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To What Extent Did The Great Depression Help The National Socialists Rise To Power?

1841 words - 7 pages

A.) Plan of the Investigation

This investigation evaluates to what extent did the German Depression help the National Socialists rise to power. To assess the extent to which the German depression led to the Nazi party gaining control of Germany, the investigation focuses on the effects the depression had on Germany and the events leading to the Nationalist Socialist party gaining control. The details regarding the origins of the National Socialist party are not addressed in this investigation.

The two sources selected for research, The Great Depression in Europe by Patricia Clavin and A Concise History of the Third Reich by Benz Wolfgang are used for their origins, purposes, limitations and values.

B.) Summary of Evidence

The destruction of labor, land and capital during the war caused European products to be less competitive in world markets and made Europe dependent on capital flows from the United States. (Clavin 19) The unproductive deployment of these inflows, most notably in Germany, resulted in the debt crisis that began to boil already in 1927. (Clavin 20) Both the political and social changes were equally important. First of all it must be noted that the peace treaties failed to put forth any international economic cooperation among nations. Germany was forced into accepting all of the blame for starting the war. What made matters worse, however, was that because Germany was forced to accept all of the blame for the war, it was also made to pay for all the damage caused by it. The German economy was already in ruin. Many of its people already had very limited food. The reparations payments would cripple them. (Benz 17)
In order to solve the money problem the government started printing more banknotes. Due to this, the value of money soon crashed. Money became worthless, for example it cost 201,000,000,000 marks to buy a loaf of bread. (Shirer 27) This resulted in mass amount of people who had no money to even afford a loaf of bread. The German people blamed all of this on the Weimar government. The Weimar government got fierce criticism and had to deal with riots. (Benz 28) When they used the policy of passive resistance they lost a vast amount of money and had to print more. When they halted the passive resistance they got lots of criticism again and had to control and put down the revolution by the Nazi party at the Munich Putsch in 1923. (Benz 28) The relationship between these economic, political and social changes provided an ideal climate for nationalism to flourish. (Clavin 8)

Weimar government was very unpopular with the German people because of signing the treaty of Versailles, which attacked both German dignity and decreased land, military and economy. (Shirer 49) They were also blamed for their lack in solving depression problems in 1923 and not doing anything to prevent it from happening in 1929. The German nation wanted an alternative to the weak Weimar Republic. As a result the right and left wing...

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