Slides in this set
To get a better understanding of this section of the
course, I like to break this process down into three
·How did Hitler make the transaction from
Chancellor to Fuhrer?
·How did he dismantle the Weimar Democracy?
·How far was this a legal process?…read more
Background and issues
When Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany, he was
by no means in the position of power he desired as `Fuhrer'
The Nazi party was part of a coalition government
dominated by the Nationalist Party (under Hugenburg) and
the Catholic Centre Party (Kaas).
Vice Chancellor Von Papen believed that in this position it
would be possible to control Hitler.…read more
Barriers to Hitler's dictatorship
President Hindenburg. Hitler could never be in a position of absolute
power with a president above him.
Non-Nazi members of the coalition government. Hitler could not
establish himself as a powerful dictator without the support of a strong
The Reichstag. Though the Nazi party were the largest party in the
Reichstag, they were still a minority overall; 37% of the vote made them the
largest party, but did not put them in a position to rule Germany without a
The Army. A state government needs to have the support of its Army.
Much of the Wehrmacht were suspicious of the SA (especially Rohm),
considering them as a threat to the German Army. Without the loyalty of
the Wehrmacht, Hitler could not establish a secure dictatorship in
Democratic local government still in place. Not all of Germany would be
under Nazi influence whilst this system was still in place.…read more
Hitler's first moves
Despite pressure from some in his party (especially Rohm) to introduce a dictatorship by
force, Hitler insisted on taking a legal approach.
He asked President Hindenburg to dissolve the Reichstag and call new elections and also
to pass a law giving Hitler the authority to shut down newspapers hostile to the NSDAP.
Hindenburg agreed to both requests.
From this Hitler hoped to fight an election campaign from a position of strength, gain a
majority in the Reichstag and then dismantle Democracy and replace it with a Nazi
The Election Campaign
In his "Appeal to Germany", Hitler presented the Nazi party as:
·The way forward
·The strong party
·The Anti-Communist Party
·The Party to restore the economy and living standards
·"Give us four years and then judge us"
He used clever propaganda techniques, tailoring speeches for certain audiences- rich,
poor, farmers, workers, students etc. Cross-Germany campaign made him popular with
the public and rich Nazi supporters made sure the NSDAP were well funded.
The SA made efforts to promote Nazi propaganda and break up the meetings of political
opponents. In Prussia, Goering's police were particularly intimidating following the
passing of the "Shooting Decree".…read more