Reichstag fire and enabling acts

Just some short summary notes of the above two events - hope they are helpful. Written from the OCR course but could be useful to others studying Nazi Germany

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  • Created on: 09-06-10 14:35
Preview of Reichstag fire and enabling acts

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The Reichstag Fire
One of the events that Hitler used to help him consolidate power.
27th February 1933
What happened?
Several fires start simultaneously in the Reichstag
Arrest of young communist Dutch man ­ Marinus van der Lubbe
Police arrive quickly followed by Hitler
Hitler says "Communist plot. Communists are out to get us"
1. Van der Lubbe. Used as a scapegoat by the Nazis so they can get what they want.
2. It really was a communist plot as the Nazis say
3. Combination of 1 and 2. Van der Lubbe arrested the week before for planning a fire and the
Nazis let him go, allowing him to continue with the plot. Van der Lubbe was not mentally fit
enough to carry out the task but the Nazis were smart enough to take adavantage.
Hitler manipulates the situation
Goes to Hindenberg and tells him they must protect Germany from this communist plot
Sate of emergency called by Hindenberg
Reichstag dismissed
Hindenberg passes some enabling acts which gives Hitler some power ­ makes it almost
impossible to oppose Hitler
Leads to Enabling Acts March 1933
Enabling Acts ­ March 1933
o Voted by Reichstag at Kroll Opera House
o Communist party banned so can not get inside to vote
o Mass SA presence
o Everyone votes in favour of the act EXCEPT the socialists who vote against it.
o Passed 444 to 94 votes ­ needed 2/3 to pass
What was it?
Drawn up by Frick
"Decree for the protection of people and the state"
Meant civil and political liberties were suspended
Strengthened the powers of central government
Did away with Parliamentary procedures and legislation
Transferred full powers to the Chancellor and his government for 4 years
What did it mean?
Hitler's dictatorship was grounded in legality
Hitler had legally dismantled the Weimar constitution and the way was now open for him to
create a one-party totalitarian state
Legal revolution ­ no force was used


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