While many immediately point to Adolf Hitler, the SS, and the Nazi Party as the initiators of World War II, as they should, many don’t understand that other entities played a key role in provoking the German people to this point. To clarify, Adolf Hitler and the Nazis still deserve harsh, analytical criticism for their evil. However, we need to recognize how some actions, or lack of, created this hellish regime.
The issues that people discuss most as the spark of the Second World War derive from post-World War I stipulations imposed on Germany. The famous Treaty of Versailles always appears in these talks. The Allies almost solely crafted a document benefitting them and forced Germany to sign following the Allied win in World War I. The Treaty of Versailles outlined a few major details that the Germans attested, that Hitler easily latched on to: Germany could not sport more than 100,000 troops. It could only wield a handful of naval ships. They could not occupy their previously captured territories. The Allies also forced Germany to make reparations for the damages done throughout Europe. To add insult to injury, the Allies effectively barred Germany from joining them in the “League of Nations”.
While many would find it hard to dispute the fact that Germany deserved these sanctions following World War I, their impact coupled with the appeasement of Chamberlain’s United Kingdom and Lebrun’s France in the early 1930s helped Hitler rise. The Treaty of Versailles tasked European nations, like France and the UK, with keeping their eye on Germany to prevent another World War. Adolf Hitler, not silently at all, spent nearly a decade holding mass rallies and energizing the people to gain control. He used the sense of a weakened state to advance his measures. The French and British governments knew of this rampage in Germany yet turned a blind eye to it. The Nazis quickly ascended to power thanks to this.
The churches bent in favor of the Nazis to prop up Hitler’s regime, too. Many Christians and even Jewish people originally gave Hitler his power. As aforementioned, Adolf Hitler promised a unified, strong Germany, a message that many could easily latch on to. The biggest example, or perhaps the most profound and impactful, comes when Hitler first gains power. After the election of 1933, the Nazis gained 288 seats in Parliament, or 43.9% of the vote. To gain absolute power, Adolf Hitler wished to push the Enabling Act to the floor of Parliament.
At first, many thought that the Catholic Centre party would stand against Hitler, but to their surprise, the party largely sided with him in the passage of the Enabling Act. They made up 13.9% of Parliament, just behind the Nazi party and the Social Democrats 18.3%. Their votes crucially affected the outcome of this legislation. After the passage of this, very little could be done to stop Adolf Hitler’s complete domination of Germany. As history tells, this might serve as the most direct way that Hitler climbed to power.
Many people don’t talk about the industrialists that supplemented Hitler with funds. Many different creators of chemicals, gas furnaces and weaponry gained massive funds from Hitler’s Holocaust ideas. While the camps and war definitely caused a skyrocketing tax rate for the German people, the industrialists marginalized their taxes with revenue gained from creating their death machines. He chronicled this by hosting a secret meeting between him and wealthy, powerful Germans in 1932.
The Krupp family, an extremely wealthy family in Europe for centuries, gained massive money from their support of Hitler. They invested in him so he would invest in them as Fuehrer. The Krupp family essentially armed the Nazis during the Second World War. The Bayer corporation too influenced the Nazis. In Adolf Hitler’s campaign to chancellery, Bayer Corp donated the most money of anyone to him. They donated to Hitler in exchange for him experimenting on Holocaust prisoners with their risky medicines. Georg Von Schnizler, an executive with the IG Farben corporation, favored Hitler due to his chemical tests. Like Bayer Corp, he got to use his chemicals on Holocaust prisoners.
The Daimler industry, which now produces Mercedes-Benz, used the labor of concentration camp prisoners to build their profits. The Messerschmitt aerospace company created “angels of death” by making some of the German’s most powerful and efficient killers of the sky. The Messerschmitt company remains unique, as unlike the others they ceased operations. Albert Voegler also spent time with Hitler and favored him. Finally, Wolf-Dietrich von Witzleben, as head of the Siemens Corporation, helped produce the gas chambers used to exterminate the Jewish people. While these wealthy industrialists helped the Nazis line their pockets to achieve domination, the common “Volk” supported Hitler just as much.
The voters of Germany take second place for the most direct group that put Hitler in power. Many people forget that before the Enabling Act Germany hosted public elections and allowed the German citizens to decide who they wanted to represent them. In America, we find it rare that a nationally elected leader would receive more than 55% of the popular vote. However, in Germany, Adolf Hitler’s brainwashing tactics and occultist ideology paid off so well that when holding a referendum after the death of Hindenburg, it received 88%. It effectively combined the offices of President and Chancellor, eliminating any outside influence over Hitler’s domination.
Hitler’s influence did not stop in Germany, however. Many other countries around the world, including America, witnessed Nazi rallies in support of Hitler. The general sense of superiority and influence boosted Hitler’s ego and he therefore used this to convince mass amounts of Germans to support him. After the war-torn years, they felt that the sense of collectivism would benefit them over the practice of individualism. The rallies abroad only convinced them subconsciously that Hitler spoke the truth and would solve their problems and grant their wishes. The fact that the world participated in the Olympics in 1936 despite knowing of these heinous actions only better highlights the complacency of nations. The Evian Conference, hosted in France, discussed the massive wave of Jewish immigrants flooding France’s nation. If France struck then and got the United Kingdom involved then our history would tell a different story.
Evidently enough, the Nazis caused immeasurable amounts of pain to millions of people worldwide. Even though they targeted Jewish people, Americans, Russians, French, British, Turkish, Chinese, and even Germans felt the burn from Hitler and his radical Nazi party. The hatred and racial tensions extended far beyond Nazi occupied territory and still scars many today. As previously stated, Adolf Hitler did not gain this power by himself; the complacency of other nations and churches let him steamroll his agenda and turn it into law. The people of Germany and their unwavering support of his hellish ideology only propelled him to enact these authoritarian policies.
While the past seems bleak and burdened by racism, the future remains bright: people all over the world can access any book at any time they want that can tell of the chronicles of Hitler, his demonic deception that led him to Fuehrer, and the complacency of all those able to stop a behemoth but refused to. We must learn from the mistakes of our past and use them as a guide to the future.
From the first pages of Mein Kampf to the suicide in the bunker, so many heads of states, religious leaders, and even common people could have lambasted Hitler and stopped him in his tracks. When people stood their ground to Hitler, he backed down. Foreign leaders shunning of the exiting of the Treaty of Versailles, which they signed along with Germany, and Hitler’s meteoric exit from the League of Nations set off the final signals. Unfortunately the world carried on while millions of innocent people faced persecution. And due to their lack of attentiveness to this evil regime, they lost millions of their own to Adolf Hitler and the Nazi regime, something the world ignored until too late.
All text explaining the roots of Nazis ideological warfare originate from “The Occult Roots of Nazism” by Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke. All other info comes from “HISTORY 121: History of the Holocaust” presented by Dr. Steven Andrews at Penn State Altoona.