Master Appeal

There were many circumstances that led to the rise of Adolf Hitler as a great leader, and to the change to a one-party state in Germany, and the success of the Nazi party was due largely to the political and economic instability of the period. Social unrest in Germany had been growing since the stipulations of the Versailles Treaty at the end of the First World War, and the results of the Treaty's sanctions and restrictions on Germany eroded the public trust and support in the recently founded Weimar Republic. The flaws of the Weimar Republic and the position of Germany allowed Hitler to create his one-party state. Hitler's oratory skills and emotive issues allowed him to gain many votes at such a time when people were ready to listen to anyone who said he 'had all the answers.'
In 1918 military positions collapsed and shortly after the abdication, a new government known as the Weimar Republic went into power by gaining a majority. The Weimar took over and a new Constitution was drafted. The policies of the new constitution allowed the Nazi Party to take a seat in Parliament by proportional representation. The Nazi Party rose further as it enhanced its ways of increasing its votes through manipulation of the system of the Weimar Republic. Its brown-shirts (SA) were organized into battalions, thousands strong, to guard Nazi meetings, to break up other meetings, and to terrorize Hitler's opponents. After the general election on the 14th of September 1930, the people of Germany awoke to the startling news of the results. Hitler and his party, The Nationalist Socialist German Workers' Party, made a spectacular breakthrough at the polls. They had attracted an alarming number of votes and were now the second largest party. This resulted in the party being almost a majority, and the aristocrats invited Hitler as chancellor in hopes of being able to control him, but this was not the case. Soon after, the Reichstag Building was burnt down and a communist was accused of the arson. Hitler used this excuse to allow himself to gain emergency power and, in effect, arrest those who were involved with communist subversion. His position as chancellor allowed him as much power as he needed to be able to finish off his development of a one-party state. In the next election the Nazi Party became a majority and gained further power to abolish all other political parties. Through this, Hitler rose higher and higher to the eventual role of dictator.
The effects of the Versailles Treaty had been harsh on Germany's economy. An urgent vacancy for a great leader existed, and Hitler easily filled it, similar to how Napoleon easily took over the government in tumultuous post-revolutionary France. Hitler recognized the power of propaganda as a tool to appeal to the people and promote his position as a 'great leader.' The film, The Triumph of the Will (1935, directed by Leni Riefenstahl), is exemplary in showing Hitler's ability to come across as a national patriot and father-figure, intent on restoring Germany to its 'rightful' status. Specifically, appealing to the public's want/need of a 'great leader' was the axis upon which Nazi propaganda of the time rested.
Hitler was ushering the German people out of economic depression, and he wanted to be seen as a savior for doing so. He wanted to encourage the idea that well being and success in Germany depended completely on him; without its Fuhrer, Germany was nothing. This can be clearly seen in the first speech of the film, where Hess, speaking to Hitler, says,
You are Germany. When you act, the nation acts; when you judge, the people judge. Our gratitude to you will be our pledge to stand by you for better and for worse, come what may! Thanks to your leadership, Germany will attain her aim to be the homeland of all the Germans of the world. You have guaranteed our victory, and you are now guaranteeing our peace.

This is a perfect example of Hitler capitalizing on the emotions and spirit of the German people. By equating himself with the German nation, anyone with patriotism or national pride must in turn support him, as he represents the solitary leader, the driving force of the nation.
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