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The Nazi’s Rise to Power          How crazy would it sound if the measures taken to stop one of the most fatal conflicts in the history of the world, and prevent another one from happening, lead to the deadliest and most catastrophic war in history? Well that did happen, and it all started on June 28, 1919, almost 20 years prior to the start of WW2. On that date, Germany signed the Treaty of Versailles, a document that placed severe punishments upon the country, which lead to years of turmoil. Those years of turmoil became known as the Great Depression, which launched the government into traumatic and difficult times, with much turnover and many mistakes. These mistakes lead to chaos within the country, and left the citizens of Germany distraught, confused, and angry. Then steps in Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party. A man and a group with a radical promise to restore Germany and bring back their global dominance and recognition. The world would soon realize that Germany was back and more dangerous than ever before. The rise of Hitler and the Nazi Party was primarily due to the punishments brought down upon Germany by the Treaty of Versailles, the Great Depression, and previous German regimes failures.          On the fifth anniversary of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the act that sparked WW1, the Treaty of Versailles was signed. This treaty had several punishments for Germany that were thought to diminish the country for years to come. First, it stated that Germany must take full responsibility for the start of war, known as the War Guilt Clause. In declaring this, it also meant that Germany must pay enormous reparations to pay back what they had started. Second, it stated that Germany must place strict restrictions upon their military numbers. These being the army must be limited to 100,000 men, the Navy vessels had to be under 10,000 tons, a ban on the acquisition or maintenance of a submarine fleet, and they were also forbidden to have an air force. Finally, Germany was forced to give up territories to to Belgium, Czechoslovakia, and Poland. This act diminished the amount of land Germany controlled, having an effect on their economy as well. These punishments had much more than people know with the rise of Hitler and the Nazi Party. To start, the reparations caused Germany to tax the people way more than ever before, which .lead to mass poverty and upset citizens. Also, with the loss of territories the number of people to tax went down, which lead to even higher taxes per person. And with the military being depleted the sense of security and confidence left the minds of the people bringing them shame, which set up an even gloomier situation in Germany. Knowing this, Adolf Hitler gave the people what they wanted to hear. The problem, the resolution, and the result this would bring forth. This sparked the people’s interest, which allowed Hitler to manipulate his way to the top of the German government, and then eventually take over with his Nazi Party in place.           Many people have heard stories of the hardship of the American worker during the 1930’s, but not many people know that at the same time Weimar Germany was going through much worse. Due to the extreme reparation payments they had to make, they relied heavily on America for loans to make these payments, and once the Depression took its toll on America, they could no longer rely on them. And with German banks not equipped to handle this lack of money flow, it caused many banks to fold and people lost out on their money. On top of this industrial companies could no longer afford to stay open and many of them either closed or shrunk dramatically in size. This caused many to lose their jobs, which brought the unemployment rate to an all time high in Germany. In 1929 about 1.5 million Germans were jobless. This number continued to grow until its peak in 1933 when a whopping 6 million people were without work. They were a nation in desperate times, with many people homeless and starving. The government scrambled to make reforms and changes to bring some kind of relief. This only lead to bad decisions which negatively affected everyone. Everyone except one man, Adolf Hitler.           With Germany in shambles the government tried to help the people and the county get out of the rut they were in.  One way they tried to help was by drawing up a new constitution they thought would bring reform. This reform wanted to bring a voice to those not normally heard by allowing proportional votes of elections allow those groups to gain spots on the Reichstag. For example, the Bavarian Peasants’ League, a party representing purely agricultural interests in Bavaria won 0.8% of the vote and gained 4 seats. A great idea they surely thought, but they failed to realize that one other group with a little voice could use this to their advantage. Hitler knew the new rule and pushed his way into the Nazi’s getting several seats on the Reichstag, getting his foot in the door to climb the ranks. Over the next several years and elections, with the people’s trust in their own government deteriorating, they were willing to hear more new ideas. As the next several elections went on the Nazi’s kept getting more and more votes, gaining more and more seats and a bigger influence. This made Hitler a political player in Germany’s eyes and when he finally was named Chancellor of Germany in 1933, he used Article 48, the weakness of the Weimar Constitution, to push his way into a dictatorship. In using this rule frequently throughout his run as leader of Germany, he in essence, ruled everything with martial law.           Hitler’s rise to power with the Nazi party was due to the Treaty of Versailles, the Great Depression, and the failures, weaknesses, and distrust of past leadership. From the Treaty of Versailles leading to mass reparations and military restrictions, to the Great Depression bringing times of turmoil, to the government’s failure to bring the nation out of these times, all made the perfect storm for the rise of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party. Even though it may be hard to see into the future and predict what your actions may do, it is mind boggling how so many people could fail to see the effects their actions brought forth. While the other worldly powers tried to stop Germany from arising once more, to Germany’s own government trying to help out the German people, it only lead to much worse than either of them could have ever imagined. Hopefully the world will learn from this mistake and realize that when you completely break a nation, they want to come back with full revenge, often with a radical idea and leader. 

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