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Hitler's Rise To Power Essay

1883 words - 8 pages

Who or what was responsible for Hitler's rise to power? Many believe that there was only one factor for his rise to power. Some state that Hitler could not have risen to power in any other than Germany, implying that he was nothing more than a product of German culture. Others say that Hitler made himself dictator by means of his political genius. And yet still others claim that it was the weak democratic government of the Weimar Republic or Germany's social and economic scene in the 1930's that made the people restless and ready for a dictator to come to power. There was no sole cause for Hitler's rise to power. There were two. The political and economic chaos of the 1920's and the 1930's joined forces with German culture that enabled Hitler to rise to power. Both play an equal part. Together, both reasons fit together like pieces of a puzzle, to create a unique situation for Hitler's rise. Hitler was in part a product of German culture. German culture stands out as particularly aggressive and racist. The values and ideas found in this culture's history inspired Hitler to do many things that he did and can explain in part why he felt the way he did on certain issues (Stern). Stevens 2 Hundreds of years before Hitler emerged, German philosophers and artist preached an almost religious worship of the state. They discussed the idea of the master race, and created a mythology of German heroism that encouraged loyalty to the group and glorified death for the country. Hitler and many Germans like him, was an enthusiastic student of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel who argued that the State "has the supreme right against the individual, whose supreme duty is to be a member of the State." Hegel foresaw in the early 1800's that "Germany's hour" would come and that the country's mission would be to redevelop the world. A German hero would complete this mission (Landry). Like Hegel, another German philosopher more directly portrayed the conventionality and obedience necessary for a secure State. Heinrich von Treitschke espoused that it was of no consequence what you thought about anything, just as long as you obeyed German law. Germany's tradition also produced Friedrich Nietzsche who preached the coming of a master race and the superman who would conquer, impose a glorified state, and purify the master race. Finally, German legends were full of heroes and heroines like Hagen, Siegfried, and Brunhild, who were so superbly depicted in Richard Wagner's opera, the Nibelungenlied. Heroes such as those, inspired Germans including Hitler, to think of themselves as larger than life and capable of bringing great glory to Germany through both life and death (Thomas, Landry, Bruch, Richard Wagner on the Web). Stevens 3 In addition to German philosophers and artists, Germany, more than any other state in Europe, had a history of militarism that ran deep. Great warriors like Frederick III inspired the creation of 18th and 19th century Prussia, laying the roots of 20th...

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