‘Was the growth of unemployment after 1929 the main reason why the Nazi party was able to take power in Germany in 1933? Explain.
Hitler and the Nazis had not been a major political party before 1929. Elections before 1930 barely reached 5% in overall votes. It was peaceful since it was the ‘Golden Years’ and Germans voted for less extreme parties such as the SPD. The economy was stable with frequent American support and the government was firmer in decisions with stronger coalitions. However, in October 1929, when the Wall Street Crash occurred, a state of panic arose and Hitler and the Nazi party took full advantage of it, which helped bring them into power in 1933 as the single largest party in the Reichstag.
One major reason Hitler came to power was in 1929, when the American Stock Exchange collapsed, and caused an economic depression. To reinstate their economy, America demanded that all foreign loans were repaid… immediately. This put Germany in a difficult position because they had borrowed vast amounts of money in plans such as the ‘Dawes Plan’ of 1924. In addition, thousands of German businesses went bankrupt and factories that US companies had invested in had to close as they withdrew the investments. Employers had to make their employees redundant since they could not afford to pay them their wages anymore. As seen with previous elections, German people tended to vote for extreme parties in times of crisis and this was no different. In the next election in 1930, the Nazis came second with 107 seats; the German people were in no need for weak coalitions but rather strong parties that made resolutions fast.
Another important reason why Nazis came to power was fear of Communism, which increased continually with unemployment growth. Unemployment benefits were scarce and people were frantic for change. President Hindenburg made it evident that he did not like Communists but the current Chancellor: Schleicher was making signs that he was willing to work with the SPD. Von Papen made President Hindenburg aware of this so that he would be persuaded to elect Hitler as Chancellor. Also, elites did not want communists to come into power since Communist beliefs would abolish their social standing and economical leverage over the working class. Since 6 million Germans were unemployed, more wanted equal standing with the elites who were still in favorable economic position. This led to higher classes voting for the Nazis to maintain their influence over the proletarian.
However, Hitler and the Nazi party knew they needed the support of the middle-lower classes too and created ways of instilling the...