Hitler came to power for a number of documented reasons, some of which are rational, others of which are emotional. Either way, the world continues to question how a vicious madman could rise to power in Germany during this time, most of all the German people who, to this day, will do almost anything to prevent another authoritarian movement.
Though I believe that is being used today against them as a bigger authoritarian movement gains hold (migrant fundamentalism), the German people seem to be either blind to a new definition of totalitarianism or are so terrified of it happening again in Germany that they are incapable of resisting it.
Following WWI, the following issues remained from the 1920s or were present at the time:
Deep anger about the First World War and the Treaty of Versailles created an underlying bitterness to which Hitler’s viciousness and expansionism appealed, so they gave him support.
Today, we have deep-seated anger at a number of things: government over-reach, the broken rule of law, inequality, crony capitalism, lack of meaningful representation from elected officials, degenerated race relations… we all know the many things that have created the seething undercurrent in this country.
Weaknesses in the German Constitution crippled the government. In fact, there were many people in Germany who wanted a return to dictatorship. When the crisis came in 1929–1933 – there was no one who was prepared or able to fight to stop Hitler.
Here in the U.S., we have a growing number of people who promote / want socialism, or expect the government to take a more authoritarian approach. Our Constitution is in shambles after the actions of the past few Presidents, with many questioning whether it really stands for something any more. When the rule of law fails, that’s a sure sign that we are facing a constitutional crisis. We even have a governor (TX) calling for a Constitutional Convention to restore states’ rights… I’d say that fits, as well.
The financial support of wealthy businessmen gave Hitler the money to run his propaganda and election campaigns.
Banks, MIC companies, foreign governments, shadowy billionaires pulling strings, TPTB… always been this way, always will be, with very few exceptions throughout history.
Nazi propaganda persuaded the German masses to believe that the Jews were to blame and that Hitler was their last hope.
Plenty of this to go around on both sides… Muslims are the problem, illegal immigrants, black people / white people, China, you name it. There’s a LOT of finger-pointing and tribalism going on now, and one guy standing up and saying he’s going to fix everything.
Promises to fix everything
Hitler promised everybody something, so they supported him.
No one’s doing that just yet — promising something to everyone — but we’re not far off. Trump is saying things people want to hear, which is the power behind his meteoric rise. He’s claiming he’s going to get blacks voting for him, he’s going to get women voting for him… like most of the politicians we need to worry about the most, he’s broadening his appeal in order to achieve what he wants to do. But is it good for everyone? Will he really do it? Once someone like that is elected, they tend to do whatever they want, no matter what they’ve said in the past. Just look at our current fiasco-in-charge.
Attacks on other parties
The Stormtroopers attacked Jews and people who opposed Hitler. Many opponents kept quiet simply because they were scared of being murdered – and, if they were, the judges simply let the Stormtroopers go free.
We’re not here yet, though one could say the current Administration has this one nailed. The IRS is used to target opposition, the NSA can take down anyone they want to, police forces around the nation already act above the law and get away with it. It wouldn’t take much for a REAL authoritarian to take advantage of the stage that’s been set. Which is why it’s so important to get past the “it’s only against blacks / conservatives / immigrants” mentality. Remember the Hangman.
Hitler was a brilliant speaker, and his eyes had a peculiar power over people. He was a good organizer and politician. He was a driven, unstable man, who believed that he had been called by God to become dictator of Germany and rule the world. This kept him going when other people might have given up. His self-belief persuaded people to believe in him.
Driven, organized, belief that only he can fix things, grandiose statements of making the country “great” again… signs that we should tread very, very carefully.
After the Wall Street Crash of 1929, the US called in its loans to Germany, and the German economy collapsed. The number of unemployed grew; people starved on the streets. In the crisis, people wanted someone to blame, and looked to extreme solutions – Hitler offered them both, and Nazi success in the elections grew.
We don’t have people literally starving, though more are below poverty level than when the War of Poverty started. Instead, we have people “starving” from societal, family and community breakdown. People want someone to blame and they’re looking for extreme solutions — Trump on one hand / Hillary or Sanders on the other. Either way, we lose.
“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” — Santayana, The Life of Reason, 1905