March 1933 election and the Enabling Act of March 23rd 1933

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  • March 1933 election and the Enabling Act of March 23rd 1933
    • Last election to be held under Hitler's rule.
    • The Nazis got less than 50% of the votes cast by 39 million voters
    • Other right wing parties pushed the vote for the right to just over 50% but it was not the result Hitler would have wanted in the election.
      • It showed that many were still not in support of what the Nazis were trying to achieve.
    • Nazis (NSDAP) : 288 Reichstag sets : 43.9% of votes cast.
      • German National Party - 52 seats : 8.0% of votes
      • Catholic Centre - 92 seats: 13.9% of votes
      • German Democratic Party - 5 seats: 0.9% of votes
      • Social Democrats - 120 seats: 18.3 % of votes
      • Communist Party - 81 seats : 12.3% of votes
      • Other - 9 seats: 1.6% of votes
    • the formal title for the Enabling Act was the 'Law to Remedy the Distress of People and Reich'
    • As the Reichstag building was out of use so the German Parliament resoted to using the Kroll Opera House - it was small enough to make any SA presence look menacing if Reichstag members were not going to vote accordingly.
    • The March 5th election showed that the Nazis were not as popular as Hitler wanted.
      • The communists were no longer a problem as the party was banned as they were blamed for the Reichstag fire.
      • The Nazis only gained a majority of the Deputy seats with the help of the German National Peoples Party.
    • The Centre Party concerned Hitler the most as he felt that those who did not want to vote for the act would rally around the centre party.
      • Hitler therefore made a deal with the Centre Party - he would protect all of the rights that Catholics had in Germany as well as foster better relations with the Vatican.
    • The only party that did not support the bill was the social democrats.
    • Constitutional German law stated that any change to the constitution had to have a vote at which 66% of the Reichstag Deputies had to be present.
      • The Social Democrats knew that if they boycott the vote, there would not be the required 66% of the Reichstag deputies at the vote.
        • The Nazis got around this with ease. The President of the Reichstag (Hermann Goering) introduced a new procedure that made irrelevant the proposed move of the SD. Goering's new procedure was to deem any Feichstag Deputy who was not at the session but who did not have a good reason to be there.
    • The final vote for the Enabling Act was 444 for and 94 against.
      • All those who voted against the act were Social Democrats
    • The Enabling Act allowed the Cabinet to introduce legislation without it first going through the Reichstag.
      • Any legislation passed by the Cabinet did not need Presidential approval either.
    • Hitler had given the Centre Party his full guarantee that their power would be protected if they supported the Enabling Act.
      • On July 14th 1933, all political parties other than the Nazi Party was banned on the orders of Hitler.
    • The Enabling Act also protected the position of the President.
      • Such was Hitler's power that when Hindenburg died in August 1934, he simply merged the positions of Chancellor and President and created the position of Führer
        • Hitler did this even though interfering with the position of President was not allowed even by the terms of the Enabling Act.


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