How Did Hitler Take Advantage of the Great Depression?

Hitler took advantage of the Great Depression by using the misery of the German people and the chaos in government to expedite his rise to power. During the election campaign of 1930, just after the start of the depression, he toured the country making vague promises of employment, prosperity, order and German glory to the suffering Germans.

During the period of German prosperity before the depression, the Nazi Party was minuscule, though tightly controlled and well disciplined. The depression fractured the German economy and government. Failing in his attempt to invoke emergency powers, Chancellor Heinrich Bruening asked President Hindenburg to dissolve the Reichstag and call for new elections. The Nazis took the opportunity to launch an aggressive, meticulously orchestrated campaign all over Germany. The Nazi Party received over 6,000,000 votes, or 18 percent of the total, and won 107 seats in the Reichstag, making it the second most powerful political party in Germany.

In 1932, with the Great Depression worsening and millions unemployed and starving, Hitler ran for the presidency against Hindenburg. Many German people looked to him for salvation in this time of crisis. Though he lost, he got over 30 percent of the vote and forced the election into a runoff. By the end of January 1933, after much intrigue and many threats, Hitler became Chancellor of Germany and effectively controlled the Germany government. Within weeks, he was dictator of Germany.