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Hitlers Rise To Power

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The consequences of the First World War, especially the harsh terms imposed by the Versailles Treaty on Germany and the blame of these consequences on the Weimar Republic were key reasons for Hitler to gain support and eventually rise to power. The German army and the right wing promoted the "stab in the back" theory, to protect the reputation of army leaders. The Weimar Republic politicians were considered responsible for defeat in the war and for the humiliating terms imposed on Germany by the Treaty of Versailles. This caused many to distrust the new democracy from the very beginning as many Germans were kept ignorant of German losses during the war so many accepted this idea. The Weimar Republic was blamed for the accepting the signing of the Versailles Treaty and her leading politicians were called the "November Criminals". It was a government, which, for many, was associated with dishonour and defeat.

The Weimar Constitution allowed politicians to easily become influential, disproportionally to their real support by the electorate. The electoral system was based on proportional representation, which allowed even very small parties to have seats in parliament and, subsequently, it was impossible for one single party to form a majority. This led to weak coalition governments, which were slow in their decision-making and in ensuring the public's support for their new policies. German people generally had little respect for the democratic system, most historians state that they preferred to have more "law and order". The democratic system was new to Germany; even politicians had little experience of how to operate in a democratic system when faced with political parties which were unwilling to compromise, such as the Socialists, who, from 1923 to 1928 refused to be part of coalition governments. Had the socialists and the other left wing parties worked together, they could have defeated the right and the Nazis; however, they did not and the consequence was further weakening of the respect for democratic governance.

The inability of the Weimar Republic to function efficiently led to the nomination of Hitler, for the position of Chancellor. From 1919 to 1923, the coalition governments and the lack of public approval and being blamed for the signing of the humiliating Treaty of Versailles resulted in a series of protests, riots and attempted coups d'etat; In 1919, the Spartacist revolt, led by the communists, in 1920, the Kapp Putsch, organised by the army and the right wing, and in 1923, the Munich Beer Hall Putsch, backed by the Nazis. In that period, there was periodic violence caused by street fighting between militias of the left and right wing parties and several political assassinations.

The Weimar Republic had to rely on the army to suppress left wing challenges to the democratic regime. Those challenges, although put down, further weakened the appreciation and respect of the Weimar government by the German people. The political crisis of the Weimar Republic diminished only between 1924 and 1929, as the economy improved thanks to the Dawes plan. However, the underlying weaknesses remained; there was a large turnover of coalition governments, a lack of effective decision-making and the absence of a strong leader. The only politician who was respected was Stresemann, Chancellor and, later, Foreign Minister until his death, in1929.

Hindenburg, elected in 1925, to the office of President was a right winger and opposed socialist participation in coalition governments. This caused serious problems after 1929. In 1928 Hugenburg, was chosen as the new leader of the right wing party DNVP; he made a contract with the Nazis, which, later, helped Hitler. By 1929, just before the Wall



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