Letter: Hitler's success

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The Independent Culture
Sir: I read with interest Richard Bazillion's article that argued the case against Hitler's rise to power being inevitable (Podium, 17 August). It is indeed true that Hitler's electoral strength was waning towards the end of 1932. However, I believe the author's explanation - that the German voters saw Nazism for what it truly was - is misleading.

Hitler and his associates were skilled propagandists and, throughout their election campaigns, they presented Hitler as a man of action who could transform Germany's dishevelled state. When Nazi popularity peaked, Hitler was in a position to become Chancellor of a coalition government and lead Germany. But he refused on the grounds that he wanted an all- Nazi government in office.

It was this inaction that disillusioned his supporters, leading to Hitler's drop in popularity. Simply put, his supporters had voted for a strong leader who was not leading.

It is entirely plausible to suggest that Hitler's popularity would have dwindled into obscurity during 1933. Thus Hitler's success was in no way inevitable. But his rise to power was confirmed by German elites who intrigued him into office, believing him to be a leader they could control.

When one considers the events that followed, it is reasonable to say that such a belief turned out to be one of the most devastating mistakes of this century.


Wakefield, West Yorkshire