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Germany – The Rise of the Nazi Party, 1918-33

5. Was the Republic Destroyed by the Depression?

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In this module, we look at whether the Republic was destroyed by the Depression. The 1929 Wall Street Crash led to withdrawal of US loans from German banks, and thus a withdrawal of German bank loans from German industry. This caused mass unemployment. The unemployed, however, did not vote en masse for NSDAP; the Communists were above all the party of the unemployed, gaining from their votes above all in areas with a strong labour movement tradition. The Nazis won votes from all sectors, concerned in general terms about the economic crisis, and especially from the middle classes, pushed into panic by the growing popularity of the Communist Party. Hitler’s propaganda was vague but energetic and gave the Nazis the image of a vigorous and determined party that would restore stability and order, and bring about an economic recovery and rebirth of German pride. Big business did not back the NSDAP, but spread its donations around several parties, especially the DNVP (which did not prevent its electoral collapse). The NSDAP was funded by members, and by small business. The Depression was in many ways the last straw. The Republic was clearly unable to provide economic stability and success.


In this course, Professor Sir Richard J. Evans (University of Cambridge) discusses the rise of the Nazi Party from 1918-33. In the the first module, we'll set out the entire period with a timeline of crucial events. In the following modules, we'll then go on to answer some key questions: (i) did proportional representation cause political instability? (ii) did the power and personality of the President undermine the Republic? (iii) was the Weimar Republic undermined by inflation? (iv) was the Republic destroyed by the Depression? (v) did Hitler come to power legally?


Sir Richard J. Evans is Regius Professor Emeritus of History at the University of Cambridge and is Provost of Gresham College. He specialises in European history with a focus on Germany. He is the author of eighteen books, including a three-volume series called The Third Reich Trilogy.

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APA style

Evans, R. (2021, December 01). Germany – The Rise of the Nazi Party, 1918-33 - Was the Republic Destroyed by the Depression? [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Evans, Richard. "Germany – The Rise of the Nazi Party, 1918-33 – Was the Republic Destroyed by the Depression?." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 01 Dec 2021,

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