There seems to have been a whole range of circumstances ,happening almost simultaneously that allowed Hitler and Nazism to flourish.Koutsoukos argues that as terrible as the Nazi war machine was,Germany,after the first world war ,was already on a slippery slope . The first problem was the change in government.The communist revolution in Russia made the uneasy first chancellor Ebert reluctantly opt for a republic to avoid the risk of a communist take over.But there were serious flaws in the new Weimar constitution.It didn't work efficiently because it was made up of too many small parties.This made it virtually impossible for a party to win an election without the help of other parties :they never had the numbers to govern on their own.Proportional representation therefore weakened German democratic government and it was this crack that eventually allowed Hitler to seize complete control.
Long before anyone had heard of Hitler the people were dissatisfied with the government.They criticized it for signing the Treaty of Versailles even though the order to sign had come from the army high command and not from the government.The German people had a lot to be unhappy about.They were severely degraded by the war, with poverty ,hunger and unemployment rife.The country lost enormous natural resource sites when land was seized under the treaty and there was a massive reparation bill :Germany was ,under the Versailles treaty,the cause of ww1 and therefore had to pay back millions to the allies.Above all,the German people were devastated by the degrading shame of the war guilt clause in the treaty.
The German people were a proud people and they wanted answers.In times of desperation Koutsoukos argues that people look for someone to blame and so the people did.They looked for scapegoats amongst the outsiders:communists,foriegners,pacifists and Jews.Hitler would capitalise on the peoples fear and distrust by using it to control the country at a later time.
Even though Germany was distrusted by the Allies, it joined the League of Nations in 1926 and at that time it was discovered that not only had Germany not disarmed but it had also started to re-arm.But more worrying was the response from the League.It refused to take any action over this outright breach of the Versailles Treaty .The Allies again and again fail to act.
Although the government ,after 1923, did make strides to improve the economy with a boost from the Dawes Plan which gave a large loan and a two year freeze on reparation payments plus the introduction of a more stable currency;the Rentenmark to replace the disastrous inflation caused by the German mark,calamity struck yet again with the collapse of Wall street. Although the Great Depression was a world problem Germany was ruined.America could no longer fund loans and there were six million unemployed by 1932 Koutsoukos said' people only turn to the Nazi's when times are bad 'and now was the time.
Hitler built up his Nazi party and in 1933 he was proclaimed Chancellor but because of the system of government he was still not able to rule outright having only 44 percent of the seats in the Reichstag.Hitler resorted to murder and terror and had many of his opponents arrested and refused to allow communist members to sit in the Reichstag.When Hindenberg died in 1934 Hitler was made head of state and commander in chief of the armed forces.His title was now Fuehrer and Reich Chancellor.
The Allies seemed to have overlooked Hitler's dark side because through various measures :consciption,even though forbidden,loans from wealthy industrialists,public works and jobs for the men-women were pushed out of the workforce -led to an improved economy.Red lights should have been flashing but despite Germany's rapid re-arming program the Allies were loathe to interfere.
Hitlerler invaded Austria in March1938 in direct violation of the Treatyand with only weak protests from Britain and France.Chamberlain had three meetings with Hitler over successive months and at the final meeting Hitler finally gave a signed agreement in which the British and German people pledged never to go to war together.'Winston Churchhill summed up the feeling when he said 'We are in the presence of a disaster of the first magnitude."
Hitler no longer feared Britain or France when there were no reprisals after taking Sudetenland.It was only after he invaded Poland that Britain lay down the challenge and by then it was too late and world war two was the result.
Hitler was in the right place at the right time .The conservative Germans were at first ready to accept his aid.The Reichstag was designed to fail and the Allies were not alert enough to stop the growing ruthless might of Hitler.