Fascism has many definitions derived by scholars and political scientists. Among the many definitions there is no one that is acceptable as fascism takes different forms (Paxton, 2005, p. 13). In all the definitions derived there are common ideas like creating a centralized authority, a new culture that is self determined and oppression of those opposed to their believe. Germany was a nation that was well known for its well established and strong culture. For such a nation to fall apart is a question asked by many (Spielvogel, 2004, p. 25). The role of Hitler and was the reasons why he was successful in mobilizing people is what this paper shall discuss.
After the war Germany was hit with inflation, unemployment and political instability. The act of making the Jews the scapegoats for these things was what Hitler used to build an audience. During the period after the war Hitler was recruited in the intelligence unit of the military and also to keep track of the German’s Workers Party (Marrs, 2008, p. 81). The name of the party later changed National Socialist German Workers Party, it had a flag that was red and had a symbol of the swastika. July 1921, Hitler was made the chairman of the party; the party became more popular among people who were victimized by the inflation and found comfort by blaming the Jews (McDonough, 2003, p. 62).
Hitler was arrested together with Ludendorff and he was in prison for eight months for a term of five years. After he was released from prison he decided to use constitutional way to seize the power. He spoke to masses on the need to build a whole new empire and say no to the Jews and the communists. The Nazis were accepted by the peasants and the lower middle class who were afraid of the recession. Hitler ran for the presidential sit in 1932, he got 30% of the votes (McDonough, 2003, p. 73). His solution to this was to enter a coalition with the government as a chancellor, this was in 1933. After the president died Hitler was automatically the successor. Although he promised a general election was going to be held. Before the elections the Reichstag burnt down then the Kroll opera house was chosen to be the meeting place for politicians. March, 23 politicians were to meet to vote on the Hitler’s enabling act. While they got near the building they found it surrounded by thugs who ensured only Nazi leaders entered the building. The bill gave Hitler power to make whatever he signed a law in 24 hours. Since only the Nazi got access to the building the bill was passed to become a law.
With Hitler as the president the economy improved and this was a platform for him to solidify his position as a dictator. He said that they were enemies of democracy as they recognized the power of having a genius who would represent the best of the people. He hated internationalism as he said that nature led a nation to victory if it had a pure race and the authority of one leader. He fought against Marxism, which promoted socialism as a way of making the society a better place. Marxists believed that with socialism the society would end up having no classes and this was called communism.
Hitler had two talents one of them was that he was a good public speaker and another was his ability to get loyalty from people (Mussolini, 2006, p. 107). These two were key factors to having the mob follow him and the Nazi’s. The regime of the Nazi was characterized by economic development and ended unemployment of many people. These also led to the party being so popular and it took over the local governments and the courts but not the churches. With all these qualities it was easy to manipulate people to idolize him. The Nazi came to believe that Hitler could make the mistakes of others right once they were brought to him.
In addition to having the Nazi idolize him so much his top officials followed his policies to the latter. Diplomatically his strategy was to threaten to begin a war if what he demanded was not met. Hitler changed most of the laws of Germany and in their place put anything he wanted. His officials would pick his comments and make them laws and then he would then give his approval later. The government then was made of individuals who were all trying to gain power and the most influence. They all focused on winning favor from Hitler. Due to the protection they got from the Goebbels that showed the government as dutiful and dedicated this led to escalation of the corrupted legislation.
Nazism was popular in Germany in the 1930’s and this lead to two theories to explain this phenomenon. These two theories are the seduction theories and the supervision theory. The supervision theory explains why the Germans did not oppose the Nazis rule. The seduction theory explained why the masses supported them. The main aim of the Nazis was to create an attitude in the Germans minds that would convince them that the regime was for their own good. The media had to include Goebbels’ reality that way they ensured they directed the media towards supporting them. The two theories were based on the fact that they terrorized the people and fed them with propaganda. Although it is then argued that no matter how sophisticated propaganda is it can not be that popular. Therefore this means naturally there must have been more reason to why the Nazi rule was appealing.
One other reason that led to its popularity is the foreign policies that were approved by the mass. The treaty of Versailles was one treaty that was opposed by the Germans as it reflected the negative part of Germany. When Hitler introduced his own version of policy it was accepted because they were frustrated by the inconsistency of other foreign policies of the government of Weimar. This created the notion that Germany would be a world power once more and so any violent measures to get there were made legitimate. This interpretation was critiqued as much as the foreign policies played a huge role the majority of the Germans there more important issues. Matters that were closer to home that affected most of them directly.
There are several ways of interpreting the success of the regime of the Nazi’s. The unstable government of the Weimar was replaced by a sounder minded one that was normal and had strong leadership. Hence the improved economic status and foreign policies that was acceptable. Although all this were manipulated by terror and propaganda there was a change of mentality among the mob.
The role that Hitler played in the rise of fascism in Germany was large. Hitler helped to mobilize the workers party and form the Nazi’s. On his part all he had was good oratory skills and that way he was able to attract large crowds. Due to this skills Hitler was not only able to get the Nazi’s to follow him he was able to get them to do as he wished. Hitler took great advantage of the great depression to show his skills politically. Without someone with that kind of character the fascism that happened in Germany would not have occurred. He was able to crush his opponents and he used both his popularity and his actions behind the backs of the people to rise himself to power.
McDonough, F. (2003). Hitler and the Rise of the Nazi Party. New York: Longman.
Marrs, J. (2008). The Rise of the Fourth Reich. London: HarperCollins.
Paxton, R. (2005). The Anatomy of Fascism. New Jersey: Vintage.
Mussolini, B. (2006). The Doctrine of Fascism. Rome: Howard Fertig.
Spielvogel, J. (2004). Hitler and Nazi Germany. New York: Prentice Hall.