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The Rise of the Nazi Party

The rise of the Nazi party (NSDAP) from 1923

1889- Hitlers Early life
April 20: Hitler is born at Branau-on-the-inn. Born in Upper Austria.
His father was in his third marriage and was a relatively well off customs official about to retire.
16 yrs old Hitler left school (without completing) and went to Vienna to pursue a career in art.
October: Hitler fails the entrance exam to the Vienna Academy of fine arts. His mother dies. He gets an
orphans pension and an allowance from fathers estate.
1908- 1913
Hitler attempts artistic career in Vienna. He refers to this as his years of poverty. This is an exaggeration
as his aunt regularly sent him money.
He hated multi-national Austro-Hungry. He blamed the Jews, who he believed controlled the art world
and business. He also hated communists.
He refused military service for Austro-Hungarian in 1909, as he didnt want to serve a multi-national
1910- showed an interest in politics
1913- Hitler moves to Munich, the capital of Bavaria (a German state)
1914- Hitler as a soilder
Jan: arrested for evading military service in Austria in 1909
Feb: fails his medical exam and is exempted from Austrian military service. He is relieved, as he does
not have to serve with his racial inferiors.
August: he was granted permission to join the German army. He became a member of the 16
Bavarian Reserve infantry Regiment. He was keen to serve with the Germans
Oct: Hitlers regiment in battle with Belgium
December: Hitler was given an Iron Cross, second class, for personal bravery and general merit. Was
promoted to corporal.
1915- 1918
Hitler strongly involved with battles on the Western Front.\
In the closing months of the war he receives the Iron Cross First Class
He was promoted to the rank of Lance corporal.
Hitler is blinded in a British gas attack and returns home
He, like many soldiers, believed the war effort was undermined by disloyal socialists and pacifists,
mostly Jews, and that the communist led revolution was the ultimate act of betrayal, a stab in the back.
He committed himself to the salvation of the racially pure German nation.
November 9: Revolution in Berlin
November 11: Armistice Day
November 19: Hitler transferred to Munich to guard Russian POWs.
1919 hitler joins the DAP
April: Bavarian Councils Republic. Hitler remains neutral and convinces soldiers in his barracks to do
the same. The DAP and right wing parties become fanatically afraid of Communism after the Friekorp
removed the council. Anti-Semitism rose.
May: Munich is conquered by Franz von Epps Freikorps.
June: Hitler is recruited by Reichwehr officers as a political indoctrination official. His passionate anti
communism brings him to the attention of the Reichwehr officials
Sept: because of his job in with the Reichwehr he attends a meeting for a small right wing political
group DAP (German Workers Party). The party used the colours black, red and white, and used the
swastika symbol to represent them. Many ex-Frierkorp members joined which helped to form the parties
own private army, the SA.
The basis of the DAP was to combine nationalist goals, free of Communisms international emphasis.
They also had a strong support for the rights of the workers.
October: Hitler joins the DAP. He was put in charge of propaganda. His skills an an orator attracted
large numbers to the party. He quickly becomes a dominant figure in the party
1920 25 points program. DAP becomes Nazi party.
Feb: Hitler reveals his 25 Points Programme of the new NSDAP (National Socialist German Workers
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The DAP changed their name. Nazi for short. They attracted increasing support.
Dietrigh Eckart: publicist and poet. Mentor to Hitler; groomed him for leadership. Helped Hitler make
connections with wealthy, conservative businessmen. Through this hey gained the financial support to
develop their own newspaper Volkischer Beobachter.
Gottfried Feder: economic theorist who wanted greater government control of the banking system,
industry, and coal. Anti-capitalist. Left wing nazi.
Alfred Rosenberg: chief expert on race and all things Russian. He had first hand experience of the
horrors of Russian Bolshevism.
Herman Goering: aristocratic connections. Commander in Chief of the Air German Air Force. He was
second only to Hitler in importance in the nazi party. 1922- in charge of SA
Gregor Strasser: joined SA in 1923 and soon commanded his own detachment. Left wing supporter.
Rudolf Hess: Hitlers private secretary due to unreserved hero worship.
Heinrich Himmler: standard bearer in the SA.
Nazi Ideology:
this was set out in the parties 25 points. Hitlers individual political beliefs (of National Socialism) were detailed
in Mein Kampf.
Blamed Germanys defeat and later humiliation on internal political and radical division.
They proposed an authoritarian political system and racial unity imposed from above.
They wanted a pure race. Believed a racially inferior Jew could never contribute to building a nation.
The party also had a socialist aspect to them. Believed in no income unearned by labour, confiscation of
war profits, nationalization of trusts (all companies fall under federal laws and profit sharing in big
The nazis aimed to join the German people together into a single Volksgemeinschaft (peoples
Social Darwinism (survival of the fittest) as it allowed the more advanced, pure races to fight against
and destroy the weaker racial groups. he who wants to live, must fifth and he who does not want to
fight in this world were eternal struggle is the law of life, has no right to exist
They were anti democratic as it tolerated all people. Hitler described democracy as the greatest
miscarriage of the 20 century.
Christianity was seen as a Jewish influenced invention that promoted a weak morality and a pity
unworthy of a modern, racially pure mind.
Nationalism they wanted to restore the German people to their position of greatness. Nazi movement
was ultra nationalist and racist (anti-sematic).
The Aryan was the master race. Civilisation was exclusively the product of the Aryan creative power. It
was the Aryan alone who founded a superior type of humanity Hitler.
Believed effective propaganda required simple concepts that were constantly repeated. Propaganda
was vitally important for any political party.
Wanted to unite the German people.
Marxism was a threat and needed to be eliminated. (link between Jews and marxim)

