Was Hitler "that good" or just "that lucky" ?

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by GlobalHumanism, Sep 16, 2016.

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Hitler's Rise to Power

  1. Mostly Luck

    100 vote(s)
    80.0%
  2. Mostly Ability

    25 vote(s)
    20.0%
  1. GlobalHumanism Well-known and unliked member

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    Watching a documentary on Hitler's rise to power and it seems to paint the Nazi's ultimate political success as occurring mostly due to dumb luck (Great Depression, Hindeburg's Death, Hitler's Chancellorship, etc) without which the Nazis would've just ended up being a fad of extreme times.
    That being said I've also seen documentaries that argued the opposite, painting Hitler and his clique as being cunning enough to take advantage of said situation where lesser politicians couldn't.

    What do you think?

    Focusing specifically on Hitler and his abilities during his and his party's rise to power, was he just that good or just that lucky?
     
  2. SRBO Shitpost enthusiast Banned

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    People seem to think that certain politicians can never ever get to power under normal circumstances (the truth burns them and causes instant brain death). The entire Nazism in Germany thing can be described as:

    1. be politician
    2. be pissed and want to change things
    3. turns out people are pissed also
    4. be elected to power
    5. do what you want to do
    6. oh wait you're actually angry at the jews because 1918 german revolution
    7. turns out a lot of jews are in the banking business
    8. this pisses off everyone against you because money talks hehe
    9. lose war
    10. have your ideology rekt for a long time
     
  3. Napoleonrules Banned

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    uh...what? Are you saying people were pissed off at Hitler because "money talks" and "a lot of Jews are in the banking business"... are you serious?
     
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  4. Lalli Well-Known Member

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    Mostly lucky. Nazi leaders had only few political experience before they gained power. Them had only just good situation. Economy was crushed, frustration over Versailles and nazis had some good orators who were able give promises about change.
     
  5. SRBO Shitpost enthusiast Banned

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    Not the people, the countries that were involved were. The "outrage" wasn't much of a reason to go to war since it would be weird to go to war due to plain genocide, since many countries were doing ethnic cleansing in places themselves.

    The entire thing could have been averted by invading when Germany got uppity the first time
     
  6. EnglishCanuck Blogger/Writer/Dangerous Moderate

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    The Nazis were supposed to be easily controlled stooges to keep the SPD in power under Brunning. Schleicher managed to convince Hindenburg he could control Hitler and use the fact that these were the two largest parties to form a super-majority and prevent another election. In fact Schleicher practically assured Hindenburg he could control Hitler and the Nazis even after Hindenburg left office, and then started plotting to undermine Brunning. Boy was he wrong...

    In fact had they just risked elections it is possible the Nazis would never have been able to come to power. Though in short, Hitler was a talented orator and had a good feel for the pulse of the German people and was able to whip up a frenzy in the population, but even that was not enough to come to power through legitimate means. It was a tragic comedy of old reactionaries unwilling to risk losing power that allowed him to get in.
     
  7. ObssesedNuker Commander of 10 million men

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    Napoleon has a famous quote when informed of the skill of a prospective general: "That's all very well, but is he lucky?" Some people have taken that quote at face value, but there's more to it than that. Napoleon saw luck as something a man could influence. Many people are thrown chances in life, but the "lucky" men are those who, whether through talent, education, or both, are able to see them and seize them. So the answer is really both. Had the situation not been what it was, Hitler would not have risen to power. Had Hitler not had the skill to maneuver the situation to power, he also would not have risen to power. Just having one or the other is inadequate.

    Define "legitimate means". Because the manner in which Hitler seized power may not have been democratic but it was perfectly within the legal framework of the Weimar Republic.
     
  8. CalBear Your Ursus arctos californicus Moderator Moderator Donor

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    What. THE. F###?

    Hate the Jews because of the 1918 German Revolution?

    Lots Jews are in the Banking Business?

    Everyone was against the Nazis because of the two issues above and "money talks"?

    Wow. Just wow. You have two previous kicks for racism. Considering that, this is WAY past a kick.

    Banned for Nazi apologia.

    We divorce you.

    upload_2016-9-16_12-16-38.png
     
  9. Insider 9/11 wasn't mine job Banned

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    So my superhoned senses were true... this is a Banbait thread.
     
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  10. USSManhattan Teacher and Writer of Things

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    I think a little from column A and a little column B.

    Hitler, at least in the beginning, was very good at exploiting and taking advantage of an opponent's weakness. He was also lucky in that the power struggles of the failing Weimar Republic gave an opening, and he took it.
     
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  11. Tonrich Well-Known Member

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    Based on the economic situation in Germany something drastic was bound to happen. The price of a loaf of bread went from 1 mark to 1000 marks in the span of 6 months. It wiped out the middle class and 2/3rds of the population became paupers. People didn't just want change they demanded it and Hitler was able to stoke their anger. Unfortunately when your world falls apart you look for someone to blame. Hitler was able to take advantage of this and got himself in position to use his ability to go the rest of the way. I agree with USSManhattan that it was both.
     
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  12. Tonrich Well-Known Member

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    Based on the economic situation in Germany something drastic was bound to happen. The price of a loaf of bread went from 1 mark to 1000 marks in the span of 6 months. It wiped out the middle class and 2/3rds of the population became paupers. People didn't just want change they demanded it and Hitler was able to stoke their anger. Unfortunately when your world falls apart you look for someone to blame. Hitler was able to take advantage of this and got himself in position to use his ability to go the rest of the way. I agree with USSManhattan that it was both.
     
  13. Jasen777 AOC Twitter Repost Bot Donor

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    Both. How good was he in the Beer Hall Putsch? But then again the economic situation was an opportunity for lots of unsavory types, and he's the one that came out on top.
     
