Was the Great Depression was the catalyst for the growth of Nazi support? The Great depression of 1030 left Germany’s economy badly damaged. During the early 1930s Germany experienced a time of economic downturn. Unemployment was high and the economy was failing, many Germans could not even afford basic necessities such as food. This essay shall discuss whether the Great Depression was the catalyst for the growth of Nazi support. It is obvious that many Germans suffered because of the depression.
I personally feel that the Great Depression was the catalyst for the growth in Nazi support because Germany had been badly damaged and Germans wanted a strong leader, someone such as Hitler. However I feel there were many other reasons why the Nazis support grew as well such as propaganda. There are many reasons why the Great Depression was the catalyst for the growth of Nazi support. One of the most important reasons was that it weakened Germany as a nation. Germany was particularly badly affected. American bankers and businessman lost huge amounts of money in the crash.
To pay off their debts they asked German banks to repay the money they had borrowed. The result was economic collapse in Germany. Businesses went bankrupt, workers were laid off and unemployment rocketed. Another important reason why the Great Depression was the catalyst for the growth in Nazi support was because it weakened the Weimar government. The Weimar government was unable to solve the issue of unemployment which caused many Germans to lose faith in the Weimar government. The government was more scared of what would happen if there was another period of inflation than it was of unemployment.
So instead the Chancellor raised taxes, reduced unemployment benefit and cut wages. These policies made the Weimar government very unpopular amongst the German people. These policies also caused the collapse of the government because The Social Democrats withdrew from the coalition. To many Germans it seemed that the Weimar government was making a hopeless mess of handling the situation. They did not believe that the government was able to help Germany. They wanted a strong leader who could lead Germany out of the depression and make Germany an economic power like it once was.
Many Germans were also unable to afford food or pay rent. The Nazis used the Great Depression to strengthen their campaign. Their Twenty-Five points were very attractive to those most vulnerable to the depression: the elderly, the unemployed and the middle classes. They now thought that by voting Nazi their financial problems would be resolved and that Hitler would provide more jobs. If the Great Depression had not occurred, Germany would have been much stronger as a nation. Unemployment would not have dropped, businesses would have remained afloat and Germans would have much more faith in the Weimar Government.
Many Germans would not feel that Nazis would be able to change their lives for the better. The Depression was a gift to Hitler and the Nazis. For every problem the Nazis had an explanation or a promise. Many Germans were worried about levels of unemployment. The Nazis promised that they would get people back to work on public works and road building. Many Germans now felt that the Weimar government was weak because of the Depression. The Nazis convinced Germans that they needed strong leadership. They made it clear that Hitler was a very strong leader who could lead Germany to greatness.
After the depression many Germans were worried about communists. The Nazis controlled the SA. Many Germans knew that the SA was the only force who really knew how to deal with communists. The Great Depression was not the only catalyst for the growth of Nazi support. There were many other reasons and policies that gained the Nazis support. One of the most important catalysts for the growth of Nazi support was Hitler himself. Hitler was the Nazi’s greatest campaigning asset. Hitler was a very powerful speaker. He was years ahead of his time as a communicator.
Hitler was the type of leader that Germany needed and wanted. Hitler was able to appear to be a man of the people, someone who knew and understood the people and their problems. Hitler was the Nazi’s trump card. The opposition had no one to match him. Propaganda was another reason why Nazi support grew. Dr Joseph Goebbels was the minister for Enlightenment and propaganda. Goebbels was a very clever man and knew how to gain support; he was also very loyal to Hitler. He used every resource available to him to make people loyal to Hitler and the Nazis. Goebbels organized huge rallies.
The rallies brought some colour and excitement to people’s lives. They gave them a sense of belonging to a great movement. The rallies also showed the German people the power of the state and convinced them that “ every other German” supported the Nazis. The Nazis used every trick in the book to get their message home. The Nazis knew that their anti-communist stance was very popular and their propaganda further whipped up fear and hatred of the communists. The Nazis were also very well organized; this was due to many Nazis being soldiers in the First World War.
The weakness of the opposition was another reason why Nazi support grew. Other parties such as the Social Democrats were very weak and underestimated the Nazis. The Social Democrats were not as good as convincing Germans as the Nazis were. Many Germans did not see the Social Democrats as a party that could lead Germany into greatness. The Social Democrats quarrelled amongst themselves rather than uniting to face the Nazis’ challenge. The Nazis were also very flexible. If they found that an idea was losing them support they would change it. The Nazis support of the industrialists also earned them a lot of support.
One connection is that the weakness of the Weimar government and the weakness of the opposition both helped to increase the support of the Nazis. Another connection is that the Nazis used unemployment, the weak Weimar government and the threat of the communists to strengthen their campaign. Another connection is that German society was not only damaged economically but morally, the Nazis helped to unite Germans of different social backgrounds together. Another connection is that the Great Depression strengthened the Nazis and at the same time weakened the Weimar government.
My conclusion is that the Great Depression was the catalyst for the growth of Nazi support but only to a certain extent. The Great Depression did indeed help the Nazis in many ways. It made the Weimar government look weak; it weakened Germany as a nation and it caused unemployment to increase. The Nazis had attractive solutions to all these problems. Without the Great Depression Germans would not have paid much attention to the Nazis. The Nazis would also have fewer ideas to use in order to strengthen their campaign.
However I feel that the Nazis use of propaganda, the power of Hitler and the weakness of the opposition all helped to increase the support of the Nazis. The Nazis organization and the way the Nazis set about spreading their ideas caused support to increase dramatically. I feel that the Great Depression helped the Nazis a great deal but without the powerful speeches that Hitler made and the clever use of Nazi propaganda the Nazis would have never been able to gain as much support as they did. It was a combination of different events and ideas that led to the growth of Nazi support.