Many German people had become angry at the clauses of the Treaty of Versailles after the First World War. Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Party used this anger to win over the German population during the thirties. The country had experienced economic problems, lost territory, a reduced military and other ‘humiliating’ loses.
Hitler and his Nazi party promised a strong leadership, nationalism and unity against Germany’s enemies. With the Wall St. crash in 1929 Germany went into even more economic problems which helped the Nazi Party win 107 seats in the Reichstag (the German Parliament). In January 1933, President von Hindenburg made Hitler chancellor of Germany in an attempt to appease the Nazis and in his view control the party.
On 27 February, 1933 the Reichstag was set on fire by a Dutch communist arsonist named Marianus van der Lubbe. The Nazis used this as a reason to pass the Reichstag Fire Decree and the Enabling Act which allowed the Reich to pass laws without the need for voting. Hitler used the SA ‘Brownshirts’ who were a paramilitary army to intimidate any political opposition. He gradually removed opposition parties, making them disband and declared Germany a one party state. Hitler had effectively turned Germany into a dictatorship.
He also had to remove opposition within his own Nazi Party. June 1934 saw the ‘Night of the Long Knives’. The Gestapo and SS assassinated all rivals within the party including SA leader Ernst Röhm. Hitler, who had long blamed the Jews for the economic problems passed the Nuremburg Laws in 1935 which would be the beginning of the anti-Semitic persecution.
There was no freedom to criticise Nazism once Hitler had taken power. Information was carefully controlled by the Reichs Ministry of ‘Public Enlightenment and Propaganda’ under Joseph Goebbels and everything had to be positive in regards to the party and fascism. Hitler sparked thousands of watchers into a excitable frenzy at his speech rallies where he promised to strengthen Germany and defeat its enemies. Radio broadcasts made it possible for many households to hear the speeches live even if they were not there spreading the message further.
Newspapers, magazines, books, radio broadcasts, plays and films all reflected the Nazis ideals, while demonising those that they hated such as communism. The Nazi Party helped lower unemployment through its public works schemes and secret militarisation (producing weapons and military machines). The Nazi’s ‘Strength Through Joy’ program offered rewards to workers such as tourism and the promise of a Volkswagen Beetle .