People often think of WW2 and Hitler, but few people ever consider how it all began. This essay will discuss how Hitler got to power and the events that led to Hitler’s death. Germany was devastated after World War 1. For one, German merchant ships were not allowed to enter German ports during World War 1. This resulted in severe shortages. These shortages included food, coal, and soap. This made it difficult for Germans to clean up afterward.

This led to the spread of flu across Europe, which caused 40,000 deaths in Germany. Even though there were many ways he could have made people’s lives better, the Keizar refused to listen. Public opinion turned against him as a result. “On October 1918 Germany’s Navy Chiefs ordered the Fleet in Kiel to sail for battle” (Brooman23). Two sailors from two separate ships refused to obey the order, and both were arrested. Even worse, To protest the fear that their comrades might be killed for their mutiny, other sailors in Kiel called for protest. Soon, soldiers and workers joined them. They created a council that would run the city. Hitler was elected to power in Germany in four major reasons. Friedrich Ebert, Germany’s most powerful socialist party leader, took over the place of the Kaiser after Germany lost. He was quick to help the German people. The Treaty of Versailles, which officially ended the war by surrendering to the Allies, was signed on November 11, 1918. The treaty ended up doing more harm than good for Germany. Germany lost a lot more land than it gained and had the to pay reparation money for their past enemies.

Germans were ashamed to have lost the war. Ebert’s changes made life easier by making it shorter, more affordable for everyone, and helping the unemployed. He also allowed freedom of speech and elected representatives to the parliament (Brooman23). These changes made many Germans happier (Brooman 23, except for the Spartacus League, which disagreed with all that Ebert did or said). The Spartacus alliance wanted Germany to have workers and soldiers councils rather than parliament. They attempted to get power by starting an uprising. They marched the streets carrying guns and took over key buildings with force on January 5, 1919. With a lot violence and ex-soldiers from right-wing groups, the socialist government recaptured buildings that had been seized by Spartacists. It also executed their leaders. Ebert won the election for parliament shortly after. His party, which he called the Social Democrats received the highest number of votes. The new parliament met on February 11, 1919 in Weimar. This was the day they first elected Ebert President of Germany (Brooman 23). Many groups, such as the Communists and Conservatives, opposed democracy. These groups were supported even when the economy was declining.

Inflation and the Great Depression in the USA were two major reasons that Nazis succeeded. Germany was unable to raise their war-time taxes as other countries did, so they printed money. This money quickly lost its value. Everything began to become more costly. The US loaned Germany $200 million to fix this problem. (Beck 471). The US economy collapsed in 1929 due to uneven wealth distribution, overproduction, and poor business and agricultural practices. The US wanted to return their money from Germany and so the US economic collapsed in the US led to the Great Depression. (Beck 472). Germany was one country that was hardest hit by the depression. Six million of its sixty-fourmillion inhabitants were without work in 1933.

Germans were affected by the depression. They became hungry and unemployed, which led to anger at the government. Germans quickly supported parties that claimed to end the depression and would be elected to parliament. One group was more popular than all the others and was the most persuasive. The National Socialist Party also known as Nazi Party, promised that they would provide jobs for the people if elected to power. They were often supported by people who didn’t have jobs, but did not want communism.

Hitler was a brilliant public speaker who made him the 1933 Chancellor. Also, propaganda helped spread Nazi ideas. Hitler was able convince large crowds that his ideas were right. He began his speeches listing all the evils happening in Germany and other parts of the world. He kept going until the end, asking the crowd “And whose fault?” The crowd answered “it’s all/the fault/of the jews.” ” (Brooman 52). The Nazis also used propaganda to get power. This is a method of changing people’s thinking through advertizing. Instead of defining policies, they used slogans. The slogans emphasized the need to return to Germany’s traditions and unite Germany under one leader. Their claims of returning to traditional German ways were never challenged because they were unclear about their intentions. The Nazis dropped their plans to nationalize industry when industrialists began criticizing them. They would spread their belief that Jews, Communists and Weimar politicians were the root of Germany’s problems whenever they could (Walsh 53). They shared their ideas through eight newspapers, pamphlets, and posters.

