What Was The Basis Of Nazi Power

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What Was The Basis Of Nazi Power Essay, Research Paper What was the basis of Nazi Power? The circumstances that contributed to the phenomenal rise of Adolf Hitler and National Socialism in Germany in the period 1924-1941 from relative obscurity to a frenetic Volksbewegung is an issue of some debate. However it is most likely that the culmination of a multiplicity of interrelated factors created an environment in which an entire nation was swept away by the tide of Nazism. Germany s cultural heritage provided fertile soil for the roots of Nazism, its ideological image mobilising the support of a heterogeneous socio-economic strata, in a country crippled by the depression. In addition, Weimar s weak foundations, opposed by core social institutions and riddled with the inherent

weakness of its constitution and political parties, fostered a climate in which Hitler s unique form of blood-and-soil nationalism thrived. This, coupled with a favourable turn of events for the Nazis and Hitler, culminated in his election as Chancellor in 1933. The rapid implementation of Gleichschaltung soon followed, enabling Hitler to cement his position as the dictator of a totalitarian state, and the creation and consolidation of Nazi power was complete. In the period 1924 to 1933, voter support for the Nazi party increased from 3.5% of the total vote, to 43.9%, making the ultra-conservative NSDAP the largest party in the Reichstag, This rapid rise in voter support indicates an important characteristic of the Nazi party as a social movement. Contrary to the conclusions of

historians such as Theodore Geiger, who postulated that the voter support for the NSDAP derived from a homogenous base of lower-middle class support, statistical analysis of Reichstag elections indicates that the Nazis were socially heterogeneous, a genuine volkspartei. The reasons behind the popular support of this as a right-wing, anti-liberalist movement are debatable, however it is most probable that the willingness of the NSDAP to shift position on policy issues, allowed them to mobilise the disaffection of millions of Germans from all classes and political backgrounds. The myriad promises made by Hitler and the success of the propagandistic activities engaged in by the Nazi party and its organisations in the deteriorating climate of the Weimar Republic, radicalised the

support of all socio-economic stratums, particularly the lower bourgeoisie, making the Nazi s a true Volkswebegung; a socially variegated popular mass movement. On a whole, Nazi voters, were those who in some way were disenchanted with the Republic and the Nazi s became an extremist protest vote as the only non-Marxist alternative for strong government. It is estimated that 60% of the Nazis vote derived from the middle to upper class, a phenomenon that can be explained by examination of the cultural and social heritage of Germany, particularly the second Reich of Bismarck. The dislocations of the Austro-Prussian hegemony of Germany and the Bismarckian Wars consequent to the upheavals of the 1849 liberalist revolution provide an interesting perspective on German nationalism. The

distinct parallels that can be drawn between the rise of Bismarck and that of Hitler, reveal the intrinsic tradition of the success vis-a-vis acceptance of authoritarianism in German government and leadership. The nationalist swellings subsequent to the Austro-Prussian War and the Franco-Prussian war reflect the deep-rooted sentiments of not only the dominant Junkerdom of Prussia, but also the bourgeoisie in their enthusiastic support of the strong authoritarian government who was able to unify Germany, albeit under Prussian control. Supplementing this clear current of absolutism, perceived to be integral to Germany s direction, is the mainstream academic thought of the 18th and 19th century, seen in the contributions of Trietschke, Hegel, Frantz, Ranke and Nietzsche amongst