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An overview of the leadership of the nazi regime in the germany

What does learning about the choices people made during the Weimar Republic, the rise of the Nazi Party, and the Holocaust teach us about the power and impact of our choices today?

Nazi Party

Guiding Questions How did the Nazi Party, a small and unpopular political group in 1920, become the most powerful political party in Germany by 1933? Learning Objectives Through class discussion and a written response, students will examine how choices made by individuals and groups contributed to the rise of the Nazi Party in the 1920s and 1930s.

Overview In a previous lesson, students explored the politics, culture, economics, and social trends in Germany during the years of the Weimar Republic 1919 to 1933and they analyzed the strength of democracy in Germany during those years. Students will review events that they learned about in the previous lesson and see how the popularity of the Nazis changed during times of stability and times of crisis.

Table of Contents

They will also analyze the Nazi Party platform and, in an extension about the 1932 election, compare it to the platforms of the Social Democratic and Communist Parties. By tracing the progression of the Nazis from an unpopular fringe group to the most powerful political party in Germany, students will extend and deepen their thinking from the previous lesson about the choices that individuals can make to strengthen democracy and those that can weaken it.

This lesson includes multiple, rich extension activities if you would like to devote two days to a closer examination of the rise of the Nazi Party.

By February 1920, Hitler had given it a new name: The Nazis believed that citizenship should not only bestow on a person certain rights such as voting, running for office, or owning a newspaper ; it also came with the guarantee of a job, food, and land on which to live. In an attempt to capitalize on the chaos caused by runaway hyperinflation, Hitler attempted to stage a coup known as the Beer Hall Putsch in Munich to overthrow the government of the German state of Bavaria on November 23, 1923.

Government of Nazi Germany

The attempt failed and resulted in several deaths. Although they should have been deported because they were not German citizens they were Austrian citizensthe judge dispensed with the law and gave them the minimum sentence—five years in prison.

Hitler only served nine months, and the rest of his term was suspended. In the book, published in 1925, he maintained that conflict between the races was the catalyst of history. That new empire would also represent a victory over the Communists, who controlled much of the territory Hitler sought. Hitler, like many conservative Germans, regarded both Communists and Jews as enemies of the German people. The Bolsheviks were the communist group that gained power in Russia in 1917 and established the Soviet Union.

The Jews, according to Hitler, were everywhere, controlled everything, and acted so secretly and deviously that few could detect their influence.


By 1925, Hitler was out of prison and once again in control of the Nazi Party. The attempted coup had taught him an important lesson. Never again would he attempt an armed uprising. Instead, the Nazis would use the rights guaranteed by the Weimar Constitution—freedom of the press, the right to assemble, and freedom of speech—to win control of Germany.

  1. In autumn 1941, the Nazi regime extended the policy of mass murder to areas outside the Soviet Union. Almost 20,000 died in Auschwitz alone.
  2. Top Legalised persecution Nazi propaganda. From 1929 to 1932 the party vastly increased its membership and voting strength; its vote in elections to the Reichstag the German Parliament increased from 800,000 votes in 1928 to about 14,000,000 votes in July 1932, and it thus emerged as the largest voting bloc in the Reichstag, with 230 members 38 percent of the total vote.
  3. As part of the so-called 'Madagascar Plan', all Jews under German rule were to be deported to the French colony of Madagascar. Again the regime reacted by imposing measures 'from above'.

However, in 1924 the German economy had begun to improve. By 1928, the country had recovered from the war and business was booming. As a result, fewer Germans seemed interested in the hatred that Hitler and his Nazi Party promoted. The same was true for other extreme nationalist groups.

The Rise of the Nazi Party

Then, in 1929, the stock market crashed and the worldwide Great Depression began. Leaders around the world could not stop the economic collapse. To an increasing number of Germans, democracy appeared unable to rescue the economy, and only the most extreme political parties seemed to offer clear solutions to the crisis.

Communists promised to distribute German wealth according to the common good. The Nazis blamed the Jews, Communists, liberals, and pacifists for the German economic crisis. Among them were wealthy industrialists who were alarmed by the growth of the Communist Party and did not want to be forced to give up what they owned.

Both the Communists and the Nazis made significant gains in the Reichstag German parliament elections in 1930. President Hindenburg and his chancellors could not lift Germany out of the depression. Their popular support began to shrink. In January 1933, Hindenburg and his advisors decided to make a deal with Hitler.

He had the popularity they lacked, and they had the power he needed. They were also certain that he, too, would fail to end the depression. When he failed, they would step in to save the nation. But they were tragically mistaken. You might need to pre-teach or be prepared to explain the following terms: Previewing Vocabulary In addition to the terms above in the Nazi Party platform, the following are key vocabulary terms used in this lesson: Platform Political party Coup Add these words to your Word Wallif you are using one for this unit, and provide necessary support to help students learn these words as you teach the lesson.