Published online by Cambridge University Press: 05 February 2021
Chapter 6 explains how fascism – exceptionally – managed to seize power in crisis-ridden Germany. In this fairly modern society, conservative elites had sufficient clout to undermine liberal democracy, but not enough control to impose authoritarianism and block a fascist upsurge. The chapter explains how Hitler took advantage of these weaknesses and built a party that during the Great Depression quickly drew skyrocketing support. In this crisis, conservative efforts to maintain stability through presidential decree powers or through the imposition of an authoritarian regime failed. For apparent lack of alternatives, the NSDAP (National-Sozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei – National-Socialist German Workers’ Party) eventually gained power, which Hitler immediately used to push toward totalitarianism.