Argumentative Essay on None Provided3

This essay has a total of 2813 words and 12 pages.

None Provided3



On November 18th of 1918, Germany, a member of the Central Powers, surrendered
unconditionally to the allies. World War I had ended with a total of 37 million
casualties, including 9 million dead combatants. German propaganda had not prepared that
nation for defeat, and its suddenness resulted in a sense of injured German national
pride. Following the defeat of Germany in World War I and in the midst of a great
worldwide depression, both the social and political climates were prime for a dictator
such as Adolf Hitler to rise to power.

A year later, in June of 1919, the leaders of the Allies met at the Palace of Versailles
to decide on the peace settlement after World War I. The treaty, which was a compromise of
ideas from George Clemanceau, Prime minister of France, David Lloyd George, the Prime
Minister of Great Britain, Vittorio Orlando, the Prime minister of Italy, and Woodrow
Wilson, President of the United States. According to the terms of the peace agreement,
Germany was forced to reduce its army to 100,000 men, reduce the navy to 6 warships and
was not allowed to have any submarines, destroy all of its air force and give land to
Belgium, France, Denmark and Poland. This was not all, however. The allies concluded the
Germany must be forced to "pay" for it's mistakes against the rest of the world, so it was
also forced to hand over all of it's colonies, agree to pay reparations to the Allies for
all of the damage caused by the war, a sum totaling over 6 and a half billion marks, and
to accept all blame for the war in the 'War Guilt Clause'. To Germany, the Treaty of
Versailles seemed as if the Allies dictated it purely on revenge. In such a war-ravaged
country, it seemed impossible for the government to pay back this incredible amount of
money. Although economists at the time declared that such a huge sum could never be
collected without upsetting international finances, the Allies insisted that Germany be
compelled to pay, and the treaty permitted the Allies to take punitive actions if Germany
were to fall behind on its payments.

Many Germans did not believe that the German army had actually been defeated in 1918
because Germany had not been invaded. Many Germans, including a young Adolf Hitler, came
to believe that the army had been "stabbed in the back" by the "November Criminals", the
politicians who had signed the armistice which had brought the Great War to an end on the
11th of November in 1918. Also, Germany felt that it had been made a scapegoat by the
other countries involved in the war. After all, didn't the war start when a Serbian
assassinated an Austrian ruler? In any case, the German people were getting more and more
restless with their government. The reparation costs were incredibly high, and Germany
felt no obligation to pay them because in their minds the Allies had betrayed them, forced
them to sign the treaty once they could not continue fighting. When the subsequent
peace-treaty did not reflect United States President Woodrow Wilson's lenient 14 points,
the myth arose that Germany had not been defeated in honest battle but by dishonest
deceit.

By 1920, the economy of Germany was rapidly crumbling to an all-time low. As far as
natural resources, Germany was only producing three-fourths of it's possible coal
production and only one-half of it's steel. Both small and large farms alike began to
declare bankruptcy due to the lack of animals available, causing a lack of fertilizer and
then, bad crops of food. Between 1913 and 1919 the national debt rose from five to 154
billion gold marks, while paper money in circulation increased from two to 45 billion. "On
the occupation of the Rhur in January 1923, it fell to 18,000 to the dollar; by July 1, it
had dropped to 160,000; by August 1, to a million. By November, when Hitler thought his
hour had struck, it took 4 billion marks to buy a dollar, and therefore the figures became
trillions." (Shirer, William L. The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi
Germany) At five billion marks, interest on the national debt was larger than the budget
had been in 1913. As the gap between receipts and expenditures continued to grow in 1919,
the policy of reckless borrowing, inflation, and currency devaluation continued as well.
"In reality, the postwar years were almost as bad as the war itself, as far as living
conditions for civilians went. People in towns lived on starvation ratios, although
country people usually had eggs and butter, bread and meat for which they charged high
prices." (Grey, Ronald. Hitler and the Germans) Between 1922 and 1923, hyperinflation set
in. The value of the German mark fell from $600 per mark to $.01 per mark. "By 1923, wages
were paid in millions of marks, and it was necessary to pay millions for quite ordinary
things." (Grey, Ronald. Hitler and the Germans) The government had betrayed its people
once again and lost what little trust and faith the middle class had in the democratic
system. The far left and the far right would always oppose the Weimar Republic for this,
and when the worldwide depression hit in 1930, the middle classes, with nothing left to
fall back on, would join them. As one economic philosopher stated, "What good where the
standards and practices of such a society, which encouraged savings and investment and
solemnly promised a safe return from them and then defaulted? Was this not a fraud upon
the people?" (Shirer, William."The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich")

