Defying Hitler: A Memoir by Sebastian Haffner
After the First World War, Germany was conquered, weak and helpless. Its Citizen were desperate and ready to trust that anything someone said, to get any step essential, and to ease them feeling of self denial and overpowered. Due to this, Adolph Hitler managed to rise into supremacy so smoothly with bogus promises and self-centered objectives. Sebastian Haffner’s memoir Defying Hitler elaborates how everything started, and how Hitler’s pledged to unite the Germany people and create tough bond for a stronger nation did just contrary to the promises. (Haffner, p.43.)
World War I
With reference to the Pillars of Society reading, at the end of WWI, an already humiliated Germany was auxiliary embarrassed by being strained to sign the Treaty of Versailles. This treaty was essentially used by the followers of Hitler to reprimand Germany. With reference to the treaty Germany was to bare full responsibilities for the war and beside this they were to surrender its naval convoy and permanently decrease its armed forces.
The British armed forces continued the cordon that was put up all over Germany throughout the WW1 and even after the battle was ended hence denying Germans a chance to trade with other countries and because of this a large number of Germans died as a result of starvation. Additionally, the most painful blow occurred when already financially unsteady nation had to compensate the conqueror of World War 1. (Haffner, p.80.) Having to pay these damages to the victims, obstructed Germany from recovering from its earlier status
It was until 1929 when Great Depression hit the world economies and Germany once more suffered another crippling blow, where inflation rate rose to the point of having four trillion Germany marks equal to one dollar. Germany currency lost its value and Germany lost their long term savings in a substance of days and this paved way for Hitler and Nazi political party to emerge and rise into powers since Germany was desperate for any person to rescue them from what they were experiencing.
Hitler rising to Power
Hitler managed to apply fear and intimidation criteria to threaten Germans and by plundering the weaknesses of the Germany people, Hitler managed to rise and maintain his powerful positions in the government of the Nazi. Additionally, Nazi party used propaganda to defend themselves from the oppositions and enlightening the people.
Adolf Hitler served as a Germany Chancellor between1933 and 1945 and also after 1934 acted as the head of state Fuhrer und Reichskanzler governing Germany as a total dictator. He become one of the pioneers of the Nazi party in 1919 and become the leader of Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (NSDAP) in 1921.
Hitler attempted an abortive Beer Hall Putsch coup in Munich in 1923 and was sentenced to one year imprisonment. His imprisonment reacted positively on his side for it created fame across the country when he wrote his book, Mein Kampf. Following the release of this book he gained strong support by advocating for Germany nationalism, anti-Semitism, anti- communism and anti-capitalism with charismatic speeches and propaganda which made Germans believes on him and think that he was the best man of the time to rescue them from economic and political slavery.
As he continued to gain political favor from the people, hence becoming the most famed politician in the region, this led to his appointment into the political rank of a chancellor in the early years of the decade of 1930s. This subsequently enabled him to make major influences and change in the state politics by abolishing multi-party politics, and then setting up a mono-party environment through tyrannical and autocratic approaches. (Haffner, p. 68.) During all this time Germans were not even thinking of resistance and instead they collaborated with his dictatorial powers harming and oppressing their human and economic rights.
The Germans failed to react against Hitler will to institute a New Order of absolute Nazi Germany supremacy in Europe and were caught off guard by his decision which resulted to the civil wars world wide. By trusting and listening to the propaganda spread by the Nazi party and Hitler’s followers threatened the security of the Germans for he acted just like a pretender who had secret ambitions and goals in joining the governmental posts.
To achieve his desires of an absolute Nazi German in Europe, he practiced a foreign policy with the affirmed aim of achieving Lebensraum for the Aryan people and he directed state resources towards this personal goal hence affecting the economy of Germany.
This incorporated the rearmament of Germany, which was terminated in 1939 when the Wehrmacht attacked Poland and in revenge the United Kingdom and France declared attack against Germany resulting to the eruption of World War II in Europe. This could have been prevented from happening if the Germans had resisted and fight like any other colonies against this common enemy of development. (Haffner, p. 139.)
Eventually, there were numerous reasons influencing the Germany strong support to swing towards Nazi party during 1930s. In the facade of economic mayhem, the pompous influence of foreign states on their motherland and the inability of being in charge of governments operations with crisis, the German mass existed in a national indignation and extreme anxiety of self-ruling.
These feelings were more activated by actions such as the French attack of the Ruhr, super inflation and depression. The era’s lack of stability and failure to progressive change in the Weimar Republic had grounded Germany’s citizen to lose assurance in their country’s prospective and they commence to think that under the Republic Germany will by no means recover from chaotic situation to its equitable position in the world ladder.
During the foundation of such social mayhem, the ruthless opportunistic Nazi delegation and their leadership initiated taking advantage and building up support as a result of desperation and people looking for the immediate anxious solution to their problems. Hoping to use any chance to their own gain they have shown themselves as the only answer to the Germany’s challenges.
The people started to offer their political support to the NSDAP which was seen to be their redeemer but that was not to be the case. Additionally, to the social circumstances of post-war worsening in Germany, the party’s properly organized and tightly proscribed nature, allowing strong and passionate, following the leadership was also a significant factor to consider in attracting public support. (Haffner, p. 46)
The ability of Hitler giving an extraordinary speech making which the Nazis used to the highest potential gain to convince and propagandize things across the country making citizens continue giving support to the party and its pathetic leadership. Afterward, 1933 with the Nazis party in power; support was preserved through antagonistic propaganda, which made much of Hitler’s domestic and local support stronger day after the other.
Finally, Germany’s can only be blamed for their failure to resist Hitler’s dictatorship from the beginning and instead they gave him a warm welcome which later erupted to be the largest enemy of their fatherland and the world in general. His regime was not only affected Europe but also throughout the world when it experienced the Second World War and also affecting greatly the economy of one of the most powerful state during those days.
Haffner described Germany’s as poor people who entirely needed to be rescued from the ropes of dictatorship while the whole world was looking for democracy mostly the westerns. Although Hitler’s regime was considered somehow important for it opened eyes to the world and warned against any other entertainment of a dictator in an independent Republic.
Haffner, S. (2003). Defying Hitler: A Memoir. New York: Picador
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