Joel Sumnall – bridging project
How did the Nazis rise to power?
Few would have thought that the Nazi Party, starting as a gang of unemployed soldiers in 1919, would become the legal government of Germany by 1933. When World War 1 ended in 1918 German propaganda had not prepared the nation for defeat, resulting in a sense of injured German national pride. The military and political leaders who were responsible claimed that Germany had been "stabbed in the back" by its left wing politicians, Communists, and Jews.
The German population swallowed the bitter pill of defeat as the victorious Allies punished Germany severely. In the Treaty of Versailles, Germany was disarmed and forced to pay reparations to France and Britain for the huge costs of the war. The German Workers' Party, adopted a right-wing ideology, like many similar groups of demobilized soldiers. Adolf Hitler joined this small political party in 1919 and rose to leadership through his emotional and captivating speeches. He encouraged national pride, militarism, and a commitment to the Volk and a racially "pure" Germany. He changed the name of the party to the National Socialist German Workers' Party, known as the Nazi party. By the end of 1920, the Nazi Party had about 3,000 members. A year later Hitler became its official leader.
Adolf Hitler's attempt at an armed overthrow of local authorities in Munich, known as the Beer Hall Putsch, failed miserably. The Nazi Party seemed to fail and its leaders, including Hitler, were subsequently jailed and charged with high treason. However, Hitler used the courtroom at his public trial as a propaganda platform, ranting for hours against the Weimar government. By the end of the 24-day trial Hitler had actually gained support for his courage to act. The right-wing judges sympathized with Hitler and sentenced him to only five years in prison, with eligibility for early parole. Hitler was released from prison after one year. Other Nazi leaders were given light...