1921 Hitler president of the Nazi party.

July: Hitler becomes first president of the NSDAP.
He gave the party an ultimatum, and they eventually granted him dictatorial powers.
Hitler introduced 3 ideas: 1) absolute devotion of the party. 2) introduction of colourful symbols and
elaborate rituals (swastika, salute, Heil Hitler). 3) SA (party army)
Sept: Hitler sets up the SA. It was composed of ex soldiers and ex Freikorp members. Wore brown
shirts and were to fight against Jews and Communists.

Jan: Kampfbund uniting right-wing military groups in Germany is formed. The nazi movment was party
of this group and Hitler was a prominent leader. It also included General von Ludendorff.
Sept 26: gustov von Karh is appointed the state commissioner of Bavaria. Stressman hads just become
chancellor and had ordered that all the strikes in the Ruhr were to stop. The right-wing Bavarian
government was infuriated at this back down and enraged by the 4 SPD ministers in the new Reichstag
government. The right win Bavarian government appointed von Kahr as state Commissioner and gave
him emergency dictatorial powers. Kahr, local army commander Otto von Lossow and Colonel Hans
von Seisser (chief of police) began talking of violently overthrowing the Berlin Government.
November 8-9 1923 - Munich Beer Hall Putsch
Hitler, Ludendorff and others in the Kampfbund got impatitent of all talk and no action.
On the 8 , state commissioner Kahr was giving a pro nationalist speech at the Munich Burgerbraukeller.

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The SA surrounded the establishment and Hitler came onto the stage and shot through the ceiling with
a gun and then escorted Kahr, Lossow and Seisser off the stage and into a back room. Here, along with
Ludendorff, he put forward his plan to take over the government.
At gun point the three agreed and Hitler went back onto the stage to announce the new government.
As soon as the Kahr and the other two escaped, they turned against Hitler and organized the arrest of
the leaders with the support of the army.
On the 9 , Hitler planned a symbolic counter offensive. Believing the government forces would never
fire on their Nazi comrades, let alone General Ludendorff, a column of 2000 began its march into the
centre of Munich.
Government forces shot on the marches killing 14 people. Hitler was arrested soon after and the
NSDAP was banned.
Importance of beer hall putsch although it failed it was a turning point for the nazi movement. Hitler
learnt that power could not be achieved by force. He committed to coming to power legally, according to
the constitution. It also gave Hitler national publicity. After the putsch he went from being relatively
unknown to being a national figure. Hitler learnt he could never old onto power without the support of
the German army who were the only ones who could remove him once in power.
1924 hitler stands trial. Sentenced to Gaol. Writes Mein Kampf
Feb: Hitler stands trial. Hitler used this chance to deliver patriotic speeches that attacked Kahr, Lossow
and Seisser. The judge was reluctant to imprison patriotic war heroes.
April: Hitler sentenced to 5 yrs and a 200 gold mark fine with parole possible after 6 months (Ludendorff
was excused). Whilst in gaol he wrote Mein Kampf (my struggle) outlining his life and political beliefs:
o First blood and soil racial purity. Expansion of living space to the east.
o Second must secure an alliance with Britain to fight the Jews and Bolsheviks
o Third Jews were a parasitic nation
o Fourth democracy was treated with distain.
o Fifth belief in propaganda. Catchy slogans, colour, ritual and repetition.
Dec: Hitler is released after 8 months in prison.
1925- Reestablishment of Nazi party
o Hitler re-establishes the NSDAP. The party was divided and spirited and had lost membership. Some
had resigned over arguments about the role of the SA. Hitler convinced Dr Held (right win PM) of
Bavaria to lift the ban of the party.
o Gregor Strasser, left wing nazi member, increased his presence whilst Hitler was in prison and sought
to emphasise the social side of the Nazi Program. They looked for the support of the communist party
and the working class. Hitler rejected this trend.
o Hitler was committed to ganging power legally. To do this they needed to appeal to middle-class
o The party is relaunched in the same peer hall the putsch took place in.
o His speech was so inflammatory that he was banned from speaking at public meetings in Bavaria. This
ban lasted until 1927.
o Hitler promoted the party through Mein Kamph and propaganda.
o Membership grew from 27 000 to 178 000.
April 1925: Hitler establishes the SS.
He brought the SA under his direct control and selected the best men from its ranks to be his personal
bodyguards, the Schutzstaffel (Protection Squad or SS).
July: 1 volume of Mein Kampf Published
o September: Stresser funds the working Association of the North and West. The party was splitting as
Gregor and Strasser pushed the socialist ideas. Goebbels was Gregors private secretary and had
called himself a national Bolshevik immediately after the war. He was becoming a prominate speech
writer himself. General Ludendorff and Rosenberg pushed a more conservative view. Strasser and
Goebbels began clarifying the 25 points and pushing the socialist agenda of the party. They hoped to
win Hitler away from the aristocratic conservatives in the south. No threat to Hitlers leadership was
o Feb: Bamberg conference. Hitlers reaction to Strasser and Globbels input was to call a conference
where he demanded that the 25 points of 1920 remain unchanged and the party remains united.
o He rejected the economic radicalism, believing himself to be invaluable to the party. He meekly
accepted the conservative direction the party was heading. Goebbels so impressed with Hitler he
became completely devoted to him.