One poster depicts a couple. The father and son sit at a dining table looking frustrated and disappointed. The woman behind the baby is sad. Millions upon millions of men are out-of-work. Millions upon millions of children do not have a future. Save German families. Vote Adolf Hitler!” People were encouraged to vote for the Nazis by Adolf Hitler and the Nazis’ speaking abilities and propaganda skills. Hitler was allowed to rise to power by Hindenburg and other leaders who believed they could restrict Hitler’s power and resist Hitler’s extremist demands. The Nazi Party was not the majority in July 1932’s elections. However, they did still have the majority. Hitler wanted him to become chancellor from President. Hindenburg was suspicious of Hitler and refused to grant him the position. Franz Von Papen, the current Chancellor, worked tirelessly to end the unemployment crisis. Because he didn’t have support from the Reichstag, he was almost immediately in trouble. This resulted in another election taking place in November 1932. The Nazi Party was again the largest party, but their share of votes fell. Hitler had lost more than 2 million votes and 38 seats to the Reichstag. The Nazis were also running out of money. President Hindenburg elected Kurt von Schleicher the Chancellor. He was however quickly forced out. The Weimar government was not working out as they had hoped. Hindenburg had to appoint a Reichstag-supporting Chancellor. Hindenburg, von Papen and other industrialists met secretly throughout January 1933.

Hitler received the offer from Hindenburg to become Chancellor, 30 January. Everyone was shocked by this offer. However, Hindenburg & von Papen invited him as Chancellor to limit his influence and because he was likely to get the support and endorsement of the Reichstag. The Cabinet was composed of conservatives and made policies. Hitler’s job consisted of obtaining support from Reichstag to approve the policies and to control communists (Walsh156). Hitler was Chancellor when Hitler had only three ministers who were Nazis. His parliamental representation was less than half that of the other members. This was done to limit Hitler’s power (Brooman56). Hitler called another election to gain the Nazi majority at Reichstag in March 1933. There were rallies, procession, and street fighting all over Germany. The same strategies he used before, but he was able to direct the state media and streets. The Reichstag building was destroyed on February 27, 1945. Hitler charged the communists with starting the first communist revolution and blamed them. Hitler asked for emergency powers to address the problem. The Nazis arrested communists and broke up meetings, scaring voters (Walsh158). The Nazis still had less than half the seats when the election was over. He joined forces, however, with The Nationalists. They subsequently held just half the seats in parliament. Hitler was made a dictator by his first law, the “Enabling Law”, which gave him the power to create laws without the consent of parliament. This effectively made him a dictator.

Hitler’s ascendancy was made possible by the Great Depression. The Nazi party’s support grew as the economy declined. Hitler promised all the Germans, including more jobs and more money. Germans voted to the Nazi Party as they were only concerned about their jobs and could not see the possibilities of what would happen if the Nazis won power. Because they didn’t want communists, the Germans with jobs voted to support the Nazis. There were many groups. The German government was still recovering from the Great Depression, which destroyed any hope of things getting back on track. The Nazis wouldn’t have received that much support if the Great Depression had occurred. People wouldn’t be so desperate for money and jobs. All the terrible things that would follow were caused by the Great Depression.

These ideas, taken together, show how Hitler gained power in Germany and led to the outbreak of World War 2. The Treaty of Versailles was the beginning of it all. The Great Depression struck right as Germany was just beginning to recover after the Treaty had been signed. Hitler’s proclamation skills and Nazi propaganda led to German support for the Nazis. Last but not least, Hitler was made a dictator by the gift of the post of Chancellor. The Great Depression was the main cause of the Second World War.


  • marcosnguyen

    Marcos Nguyen is a 29-year-old blogger and teacher from Houston, Texas. He is a graduate of the University of Houston, where he studied education and psychology. Marcos has been blogging since 2009, and he specializes in writing about education and parenting. He currently teaches middle school social studies and language arts.