Share This Article

If Hitler had not happened, do you think the Nazi or some similar party would have gained control of Germany?




Dear Mr. Lorio,

Germany in the wake of the degrading terms of the 1919 Versailles Treaty and the struggle between right and left wing elements over the succeeding few years was rife with discontent and numerous radical elements seething beneath the surface of the Weimar Republic. Anti-Semitism had been an undercurrent since the 11th century and Adolf Hitler was hardly the only one to subscribe to a “stab in the back” theory that Jewish business interests, combined (contradictory though it seems) with communism, had been primarily responsible for Germany losing the war. It is impossible, however, to ascertain whether anyone else among the right-wing extremists might have matched Hitler’s particular skill at finding the right chord to strike to get the votes necessary to be elected chancellor in January 1933—as well as the ruthless follow-up of eliminating enough potential opposition to put himself securely in power to pursue his ambitions. For that matter, though, Hitler might not have achieved what he did without the right subordinates and supporters being in the right positions at the right time. For example, some of his wealthier or more politically influential supporters backed him because they underestimated the former lance corporal, believing that they could ultimately control him—until they learned otherwise. All of those factors render the whole question strictly speculative.




Jon Guttman

Research Director

World History

More Questions at Ask Mr. History


Don’t miss the next Ask Mr. History question! To receive notification whenever any new item is published on HistoryNet, just scroll down the column on the right and sign up for our RSS feed.