As part of our series on Germany post WW1, this slide set looks at the origins of the Nazi party. It looks at the beginning of the Nazi party, the environment during the Stresemann years, and the Munich Putsch.
Began as the German Worker's Party led by Anton Drexler
In 1919, Hitler joined after finishing in the army
Drexler realised his talent and appointed him head of propaganda and the party's political ideas
1920 - the party announces its Twenty-Five Point Programme
1921 - Hitler becomes the new leader of the party
Hitler renames the party the National Socialist German Worker's Party (NSDAP) - Nazi Party for short
Set up a new private army called the Sturmabteiling (SA)
The SA, also known as the Brownshirts, were to protect Hitler and disrupt other party meetings
The party would meet in beer houses
Hitler attracted attention with powerful speeches and rants about the Treaty of Versailles
In 1923, the Nazi Party were a small minority party, yet Hitler thought highly of them. On November 8, he carried out his plan to topple the Weimar government by sending the SA to take over official buildings in Munich and announcing his planned revolution in a beer hall. Government forces hit back and rebellion broke out the next day. Results:
Hitler and other leading Nazis were arrested for treason
Hitler gained massive publicity from his trial
Hitler impressed the judge and received five years in prison, when legally treason carried a life sentence
In the end, Hitler only served nine months
During his time in prison, Hitler wrote Mein Kampf (book outlining his beliefs)
The Stresemann Years 1924 -1929
Gustav Stresemann was the German Chancellor from 1923-24 and Foreign Secretary after that. He helped Germany to get back on her feet following World War One:
Economic measures: the Rentenmark, the Dawes Plan 1924 (800,000,000 million mark loan from the US, the Young Plan 1929 (reduction of reparations payments by 67%)
International relations: the Locarno Treaties 1925 (Germany and France agreed their border), Germany join the League of Nations 1926, sign the Kellogg-Briand Pact 1928 (over 60 nations agreeing not to go to war)
With more money and foreign goods in Germany, the standard of living rose amongst the population. People began to enjoy leisurely activities and material goods. On the surface, Germany was moving forward successfully. However, underneath Germany was dependent on foreign loans and not growing enough to achieve economic stability.
Hitler needed to reorganise the Nazi party after leaving prison. He realised that the party would have to win power via democratic means. Therefore, he created a network of local party branches and Hitler Youth (1926). While enlarging the SA, he also formed a new group in 1925 called the Schutzstaffel (SS). This organisation was similar to the SA, but its members were extremely loyal to Hitler personally.
Hitler's efforts did not lead the Nazis to popular support in Germany, probably because at this time industry flourished from 1925-1929 and life was good for workers. In 1928, The Nazis gained 12 Reichstag seats and one quarter of the votes that communists won. The Nazi's failed to win over the majority of workers.
The Nazis gained support from groups who did not benefit from the success of German growth. These included peasant farmers and small business owners
Caption: : Nazi Party propaganda poster - the text on the bottom says 'The people's needs can be taken care of by your local community group.'
The Nazis highlighted the role of peasants in their plans for Germany
They praised the peasants of Germany as racially pure
Nazis despised the culture of the Weimar Republic
In order to gain respect, the Nazis began to collaborate closely with the right-wing Nationalist Party (DNVP)
Membership for the party rose to over 100,000 by 1928
Hitler appointed Josef Goebbels in charge of Nazi propaganda; Goebbels was highly efficient in spreading the Nazi message
However, even with these advancements, the Nazis were still a minority party who had the support of less than 3% of the population
The success of Stresemann in the economic and foreign policy meant that people did not look toward extreme politics for answers