following aspects:


1.

Who supported the Nazis?




There is no simple answer to this; areas of particular strength should be considered including:




(i)

Nazi strength in the provinces




(ii)

Nazi appeal to the middle classes




(iii)

Nazi strength in Protestant areas




(iv)

Attitudes in the Army




(v)

Where Nazi finances came from.




2.

What were Nazi policies?




There are shifts here, but aspects to consider include:




(i)

Nationalism




(ii)

Anti-Marxism




(iii)

Racialism




(iv)

Hostility to Versailles




(v)

Strong government and strong leader




(vi)

Ideas for reform.




3.

What were Nazi methods?




Aspects to include:




(i)

Marches and rallies




(ii)

The SA and the use of violence




(iii)

Propaganda




(iv)

The skilful exploiting of circumstances including the Young Plan and the economic crisis.




4.

Adolf Hitler




Aspects to include:




(i)

His control over the Party




(ii)

His oratory




(iii)

His skill as a political opportunist




(iv)

Other key figures in the Party.



Issue to discuss

‘Was Hitler’s support strongest in Protestant provincial Germany?’




Part D: Hitler and the Nazi Take-over of Power


Having become Chancellor, General von Schleicher lasted just two months in office. He lacked a secure political base and had earned the enmity of von Papen. Although it did not prove easy to persuade Hindenburg to appoint Hitler, he eventually agreed to do so. Right wing nationalist parties celebrated believing that they had won the ability to control Hitler. Events rapidly showed them that they were wrong.
Notes will be required on the following aspects:


1.

The Fall of Schleicher




This involves considering:




(i)

His attempt to secure the backing of a section of the Nazis led by Strassen




(ii)

His plans for reforms and the hostility they met




(iii)

Von Papen and the right wing deal with Hitler




(iv)

The fall of Schleicher.




2.

Hitler arrives in office




This includes:




(i)

His appointment as Chancellor




(ii)

His Cabinet




(iii)

Calling an election




(iv)

Using the power of the state in the campaign, including Goering’s authority in Prussia.




3.

Democracy is Overturned




This includes:




(i)

The Reichstag Fire




(ii)

The use of it to suspend basic political rights




(iii)

The electoral results




(iv)

The Enabling Law.



Issue to discuss


There was nothing inevitable about Nazi success.’

Do you agree?


theme 4: the transformation of post-weimar society

The last main area of the course requires the study of:



  • Nazi consolidation of power in Germany

  • Nazi economic policy

  • Nazi social and racial policies

  • The impact of foreign policy on domestic circumstances.

The means used to assert power and the use made of power mean that all three key concepts are of relevance i.e.



  • Ideology

  • Authority

  • Revolution.


Issues to consider / investigate / discuss

The nature of Nazi rule and Hitler’s own intentions have been the subject of much debate among historians. As you build up notes consider the following issues:




  • Is Hitler’s role absolutely central to all that happened in these years?




  • What difference did Nazi rule make to the lines of ordinary Germans?




  • What opposition did the Nazis face inside Germany?




  • How do you explain the German economic recovery? Was it due to Nazi policies?




  • Is it possible, in any way, to see Nazi policies as a continuation of what had been happening before 1933?

The historian Ian Kershaw notes:



More than half a century after the destruction of the Third Reich, leading historians are far from agreement on some of the most fundamental problems of interpreting and explaining Nazism.’
Ian Kershaw, ‘Nazi Dictatorship: Problems and Perspectives of Interpretation’, Arnold, 2000




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