Single party states and rise to power and origins of the cold war.


Hitler used the vacuum caused by the demise of the Weimar Republic to gain an electoral majority for the Nazi Party in 1933. One of the most important events in his rise to authority was his rejection of the idea of seizing power through violence after the disastrous Munich Putsch in the 1920’s. (Britannica) Unusual for a man that would eventually become a dictator, Hitler worked within the legitimate political system of his time to win power democratically, and then to quickly consolidate that power into an absolutist one-party state through isolated, symbolic acts of violence (such as the burning of the Reichstag) in order to create a paranoia that he could exploit. The organizational and administrative structure of the Nazi Party, together with Hitler’s well-documented ability to virtually hypnotize individuals, Party and country within a cult of personality and the still mysterious willingness of the German people to accept what appear on face-value to be ludicrous ideas led to the creation of the one-party, Nazi state.

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One might easily argue that Hitler’s greatest ‘success’ (judged by his perverse standards) was his managing to lead the German people from the baiting of Jews in the early 1930’s to the implementation of the Final Solution in the last four years of WWII. Unlike other leaders, who use a ‘divide-and-rule’ strategy to gain power through conjuring a hatred of the ‘Other’, Hitler gained power in order to be able to destroy that other. The hatred of Jews was not a means to an end, but the end that Hitler always had in mind.

The Holocaust was not a sudden occurrence, but rather a slowly developing continuum of increasingly extreme acts that eventually led to mass-murder. Hitler’s greatest success was in convincing a large portion of the German people to at least passively accept what was occurring, if not actually openly help in the effort.

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