How Hitler came to Power describes how, what amounted to a conspiracy of German military and industrial cliques, and in particular members of the pre-First World War Pan German League, manipulated Allied leaders and misrepresented the Treaty of Versailles to further their ambitions. It was they who created the conditions which let Hitler come to power.
Economic historian Sara Moore is the author of Peace without Victory for the Allies, 1918-1932 (Berg 1994). In her new book she skilfully details how America and the Allies failure to secure an ‘unconditional surrender’ allowed factions within the German ruling elites to portray their country’s military defeat as a stab in the back by weak liberal politicians. They shared beliefs in Bismarck’s legacy of ‘blood and iron’, the ideology of the ‘master race’ and Germany’s destiny as a world power.
Millions had voted for democracy and pacifism in 1928. This angered members of the Pan German League, such as newspaper magnate, Alfred Hugenberg and his former employer, Gustav Krupp. The pursued their nefarious schemes to undermine the Weimar Republic with zero regard for the human cost. Real Politik ruled. Moore reveals that Germany was world’s largest exporter in 1931 and its Reichsbank full of funds, when it pointed to the misery of its people and asked for a moratorium on its reparations payments. Foreigners worried about Germany’s huge number of unemployed and feared that the country would be overcome by Bolshevism but their fears were groundless because, unknown to them, Krupp had secretly concluded a contract in which he agreed to assist Stalin in modernising his armed forces provided that Stalin ordered the German Communists to vote with the extreme Right instead of the Left in the German Reichstag. Krupp also helped Stalin create and organise giant collectives to pay for his weaponry. Demoralised by taxation, mass unemployment and misinformation the German people finally lost their faith in democracy and in 1932 voted to support Hitler. Only a short time later Hindenburg allowed him to become dictator. Yet Krupp, Hugenberg and the Pan Germans who helped Hitler’s rise to power seem to have escaped censure for eighty years.