Was grasp. The defeat, armistice, and crushing
Was the Depression the Decisive Factor That Led to the Nazi Seizure of Power?
Many factors combined to make the Nazi seizure of power possible including, it has to be said, a certain amount of luck. Obviously in considering how the Nazis came to power there is the traditional split between long term and short term factors. This split has been a particularly contentious area of historical research in relation to Nazi Germany. Some of the more ridiculous pieces of historical writing, have attempted to prove that defects in the German character which predisposed Germans to Nazi rule can be traced as far back as Luther and beyond. A more sensible starting point for examining the origins of the Nazi movement is 1918 however.
To say that the events of 1918 came as a great shock to Germans is probably an understatement. The war had been launched in a wave of patriotism, unity, and optimism in 1914, a moment Hitler regarded as one of the happiest of his life. In the East the war had gone particularly well for Germany, victory had seemed within her grasp. The defeat, armistice, and crushing terms of the Versailles settlement therefore left many Germans in a state of denial about the course of events. As a result many readily believed and found solace in various conspiracy theories that appeared. It was a conspiracy of world Jewry, and Germany had been ‘stabbed in the back,’ by traitors at home, while Germany’s brave heroes remained undefeated at the front. One of the many caught up in the turbulent emotions and politics of the period was an obscure Bavarian Corporal called Adolf Hitler. After the war he was an ‘education,’ officer, to liaise between various political groups and the army. As a result of his job, he joined the NSDAP, and with the authority his public speaking abilities gave him, he rapidly rose in importance to become the undisputed party leader by 1921. This was Hitler’sfirst positive step on the path to power.