In January 1933, Hitler was seen as the one solution to the problems that Germany faced, and he became chancellor of a fractured and disjointed country, ravaged by years of economic instability. Historians are not in agreement, however, as to the means through which he attained this position. Some take the intentionalist view and argue, such as Fischer, that Hitler was Germany‟s destiny, while others, such as Meissner, take the structuralist view, that Hitler was merely the last resort for a government on the edge of collapse. This idea can be developed further to argue that, as much as Hitler was saving Germany by becoming chancellor, Germany was also saving Hitler and the Nazis, whose support was waning by 1933 and who may not have been such strong political contenders without Hitler‟s appointment. It can be argued that Hitler‟s rise to power in January 1933 was the result of continuing public support for a party who offered Germany the chance to maintain her legacy of strong, autocratic leaders. This is the view that Fischer takes when he points out that it was conditions over a “sixty-year span” which led to the rise of Nazism in Germany, as he implies that German history dictated that Hitler should come to power to enforce the traditional ideals of “anti-Semitism, nationalism, imperialism.” There is certainly evidence to support this assertion that Hitler‟s ideals reflected those of German leaders throughout history, as in 1890 there had been a growth of anti-Semitism amongst the ruling classes and Wilhelm II had used an aggressive foreign policy to placate the working classes and avoid a revolution. In describing Hindenburg as „short-sighted‟, Fischer is alluding to his inability to comprehend this larger context of the history of German autocratic leaders, where Hitler ranked as a “charismatic genius.” The public support for Hitler that Fischer is alluding to cannot be denied, and in the March 1932 presidential elections he received 37% of the vote, while the Nazi party reached a similar level of success in the Reichstag elections in July of the same year. In source 2, Geary mentions that the Weimar government failed to win the “hearts and minds” of the people, and Hitler‟s ability to do just that can be used as evidence that it was the result of huge public support that he became chancellor in January 1933. After the years of turmoil during World War One, the German people wanted a strong, united government that could drag them out of despair, and it can be said that this was precisely what the Nazi party were offering. Historians such as Fischer may argue that the strong, autocratic leader represented by Hitler was the main attraction of the Nazis, but it should be added that this appearance of an organised, traditional party was backed up with policies that genuinely appealed to the majority of the working classes of Germany. In the 25 Point Programme drafted by Hitler, the Nazis outlined their socialist ideology that would appeal to the masses, including promises of social provisions for the elderly, a new education system and confiscation of war profits. It can be argued that as well as providing a model of government similar to that which had run Germany for years throughout history, the Nazis were offering a fresh start and a break from the burdens of the Treaty of Versailles and its lasting repercussions, and this was what made them so popular. When Schliecher was chancellor in 1932-33, he appointed the Nazi Strasser as vice-chancellor in a bid to increase support for his government, and in Source 3 Meissner describes the reason for Hitler‟s appointment as being to avoid “civil war”. These examples can be used as evidence to show that it was this public support for Hitler that was the defining factor in his appointment in January 1933. Geary and Meissner are in concordance that Hitler and the Nazis came to power not through their own strength or credibility, but through the weakness and incompetence of the Weimar system of government that faced collapse by 1933. Fischer also mentions the “unstable political institutions and parties” of Germany, and Weimar‟s lack of organisation and focus can be highlighted as a key reason for the success of Hitler and the Nazis. Devoid of any heroic myths surrounding its creation, and forever stigmatised by the Treaty of Versailles, during the years of the Weimar republic there were eighteen different governments, and no chancellor was able to hold together the fractious government for more than two years. While Hitler may not have been the “charismatic genius” that Fischer describes him as, in comparison to this disastrous political climate, it is unsurprising that he appeared to many as a stable and competent leader to drag Germany out of its years of turmoil. While Fischer mentions the “sixty-year span” of German history that justified Hitler‟s popularity as an autocratic and traditional leader, it can be argued that this contextualising of history can also work in Hitler‟s disfavour. Each historical period is undoubtedly judged in comparison to what preceded it and, just as for some even the chaotic Weimar government was seen as stable when compared to the horrific war years, the point of reference for judging Hitler‟s government was always the disjointed Weimar republic, and it can be said that it was this, rather than his strength or popularity, that brought him success. It must be taken into account that, far from being the sole hope of Germany, Hitler was seen as the last resort by politicians