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The Rise of Single-Party States - Essay Example

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The Rise of Single-Party States

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.
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. (Goldhagen) All other successes must be seen as secondary as the destruction of Jews was surely Hitler's prime motivation.
However, he did succeed in transforming the German economy into a dynamic war machine within a few years of gaining power through artfully mixing together the improvisational power of Capitalism with the organization of the one-party state. The armed forces that resulted from this economic growth scored enormous successes in the first years of the war, realizing that blitzkrieg would be the tactics of the future while other Europeans - such as the sad, but perhaps magnificent Polish still charging their cavalry - were left still fighting the previous war.
Hitler's greatest failure was probably the invasion of Russia in 1941. Like Napoleon before him, Hitler saw defeating the Russians as the ultimate prize, but failed to realize the enormous problem posed by what is regarded as the greatest of all Russian Generals: the winter. (Shirer) Hitler's growing refusal to accept the reality of the situation: refusing to issue winter boots is a graphic example, illustrates that he had made the cardinal military mistake of being hopeful rather than brutally realistic. While the Final Solution was perhaps ...Show more

Summary

The rise to power of Adolph Hitler occurred as a culmination of a multiplicity of forces and conditions both within and outside of Germany. Germany had been left broken and essentially penniless by World War I and the resulting Versailles Treaties. An air of desperation existed within the country as the Depression spread from America to the rest of the world, including Germany…
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The Rise of Single-Party States essay example
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