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1930s, seeing significant incremental increases in the percentage
of the vote garnered by the National Socialists. In elections
held in 1932, for example, the party garnered 36 percent
of the vote in Prussia; 32 percent in Bavaria; 26 percent in
Württemberg; and 31 percent in Hamburg. These totals did not
directly result in high governmental positions in those places,
but was a signal of the improving strength of the National
Socialists with the electorate.
Hitler's deft use of the SA, commonly referred to as his
"brown shirts," also demonstrates his refined understanding
of how that tool could be used. When together en masse,
the SA projected strength, and alternatively served as a force
for the preservation of order as well as a source of threat and
instrument of retribution.
We're Riverview Bank-a hometown community Bank with
Hitler became Chancellor of Germany in January 1933
local faces you know, local people you trust.
while the revered, yet seriously ailing Paul Von Hindenburg,
Stop in and say Hello to our Berks team: Greg Kline, Jason Shaffer,
was Reich President. Within 18 months, Hitler parlayed his
Laurie Kercher, Connie D'Augustine, Sue Bushold, Jessica Orrell,
position in a parliamentary form of government into becoming
Dan Weber and Jess Yourkavitch.
absolute ruler of the German people.
Those of us old enough to remember the Cronkite narrated
program "The Twentieth Century," which was run in serial
fashion in the late '50s and early '60s, will recall seeing crude
black and white film footage of Hitler addressing huge crowds,
particularly at Nuremberg. Although the quality of both audio
and video left much to be desired, even a youthful viewer had to
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be struck by Hitler's absolute command of those masses.
As early as 1924, his confederate Rudolf Hess, imprisoned
with Hitler at Landsberg, wrote, "There won't be anyone like
or Selling?
him for quite some time, a man who can sweep away both Bank Better Ad.indd
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the most left wing lathe operator and right wing government
official in a single mass event." Even at the beginning of his
term as Chancellor, his effect on the masses was otherworldly.
Ullrich likens this adulation visited upon Hitler to that of "a
 Experience  Energy
pop star." In April of 1933, Goebbels, after traveling with him
 Enthusiasm
from Berchtesgaden to Munich, observed that "Everywhere
 Education (Legal Background)
ovations for him . . . magnificent how the people are
awakening." Obviously, Hitler's lack of formal education was
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no hindrance.
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The noted novelist and social commentator Thomas
Mann, a bitter critic of Hitler, gave the devil his due. Mann
attributed Hitler's rise to power to his "eloquence, which
although unspeakably base, has huge sway over the masses."
Konrad Heiden, one of the aforementioned biographers of our
subject, described him as possessing an "unusually sensitive
seismograph of the soul." American observers of the time,
including reporters and governmental officials, made similar
observations. "He was an evangelist speaking at a tent meeting,
the Billy Sunday of German politics . . . those he had converted

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Continued on page 24

Spring/Summer 2017 | 23

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