THE TRUTH ABOUT HITLER'S RISE TO POWER

In the election of March 1933, the Nazis received 44% of the vote. The party gained control of a majority of seats in the Reichstag through a formal coalition with the DNVP. Finally, the Enabling Act, which invested Hitler with dictatorial authority, was passed by the Reichstag after the Nazis expelled the Communist deputies. Under the Enabling Act, the Nazi cabinet had the power to pass legislation, just as the Reichstag did; the Act further specified that the cabinet could only approve measures submitted by the Chancellor (Hitler), and that it would lapse after four years time or upon the installation of a new government. The Enabling Act was dutifully renewed every four years, even during World War II.

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Notably the Communists, fought for power. Another problem came as the government printed vast amounts of money to support a strike against occupying French troops trying to force Germany to pay its huge indemnity. However, Germany's inability to back up its currency led to a wildly uncontrolled cycle of inflation. As a result, a single turnip would cost 50 million marks and people literally burned money for fuel, carted it around in wheelbarrows, and shoveled it out of bank vaults. Given these conditions, it is hardly surprising that many Germans were drawn to the idea of themselves as a super-race that had been treacherously betrayed by "inferior" enemies from within and without. Therefore membership in the Nazi party grew rapidly in the early 1920s, prompting Hitler to try to overthrow the government in 1923. His Putsch, as it was called, was a total disaster, but the resulting trial earned Hitler a good deal of publicity as a national hero defending German honor against domestic violence and foreign humiliation. While in prison for nine months, he wrote Mein Kampf ("My Struggle"), which outlined his political beliefs and strategies for seizing power. While its racist ideas were just rehashed versions of older ideas, Mein Kampf did provide a blueprint for modern politics through the use of radio, posters, mass rallies, lies, and catchy slogans which appealed to the emotions without really telling anything of substance in order to manipulate the political process. Nazism was a negative philosophy that thrived on Germany's miseries. However, by the mid 1920's, the illusion of prosperity and the apparently fading hostility toward Germany caused Nazi membership to stagnate. All that changed in the 1930's, as other two effects of World War I created conditions favoring the Nazis. For one thing, the Depression with its higher tariffs raised international tensions, which Hitler could exploit to gain popularity.

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Also, the war had created an unstable economy that was overly dependent on financial support from the United States. Therefore, the stock market crash in 1929 dragged Germany down with the American economy. By 1932, six million Germans were unemployed, which played right into Hitler's hands. This time he would use the democratic process to gain power and then use that very democratic process to destroy itself. The Nazis reacted to these conditions in two ways. First, Nazi thugs, known as Brownshirts in imitation of Mussolini's Blackshirts, started riots with opposing groups, especially Communists, while blaming them for the disorder, embarrassing the government for failing to keep order and portraying themselves as the defenders of the peace. Second, they bolstered their popularity with free food and festivals, making them look like nice concerned Germans, and by staging huge mass rallies to display their popular support. In late 1932, rich German industrialists, prompted by fear of a Communist takeover, pressured the government to make Hitler chancellor (prime minister), hoping they could control him while he contained the Communists. Little did they suspect that this was just the beginning for Hitler. Once in power, Hitler worked to increase his own power and German national pride in three ways: destroy any possible rivals to his position, rearm Germany, and launch a campaign of violence against the Jews.

Little did they suspect that this was just the beginning for Hitler. From chancellor to dictator (1933-38) Once in power, Hitler worked to increase his own power and German national pride in three ways: destroy any possible rivals to his position, rearm Germany, and launch a campaign of violence against the Jews.
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