The Rise to Power
The Early Years
Hitler was born in Austria in 1889.
When he was 18, he moved to Vienna, the capital of the multi-ethnic
Hapsburg Empire. hoping to enter art school, but was rejected.
While in Vienna, Hitler was poor. He had odd jobs, but was forced to
live in hostels to get by. Here he began to form his fanatical anti-
Germans were only one of many ethnic groups in Austria. Yet they felt
superior to Jews, Serbs, Poles, Czechs, and others.
He moved to Germany, and fought as a German soldier in WW I,
earning two medals for his service.
After the war, Hitler remained in the Army, and was assigned to keep
tabs on political groups. One of these groups was the National
Socialist German Workers Party, or Nazi Party.
The Weimar Republic
1919 – A constitution is drafted in the city of Weimar to create a democratic
government to run Germany.
It set up a Parliament, led by a chancellor, which is another term for a prime
It was weak because like Britain and France, it had many small parties,
forcing them to establish a coalition government.
The government was blamed by all Germans for agreeing to the Treaty of
When the Republic was no longer able to pay its war debt, France and
Belgium invaded and took over the Ruhr Valley.
This added to Germany’s humiliation.
When the Great Depression hit, faith in the government was gone.
Germans wanted a strong leader, like Otto von Bismarck had been.
Hitler and the Nazi Party
Hitler began to despise the Weimar
government, believing it was weak and
He joins the Nazi Party in 1919, and quickly
rises to the top.
In 1923, Hitler tries to forcibly seize power
in Munich, Germany, but fails, and is
arrested and sentenced to five years in
While in prison, Hitler writes his book
“Mein Kampf” or “My Struggle”, which
would soon become the basic book of Nazi
goals, and ideology.
Hitler leaves prison after less than a year.
He realized that power was easiest to keep
and hold when it came legally.
He used the Great Depression, and
ineffectiveness of the Weimar government
to rally workers, small-town Germans, and
business leaders to his cause
Reflects Hitler obsessions of extreme
nationalism, racism, and anti-Semitism.
Germans were a Superior “master race” of
Aryans, or light-skinned Europeans, whose
greatest enemies were the Jews.
Echoed a familiar right-wing theme, that
Germany had not lost the war, but had
been betrayed by a conspiracy of Marxists,
Jews, corrupt politicians, and business
Urged German’s everywhere to unite into
one great nation.
Believe Germany needed to increase it’s
living space or “Lebensraum” for the
Slavs, Pols, and other inferior races needed
to bow to Aryan needs.
Germany needed a strong leader or
The Great Depression
By 1930 the Great Depression had crippled the
The Weimar government is ineffective. The
German people want help and change. Hitler
and the Nazi’s offer a better future.
Nazi Party wins 107 seats in the Reichstag,
becoming the second largest political party.
The General Staff supports Hitler for his pro
military views. Industrialists believe he will be
good for business.
1932 Adolf Hitler runs for President of Germany
against Paul Von Hindenburg.
Josef Goebbels runs a furious propaganda
campaign in support of Hitler. Hitler loses
election and subsequent run-off election, but
has gained vast support among the German
1933 Adolf Hitler becomes Chancellor of
Hitler Solidifies Power
The SA and SS have free rein in Prussia.
Hitler uses the Reichstag fire as the
reason to attack Communists, and further
1933 New Reichstag grants Hitler-
Dictator of Germany.
Gestapo is created – secret police.
Nazi government replaces Weimar
Nuremburg Laws – Restrict Jewish
population. First of over 400 laws against
Jews that would be passed during the
First detention/concentration camps
“Night of Long Knives” purge of SA
leaders, and other opposition opponents.
1934 Paul Von Hindenburg dies. Hitler
becomes “Fuhrer of the German Reich”
The Third Reich
Social - Nationalism
- Indoctrination of youth
- Removal of freedom in the arts.
Political - Totalitarianism
Economic - Large social work programs
- Rearming of military.
Religious/Ethnic - Anti-Semitism, racism, and
control of Christian beliefs.
Military - Rebuffing the Treaty of Versailles, Rearming of military.
- Military expansion
Like Fascists in Italy, Hitler sought
to indoctrinate youth with Nazi
In schools and camps the “Hitler
Youth” pledged absolute loyalty to
Germany and Hitler himself, while
undertaking physical fitness
programs to prepare for war.
The role of women in Nazi
Germany is limited. Dismissed
from jobs and universities, women
are encouraged to raise “pure-
blooded” Aryan children.
Purged offensive Art from German
culture: jazz music, modern art.
Offensive literature had to go too,
especially if written by Jews. Book
burnings took place across
A Totalitarian State was created with Hitler and
Order is kept by a brutal system of terror and
All areas of German life are controlled by the
government including religion and education.
Elite SS troops enforce the Fuhrer’s will.
The Gestapo (secret police) discover any hidden
Outside of Germany, Western Nations offer only
appeasement towards Hitler. Believing that the
Communists were a greater threat than Adolf
Hitler launched massive public
works programs to drastically
decrease unemployment. (roads,
housing, and replanting of
Began to rearm the German
military in direct violation of
the Treaty of Versailles.
Brings big business and labor
under government control, but
Workers offered vigorous
outdoor vacations that just
happens to help them be
physically fit for war.
Religion and Ethnic Groups
Passed laws restricting Jews behavior:
Prohibited Jews from marring non-
Forced Jews out of schools, teaching
positions, government jobs, etc..
November 7, 1938 the “Night of Broken
Glass” or “Kristallnacht”. Jews across
Germany are attacked by SA and SS
Jews sent to concentration camps.
Combined all the Protestant churches
into one State church.
Muzzled the Catholic church within
Hitler needed the support of the General Staff, and the 100,000 man
Rebuffs the Treaty of Versailles.
Promotes the rearming of German forces.
Promotes the conquest of neighboring lands; Austria, Sudetenland,