Nazi Party after 1924 Evans and Jenkins Reading

Change in direction
o Hitler in prison for 9 months after attempted revolution
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o Changed his political ideals: violent tactics abandoned; strict organization; Fuhrers would dominate.
o Nazis shifted their attention to middle class and rural population
o 1930 2 biggest party.
o People began to look to extreme parties after Great Depression
What did the Nazis Believe in?
o Hitler did not want a restrictive program.
o Main principles: racial superiority; extreme nationalism; anti communism.
o Anti Semitism increased as the lower/middle class felt threatened by Jews.
o Extreme nationalism increased.
o Leader of the Pan-German League, Henrich Class, a satisfactory growth in the anti-sematic mood
which had already reached an enormous extent... our task will be to bring this moment out onto the
national political arena. For the Jews, the struggle for existence has begun.
o Hitler was offering an explanation of and solution to- Germanys problems Evans and Jenkins.
o Used the spoken word to manipulate people and gain support
o Hitler had great oral skills
Was the rise of Hitler inevitable?
o It is far to simplistic to see the rise of the Nazis as inevitable. Hitler did not become chancellor because
it was the destiny of Germany for him to do so, rather it was due to the unique combination of a rare
political gift and the right circumstances. Evans and Jenkins.
o Hitlers skills and the circumstances in Germany paved the way.

McCallum Reading
Roots of Nazism
o Nazism as an historical accident: German historians Fredrich Meinecke and Gerhard Ritter National
Socialism was a national accident. It did not occur because of deeply rooted weakness in German
culture, but the accidentally coming together of unforseen events.
o 50s and 60s Nazism in Germany was sees as an example of totalitarianism.
o Bourgeois nationalistic sentiments and the importance of WWI - Martin Broseat believed the origins of
nazism can be seen in the sentiments and resentments which began to form from the taste of the
masses and intellectual world of the German nationalist bourgeoisie He also stresses the importance of
the losses in WWI and after 1918 a feverish atmosphere of exalted nationalist extremism permeated
Hitlers Ideas
o K.D. Bratcher nazism is anti-liberal, anti socialist, anti sematic and ultra nationalist
o Hitler had 4 basic principles:
1. Survival of the fittest
2. Acquisition of living space for settlement at the expense of anyone
3. Anti sematic
4. Total leadership principle.

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Hitlers accession to power
On the 24 March, 1933 Adolf Hitler legally became the leader of Germany.

