Nazi Germany – Source Analysis Exercise
(a) Compare Documents A and B as evidence for Hitler’s rise to power in January 1933.
Source A is written by the distinguished banker Johannes Zahn in 1997, it explains his view on Hitler’s rise to power. Zahn comments on the condition of Germany in 1930-1933, when there was 6million German’s unemployed, he says that the unemployed had two options, become Communists or join the SA, where the SA seemed the more sensible idea. This increased the number of SA members, which in the SA will start to follow Hitler, which will increase his votes in the Reichstag. People also couldn’t tell whether Hitler and National Socialism were ‘something good with a few bad side effects, or something evil with a few good side effects: you couldn’t tell.’ Because people didn’t know how evil Hitler was they still voted for him because he seemed to be the answer to their problems from the Great Depression to the Treaty of Versailles.
Source B is written by Ian Kershaw in 1991 and explains his views on how Hitler rose to power. Kershaw tells us that Hitler was not popular at first and only few had him as their first choice, but in January 1933 Hitler’s popularity changed because other options were apparently exhausted, so the big landowners and the rich were prepared to entertain Hitler because their only other realistic option was communist which they wanted to stay away from. Even if they were to oppose him, a Hitler chancellorship would have been inconceivable. Kershaw tells us that Hitler needed the elites on his side if he was going to attain power, and in January 1933, they in turn needed Hitler as he alone could deliver the mass support required to impose a tenable authoritarian solution to Germany’s crisis of capitalism and crisis of state.
Although both sources relate to Hitler’s rise to power, they comment on different social groups and how they were persuaded to vote for National Socialism instead of...