The Increasing Popularity during Adolf Hitler’s Rise to Power provided the much needed charisma desired by the Nazi to spread its ideology. In 1928 Hitler began his attempt to build the power of the party by democratic means. In the 1928 election the Nazi Party received just fewer than 3 percent of the vote, but during the campaign it had gathered a strong base. In 1929 a new settlement of the war reparations question, the Young Plan, was adopted, opening up the possibility of an early end to the remaining foreign occupation of a portion of Germany. Such an event might stabilize the republic, and in fear of this, the republic’s opponents organized a national initiative against the plan. This initiative, which was financed by the German nationalist Alfred Hugenberg, provided Hitler with opportunities to speak throughout Germany. The initiative to stop the Young Plan failed, but Hitler had recruited new followers who not only believed his message but were also willing to finance the Nazi Party.
In late 1929 the first effects of the worldwide economic depression were felt in Germany. The last government of the Weimar Republic based on a majority in the Reichstag (the German parliament) was not able to cope with the crisis and fell in March 1930. President Paul von Hindenburg appointed a new government led by Heinrich Brüning as chancellor (prime minister). However, Brüning and the Reichstag could not agree on how to resolve the crisis. Hindenburg dissolved the legislature and operated the government by emergency decree, rather than through the normal legislative procedure. In new elections held that September, the Nazis scored a great electoral breakthrough, increasing their representation in the Reichstag from 12 to 107.
The victory of the Nazi Party, which had campaigned vigorously for the repudiation of all of Germany’s financial obligations, caused foreign investors to withdraw their money from Germany, and the German banking system collapsed due to lack of capital. As economic conditions worsened, the appeal of the Nazis was far more effective than that of other parties: The Nazis were the one group that claimed to have all the answers. In a short time, the other political parties lost voters to the Nazis. Unemployment rose drastically, and in this time of great economic hardship many who had never voted before were drawn to the Nazi Party, which offered simplistic but appealing solutions to their problems and was not tied to one class or interest group. Consequently, they believed it could establish a government that would be more effective than the republic. In elections held in 1932, the Nazis received more votes than any other party, and Hitler demanded that President Hindenburg appoint him chancellor.
Though Hindenburg at first refused to appoint Hitler, a small group of men around the president urged him to do so. They felt that Hitler could be controlled and his popularity and talents could be used to further the interests of the government. As the year progressed, Brüning’s successor Franz von Papen grew unpopular as his attempts to revive the economy failed. Hindenburg replaced him with the political leader of the army, Kurt von Schleicher. Von Papen took revenge on Schleicher by joining forces with Hitler and Alfred Hugenberg. They talked the elderly Hindenburg into making Hitler chancellor in a cabinet in which von Papen would be vice-chancellor and most other ministers would be non-Nazis. On January 30, 1933, Hitler was sworn in as chancellor of Germany. Those who disliked the republic had persuaded the president to turn over authority to its sworn enemy. The increasing popularity during Adolf Hitler’s rise to power helped shape his administration as chancellor of Germany in subsequent years.