What was the climate in Germany that provided the conditions for this to happen?
1. The weakness of the Weimar Political Party System. This was due mainly to the multiplicity of parties and weak
coalition governments were not prepared to compromise to make an effective government. There was division
in the Weimar political system, primarially in the left. The division between the KPD and SPD further weakened
the Weimar constitution. This devided party led to people turning to the other extreme, facism (and hitler).
Richard Evans: Weimar was weak in political legitimacy from the start
2. The German people lacked a commitment to a democracy. They preferred order and authority over freedom so
they elected extreme Nationalists in their desperation. Many were used to that of the past, with the Monarchy
and an authoritarian rule, thus making Hitler appealing. There was an obvious hostility of conservative elites to
the democracy. They had never trusted or supported the democratic Weimar Republic, which went against the
authoritarian conservative type of rule that they favoured.
3. Continuing economic problems culminating in the Great depression had left Germany devastated. Years of
inflation, reparations, unemployment and increasing texes left the people in a poor situation. They were looking
for change. To the people, the economic failures highlighted the failure of the Weimar Political System. William
S Shirer: like most great revolutionaries he could thrive only in evil times
4. Fear of left wing political parties There was a fear of communism by many, apart from the working class that
supported communism. In 1917 the Russian revolution saw all conservative elites; landowners and aristocrats
lose their private property. Germans feared this outcome and the impact of communists in their own country.
5. Growth of support for the Nazis. Although Hitler had become leader of the NSDAP in the early 1920s it was
not until the late 1920s and early 30s that their propaganda, SA violence, organisation and Hitlers image
began to become very visible in Germany. It was the combination of the above factors that inevitably brought
Hitler into a position of doctorial power. There was also a growing appeal of national socialism. Nazis provided
a board appeal for many. It held promises for many.
6. The personality of hitler. Hitler was very appealing, they are overcome by belief in themselves, it is this belief
which when speaks so persuasively, so miracle-like to the audience Fredric Nietzsche

What was the sequence of events that occurred from 1930 to 1933 that led to the final collapse of the Weimar Republic
and the accession of Hitler to absolute power?

Fall of the Muller Government March 1930

When the depression began in Germany the government was a coalition of the SPD, the DDP, the
Centre Party and the DVP under Chancellor Hermann Muller
The worsening economic problems strained the coalition and it became divided over the issue of relief
payments for the unemployed
Economy collapse in 1929 SPD determined to maintain these relief payments to lessen the hardship
and danger of more of the working class being driven to support the German Communist Party
Other parties of the coalition opposed the proposal to increase taxes to fund the relief and on 27 March
1930 the divided government failed

Bruning uses presidential decree:

The new Chancellor, Bruning, of the Centre Party, failed repeatedly to gain majority support from the Reichstag
for his financial measures.
Brunings government didnt have majority in the Reichstag his appointment in March 1930 marked
the end of parliamentary government in Germany
The president was prepared to support Bruning using powers under Article 48, which gave the president
the power to implement laws by decree
He declared a state of emergency under the constitution and resorted to rule by Presidential Decree by
invoking article 48 of the Weimar Constitution
From March 1930, Parliamentary Government was effectively dead in Germany. Authority was now taken away
from the elected German parliament and placed into the hands of the president.
Many Reichstag members protested at this use of article 48
Brunings economic policy
Wanted to use the policy of deflation to combat the great depression.
Balance the budget by cutting expenditure and increase taxes.
There was vigorous opposition, but he implemented the law under Article 48.
This reinforced the failure of the Germany Democracy. The use of Article 48 took power away from the
parliament and put it in the hands of the chancellor.
September 1930 Elections:
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Hindenburg dissolved the parliament in September 1930 hoping a new general election would create a
government which could deal with the financial crises. (now 3 million were unemployed).
The Nazi party relished the opportunity that Bruning had provided with an election in 1930. They
projected themselves as the party of action 100s of rallies and meetings across the country, Hitler and
other Nazi leaders attacked the weakness and inefficiency of the parliamentary system, the divided
political parties, the threat of communism and the social and economic consequences of the depression
Nazis tapped into the mood of resentment and frustration at a system that had apparently failed
The promised a revitalisation of the will and a new beginning
Hitlers message of recovery had a growing appeal in particular to the disillusioned middle class, to
small business , the rural and farming population who suffered badly in the depression
The communists also hammered the republic and attracted growing support from the long-suffering
working class
The Social Democrats retained their position as the largest party with 143 seats but still lost a number of seats.
Bruning maintained his power.
The communist vote increased 40% from 54 to 77 seats
The Nazi vote jumped from 12 to 107 seats.
Hitler was now the leader of the second largest party in the Reichstag. The nation had lost faith, during the
depression, in the moderate socialists and Centre Liberals and it was turning to the radical extremists on both
the left and the right for solutions. Desperate people will do desperate things.

