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Nazism grows

Germany lost World War I (1914–1918) and was forced to pay war reparation – however the country did not pay and took out large-scale loans. The German government attempted to solve the problem of debt and reparations by printing banknotes. The result was explosive inflation.

The nationalist, racist and anti-semitic Deutsche Arbeiterpartei is formed in Munich in 1919. Adolf Hitler, around 30 at the time, joins. In 1920, the party is renamed the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (NSDAP, German National Socialist Labour Party).

In 1921 Hitler becomes party leader. In November 1923 he makes a coup attempt, “The Beer Hall Putsch” in Munich, but it was crushed.

Between 1924 and 1929 conditions improve, but the financial crisis in the United States in 1929 hits the country hard. In 1932, unemployment is 30 percent. As leader of NSDAP, Hitler promises better economy, improved standards and an expanded “Greater Germany”. He blames the loss of WWI and the economic misery on the Jews.

With promises, propaganda and violence, NSDAP goes from 2.8 percent of the votes in the parliamentary elections in 1928 to 37.3 percent in July 1932. A new election in November gives lower figures, but the party is still the largest in the parliament.

Following the election, the Reichstag rejects the incumbent head of state, von Papens, and he is forced to resign. Hitler demands that President von Hindenburg appoint him as new Chancellor, but Hindenburg refuses. Despite the president’s refusal to accept Hitler, he is appointed as Chancellor on 30 January 1933.

Hitler announces another election on 5 March. Despite aggressive propaganda, the Nazis only earn 44 percent of the votes and are forced to form a coalition government.

Hitler formulates the “Enabling Act”, which allows Nazis to rule for four years without the involvement of the parliament. On 23 March 1933, the law is adopted. On 14 July other parties are banned, Germany becomes a one-party state.

On 2 August 1934, German President von Hindenburg dies. Hitler takes over his role and announces that he is Germany’s leader, the Führer.

Read more: levandehistoria.se/english