The Success of Adolf Hitler

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Adolf Hitler was an intelligent, impressive and awful dictator with the deaths of millions on his hands including half of Europe’s Jewish population at the time. Nonetheless, even with his blatantly anti-semitic agenda; Hitler was able to cultivate and rule Nazi Germany for eleven years through implementing his knowledge, charisma and sharing his pro-German views; ultimately taking advantage of the socio-political situation in Germany.

Although Hitler was born as an Austrian, he had always felt that all Germans should someday unite. This was a common perspective amongst Austrians; they were Germanic people and they spoke German so they identified themselves as such. Hitler had always dreamed of becoming an artist, and when he was rejected from the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts, he carried this frustration throughout his life. He felt that he was an artist rejected by ‘stupid’ teachers. His behavior of blaming others and using others as scapegoats would be a lifelong theme, and reflected themselves in his political ideologies as well. Even in his final years, he regarded himself as an artist.

From 1909 to 1913, the four years Hitler spent in Vienna solidified his worldviews, “Vienna was the hardest, most thorough school of my life. I had set foot in this town while still half a boy, and I left it a man, grown quiet and grave. In this period, there took shape within me a world picture and philosophy which then became the granite foundation of all my acts. In addition to what I then created, I have had to learn little; and I have had to alter nothing.” As most of his time in Vienna was spent surviving off of odd jobs and reading books, these were the lessons he would carry with him throughout his life. Hitler learned to glorify war and the conquest of foreign people. To him, peace was not an option because peace was evil, for it corrupted people by making them weak.

Those killed in battle were simply a natural byproduct of war. To Hitler, death was a natural process of life and life was always cruel. Secondly, he felt Germans were the master race, that other races were slaves to Germans. Thirdly, Hitler learned that in order to be successful in politics, it is important to be charismatic, to master the art of propaganda and at times, how the use of terror can control the masses. Hitler’s hatred for the Austro-Hungarian empire was cemented in Vienna, the animosity primarily aimed at the empire for being a multinational society. Hitler held the belief that the Slavic peoples and other minorities’ successes were at the cost of the success of the empire.

In the year 1913, Hitler left for Munich to avoid serving in the Austrian military as he “loathed serving in the ranks with Jews.” He was later captured and returned to Austria on the grounds of avoiding military service, but then was rejected; he was no longer required to serve for the draft as he was too weak. He returned to Munich penniless. From there, Hitler joined the Bavarian regiment for World War I in hopes of gaining some sense of purpose. When Germany lost the war in 1918, Hitler was among the many Germans who placed the blame on the country’s supposed traitors; in the end, most of that blame fell on the Jewish population. Hitler was disgusted by the Jewish, shown in this quote from his autobiography Mein Kampf (The Struggle), “Nearly every clerk was a Jew and nearly every Jew was a clerk,” speaking of all the Jewish people he saw working in Germany; Hitler speculated they were merely avoiding serving in the army for the war.

In 1919, military generals ordered Hitler to look into a small workers union political party called the German Workers’ Party (otherwise known as DAP). It was a pitifully small group of only twenty-five men at the back of a beer hall. It would be the hardest decision of his life, a decision worth writing about in Mein Kampf because he felt disgusted by how pathetic the people were, but he conceded and became the seventh member of the Committee of the German Workers Party (the DAP). However, him being the seventh member was one of many clever lies he told in Mein Kampf that he felt would make him appear more favorable in the eyes of the public. In reality, he was member number 555.

What he learned in Vienna came into his favor, he was right that having brilliant oratory skills could take a politician far. Under the DAP, Hitler gave extremely strong and emotional speeches supporting Volkisch nationalist views that thrived in Bavaria. Volkish nationalist views were popular in post-war Germany, with the message that Germany’s woes were the fault of Jewish people. These Volkisch nationalist views were nothing new, entailing several things; antisemitism, chauvinistic nationalism and German racial superiority. It was Hitler’s charisma and speech skills that made him and his message stand out.

In 1920, at the DAP’s first mass meeting of 2,000 attendees, the party released its first program called the Manifesto of Twenty-Five Points. This would be the first of the party’s propaganda, and it discussed the union of all Germans in a great Germany, reiterating one of the key points of Volkisch nationalism. It also included “the abolition of the Versailles Peace Treaty, the demand for colonies, the removal of Jews’ citizenship rights, and the prevention of non-German immigration” alongside a call for socialist measures as well.

