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  • Denis Pepin

The Serpent and the System: How Hitler Exploited Democracy to Dismantle It

Updated: May 12

Adolph Hitler and Donald Trump
Adolph Hitler and Donald Trump (CyberNesco)

Adolf Hitler's ascent to power in Germany remains a chilling testament to the vulnerability of democracies. Despite never achieving a national majority in a free election, he capitalized on a confluence of political instability, economic despair, and a flawed democratic system to dismantle the Weimar Republic and establish a totalitarian regime. This article delves into the calculated maneuvers and devious tactics Hitler employed to manipulate the very system he ultimately destroyed.

A Twisted Calculus: 37% to Totalitarianism

Hitler's rise cannot be attributed to a groundswell of popular support. In fact, his Nazi Party never garnered more than 37% of the vote in a national election. However, he employed a warped political calculus, arguing that his 37% represented a much larger segment of the population. He twisted logic, claiming that his share constituted 75% of the 51% who actually voted. This nonsensical calculation conveniently ignored the substantial portion of the electorate who did not vote for him. It was through this distorted lens that Hitler demanded a larger role in the government, laying the groundwork for his eventual control.

Weaponizing Free Speech and Rallies

The Weimar Republic, in its commitment to democratic principles, afforded Hitler the very tools he would use to dismantle it. He exercised his right to free speech and freedom of assembly to hold rallies across Germany. These rallies became a breeding ground for hate and division. Hitler used them to spew venomous rhetoric against various groups – Bolsheviks, social democrats, immigrants, and most prominently, Jews. His speeches were riddled with lies and inflammatory language designed to stir resentment and fear within the German populace. These rallies, though protected by the democratic system, became potent tools for sowing discord and garnering support from the most discontented and vulnerable segments of society.

Lies and Deception: Referendum and the Power of Outrage

Hitler further exploited the system by maneuvering a public referendum to his advantage. He endorsed a public vote to support the "Liberty Law," which promised to abolish the Treaty of Versailles, a document widely seen as humiliating by Germans. To garner support, he fabricated outrageous lies. He falsely claimed that the German government was drafting teenagers and selling them into slavery abroad to service reparation debts. These blatant lies fueled public outrage and resentment, directing it towards the existing government and bolstering his own political image. This manipulation of a democratic process, the referendum, served as a key stepping stone on Hitler's path to power.

Legislative Inroads: Building Power Within the System

While his presidential bid in 1932 fell short, garnering only 36.77% of the vote, Hitler did achieve a significant victory in the legislative arena. The Nazi party gained a substantial number of seats in the Reichstag, the German parliament. By 1932, they boasted 230 members, representing 37.3% of the electorate. This legislative success transformed Hitler's party into the most powerful political force in Germany. He now had a significant foothold within the very system he intended to destroy.

The Serpent and the System: A Cautionary Tale

In conclusion, Hitler's rise to power was not a direct consequence of overwhelming popular support. Instead, it was a calculated exploitation of a flawed and fragile democracy. He used legal channels, propaganda, and strategic manipulation of elections to undermine the very system that allowed him a platform. His success serves as a stark reminder of the dangers inherent in democracies. It highlights the importance of a vigilant citizenry, strong democratic institutions, and a commitment to truth and reason in the face of demagoguery and hate-mongering. The serpent, in this case Hitler, used the system to constrict and ultimately devour it. The story of Hitler's rise remains a chilling cautionary tale, urging us to remain ever-vigilant in safeguarding the delicate fabric of democracy.


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