The end of reparations June 1932

Economic problems were made hard by the burden of reparation payments
Bruning wanted to end the payments
In June 1931 he semi achieved this when US President Hoover proposed a one year moratorium on
reparation payments
A year later, June 1932 the Allied powers decided to cancel reparation payments altogether
Brunig had lost office a month before and the credit for ending the payments went to his successor as
chancellor, Franz von Papen

Presidential Elections March 1932,

Hindenburgs seven year term as president expired
The Nationalists and the Stahlhelm who would normally have supported Hindenburg ran their own
candidate, Theodor Duesterberg
The Communists again put up Ernst Thalmann who had stood in the 1925 election
After some delay Hitler announced his intention to run
In election Hitler ran for president and carried out his Hitler over Germany campaign using planes.
o Results: Hindenburg 49.6% Thalmann 13.2% Hitler 30.1% Duesterberg 6.8%.
o No candidate received an absolute majority so a second round of voting was scheduled.
Presidential election. Hindenburg re-elected- April 10
Duesterberg dropped out and Brunning campaigned heavily for Hindenburg. Hitler took to the skies
attending three or four rallies a day Hitler over Germany.
Results: Hindenburg 53.0% Thalmann 10.2% Hitler 36.8%
Hindenburg resented Bruning for making him the rallying point for the republic. Hindenburgs advisors
also turned on Bruning. He had too few success and they wanted a more respectable right wing
authoritarian figure (not Hitler, who was still seen as unpredictable).
A pretext to be rid of Bruning was now sought.
Bruning is forced to resign May 30
Had failed to remedy the economic problems.
Brunning was opposed to concessions to the Nazis, whereas Schleicher believed concessions were
needed in order to win their support.
24 Bruning proposed a bill taking over bankrupt farmers in East Prussia and resettling small farmers
on them.
Schleicher convinced Hindenburg to demand Brunings resignation.
Knowing he had lost the support of the president, Bruning tended his resignation.
Franz von Papen appointed Chancellor June 1
o A new cabinet was sorted out and a conservative aristocrat from the right wing of the Centre Party was
chosen. The cabinet was made up of right wing industrialists and Prussian nobility.
o Papen had the support of Schleicher and Hindenburg but few others.
o French ambassador he was taken seriously neither by his friends nor his enemies.
o Most were opposed to Papen.
o He only had the support of the president and the army.
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June 4: Papen and Hindenburg dissolve the Reichstag
Schleicher met with Hitler and agreed to cooperate with the Nazi party gaining some support.
The Reichstag would be dissolved nearly two years early so the elections could be called and the Nazis
make the most of the current popularity.
The SA ban would be lifted and the socialist government in Prussia would be dissolved.
Elections second big gain for the Nazis (37.3% - 270 seats) July 31:
o These elections were violent with street clashes between the Nazi storm troopers and the communist.
86 people killed in a street fight during July.
o Hitlers campaign was effective and he claimed to remedy the economic distress, unemployment (which
stood at 5.4 million) and the hardship that the Germans were suffering.
o The Nazis won with 37.3% of the vote. The communist increased their representation to 89 seats;
Papen had only 44 seats in a Reichstag of 608.
o The middle class were the main supporters however they still aimed to gain the vote from the working
class who continued to support the KPD.
o While the Nazis were well supported, the big businesses were generally suspicious of them and were
more connected to the DVP and DNVP.
o Nazi propaganda - Hitler: Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will
believe it

Hitler is refused power. August :

o Nether-the-less, despite Hitlers staggering victory, President Hindenburg refused to allow Hitler to
become Chancellor.
o Hitler wanted chancellorship but Hindenburg refused as he had a personal dislike for Hitler. The
conservatives were still not prepared to give Hitler control
o On august 13 Hitler was offered a position of vice chancellorship. He rejected the offer and demanded
nothing less than the chancellorship.
o Scheichers plan for uniting the right had failed miserably.
Papen and Hindenburg dissolve Reichstag September:
o The Reichstag was dissolved and for the fourth time in eight months the Germans faced a national
o The nazis did not want another election Papen believed the Nazis would see a decline in the upcoming
o The KPD viewed the SPD as the main enemy of the working people and therefore did not oppose the
right more strongly. SPD had a low morale as they lost popularity in the state elections and trade unions
o The centre still viewed the left as a bigger threat than Hitler.
Elections significant drop in Nazi vote (33.1% - 196 seats) November 6:
o The Nazis dropped their representation in the Reichstag to 196 seats, though still remaining the largest
party in the house. The right wing DNVP increased from 37 to 52 but the left KPD party increased from
89 to 100 seats.
o Papen still only had a handful of supporters.

