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How did someone like Hitler get elected?
Transcript of How did someone like Hitler get elected?
He gave everyone a common enemy to blame.
He was a great public speaker. The climate was miserable in Germany in the wake of WWI. The Weimar Republik, the new government, was proving ineffective in rebuilding the country. There was a large rift between the rich and the poor and this all was made worse by the Great Depression that was happening all at the same time. People were resentful and wanted change. Enter Hitler. He presented himself as a common man, devoted to rebuilding Germany and making it great again. People welcomed this because they were desperate for change. Now Hitler needed to unite the nation, preferably against someone or something. Hitler had a long-standing hatred of the Jews, which ran back to when he had been a street tramp in Vienna.
He had envied them as they walked by in their fine clothes. He thought they didn't look like Germans. So he hated them. They were a perfect scapegoat. He said that the Jews had lost them the war and that they weren't really Germans.
He was able to turn many against the Jews and thereby into his supporters. But this all wouldn't have gotten him anywhere had he not had one gift... He was shamelessly emotional.
He would yell and snarl about the "enemies", of Germany, he would whisper and cry about the "plight" of the German people, and then all of a sudden he would break into joyful shouting, shouting "Victory,Victory for Germany!" He seemed sincere and made it sound as if he cared. All this was a powerful combination. Hitler was elected with 44% of the votes. As well, many WWI veterans in Germany felt that their suffering in the trenches had been for nothing. They felt that if Hitler,who was a WWI veteran himself,was in power, they would be recognized and respected. But as Germans were soon to learn, most everything he had told them was a lie. He did not respect German soldiers, sending millions to die in his conquests. He did not bring Germany prosperity again, he brought it ruin. In a different, less turbulent political climate, Hitler probably never would have gotten anywhere. As he said, “If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.” He promised revenge for the humiliating Treaty of Versailles after World War I, which had robbed Germany of 13.5% of her territory before the war and thereby of seven million people. She had to disband most of her army. She was not allowed to have a merchant fleet and all her waterways were taken from her control. Her economy was crippled. And yet, the Allies still demanded the huge reparations mentioned before. You can understand why Germans were resentful.