Political Intrigue in Germany 1932 - 1933

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Political Intrigue 1932-1933
Hitler plots his way into power:
July 1932: Nazis by far the largest party in Reichstag with 230 seats. Hitler was
growing in popularity and he had given Hindenburg a good race in the presidential
elections of the same year. Despite Nazi political success, Hindenburg was
reluctant to appoint Hitler as Chancellor of Germany.
1st June 1932: Hindenburg used his powers to make Franz von Papen, the leader of
the Centre Party (BVP), Chancellor of Germany instead of Hitler. The army did not
really support von Papen, so he resigned on the 17th November 1932.
3rd December 1932: Kurt von Schleicher is made Chancellor of Germany. Von
Schleicher failed to win support in the Reichstag and resigned after eight weeks on
the 28th January 1933.
30th January 1933: Hitler is appointed as Chancellor by President Hindenburg. Von
Papen had convinced the President, that he and other Weimar politicians could
control Hitler. In Hitler's cabinet, there were only three Nazis, all the other
positions were taken up by politicians from other parties. Von Papen became Hitler's
Vice-Chancellor, thinking he could control Hitler and rule Germany through him. Von
Papen hoped he could act as a "puppeteer" to Hitler.
On paper, it looked as though Hitler's position was still quite weak. In reality, Hitler was
Chancellor of Germany, Goring was in charge of most of the Prussian Police (which was the
largest state in Germany) and Hitler knew that he could pick off his enemies one by one.
Many of the other cabinet ministers within the "cabinet of barons" who were not Nazis, but
were from right-wing Nationalist parties, actually agreed with many of Hitler's policies.
March 1933: Hitler finally gained an overall majority (288 seats within the
Reichstag) and was able to make an alliance with the Nationalists expelling the
Communists after the Reichstag Fire (27th February 1933). This majority gave Hitler
the ability to pass the Enabling Act that gave him the powers of a dictator.
Summer 1933: Hitler's position at this time had been greatly strengthened. He had
seized control of the government through political deals and manipulation, he had
destroyed the Communists and he had passed the Enabling Act. Nevertheless, he
still faced potential opposition from the aging President Hindenburg and from
other leading Nazis, in particular Ernst Rohm, head of 2.5 million strong S.A.


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