Schleicher appointed Chancellor December 2:

o Papen believed a national emergency existed, December 12 he proposed that the Reichstag should be
suspended and that the president should assume direct rule.
o Schleicher had already decided that Papen had failed.
o Schleicher convinced Hudenburg to force Papen to resign.
o Papen reluctantly resigned and Hindenburg appointed Schleicher as the new chancellor and he
attempted to build a coalition with the Nazis

Hitler Strasser quarrel December 7:

o General von Schleicher saw his best chance to form government was to unite the the sensible people
the moderate trade unionists of the SPD and the left fraction Strasserites in the Nazi party.
o As the nazi vote had dipped, Schleicher offered Strasser the vice- chancellorship in an attempt to split
the party.
o When Hitler heard of this, an enormous quarrel ensued and Strasser quit the party.

Hitler and Papen meet secretly at the house of Kurt Von Schoder (a German banker) January 4:
o Papen was keen to win back his favour with Hindenburg and sat down for talks with Hitler, offering him
the Chancellorship, while he himself would be vice chancellor.
o A minimum of Nazis would become ministers. Hudenburg would be the most superior minister of
economics and Agriculture
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o Papen was careful to invite Oskar Hindenburg (Hindenburgs son) in on the negotiations.
o Papen and Oskar (Hindenburgs son) convinced Hindenburg that Hitler could be controlled by the
aristocrats who held the majority of ministerial positions
Schleicher resigns January 28:
o Schleicher suggested the same plan as Bruning had done to resettle farmers in East Prussia.
o He knew he had lost the presidents support.
o Hindenburgs aristocratic friends complained and Hindenburg asked Schleicher to resign
Hitler appointed Chancellor January 30:
o In man of 1932 Hitler had refused Vice Chancellorship and would only accept chancellorship.
o Even though Hitler was Chancellor, he still did not have all the power.
o Many of the conservatives were worried about Hitler being in power.
o The more traditional and conservative sections of the government had given him, and the Nazi party, a
minimum share of power.
o Many assumed Hitler would be a Chancellor in Chians and thought they could control him.
o Papen assured many doubtful observers that we have him (Hitler) framed in.
o Of the 12 positions, only three were held by the Nazis.
o Interior Minister: Wilhelm Frick and Minister without portfolio and Prussian Interior Minister: Herman
o Ludendorff was strongly opposed to Hitler being in power, saying to Hindenburg I solemnly prophesy
that this accursed man will cast our Reich into the abyss and bring our nation to inconceivable misery.
Future generations will damn you in your grave for what you have done.
o Von Papen defends himself in his memoirs when he says We were to learn in the course of time into
what hands Germany had fallenOne thing must be understood. We believed Hitler when he said that
once he was in position of power and responsibility, he would steer his Movement into more ordered
Hitlers first objective
o he immediately wanted to dissolve the Reichstag with an enabling act.
o An election was called for March 5 .
o Hitler planned this to be the last election. In an appeal to the German people on the 31 Jan The
Marxist parties and their followers had fourteen years to prove their abilities. The result is a heap of
ruins. Now German people, give us four years, and then judge us.
Nazi Propaganda
o Hitler began his efficient campaign
o He took to the sky and was seen as the last chance between salvation and communism, swastika or the
hammer and sickle, Hitler and Stalin.
The Reichstag Fire
o 27 February the Reichstag was damaged by a fire
o A Dutch man Van Der Lube took responsibility. It is not sure whether he was a communist, or if he
was a puppet for the Nazis or if he was actually working alone.
o Nazis used this fire as a sign that the communist revolution had started and began arresting hundreds
of communist leaders.
o They used fire to eliminate the communist party, and work towards gaining complete control .
The protection of the people and state feb 28
o The Prussian minister of the interior wanted an emergency decree against arson and terrorist attacks,
thus making the arrests legal.
o This decree could be enacted by the governemtn, not the president.
o The decree suspended constitutional rights of the individual and transferred power from the state, to the
o Most were not opposed to the decree as they felt the communist threat was real.
o This decree formed the basis of the totalitarian state. The decree remained in force until 1945
March 5 Election
o The Nazis increased their position in the Reichstag from 196 to 288 seats. Their coalition allies (the
nationalists) won 52 seats. Together they held a 340 majority.
The Nazi Partys control of the State
The Nazis aimed to gain control over the German states through intimidation from the SS and party members, as well
as pressure from Frick and the Reich ministry of the interior.
o The SA created disorder in local populations.
o Local Nazi party members felt that the local government could not maintain order
o The rich interior appointed a local Nazi member Reich police commissioner.
o With policing powers gone, the state was intimidated into resigning and a Nazi state government was put in
place. Reich governors were in place providing a solid legal framework.
The first state to fall was Bavaria, and then the other states were taken within days.
The SA Violent Destruction (1933)
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o The SA began to get out of hand as they worked to destroy their opponents (trade union offices, political
opponents, businesses)
o Many people were abused. Foreigners (especially Jews) were molested, producing protest from diplomats.
o The government became concerned and was torn between supporting his party and not alienating the
conservative elites and the president.
Dachau 22 March 1933: The main targets for Nazi violence were the Communists and the Socialists. Arrests
began, and the SA opened the first concentration camp for political opponents on the 22 March at Dachau near
Enabling Act 24 March 1933
o To establish dictatorship, Hitler cancelled the democratic Weimar constitution. He altered it, and then ignored it.
o This decree would give Hitler the power to pass laws without the approval of the Reichstag or the President.
The laws could be outside the constitution.
o Hitler claimed that the government needed these special powers in order to deal with the great problems
confronting the nation.
o Hitler essentially needed less than half of the votes, this could be covered by the Nazi party.
o The Z party (including the catholic church) needed to support the decree for it to be passed. Hitler made them
promises that he did not intend to keep, saying that they would be able to keep their faith, schools etc.
o The Z party hoped to be able to influence the Nazis if they cooperated.
o Only the SPD voted against the bill. It was passed, 444 to 94.
o The democratic republic was legally dismantled.

