Buddha saidThe right-wing extremist side was huge, remember that Hitler was elected through a democratic election.
This is a common fallacy. Hitler was not elected. The right wing extremist side was not huge.
I forget the name of the author but I read the first 2 books of a series on the history of Germany and the Nazi party and in it he has some graphs that show how many votes the Nazi party received. There were 3 elections in a fairly short period of time. In the first and third elections the Nazis did not get a majority and I think in the second election their majority was insufficient. What propelled them into power was the burning of the Reichstag building by some crazy guy who the Nazis claimed was a Communist. At that time Russia had recently gone Communist and there was a lot of fear in Germany of it going Communist. The Nazis used this fear of Communism to convince the German President, von Hindenburg I think it was, to appoint Hitler Chancellor.
And yes, things might have gone to shit in any event in Europe, but it's definitely not a foregone conclusion that the Holocaust would have happened without Hitler. People who believe that don't know their history.
I might have been a bit unclear: the nazi party didn't really come into power at first through a majority. From what I understand, the left party was about to go in a coalition with the communists to get a majority, which pushed the right/liberal/conservative party to go in coalition with the nazis to make their majority.
I might be a bit confused on the latter though, Hitler was the leader of NSDAP since 1921, and they were the party who finally got majority 1933 (33%).
We should be thankful that Lumpy is not a history teacher.
The rise of the Nazis and the start of the second World War were pretty much caused by the French (and to a lesser extant the English) by the onerous terms of the Versailles treaty, causing the bankrupting of the German economy. Eventually anti-French and anti-British feelings were rampant, and the Nazis merely took advantage of them (remember their name comes from National
Socialist . . .). There was also the anti-communist sentiment, as the communists were a very strong force in Germany at the time, although not a majority.
One should remember that that there were actual militias warring in Germany starting with the abdication of the emperor throughout a lot of the Weimar Republic - a mini version of Iraq in recent years, except religion didn't enter into it. Lots of political murders. In two elections in 1932, the Nazis won big, but no absolute majority. Hindenberg (as President, and beginning to lose his marbles) appointed Hitler as Chancellor, to form a government, in January, 1933, and teh Nzzis got only 4 ministers in the government. There were to be new elections in May. The Nazis burned down the Reichstag in February, blaming it on the communists. Hitler became dictator because the Reichstag foolishly voted to give dictatorial powers to the government in the Enabling Act (Gesetz zur Behebung der Not von Volk und Reich), in March. The communists were banned from voting on it, and the militias of the Nazis kept some of the Social democrats away from the vote. The Center party (the catholic party) voted for the Enabling Act, giving the Nazis their 2/3 majority. Of course, after they voted to give the government what they thought would be "temporary" emergency dictatorial powers, Hitler used them abolish civil liberties etc., and soon to become absolute dictator.