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The Rise Of Hitler And Nazism

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Sonderweg (Heinrich August Winkler, fritz fischer) – historians that argue over whether germany took its own unique direction which led it towards Nazism or whether Hitler brainwashed the German people.

In 1940, Sebastian Haffner (liberalist) published a book “Germany” in which he argued that Hitler by force of personality had brought about Nazi Germany. In 1941 Robert Vansittart published “The black record: Germans past and present” which argued that traits of brutality and aggression were uniquely German.

Other like Eric Hobsbawn (Marxist) argues that Nazism grew out of Capitalism.

Functionalist view:

Historians such as Ian Kershaw see the mechanics of Nazism as ad hoc process. Whereas, historians such as Hugh Trevor-Roper (intentionalist, orthodox) see its management as a part of a deliberate design by Hitler.

“Liberal historians like conquest account for Stalin’s rise to power… whereas revisionist historians like Acton put greater emphasis on other factors

The Frankfurt school: basically wrote about culture, about how people understand their world.

Polish: Zbigniew Brezinksi (traditionalist, liberal): Totalitarianism – one leader, one ideology, one party, monopoly over the use of force = Nazi state not totalitarian at all, barely

Niall Ferguson: It was not so much the economic crisis, but the religiousness of Nazism, and hitlers ability to “convert” people. This is evidenced by the numerous accounts from people after the rallies that said they had been “converted” to Nazism

Ian Kershaw: not just economic crisis but also nationalistic crisis, Nationalism was strong

Aleksander Solzhenitsyn: Theres a thin line between good and evil in every man’s heart, and it was coincidence that they were the executioners, and we weren’t. Hitler represents something that is a part in all of us, supported by Ian Kershaw (Lars Von Trier)

Everywhere where the Nazis imposed their rule they found willing collaborators, such as the Bulgarian SS division, the Romanians, who killed their jews before the Nazis even got there

Niall Ferguson: Hitler wanted Nemesis and wanted to go down in a blaze of glory, didn’t really want victory, this is evidenced by his irrational and daring gambles on the Eastern Front, he expunged the shame of 1918. His aim was not to surrender. Nemesis in Greek tragedy

Mary Fulbrook: Nazism had economic and military self-destruction built into itself, Ian Kershaw disagrees with that and says that it was Hitler’s bad decisions which caused the downfall

Weimar’s inheritance:

November revolution and fall of Kaiser -9th of November 1918, Friderich Ebert assumes power in Germany and leads the council of people’s Commissioners.

Walter Rathenau, the German foreign minister in 1919: “Now we have a republic, but no republicans”.

Inter-Allied reparations for WW1 at 269 billion gold marks, which was equal to about 100,000 tonnes of pure gold.

Spartacist revolt 1919 – uprising led by the Communist party of Germany 5-15 January, 1919.

Violently suppressed by the Freikorps.

1918-1922, 376 Politically motivated assassinations

Socially: humiliation, 2 million war dead, Economic reparations

Fragile political system: Federal republic  localities: called Landers Parliament: Reichstag  president: invested with special powers: Article 48 which was basically rule by decree. Meant that he could pass emergency laws

Paul von Hindenberg 1847-1934 (came to power in 1925). In 1932, was fantastically popular. He rivals Adolf Hitler and obtains 2/3 of the votes.

1919-1933 there were 21 different coalition governments and in the 1932 July elections there were 27 political parties.

The most popular party in the right at the start of the election was the Social Democratic Party. There was even a Catholic Center Party. Also, there was the German People’s Party that was more towards the right wing.

Anti-Democratic elements: Right wing: March 1920/Kapp Putsch (gained control for 100 hours with 775 army officers, workers refused to support him) Left wing: Communists (the Spartacist revolt)

Right wing: Kapp putsch, Aristocrats: March 1920, army leadership, industrial magnats  Nationalists

Left witng: Communist party: Spartacist uprising 1919.

An economic crisis: In 1922, a loaf of bread costs 163 marks, in November 1923 the same loaf of bread cost 201 billion marks

1919-1923 the German economy’s production decreased by 42%. The 1920 mark was worth 10% of its 1914 value

Unemployment: 1928 – 1.8 million 1932 – 6 million

1923: introduction of the new currency: Rentenmark: this causes humiliation

1929: Wall Street crash: American stock market collapses. US gave loans to Germany 1919-1929: 9 billion dollars. After Wall Street crash, the US stops paying the loans.

America pays Germany loans, Germany pays reparations to allies, allies pay back loans to US

Countries invested a lot of money in the US, which started spending the money. They were passing


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