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Consolidation of Power
Hitler still needed to consolidate his power using legal means. He achieved this through a variety of control methods.
He would then impose his dictatorship. He introduced a number of laws that sped Nazi control in all areas of German
Trade Unions abolished 22 May 1933. German Labour Front established.
Trade unions (who had approx 6 million members) were abolished. Using the SA, trade union offices were
raided and the leaders arrested
The German labour Front (run by Dr Robert Ley) was set up in their place.
This hoped to gain the support of the working class (who commonly supported communism).
The German labour front worked to educate and indoctrinate the workers to accept the role of the Nazis.
The German Labour front controlled wages, and ensured employment. This was favoured during the
They aimed to develop strength through joy by supporting the workers and providing holidays and cheap
theatre tickets and other benefits.
The sacking of Jews, Communists and Socialists in government workplaces was accepted and freed up
positions for other Germans.
Political Parties all other parties declared illegal.
June 22 1933 SPD was declared illegal.
By virtue of the law Against the Establishments of New Political Parties, July 14 1933 all parties were made
illegal, no new parties could be formed.
The Nazis held total power.
Since the enabling act, there was no role for political parties.
Civil Service Jews were removed from civil service.
Law for the Restoration of the professional Civil Service was issued 7 April 1933.
All Civil Servants of Jewish decent or political opponents were removed.
This allowed the Nazi party to control the bureaucracy and limit the capability of political opponents.
German States forced to implement Reich Policies. State parliament abolished.
State governors were forced to implement Reich Policies (law for the Coordination of the States within the
Reich April 1933).
State parliament abolished. State rights transferred to the Reich (30 Jan 1934).
Reichstat (Upper House) abolished on the 14 Feb 1934 through the Law on the Abolition of the Reichstat.
Legal System under Nazi Control. National Socialist League for the Maintenance of Law.
German legal system was brought under Nazi control.
Generally, the legal stystem had supported hitler and had a right wing tendency
The takeover of the legal system was a gradual process.
All professional bodies associeate w tih the legal system were abolished.
The National Socialist League for the Mainenace of Law was set up.
The law was to be interpreted for the cgood of the national community and the will of the Fuhrer.
Th worked to maintain nazi ideology in law making.
All judges were forced to join this league (26 Jan 1937) to maintain the Nazi view of law.
Judges and lawyers not acting according to the fuhrers will would be dismissed.
April 1934 a eople court was set up to deal with crimes against the state. There was not right of appeal.
Ministry for Popular Enlightenment and propaganda. SA and SS
Ministry for popular enlightenment and propaganda set up March 1933 under Goebbels.
Concentration camps had been set up and run by the SA.
20 April 1932 henrich Hinnler appointed head of the SS.
Feb 1936 the SS were given above the law status to conduct a reign of terror against the people who
opposed Nazi takeover.
Compulsory Cartels introduced in July 1933.
Businesses and trade associations were under the control of the state in Feb 1943.
Hitler was agreeable to free enterprise, however it was still regulated to comply with Nazi economic Policy.
Rearmament and the growth of the German state was their economic priority.
The Night of the Long Knives. June 1934
Whoever controlled the Nazi party, controlled Germany. Hitler set in place laws, terror and propaganda to control
Germany and had to ensure any rivals to his leadership were eliminated.
Hitler was seen as extremely paranoid, some of the threats to his power were real, others imagined:
The SA wanted rewards for helping Hitler gain power