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  14. tenthring Banned

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    As far as I can tell Hitler had two things going for him:

    1) Skilled Orator. Go watch videos of his speeches. The crowds are manic. He's a celebrity. It doesn't matter how it looks to us, it's obvious the effect it had on the crowds. This wasn't a dictatorship like Stalin's where nobody liked the guy.

    2) He was very good at telling people what they want to hear, and making them believe it. Everyone got this guy wrong. Inside Germany. Outside Germany. What were in theory the sharpest minds. He got away with shit year after year for close to a decade.

    That said, it seems pretty clear to me it took incredible luck to 1) gain permanent power rather then win an election but fade fast, and 2) not lose the war quickly in the 1938-1940 timeframe.
     
  15. Mister Abbadon Well-Known Member

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    skilled speaker, lucky in everything else.
     
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  16. Detlef CMII

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    Lots of luck I´d say. Add in some cunning up to 1940?

    Just consider a few situations:

    In the mid-1920s Bavaria tried to deport Hitler back to Austria.
    Austria refused, citing that Hitler lost his Austrian citizenship when he didn´t report to the Austrian military once WW1 started.
    Making him a deserter. :)
    Of course that was after the 1923 putsch attempt in Munich so I can somewhat understand the Austrians. :)
    Which means that Hitler was stateless in the 1920s.
    It was only through the efforts of some Nazi sympathizers that Hitler finally got German citizenship in February 1932.
    Seven earlier efforts since 1925 were unsuccessful.
    If that effort in 1932 had been unsuccessful too, he couldn´t have been a Presidential candidate in 1932.
    And he couldn´t have been nominated as Chancellor in January 1933.

    In 1932 there were two Reichstag (federal) elections because no government with a majority could be formed after the first elections.
    One in July and one in November. In the November elections the Nazi party lost 4.2% of the votes compared to July.
    Some time ago I did read some newspaper articles about some notes written by Goebbels after the November elections.
    In them Goebbels basically said that the Nazi party was bankrupt. The November elections were financed with IOUs signed by Hitler.
    And Hitler was fretting about what to do once he was asked to pay.
    No money to finance the party organization, no money to repay the IOUs.
    According to Goebbels Hitler considered either suicide or emigrating to South America.
    He (and the Nazi party) were only saved by the machinations of Hugenberg (leader of the right-wing nationalist DNVP party) and his clique.
    They pressured Hindenburg (then President of the German Weimar Republic) to call on Hitler to form a new government.
    Hindenburg didn´t like Hitler, he called him the "Bohemian Corporal".
    But in 1932 Hindenburg was already old, he would die in 1934, and so he finally surrendered to get a little quiet.
    If he had held out a few months more it is possible that the Nazi party would have "imploded".
    (One of the great attractions for example was food, a warm meal given to party members. Great Depression remember?)

    Then there are his political "successes" in the 1930s (up to 1938?) before WW2.
    Pretty much all of them (less re-armament though and certainly not a World War) were things the Weimar Republic was working for too.
    Hitler just had the luck to be government leader when Britain and France (mainly Britain) finally decided that some of Germany´s demands were reasonable.
    If the allies had obliged me just one single time, I would have brought the German people behind me, yes; even today, I could still get them to support me. However, they (the allies) gave me nothing and the minor concessions they made, always came too late. Thus, nothing else remains for us but brutal force. The future lies in the hands of the new generation. Moreover, they, the German youth, who we could have won for peace and reconstruction, we have lost. Herein lies my tragedy and there, the allies' crime.

    — Stresemann (German foreign minister), to diplomat Sir Albert Bruce Lockhart in 1928
    Not sure if this is a real Stresemann quote. It´s a Wikipedia quote. I cite it here because it really describes the tragedy of the Weimar Republic. Pretty much everything that was denied the democratically elected Weimar governments in the 1920s was given for free to Hitler in the 1930s.
    Saarland, Rhineland, re-armament, stop of reparations, Anglo-German Naval agreement, unification with Austria (something that Austrians wanted in 1919 and refused by the Entente).

    And let´s not forget all the assassination attempts.
    28 attempts after Hitler became leader of Germany in January 1933. That´s 28 in 12 years!
    Plus 7 between 1921 and 1923.
    If I were to write a TL with the "evil hero" surviving 35 assassination attempts, quite likely my story would be moved either to the ASB forum or the History Writer´s forum. :biggrin:
     
  17. Evermourn Well-Known Member

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    Both. You don't get to be head of a major party and get to be leader of the country without skill. But his luck in the first couple of the years of the war was frankly unbelievable. Norway, France, Russia - it was like ASB's handed everyone else the idiot ball. Not to mention he was super lucky just avoiding death, several assassination attempts could easily have worked out, and even in the Beer Hall Putsch he could have caught a bullet which would have finished his story before it really started.
     
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  18. Puzzle Donor

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    I don't think he was much luckier than anyone else who rises to the top of a nation. There's so many ways he could have not made it, Germany was ripe for somebody but Hitler rolled sixes. However any replacement would have rolled sides as well. In WWII he was definitely lucky, but before the war I don't think he was any luckier than Obama or Reagan.
     
  19. GlobalHumanism Well-known and unliked member

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    This is a good point
    Sometimes when read about the tactical achievements of the German army during the early years, i really start to wonder if that theory about us living in a simulation might be legit.
    How else can you explain stroke of luck after stroke of luck.
     
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  20. joelwilliamson Well-Known Member

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    Hyperinflation had ended by January 1924. If it was inflation that drove the German people to vote for Hitler, it is surprising he didn't win any seats in either of the 1924 elections.