In order to assess the significance of the Great Depression

In order to assess the significance of the Great Depression, we must consider the different ways in which the Great Depression was significant. The Depression was primarily significant for Germany and the Weimar Republic the depression was a very significant event. The impact was mainly on the economy, hunger, government, and Hitler. The reason why the economy was messed up was because the government was relying on American loans, but when the stock market crashed America didn’t have a lot of money to give making it hard for Germany to maintain an income for German workers making them unemployed. Hunger was a huge problem for the same reason with economy people couldn’t buy food because all the prices would rise up making it hard for middle/working class people to purchase the food they need leading up to kids starving to death. The Government was being out of control, one being the Weimar Republic crashing. Hitler knowing what’s happening around the world with the economy he took advantage of that. He took many lands back became chancellor soon leading up to ruling Germany and The Nazis to another world war.

By 1928, the economics of the world had become thoroughly integrated. The largest economy, that of the united states, was crucial in ensuring prosperity and jobs in Europe and other parts of the world. Germany, in particular, relied heavily on the united states after the Dawes Plan (1924). Huge loans helped restore the crisis-torn German economy and payoff reparations. While these loans, most Germans had jobs and goods could be sold abroad. However, by 1928, the united states economy was starting to falter: the market for consumer goods had become saturated and factories were turning out products for which there was no demand. The wall street crash in October 1929 worsened the situation; Stocks and shares lost billions of dollars in value. Banks went bust as people drew out their money during the roaring 20’s called in their loans. The loans to Germany had been short term and were called in quickly. Coincidence evaporated overnight as factories shutdown and businesses collapsed. It has been said that if America sneezes Europe catches a cold, Germanys cold was the worst in Europe. The Great Depression, which started in the United States, resulted in six million unemployed in Germany 1933. As the roaring twenties neared an end, the economy looked promising, but this semblance of stability needed only one event to send the world into an economic crisis never before seen. The Great depression hit America in October 1929, but had a ripple effect on the entire world. The market crash on Wall Street meant that all the surpluses of funds had now disappeared. Foreign investors were no longer willing, nor able, to put their money into foreign markets and this was an enormous problem for Germany. The general pattern for investing comprised of short-term loans for long-term enterprises. This dependence on foreign markets is evident through the 5 billion marks injected into the economy in 1928, and this stemmed from the fact that their interest rates were so high, resulting in a false stability for the German economy. This economic downturn was just what Hitler required to boost his popularity. He needed the general population to be unhappy with the current government, and the depression resulted in such angry sentiments towards the state. For example, the unemployment rose from 2 million people in 1929 to over 6 million in 1932. This enabled Hitler to make promises of a better economy and propose ideas of radical change. And the Hitler was able to convince, more than any other groups, the middle class and the rural population because they were in such a desperate state as the 1932 elections approached. The depression had a huge impact of Hitler’s rise to power, but there were many other factors enabling him to strengthen and eventually become Chancellor of Germany on 30 January 1933.

Even before the economic decline, the German government was facing problems that it could not deal with, while the German people grew more and more discontented. One of the biggest obstacles of the pre-depression government was to deal with the reparations of the Treaty of Versailles. The German population was wholeheartedly against everything the treaty stood for, but the government had political obligations to pay off the reparations that were due. The mark was greatly devalued because of the unreasonable reparations demanded by the Allies, as well as the demobilization of German troops. And even though the economy was slightly revived in the mid-twenties, something that was partly due to the reform of currency to the Rentenmark, this period of flourishing made the depression of 1929 seem even harsher. This hit rural areas as hard as any, creating even more unrest in these already irritated regions. This allowed Hitler’s to utilize his ability to speak and convince his audience. People in Germany were ready to listen to just about anything, and Hitler along with the help of the SA, was able to go around the country conveying his message and ideology. He was able to appeal to all different societal groups, and this is what differentiated him from the other candidates. The depression was a spring board for Hitler’s rise to power, however, the weakness of Weimar Republic as well has Hitler’s brilliance as a leader we all factors contributing to the rise of one of the worlds darkest era’s. The Nazi party was not formed quickly, and lacked support in the years following the Second World War. It began as the German Workers’ Party and was initially shaped by Anton Drexler in 1919. Hitler was one of the party’s first devoted members and he quickly criticized the state for giving into the Allies. Hitler rose to head of the party’s propaganda as Drexler recognized his ability as a public speaker. Following this, Hitler had a clear idea of his next goal, and that was to become leader of the party, doing so in July of 1921. His idea was to offer a differing ideology from that of the different parties. In 1925, we re-founded the NSDAP and created a new strategy. He created the image of a constitutional democracy aimed at electoral support. But the country was not searching for radical solutions, because in the mid-twenties, Stresemann was in charge, and everything seemed to be going well. The NSDAP only had 12 seats following the 1928 election, and this limited success was a result of conditions not being right for Hitler to gain the support he needed. He needed unrest and unhappiness amongst the general population so they would look for radical solutions to their problems. But this was not to be, and as the twenties rolled on, Hitler searched for a different support base. He found one in the rural areas.

In conclusion the last important factor was the failure of the Weimar republic in conjunction with the success of Hitler’s propaganda. Democracy worked in 1923 because of the state of the economy. The economy seemed strong and people were happy. This is why the Nazis were not receiving nearly as much support as they would a decade later. But, the government was almost too democratic because each 60,000 votes gave a party one seat in the Reichstag. This meant that there was a wild array of parties, leading to a web of coalitions. As a result, the power was slowly spreading out, and as the economy slumped, the cracks in the system grew. Fraenkel suggests that the government failed to execute “the functions which devolve upon them in a constitutional pluralistic Parliamentary democracy.” And as the coalitions began to separate, leaving Hitler an opportunity to some to power. He used the radio, the papers, speakers, provocative posters and bands to get his word across to the people. But, he was successful because he kept his messages simple and easy to remember. Hitler believed that “the receptivity of the great masses is very limited, their intelligence is small, but their power of forgetting is enormous.” His party was the most organized as this allowed him to seize power when the opportunity arose; and it did so with the coming of the depression. Hitler’s rise was a combination of good timing, excellent planning and endless dedication to success. He tried many different strategies until he found one that worked, and unlike other parties, he adjusted to what the voters wanted. He expanded his support base by making issues that concerned people, easy to understand and remember. He earned his way up in the ranks of his party, and became leader of Germany because of the many factors discussed. He acted when was appropriate, and the poor economic state did nothing but help Hitler quest for leadership. It allowed him to gain the interest, and eventually the trust of the people. But the results of such brilliant campaigning resulted in arguably the most gruesome regime in the history of mankind.