The party started to call itself the “National Socialist German Workers’ party (NSDAP)” after the first manifesto was published. The word Nazi comes from the an abbreviation of the German name of the NSDAP – Nationalsozialistiche. As the NSDAP began to grow, there were talks of merging with other similar minded groups; namely another rival party supporting volkisch. Out of fear of being ousted as the dominant leader (that is, if they were to merge with another large group), Hitler left the NSDAP. Out of desperation of losing their star orator who had helped gain them a reputation, the NSDAP asked Hitler to return. He agreed to return, but under several conditions: Hitler was to be the chairman of the party with dictatorial power, no more merger talks with other parties, party programs could not be revised and the headquarters of the party would be in Munich. Hitler then adopted the title Fuhrer, leader. In 1921, Hitler put together a paramilitary called the Sturmabteilung (SA), stormtroopers, who would protect Nazi party meetings and disturb opponents’ meetings. This is how Hitler was then able to pressure other groups into joining the NSDAP, rather than merging together. Over the next few years, the NSDAP gained up to 50,000 members by November n 1923.

Propaganda was also a large part of the success of Hitler and the NSDAP. This makes sense, since the use of the swastika and “Heil Hitler” is hard to miss when Googling anything related to ‘Nazi Germany’, Hitler or World War II. Hitler designed the first party banner in 1920; a black swastika in a white circle with a red background. White represented German nationalism, red the color of socialism and the swastika, an ancient Hindu sign, was meant to represent the sun. This is because the volkisch view interpreted the swastika to mean “unconquerable” or “the strong one from above”. As for “Heil Hitler”, Hitler got the idea from Mussolini’s fascist salute.

The growing numbers of the NSDAP encouraged Hitler to take his first steps towards becoming the country’s dictator. He attempted to start a revolution in a beer hall on November 8th of that year. This event is famously known as the beer hall putsch, where he crashed an existing rally held by governing men of Bavaria; he intended to hijack their event to further his own agenda and start a revolution. This putsch resulted in the Nazi party being disbanned, Hitler’s speeches were banned as well and resulted in a five-year prison sentence for Hitler. However, he only served thirteen months out of the supposed five years he was meant to serve.

Hitler had gained a reputation for himself over the years, to the point that his time in prison was almost like a holiday with a nice room and visitors allowed. Within those thirteen months, Hitler started to write his autobiography, Mein Kampf, and it dictated all the plans he had for Germany for the next few decades, “His book gave full warning of what he would do to Germany…He would, he boasted, destroy the Republic, abolish democracy, stamp out the workers’ free trade unions and establish himself as supreme dictator. Also, he added, he would “settle” with the Jews.”

Upon his release from prison, Hitler had to overcome the ban on the Nazi party and his speeches. Many thought that because Hitler’s speeches were banned, it would be the end of Nazism. This brings us to the key point of this paper; it wasn’t just Hitler’s skills that helped him and the Nazi Party succeed. It was his ability to assess situations and choose the next best step.

Hitler’s speeches were his personal strongpoint however his real success came from his wit; he was resourceful. The years he had spent in Vienna, reading books and gathering knowledge on how things and politics worked; it would be that knowledge and those worldviews he learned in Vienna that he would carry with him for the rest of his life. Hitler involved himself in politics with the pure desire of uplifting his pro-German views, which were common views at the time.

Just as he had learned from his books, from past political figures, he learned that being able to give amazing speeches was important, hence he ensured that his speech and charisma skills were strong. Such skills were so vital to Hitler’s rise and success, as the emotion he evoked stirred emotions in his audience to the point that his audiences would rally together in a sort of emotional nationalist haze. Hitler never had to force anybody, nor did he have to create brand new ideas for his agenda. He was simply supporting Volkisch nationalist views, an already existing nationalist-socialist agenda.

What makes Hitler different from others was his sense of self. When he was imprisoned and everyone felt Nazism had come to an end, he was relentless and pressed forward, fully believing he could restore Nazism and eventually become the political party in power. The second time, it would be legal and not through a revolutionary coup like the failed beer hall putsch. Hitler brought together the divided nationalist-socialist factions, uniting them under the NSDAP, creating the Nazi Party that he would make into a legal political party. Hitler placed himself at the center by making the “Heil Hitler” greeting compulsory within the party and, “Hitler had become the party’s sole program and organizational focal point. His charismatic leadership was the integrative force of the party. No loyal party member questioned Hitler’s leadership or program.”

In retrospect, it would be difficult to question such a genius. Hitler successfully organized a workers union into the leading political party, made all the essential decisions necessary, and against all odds, he persisted. It was to his benefit when everyone doubted that Hitler and Nazism would succeed. There is an argument that perhaps, not all of the NSDAP beliefs were created by Hitler and that some of his similar level lieutenants could be responsible for stronger anti-semitic policies.

Hitler’s lies to his country through propaganda and through his autobiography Mein Kampf have resulted in a discrepancy of facts between research articles, which made it difficult to choose which sources were reliable for this paper. However, this only reinforces the idea that Hitler was indeed a mysterious but powerful man worthy of being the face of the Nazis due to his charismatic and intricately designed public persona.


Cite this paper

The Success of Adolf Hitler. (2021, Apr 18). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/the-success-of-adolf-hitler/

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