TED-Ed is back with another brief dive into history, this time looking at the ascent of Adolf Hitler. The video discusses the Armistice of Compiègne, the formation of the Reichstag, the unwillingness of Germans to accept the hundreds of thousands of Jews in their country, how the Great Depression fueled the Nazi party's rise in public opinion, Hitler's failure to win the presidential election in 1932 and the fire at the parliament building that sealed Hitler's rule over the country. The video concludes with a warning message, a less-than-subtle nod toward current polarizing political figures like Donald Trump and Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Disturbingly, many of Hitler’s early measures didn’t require mass oppression. His speeches exploited people’s fear and ire to drive their support behind him and the Nazi party. Meanwhile, businessmen and intellectuals, wanting to be on the right side of public opinion, endorsed Hitler. They assured themselves and each other that his more extreme rhetoric was only for show. Decades later, Hitler’s rise remains a warning of how fragile democratic institutions can be in the face of angry crowds and a leader willing to feed their anger and exploit their fears.
Watch the video below.
Feature image via Bundesarchiv