The Collector
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The Collector

Adolf Hitler’s Rise To Power — Pure Luck Or Clever Planning?

Clearly it was between the two, in reality nothing is ever planned out perfectly and success largely depends on adapting to changing situations; and regarding the Nazis, they were vigorous opportunist in every sense of the word, and they also used propaganda quite efficiently.

Attributing their success to pure luck would be far-fetched, the Nazis went from a totally unknown party from 1919 (then known as the DAP), to having Adolf Hitler as Chancellor of Germany in 1933. No party pulled that of, the Zentrum (the Centre party) had electorate support since the late 19th century, the Social Democrats were the oldest party in Germany, the German Nationalist Party already had huge backing from the aristocracy i.e. the Junkers and Reichswehr since the end of the Great War, and the communists, perhaps new had decades of its ideology propagated across Europe, not to mention that Thälmann and the whole party was receiving huge cheques from the Soviet Union and were in reality only a puppet. They were countless other parties in Germany aside the National Socialists — and many of them would never be known, you probably have never heard of the German middle class party or the Bavarian peasant league, it wasn’t just pure luck.

The Nuremberg rally in 1934, Hitler at the center with Himmler and Lutze at his side give the Hitler salute (Wikipedia files).

At the same time, attributing it to being cleverly planned is also far-fetched, nothing is cleverly planned. However a number of factors enabled the rise of the Nazis:

  • The obscurity surrounding the Nazi program, in the North of Germany the Strasser’s and Goebbels were good at preaching Nationalism but also Socialism, calling for big industry to be nationalized. Elsewhere Hitler and Göring were good at promising big business protection from communism, tax reduction and tariffs, clearly contradictory. The party program was vague and had support from a broad number of the populace, even though some of it was contradictory, they were good at hiding it.
  • Hitler’s organizational skill was also helpful, people assigned to regions or positions by Hitler were skilled, Goebbels to the North were people were sympathetic to Socialism coming from a working class background, Röhm’s organizational skills in terms of the SA, and Himmler in terms of the SS, Göring’s familiarity with aristocrats (his god-father was Epenstein) meant he helped deal with industrialists alike.
  • Belonging to the party resembled belonging to a cult, the swastika flags and armbands, the Hitler salute, Mein Kampf, the Nuremberg rallies. It’s like a relationship, once swayed in it’s hard to see things without bias, followed with fanatical love and approval for almost everything.
  • The Nazis were shrewd opportunists; this along with the first is mainly why they were successful.
  • It also is worth adding Hitler’s speaking abilities, which was manipulative and staged. Hitler understood body language perfectly well and mostly practicing, and using highly pitched rhetoric for euphoria, (the Mannerheim recordings shows that his speeches was indeed planned and staged).

It is worth adding that the Nazis benefited from the instability in Germany caused by namely the Hyperinflation (which lead to the failed Beer Hall Putsch), and the Great Depression. But any other party could have benefited from this instability.

So basically it wasn’t cleverly planned, but it also wasn’t pure luck. The factors above was what Hitler’s rise owed to.

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Sinchana Hegade

Sinchana Hegade

Currently a history graduate in the university of Edinburgh. Her interest lies in Ancient History. Cultural and Intellectual history also fascinates her a lot.