Consequently, following the strong economic unrest at that time in Germany, political
unrest quickly followed. In Berlin and Munich, left-wing Communist groups proclaimed
Russian-like revolutions, only to meet violent opposition from right-wing nationalist
Freikorps along with regular Army troops. Both Communists and National Socialists argued
that democracy had fatal weaknesses, and that a dictatorship was necessary. Although they
agreed on this, they were bitter enemies, with rival armies of citizen volunteers who
often engaged in street fights. Violence regarding social and political unrest eventually
prevailed and it led to Communists, Socialists and even innocent bystanders being called
to appear and murdered in January, 1919, in Berlin, and in May in Munich.

In early January of 1919, approximately six months prior to the signing of the peace
treaties at Versailles, a small political party called the German Workers Party was
formed. This anti-Semitic, high German nationalism party was led by Anton Drexler. As
stated by Hitler the party was, "This absurd little organization with its few members
seemed to me to possess the one advantage that it had not frozen into an 'organization,'
but left the individual opportunity for real personal activity. Here it was still possible
to work, and the smaller the movement, the more readily it could be put into the proper
form. Here, the content, the goal, and the road could still be determined..." (Hitler,
Adolf. Mien Kampf) On 12th September, 1919 Adolf Hitler became a member of this Party, and
at the first public meeting held in Munich, February 24th of 1920, he announced the
Party's program. That program, which remained unaltered until the Party was dissolved in
1945, consisted of 25 points, including these five which where the basic standings on
which the German Worker's Party was based:


"Point 1. We demand the unification of all Germans in the Greater Germany, on the basis of
the right of self-determination of peoples.

Point 2. We demand equality of rights for the German People in respect to the other
nations; abrogation of the peace treaties of Versailles and Saint Germain.

Point 3. We demand land and territory for the sustenance of our people, and the colonization of our surplus population.
Point 4. Only a member of the race can be a citizen. A member of the race can only be one
who is of German blood, without consideration of creed. Consequently no Jew can be a
member of the race....

Point 22. We demand abolition of the mercenary troops and formation of a national army."

Of these goals, the one that seems to most pertinent to the party was the removal of the
"disgrace" of the Armistice, and the restrictions of the peace treaties of Versailles and
Saint Germain. In a speech in Munich, Hitler stated, "The Treaty was made in order to
bring 20 million Germans to their deaths, and to ruin the German Nation." As stated by a
critic, "He had always promised to remove the humiliations imposed by the Treaty of
Versailles, and the rearmament programme was essential for that". (Grey, Ronald. Hitler
and the Germans) In 1923, Hitler's attempt at an armed overthrow known as the Beer Hall
Putsch failed miserably. Subsequently, he was convicted on charges of high treason, and
jailed. While in jail, Hitler wrote "Mien Kampf", or "My Struggle", which detailed his
plan for Germany's future Third Reich.

In "Mien Kampf", Hitler divides humans into categories based on physical appearance,
establishing higher and lower groups, or types of humans. At the top, according to Hitler,
is the Northern-European man with his fair skin, blond hair and blue eyes, also known as
an Aryan. He asserts the Aryan is the master race. And so, if there is a supreme form of
human, then there must be others less than supreme, called the 'Untermenschen', or
racially inferior. Hitler assigns this position to Jews and the Slavic peoples, notably
the Czechoslovakians, the Polish, and the Russians. Hitler, however, made it clear that it
was the Jews who are engaged in a conspiracy to keep this master race from assuming its
rightful position as rulers of the world. He claimed that the Jews were ruining the races'
racial and cultural purity and even inventing forms of government in which the Aryan comes
to believe in equality and fails to recognize his racial superiority. This conspiracy idea
Continues for 6 more pages >>




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