Adolf Hitler is a well-known political figure and leader of the Nazi Party in Germany prior to and during World War II. He is remembered for his powerful rhetoric and infamous actions during the war, but his rise to power began with being elected in 1933. In order to understand Hitler’s election, one first must understand the political and cultural climate of Germany in the early 1930s.
The Weimar Republic, set up in 1919 after Germany’s defeat in World War I, was a struggling democracy in a fragile state. Hyper-inflation, economic struggle and cultural anxiety plagued the nation. People felt that the government could not help them, leaving them feeling directionless and desperate. This atmosphere provided an opening for a messiah-like figure to come along and offer a solution – and that was where Adolf Hitler came in.
In January 1933, Hitler was elected to Chancellor of Germany with the support of the National-Conservative German National People’s Party (DNVP) and the Conservative German People’s Party (DVP). He emerged as a savior for his compatriots, offering strong leadership with narrative of anti-Semitic, racist and nationalist ideology. Hitler was elected on a campaign platform including “law and order,” eliminating unemployment and a promise to restore Germany to its former greatness.
Adolf Hitler used a combination of propaganda, political maneuvering and intimidation in order to secure his election as Chancellor and cement his power. He had strong support from the press, and his campaign was highly effective in appealing to a large number of German citizens. His charisma and compelling personality allowed him to woo the German people, soldiers, diplomats and political elites alike.
Hitler promised Germany a glorious rebirth, and he promised the citizens a sense of hope and community. By denouncing the Treaty of Versailles and promising to restore German sovereignty, Hitler quickly gained public trust and equated himself as the nation’s leader. Hitler also successfully appealed to the fears of German citizens and was successful in vilifying opponents and consolidating power during his election.
Although Hitler was elected on a platform of national strength and restoration, his true objective was to complete the Nazi agenda and gain power from within the Weimar Republic. He was able to establish complete control within two short years of being elected, before officially abolishing the Weimar Republic and creating the Third Reich.
Rise to prominence
Hitler first rose to power as the leader of the National Socialist German Workers’ Party. This Nazi Party was highly organized, and it managed to gain a lot of public confidence with its extremely popular rallies centered around national pride. Aided by this, Hitler managed to slowly increase his political clout and was appointed chancellor in 1933 by President Paul von Hindenburg. He was initially appointed as Chancellor in a coalition, but his total control was solidified shortly afterwards.
Much of Hitler’s success in gaining power can be credited to his own skill as an orator and propagandist. Hitler was able to inspire great loyalty and devotion by manipulating his words to appeal to nationalist ideologies. The Nazi use of symbolism, parades and speech-making contributed to the grandeur of their political rallies and to Hitler’s image as a strong, charismatic leader.
The Nazi party targeted both middle and working-class Germans and instilled a sense of shared identity through their extensive propaganda campaigns. They also managed to successfully tap into the widespread feeling of discontent that permeated from the economic and political instability of Weimar Germany. All of this combined to propel Hitler to prominence and eventually the office of Professor.
Achievements in office
Hitler had already begun executing his anti-Semitic and anti-communist policies long before his election to the office of Chancellor. Once in office, Hitler acted quickly to strengthen his control over the German people. He drastically increased military spending, purged the SA and other political opponents, and abolished the trade unions. He also used this time to consolidate his political and ideological power with the introduction of the Nuremberg Laws.
Hitler also took aggressive steps to gain control of international affairs. In March of 1935 he declared that Germany was re-arming and would no longer abide by the treaty of Versailles. This coupled with the remilitarization of the Rhineland and the Anschluss of Austria caused a significant deterioration in international relations.
To further solidify his position of power, Hitler also introduced an unprecedented cult of personality. In 1934, he declared himself as the Führer and absolute ruler of Germany and his face was plastered on banners and public buildings throughout the nation. Through the use of propaganda, Hitler was able to convince the German people to follow his lead and to submit to his authority.
Re-election and further control
Following his election as Chancellor, Hitler’s popularity and power only continued to increase. In March of 1936, he was re-elected for a second term with an overwhelming majority. This allowed Hitler to completely do away with any opposition by establishing an absolute dictatorship. With the state under complete control, he was free to enact unemployment laws, introduce anti-Semitism and racism into law and begin the rebuilding of Germany into a fascist state.
Hitler also used his re-election to enhance his international status. To show a softer side, Hitler hosted the Summer Olympics in Berlin in 1936 and the continent became unified in a sense of national pride. His government also managed to convince other nations of the strength of the German economy and his military prowess.
The aftermath of Hitler’s re-election saw a complete overhaul of German politics, economics and society. He was able to take away the rights of labor and purging of opposition by gaining allegiance from the majority of the population. This re-election only cemented his position of power and gave him the confidence to continue enacting his fascist policies, opening the way for his action during World War II.
Legacy and downfall
Adolf Hitler’s legacy as a political leader is one of destruction and horror. His ambition and agitation for power intensified during his second term and led to aggressive military action as well as a reduction of civil liberties for the German people. Under his rule, millions of people lost their lives and suffered at his hands.
Hitler was eventually defeated and died in the face of German surrender on April 30th, 1945. His actions have since been condemned around the world and have been held up as an example of why fascism should never be allowed to take root in any society.
Despite his downfall, Hitler’s legacy still lingers as a warning to us all. It is easy to become seduced by a leader’s promises and ambition and forget that power can quickly become destructive and oppressive. We must remain vigilant of ambitious political leaders and hold them to account for any abuses of power.
International response and impact
The election of Adolf Hitler had a huge impact on international relations. Nations around the world were wary of Germany’s new leader and his rapidly growing power. This concern increased as Hitler continued to push for further control and launched aggressive military action against neighboring countries.
In response to this, the United Kingdom and France signed the Munich Agreement in 1938. This agreement allowed Hitler to annex the Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia in an effort to appease him and avoid a full-scale war. This decision was widely criticized after Germany invaded the rest of Czechoslovakia only months later.
The election of Hitler also had a huge impact on the economic and political landscape of Europe. As Hitler continued to enforce his fascist policies, other nations began to fear the spread of his ideology. This fear eventually developed into a full-scale war, with the majority of Europe uniting to combat the Nazi tyranny.
Hitler’s election not only caused suffering and misery during his rule, but it also had a long-lasting impact on international relations. His rise has been held up as a cautionary tale for future generations about what can happen when a demagogue gains power.
World War II and aftermath
Hitler used his election to Chancellor as a way to gain more power and influence, ultimately leading to hostility with other nations and the outbreak of World War II. By the beginning of 1940, Hitler had control of much of Europe, including Germany, Austria, France and the Netherlands. Hitler began a campaign of aggressive and systematic genocide of millions of people, specifically Jews and other minority groups.
By 1945, Germany had been conquered by Allied forces and Hitler had committed suicide. After the war, the international community was left stunned by the atrocities of the Holocaust. The aftermath of Hitler’s rule led to the establishment of the United Nations and the Nuremberg trials, where Nazi officials were held accountable for their crimes.
The election of Adolf Hitler as Chancellor of Germany ultimately led to one of the most devastating wars in history. The consequences of that election still reverberate to this day, with lessons about the dangers of authoritarian regimes and the importance of democracy ringing out in our society.