How Did the Nazi Party Rise to Power?

Contributor: Meghan Vestal. Lesson ID: 11254

How could millions of people allow a corrupt, vile political movement to gain power? The soil for such success can exist in any culture any time. Learn how Hitler rode the wave of discontent to power!



learning style
personality style
Lion, Beaver
Grade Level
Middle School (6-8), High School (9-12)
Lesson Type
Dig Deeper

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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Most people are familiar with Adolf Hitler and the Nazi party. Almost everyone who has heard of Hitler and the Nazis recognizes this German political movement as one of the most corrupt in all of history. But, if this party and its leader were so vile, how did they manage to rise to power? In this lesson, you will examine the rise of the Nazi party in Germany during the 1930s.

In the previous lesson, found under Related Lessons in the right-hand sidebar, you learned about the ideology and beliefs of the German Nazi party.

Before you begin investigating how this undisputedly morally-corrupt party rose to power, review what you have already learned. Discuss the following questions with a teacher or parent:

  • How did Hitler become the Nazi leader?
  • Why was there an increase in German political parties after World War I?
  • What are five core beliefs held by the Nazi party?
  • Would you believe the Nazi party was once considered so radical that the German government banned the political movement and imprisoned Hitler?

This all happened in the 1920s before the Nazi party rose to power.

  • How did that happen?
  • How did the Nazi party go from being a radical movement to the dominant political force in Germany?

Watch this How did Hitler rise to power? - Alex Gendler and Anthony Hazard video by TEDEd. As you watch the video, make a list of the events that contributed to the rise of the Nazi party:

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When the video is over, share the list you created with your teacher or parent and explain what you learned about the Nazis rise to power.

  • What caused the Nazi party to become the leading political force in Germany?

The short answer is World War I. The conclusion of WWI created tension throughout Germany. Since the Germans lost the war, they had to take responsibility for any damage caused by the war, and were forced to pay more than $27,000,000 in reparations to the nations that won the war. The debt was so massive that Germans did not pay it off until 2010, almost 100 years after the war ended.

The reparations they were forced to pay created economic disaster throughout Germany. In addition, many Germans were angry about the loss and looked for someone to blame. Adolf Hitler, who had recently joined the small Nazi party, blamed the Jews.

Hitler was a charismatic person and an excellent public speaker. This allowed his theory and the Nazi party to gain some attention, but the government feared his ideas were too radical. So, the government banned the Nazi party and put Hitler in jail.

When Hitler was released from prison, he immediately resumed his message of hate against the Jews. Around the same time, the Great Depression struck in the United States with the stock market crash of 1929. The stock market crash devastated an already weak German economy, and created more political tension throughout Germany. More people became increasingly dissatisfied with the government and its leaders.

Hitler used the crisis to his advantage and gained popularity with the people. Slowly, he began to rise through the political ranks. People whom he saw as potential opponents were murdered, and politicians endorsed him because they wanted to remain in good standing with the people.

Finally, in 1934, Hitler was made Fuhrer, or political leader, of Germany. At this time, the Nazi party became the controlling political party. Other political parties began to disappear as more and more civilians watched their liberties taken from them.

  • Does the story of how the Nazi party rose to power shock you?
  • What do you find most interesting about Hitler and the Nazi movement?

Discuss your opinions with a teacher or parent, then, move on to the Got It? section to continue learning about the rise of the Nazi party.

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