Subversion: The Role of Politics Term Paper

Pages: 8 (2586 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 0  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Drama - World

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[. . .] 71). The youth of Thalburg were so enamored with the Nazis that they were "painting swastikas and slogans on sidewalks and walls and distributing leaflets and pamphlets, (p. 72). Thus the perpetuation of Nazi propaganda was complete. They had successfully embedded Nazism into the German, and therefore Thalburg, psyche. The Nazis were also learning the power of the scapegoat. Uniting in a common cause against socialism, and later against the Jews, the Nazis garnered even an even more fervent following.

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But it was clear that the Nazis were gaining votes due to the inadequacies of the other political parties that could not provide an attractive alternative. "Most Thalburgers had little idea what the Nazis would really do after they achieved power. Even the Jews had no notion that the Nazis really meant what they said," (p. 78). Allen goes on to qualify this fact by saying that "anyone who went regularly to Nazi meetings, or read the pamphlets, or even the slogans chalked on the walls, should have been able to discern the vulgar and violent aspects of the NSDAP," (p. 78). Despite efforts to slander the Nazis in the Volksblatt, other political forces failed to deter Nazi supporters or the wavering public. "The year 1932," states Allen, "was the last year of democracy in Germany," (p. 80). The Nazis successfully thwarted any Social Democrat effort to defame them and utilized support from all fronts: economic, social, and religious. Ironically, the Nazis would gain more political power by openly voicing disdain against politics (p. 83).

Term Paper on Subversion: The Role of Politics Assignment

In Chapter Seven, entitled "Political Crescendo," Allen describes the climax of the Nazi political campaign and the by now obvious implications entailed by this regime. The chapter opens: "By the end of the winter of 1931-1932, conditions in Thalburg were favourable to the rapid advance of Nazism. The depression was at its worst, violence was becoming more frequent, and the twin passions of nationalism and class antagonism were at their height. Thalburg's Nazis had established themselves as both respectable and radical. They were seen as patriotic, anti-socialist, and religious...only the Nazis were thought of as sufficiently extreme," (p. 84). The Nazi enjoyed success "only after democracy deteriorated on the national level," (p. 85). The role of splinter parties exacerbated the problem; the populace failed to grasp the operations and implications of democracy as Depression-driven desperation drove people to vote for the most extreme political alternative to the status quo. "Thalburgers were ready, by 1932, for any dictatorship, as long as it guaranteed revolution," (p. 100). That's when things started to fall apart. The Nazis enjoyed a few years of relative stability and took that time to use "pageantry" and entertainment to rally political support. "In short the NSDAP succeeded in being all things to all men," (p. 136). The Nazis even went so far as to alter the name of their party to reflect whatever wants, needs, or desires their constituents possessed at the time. There was no viable alternative to Nazism, either; the Catholic Center party and the SPD were rendered impotent by failing to appeal to a larger demographic. Neither did democratic minority parties fully comprehend the actual threat Nazism posed.

The eventual breakdown of civil order ensued and under this level of unrest and instability the Nazis seamlessly established a dictatorship under Hitler. By now the middle classes were firmly in the "Nazi embrace," (p. 137). Fresh burst of violence were symptomatic of the changes in German political structure and the Nazis simultaneously caused and capitalized on acts of violence. By 1934, the Nazis had managed to gain control over Thalburger government, including the police. This represented a significant turn of events, for whoever controls the forces of law and order control the means by which to enforce it, i.e. use of physical terror. It was clear that the Nazis were not only willing, but encouraged to "use the power apparatus in a ruthless and effective way," (p. 173). The German people granted the ruling Nazis military rights. This would squelch any attempt to subvert the Nazi regime; a sense of general futility had set in. The Nazis also continued to use passive-aggressive means to subjugate the people. Using what Allen calls "petty nuisances" (p. 190), the Nazis intimidated any members of opposing parties into forced allegiance. This led to the eventual "formal outlawing of the SPD," and "thus ended all formal party organizations in Thalburg whose ideology was opposed to that of the Hitler dictatorship," (p. 190-1).

Even after the Nazis gained national power in Germany, they "intensified their propaganda efforts," (p. 192). It was necessary to "sustain enthusiasm" and "make men feel that a revolution was occurring; it also served as mask and justification" for Nazi actions and totalitarianism (p. 193). The Nazis controlled the media and the military, equally important in securing social support. Beefing up the military and instilling fear in the public of an air raid were instrumental (p. 208). Concentration Camps served as genocide and also as a message to the non-Jewish public what could happen to dissenters. This led to a dissolution of normal social life in Germany; "people began to distrust one another...individuals had a choice: solitude or mass relationship via some Nazi organization" (p. 226). Most people were scared into alignment with the Nazis; such was the scope of their campaign of terror.

In William Sheridan Allen's treatise The Nazi Seizure of Power, one German town is an example of the ease with which Hitler's party overtook a nation as large as Germany. At first using typical political means: propaganda and slandering opponents, the Nazis gradually gained a foothold in politics that allowed them to employ more insipid means of control. "Terror, dictatorial control, unremitting propaganda, the reconstruction of social life, and economic revitalization" were some of the things that "altered the basic structure of the town in an amazingly short period," (p. 232). Social groups and clubs began to mirror Nazi ideals, not vice versa. Nazi political leaders skilfully took advantage of an existing socio-politico-economic situation and manipulated it for its own ends. Half deception, half genuine appeal to a weary people, the Nazi plan worked brilliantly. Especially in light of the Depression and loss of the First World War, the German people craved a revolution. But the Third Reich would deliver "an era of deceit, distrust, and progressive spiritual decadence," (p. 257). Thalburgers chose the leadership of Hitler and the Nazi… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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