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How did Hitler rise to power? - Alex Gendler and Anthony Hazard


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Decades after the fall of the Third Reich, it feels impossible to understand how Adolf Hitler, the tyrant who orchestrated one of the largest genocides in human history, could ever have risen to power in a democratic country. So how did it happen, and could it happen again? Alex Gendler and Anthony Hazard dive into the history and circumstances that allowed Hitler to become Führer of Germany.

Additional Resources for you to Explore

There were several key dates in Hitler’s political rise to power. First and foremost, the way World War I ended had a huge influence on these events. The German government surrendered without being militarily defeated. This caused a great deal of frustration and anger amongst the German people. Hitler exploited this to the fullest extent, and used it to discredit and criticize the new Weimar Republic that was created thereafter. The Great Depression was another key event in the story of how Hitler was able to rise to political power in Germany. He continued feeding the German people lies of government economic conspiracies, and banking corruption (which he alleged were caused by Jews within the country). 

While this lesson focuses on Hitler’s rhetoric and exploitation of Germany’s fears in his campaign for power, more information on his life before politics can be found here. For more information on his background, childhood, and rise to power, see Hitler’s Boyhood and political views.

It is also interesting to consider the international contemporary perspective on Hitler's ascension - see British media perspectives on Hitler’s Rise, key events and dates for his ascension to the top of German politics. Also, this BBC video is included for visual learners. This is a documentary that takes people through the reasons why the German people grew to think of Hitler as the savior of the country. Propaganda played a core role in convincing the German people that democracy and freedom was making the country weak and powerless.

For a useful resource for younger learners curious about the rise of Hitler and Nazi Germany, please see Nathaniel Harriss 2004 picture book The Rise of Hitler.

For older readers, Henry Ashby Turner Jr.'s book Hitler’s Thirty Days to Power: January 1933 book explains how government officials and business leaders made certain behind closed doors that Hitler would become chancellor of Germany. These officials underestimated Hitler, and thought he could be used as a government puppet to increase their own power and further their own agendas.

A number of the sound effects for this video were sourced from Free Sound. Special thanks to: Robinhood76, Cell31_Sound_Productions, unchaz, RT759

Full credits for this video:
Directed by Owen Gent and Hugh Cowling
Produced by Owen Gent and Hugh Cowling
Designed by Owen Gent and Hugh Cowling
Art Directed by Owen Gent and Hugh Cowing
Storyboard Art by Owen Gent and Hugh Cowling
Illustration by Owen Gent
Animated by Hugh Cowling
Edited by Hugh Cowling
Composited by Hugh Cowling
Sound Design by Hugh Cowling
Composed by Hugh Cowling

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Meet The Creators

  • Educator Anthony Hazard, Alex Gendler
  • Creator Owen Gent, Hugh Cowling
  • Narrator Addison Anderson

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