What are bad performances that Adolf Hitler did?

National Socialism and World War II

Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Benz

To person

Born in 1941, studied history, political science and art history. Since 1990 professor at the Technical University of Berlin and head of the Center for Research on Anti-Semitism. Chairman of the Society for Exile Research. Co-editor of the historical journal.

While the NSDAP achieved more and more successes, artists, scientists, journalists and intellectuals took up the fight against the National Socialists. They recognized that Germany, under National Socialist leadership, was heading straight for war.

Kurt Tucholsky in Paris in 1928. (& copy Wikimedia)


The National Socialist German Workers' Party (NSDAP) emerged as a small splinter of the right-wing extremist protest movement in Munich after the end of the First World War. As a shock troop of a "national revolution", its leader Adolf Hitler wanted to eliminate the democratic Reich government in Berlin from Munich in 1923 at the head of the NSDAP. After the failure of the putsch, the Hitler movement sank into insignificance for a few years. Hitler, who wrote his programmatic confession book "Mein Kampf" during his brief imprisonment in Landsberg, used the years 1924 to 1928 to rebuild the party organization and to test propaganda technology and mass directing.

The parliamentary elections were only used by the NSDAP for propaganda purposes and as a success barometer. As recently as 1928, the party's Reichstag elections brought only 2.6 percent of the vote and 12 seats. The rise from a radical political sect to a mass party only succeeded after the breakup of the grand coalition of SPD, DDP, Zentrum and DVP under Chancellor Hermann Müller in the spring of 1930. With the end of this cabinet, the Weimar Republic was no longer a parliamentary state. The conservative governments under Briining, Papen and Schleicher relied only on the authority of Reich President Hindenburg. The global economic crisis and the sharp rise in unemployment formed the background to further radicalization of public life: in the Reichstag elections and in September 1930, the NSDAP won more than 18 percent of the vote and had become the second largest party with 107 seats. In July 1932 it even improved to 37.3 percent and 230 seats. It was thus the strongest party, but it had achieved its greatest approval in free elections. When there was another election in November 1932, the NSDAP still got 33.1 percent and 196 seats. But it remained the strongest parliamentary group in the Reichstag.

Many voters and members of the democratic bourgeois parties were not aware of the danger posed by National Socialism. They just saw him as the radical fringe of a time of crisis. In their exaggerated national consciousness, in the conviction that Germany had done an injustice after the First World War, in the hope of overcoming the Versailles Peace Treaty and in the aversion to the new and unfamiliar parliamentary-democratic system of the republic established in 1918/19, many were conservative Citizens agree with the anti-democratic extremists. While national conservatives hoped for an alliance of convenience with the NSDAP that they could dissolve again after the joint creation of an authoritarian state, the National Socialists viewed their bourgeois German-national partners only as helpers in achieving absolute power in the state, which they then solely after their own Wanted to transform ideas.

A disastrous and momentous advance performance by conservative groups in favor of the National Socialists was the disempowerment of the Prussian government on July 20, 1932 by Reich Chancellor Franz von Papen, who thus became Hitler's "stirrup holder". In an illegal act ("Papenstreich"), Papen declared the Social Democrat-led Prussian government under Prime Minister Otto Braun, which, along with Minister of the Interior Severing, had been seen as a bulwark of democracy and resistance to National Socialism, dismissed. The Chancellor himself took over the government of Prussia as State Commissioner and thus paved the way for the National Socialists to take power in Germany's largest country.