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The Reasons for the Rise of the Nazi Dictatorship Essay

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The reasons for the rise of the Nazi Dictatorship of the 1930’s and 40’s have been a topic much debated upon by historians for decades. Arguably the most prominent theory is the idea of a “Sonderweg” or special path taken by Germany that “deviates from the normal path to modernity… the British way, the first and therefore classical model.” There is ample evidence of a “Sonderweg” throughout Wilhelmine/Bismarckian Germany, from the lack of a real democracy in 1871 to attempts to repress threats through policies such as Kulturkampf and the anti-Socialist laws. There is also evidence in Weimar Germany, such as the structural weaknesses of the constitution, for example proportional representation and Article 48. There is, however, evidence…show more content…
Another sign of a “Sonderweg” in Germany during Bismarck’s reign was his attempts to repress threats through force. “Bismarck always held that the best foundation for an alliance was to have a common enemy.” This was illustrated in his Kulturkampf policies in which he attempted to appeal to the Protestant population in the German Empire which made up 61% of the populous by restricting and persecuting the Catholic population. For example, in 1872, religious schools were forced to undergo official inspections carried out by the government and religious teachers were banned from government schools. Then in May 1873 when the May Laws were enacted, nearly half of all seminaries in Prussia closed as a result. Bismarck’s failed attempts to suppress the threat of the socialists through use of the anti-Socialist laws was another sign of a special German path. The laws did not ban the SPD directly but instead aimed to cripple it, so that it was no longer a threat, through various means. Groups meeting who aimed to spread social democrat principles were banned and trade unions were outlawed. Bismarck also introduced old age pensions, accident and unemployment insurance and medical care in an attempt to win the support of the working class and keep them content with the current regime. Despite these attempts to cripple the socialists, the party continued to gain popular support.

During Bismarck’s reign, there were attempts made by him to distract
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