throughout the period of Weimar government. When Bruning ruled via presidential decrees rather than through the Reichstag in the period 1930-33, he was tolerated by the SPD who said “anything but Hitler”, and this shows that despite Weimar‟s weaknesses, he was never seen as the popular choice by everyone. Meissner highlights the fact that Hindenburg was reluctant to appoint Hitler as chancellor, and it was only the threat of a “revolt of national socialists and civil war” that swayed his opinion. This is in direct contrast to the picture painted of Hitler by Fischer as, far from being portrayed as the destiny of Germany, he is shown to be her final option, and subsequently it can be argued that it was desperation rather than popularity that finally brought about his appointment. It can be said that their exploitation and manipulation of events that took place during the years of Weimar government was a key method Hitler and the Nazis used to gain support, and that it was this that ultimately led to their victory in January 1933. The Treaty of Versailles is something that both Fischer and Geary make reference to, and the opportunities it afforded to harvest the already strong hatred of the “November criminals” was something that the Nazis did not overlook. Their 25 Point Plan and numerous election campaigns promised an overturning of the treaty if they were put in power, and this was undoubtedly instrumental in their success. While Fischer may argue that these sentiments of hatred felt by the Germans relating to the Treaty and especially its clause of War Guilt were part of the historic sentiments of “nationalism”, it can be argued that it was only through Hitler and the Nazis continually harvesting these feelings of anger and bitterness that they were always at the forefront of the national psyche and the Weimar republic was unable to escape from this event that had crowned its birth. Fischer also mentions “catastrophic economic circumstances”, and the power of the unpredictable economic disasters that Weimar faced in increasing the popularity of the Nazis cannot be underplayed. During times of economic crisis, such as after the Wall Street Crash of 1929, the Nazis made huge gains in the Reichstag elections. This can be seen in the way that in the September 1930 elections, they won 18.3% of the vote, compared with the 2.6% they had won in the elections of May 1928. Bruning‟s inability to rectify the problems brought about by the crash, such as one third of the population being unemployed, earned him the nickname the “hunger chancellor” and it was under his mismanagement of the economy that Hitler and the Nazis made the most gains. It can therefore be said that the ability of the Nazis to manipulate events that were out of their control in a way that made Weimar out to be the scapegoats and them as the only solution was a far more influential factor in Hitler‟s appointment than the strength of their policies or the huge public support that they received. An example of the way that he manipulated and capitalised on public sentiments was the way that he took the lead in the Anti-Young Plan campaign of 1929, as he was able to unite nationalists against Weimar and the solutions it was offering to the economic problems of Germany, while at the same time securing his place at the forefront of the fight. The problem with this type of success that a structuralist historian would argue the Nazis enjoyed was its reliance on external events for its popularity, and the way that it depended on the failure of others, rather than success in its own right, for its popularity. While Meissner describes the way in which Hitler saved the country from “civil war”, one could go so far as to argue that as much as Hitler saved Weimar, Weimar also saved Hitler, whose popularity and influence was is decline due to improving circumstances in Germany. Although by the end of 1932 the Nazis were still the largest party in the Reichstag, in the elections in November of that year they lost two million votes, and seemed to have passed their peak. They were alienating middle- class voters through their radical propaganda and increasing support of the workers, and were also in financial crisis. Goebbels himself said that the Nazis could “win ourselves to death in elections”, and it appeared that as the international situation was improving, with the suspension of reparations being announced in 1932, the anti-Weimar argument the Nazis were pursuing no longer held such weight. In this context, Fischer‟s description of Hitler as a “charismatic genius” bound for success by the popular policies he advocated seems not to ring true, and luck, both in the events which the Nazis were able to manipulate so skilfully, and in the timing of his appointment, seems a more relevant factor in his rise to power. While historians will never be totally in agreement as to the means through which Hitler secured the chancellorship in January 1933, it can be argued that it was the weakness of the Weimar republic and events out of its control that ultimately secured its downfall and consequently the rise of the Nazis. While those such as Fischer may argue that Hitler was merely fulfilling a sixty-year legacy of strong leaders and traditional ideologies, it can be said that without the events that took place, such as the Treaty of Versailles and the Wall Street Crash, the Nazis would not have had the opportunity to exploit these ideologies to their advantage and secure power in the way that they did.