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The Abyss: Deceit and Delusion 1923-1928

The Rise and Fall of the Nazis (2/10)

By 1923 the Nazi Party had grown to around 55,000 members, with Adolf Hitler at its head. Hitler presented himself as the strong-man of the right-extremist scene, but what was he up to?

51 min
51 min
Video verfügbar bis 29.04.2031, in Deutschland

The journalist Leo Lania takes advantage of Hitler's admiration for the Italian fascist leader Benito Mussolini, poses as a party supporter of the Italian and spends several days with the Nazis in October 1923. During his research, he met Hitler and discovered preparations for an armed coup.

But Lania's discoveries had little impact. On November 9, 1923 Hitler’s coup fails, his movement is banned and the self-proclaimed leaders are imprisoned. From his cell he wrote his infamous manifesto, “Mein Kampf”, which he uses to spread and popularize his hate-filled world view.

The Brownshirt movement and the "Golden Twenties”

For a short time during the "Golden Twenties", art, culture, and the economy flourish. Yet during a period in which the Weimar Republic appeared to be stabilizing, the brownshirt movement managed to rise again. Julius Streicher, a friend of Adolf Hitler, is allowed to disseminate hate speech against Jews and other minorities in the magazine "Der Stürmer". This magazine becomes increasingly popular, with more and more Germans buying into Nazi propaganda.

In the 1928 parliamentary elections for the Reichstag, Hitler and his NSDAP fail miserably. There is little sign that Hitler will win the elections in Germany within just five years. This film shows how the Nazi movement took advantage of the democracy's tolerance to gain power through violence and political agitation.

What facilitated the rise of the Nazis?

With this 10-part documentary series "The Abyss - Rise and Fall of the Nazis" ZDFinfo is using the power of film to take a stand against ignorance towards the past. The project tells the story of the rise and fall of National Socialism from an international perspective, examining the causes of the rupture in civilization at the hands of Germans, which led from a crisis-ridden democracy to war and genocide.

Rare, and newly discovered film and photo footage, as well as 40 field-leading experts such as Richard J. Evans, Mary Fulbrook, Peter Longerich, Moshe Zimmermann, Alexandra Richie, and Götz Aly, offer new perspectives on the history between 1918 and 1948.

Based on the latest research, the series focuses on both the motives of the perpetrators, but also on the responsibility of a significant portion of the German people What facilitated the rise of the Nazis. What paved the way for the genocide of the Jews? This is the story of how humanity's darkest hour took place. The Abyss.

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