July 1932: Adolf Hitler rises to power

The Wall Street Crash of 1929 heralded worldwide economic disaster, and the Nazis and the Communists in the 1930 Election secured over 50% of Reichstag seats, which required the moderate parties to negotiate. “The Communists”, wrote Alan Bullock, “announced that they would prefer to see the Nazis in power rather than lift a finger to save the republic.” (from Wikipedia)

At the July 1932 Elections, the Nazis became the largest party in the Reichstag and Hitler demanded the Chancellorship. He was refused by President Paul von Hindenburg. Chancellor Franz von Papen dissolved Parliament, and concluded an agreement with Hitler. President Paul von Hindenburg who previously vowed never to allow Hitler to become Chancellor, appointed Hitler to the post on 30 January 1933, with Papen as Vice-Chancellor.

In Hitlerland: American Eyewitnesses to the Nazi Rise to Power, Andrew Nagorski writes that “Some of the Americans in Hitler’s Germany were merely casual observers..but most began slowly to understand what was unfolding, even when they found it difficult to grasp the breadth of the catastrophe.

Ipswich during the Great Depression and World War II

scrap_metalWWII scrap metal collection in Ipswich

To build tanks, ships, and planes during WWII, scrap metal drives were held across the country, and Ipswich was no exception. Do you recognize this location?


Women working in a proximity fuze plant (site unknown).The Proximity Fuze: How Ipswich women helped win WWII

The former Ipswich Mills, now owned by EBSCO, was the site of one of the most closely guarded secrets of the Second World War. The VT proximity fuze (variable time fuse) resembled tubes found in radios, and made it possible to detonate antiaircraft shells in the proximity of their target, rather than on impact.

wpa_workerIpswich in the Great Depression, the WPA and CCC

The severe winter of 1933-34, in which below-zero temperatures lasted for weeks, added great misery to the lives of the homeless during the Great Depression. As part of the New Deal, President Roosevelt signed a forced draft work relief program known as the Civil Works Administration, putting millions to work on secondary roads, schoolhouses, parks, and other projects.

The Ipswich Company Massachusetts State GuardThe Ipswich Company, Massachusetts State Guard, 1942

(Thanks to Larry Collins for sharing this document) With substantially 15,000 man hours of practice, procedure and training under their military belts, the Ipswich Company of the Massachusetts State Guard is rapidly being whipped into shape as a trained military unit for the protection of life and property in this area.

One thought on “Hitler’s rise to power, and the role of Ipswich in World War II

  1. Hi Gordon,
    Re Germany in the 30s – “ “Some of the Americans in Hitler’s Germany were merely casual observers..but most began slowly to understand what was unfolding, even when they found it difficult to grasp the breadth of the catastrophe.”

    So true. Another account of those events – IN THE GARDEN OF BEASTS: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin by Erik Larson. Great book.

    Really enjoyed reading these pieces about Ipswich and the Great Depression. Town Reports hold amazing stuff for history buffs like us, eh?

    Attaching a little piece I did earlier this year about Lynnfield during the Depression, a sleepy country town at the time. But the story is quite similar…


    Keep up the good work…

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