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3 million SA members. They were larger than the German Army. SA members came from lower classes; many
joined as an alternative to unemployment
Hitler believed the nazi revolution had ended; members of the SA had a desire for a second revolution. Ernst
Rohm (leader of the SA) supported this second revolution=.
The gap between party bureaucracy and the SA widened with the SA becoming a political force of its own.
Rohm believed that the SA should be the main military force, not the army and wanted to incorporate the army
into the SA with him as leader.
The army was opposed to Rohms plan. Hindenburg was responsible for the army, and thus associations with
the SA were becoming dangerous to Hitler and his ambitions to gain control legally with hindenburgs approval.
The army leaders made it clear to Hitler that they expected the SA to be controlled.
Hitler needed to foster his links with the army to be able to obtain full power. He knew it would be difficult to
combine the positions of president and chancellor without the support of the army.
Rohm held meetings with former chancellor Schleicher in which hey discussed a change in govt.
The army still had the power to oppose Hitler. Hitler had to appease the army by removing the SA as an
alternative political force

The Nazi Party Split: 1. end revolution, capitalist economy. 2. second revolution. Anti-capitalist alliance.
Behind the ein Reich, ein Volk, ein Fuhrer! propaganda was an ideological split in the party.
One side sought to end revolutionary activity and develop a nazi Germany in cooperation with bourgeois
society in a capitalist economy. (included Flick, Goring, Himmler and Heydrich)
The other side (Ernst Rohm and SA) wanted to absorb the German army into the SA and start a second
revolution where the structure of society would be destroyed and replaced by national socialism. They would
establish an anti capitalist alliance with Russia against the west.
Hitler did not take sides initially as he aimed to consolidate his power.
The lead up
Hitler met with army and naval leaders (3 Feb 1934).
The army wanted to be the sole barer s of arms in Germany.
Hitler wanted their support in order to succeed hindenburg.
The leaders would support Hitler if the SA was removed from their position of power
Schleicher and Rohm had gained support from France to rise up against Hitler. (rumours?)
May 1934 hindenburg made it clear to hitler that if the situation was not resolved he would declare martial
lawand place the army in charge of the government. This was a threat to Hitlers leadership. He knew he could
not stand against the army
Geering and Hindler planned the murder of SA leaders and other enemies. This included Rohm and Schleicher.
The murders began in the afternoon of June 30 1934 were carried out by the SS (hitlers personal body guards).
The SS took the SA leaders in Berlin and Munich by surprised
Many were areested and accused of trechary against the nazi state
Rohm and Sleicher were arrested and later shot.
Karh (who used the police to oppose the Munich Putch) was murdered by pickaxe.
Hitler claims 61 murders occurred, but there may have been up to 1000.
This event demonstrated that if Hitler felt threatened by another person, despite their previouis relationship,
they were expendable.
The army placed itself in a position of having given Hitler legitimacy to act with organised violence. The army
was sworn to take an oath of loyalty to Hitler, binding them to him.
Hitler made a speech to the leaders of the SS and the SA on 1 July 1933 in which he clearly stated that
Germany was in need of order. He said I will suppress every attempt to disturb the existing order as ruthlessly
as I will deal with the so called second revolution, which will only lead to chaos.

Death of Hindenburg
2 August 1934, President von Hindenburg died at the age of 87.
A law was prepared while hindenburg was still living that combined the office of president and chancellor
Therefore, Hitler had now become the head of state, head of government, and supreme commander of the
armed forces.
By this time democracy had totally ceased, political parties were gone, the trade unions, civil service and other
agencies of the state were controlled, the basic freedoms of German people no longer existed, and the
repression of opponents began with concentration camps and the SS>
Totalitarianism had triumphed. Hitler was the Fuhrer and supreme leader of the German State.
Ian Kershaw a British historian says there was no inevitability about Hitlers accession to power.
The historian Joachim Fest writes: His (Hitlers) adversaries were the ones to make it possible On the whole
the forces on the other side were up to the last greater than Hitlers own. But since they turned against one and
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another, they balanced one another out. It was not hard to see that Nazism was the enemy of all-the middle
class, the communists and socialists, the Jews, the republicans. But these groups were so blind and weak that
very few came to the natural conclusions-they must unite against their common foe.
In Karl Brachers The German Dictatorship he writes: Mishaps and errors, consequence and accident,
became an almost inextricable mass of causes of the National Socialists seizure of power. It was not a
necessary development; even at the very end, there still remained a freedom of choice, but one which the
political and intellectual elite relinquished, partly in tired resignation, partly frivolously, and partly maliciously
power which Hitler could never have captured on his own. Instead of the hoped-for restoration of authoritarian
rule there came a totalitarian dictatorship.

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