The Charismatic Hitler
Adolf Hitler, with promises of a new nation - a Germanic world power, economically strong and racially pure - led millions of Germans in their hope for a new national Germany and also led millions to their death. Hitler defined and put a Jewish face on Germany's enemy and promised that an elite national Germany would once more be a leading power on the European Continent (Grolier's). Hitler had an overpowering charismatic personality and by promising relief from unemployment, strength against Communism and Jewry, expansion of German territory, Hitler was able to convince Germans that following him would provide a life of comfort and security.
Hitler had a charismatic personality with a decisiveness and power not found in his political opponents. In an essentially political void, Hitler provided "...the appeal of a strong nationalistic figure" (Soldwedel). Hitler was promising a new elite national Germany that would be a leading world power; a world power that was denied Germany in World War I. The German population felt that in Hitler they had a potential leader that understood his people and his country -- a leader who could repair the ailing Germany. "It is as if [Hitler] spoke to each individual..." (Perry 380). In addition to his influential personality, Adolf Hitler was a master in the use of propaganda and pageantry. With electoral propaganda slogans such as "Freedom & Bread" and a promising that "In the Third Reich every German girl will find a husband!" (The Hisory Place:The Rise of Hitler). Hitler used positive messages and promised economic, social and political benefits for the people of Germany. He understood the power of pageantry, cognizant that uniforms, banners, music and military display went hand-in-hand with propaganda messages to influence the eyes, ears and minds of the German peoples. In an effort continue this influence, propaganda movies were made. Included in the list of self-promoting propaganda movies was one portraying Hitler as a god (Triumph of Will, 1935) and another displaying the superiority of the German, or Aryan, race (Olympia, 1936) (A Teacher's Guide to the Holocaust: Holocaust Timeline).
Personality and power, although powerful tools, were not the only reasons the Germanic people followed Hitler. The German people were desperate for relief of the Depression, and Hitler provided the answer that spelled 'relief'-- economic relief. The German people, bitter over the WWI reparations and responsibility of the 'guilt clause' (Chambers 896) were economically empowered by Hitler's claim that Germany was no longer bound by the Versailles Treaty. Unemployment, which had risen to nearly 6 million people (The History Place:The Rise of Hitler) was effectively resolved by the institution of Hitler's Public Works...