3.4) Making of Nazi Dictatorship, January - March 1933:

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Hitlers cabinet:

  • 30th January 1933, Hitler appointed Chancellor. by Hindenburg.
  • First cabinet meeting = 3/12 Nazi ministers.
  • Van Papen = Vice-chancellor and minister-president of Prussia, Germanys largest state.
  • Had the right to be present when  Hitler met with Hindenburg.
  • Decisions would be made by a non-Nazi majority, many of who were the old aristocratic elite. 
  • Papen thought Hitler wouldn't be able to control the cabinet, not being able to become a dictator.
  • But Hitler was determined for dictatorship which he was achieving in late March 1933.
  • Others in the cabinet consisted of Goering and Wilhelm Frick (Nazis), Blomberg (defence minister, DNVP) and Von Neurath (Conservative, aristocrat, foreign minister).
  • Later on the same day, 100,000 Nazis did a torchlight march in Berlin organised by Joeseph Goebbels as Hitler watched from the balcony.
  • This demonstration showed how Hitler now being chancellor wasn't going to be a normal change of government. 
  • Showed Nazi success and a national revolution.
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How Nazis used terror:


  • January 1933, SA violence helped Hitler to power.
  • He used state resources to consolidate his position and expand SA.
  • SA violence and terror were key to eliminate political opponents.
  • Had 500,000 members. 
  • Hitler in power made Nazi activities legal. 
  • February 1933, SA and Stahlhelm merged and seen as a special police. 
  • Orders were given to regular police, banning them from interfering in SA activities.
  • Frick - Minister of interior of the whole Reich.
  • Georing - Minister of interior in Prussia. 
  • This allowed Nazis to control the police. 
  • SA = terrorised Socialist and Communist opponents.
  • New powers allowed them to attack KDP/Tradeunion offices and Left Wing homes.
  • Gangs of SA broke up KPD and SPD meetings. 
  • Nazi crimes/killings were ignored and SPD newspapers which condemned it were shut down.
  • Centre Party newspaper was shut down and meetings were attacked.
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How Nazis used terror:

  • Many socialist, communists and tradeunionists = put together and put in a concentration camps in old factories.
  • March 1933 = first concentration camp made in Dachau.
  • July 1933 = 25,000 political prisoners = imprisoned.


  • When in power, Hitler dissolved the Reichstag and called a new election for March.
  • Thought this would be the chance for a Nazi majority.
  • Campaign needed more intense Nazi terror over opponents.
  • 5th March, KPD and SPD were too afraid of the terror and intimidation of Nazis.
  • 27th February = Key moment in the campaign, Reichstag fire.
  • Reichstag fire - Marinus Van Der Lubbe, a Dutch communist was charged for setting up a fire.
  • Some say Nazis had set this up in order to take repressive measures.
  • Nazis gained support from the fire as they said it was a communist plot for a revolution. 
  • This justified suspension of civil liberties to crush their opponents legally.
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How Nazis used legal power:


  • Hitler = appointed Chancellor legally via constitution of Weimar.
  • Weimar constitution was in force during the 3rd Reich.
  • But Hitler asked Hindenburg to give him emergency powers which was the decree for protection of people and the state which removed civil and political rights the Weimar had given.
    • Police = more power, arrest without trial, search private premises.
    • Government = had power to cencor publications.
    • These powers = used against socialist and communist, banning newspapers and meetings.
    • Decree allowed central government to take over state government if refused act against Nazi opponents. 
    • Decree allowed full scale attack of KDP.
    • Propaganda said there was going to be a German bolshevik revolution.
  • Police arrest 10,000 KPD in 2 weeks, including leaders.
  • KPD still not banned and able to put up member in March, but party membership was seen as treason. 
  • Many civil servants, judges and police were Conservatives and gave legal sanction to Nazis.
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How Nazis used legal power:


  • Left wing were disadvantaged, couldn't have meeting, leaders/members were locked up.
  • Poster put up were brought down.
  • People giving SPD/KPD leaflets were arrested. 
  • Nazi propaganda was rampants via radios, leaflets, rallies and parades.
  • Even with opponents banned from campaigning, Nazis didn't achieve as much success as they wanted.
  • Nazi votes increased from November 1932.
  • Despite violence, SPD, Centre and KPD support was still common.
  • In the election, 64% voted for non-Nazi parties.
  • But Nazis with DNVP = a Reichstag majority.
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The end of Democracy:


  • 23rd March 1933, new Reichstag meeting was held in Kroll Opera House. 
  • Hitler planned to get 2/3rds majority for the Enabling Act.
  • This would allow him to make laws without Reichstag/presidential approval for 4 years.
  • 24th March 1933, Enabling act was passed, this law was change in the constitution it needed 2/3rds majority to be enforced.
  • KPD deputies unable to take their seats, DNVP willing to talk with Nazis to pass the bill.
  • Centre party were key in passing the bill as Hitler said he'd consult Hindenburg when passing new laws.
  • SPD were the only parties who voted against it. 
  • Hitler eventully became the executive and legislative, could rule without majority and therefore the Reichstag rarelly met. 
  • Enabling act = key for Nazi dictatorship.
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State of Germany in March 1933:

  • 2 months after Chancellorship, Hitler legally formed a Nazi dictatorship. 
  • Used Gleichshaltung, forcing into line and an attempt for control over all aspects of German society. Individuals would have to privacy.
  • Now had one party state, banned free tradeunions, media consorship, controlled education and youth. 
  • KPD was banned and it's leaders left the country.
  • Police were under Nazi control, SA and SS attacked opponents.
  • Rule of Law and individual rights were now gone.
  • Attacks on Jews had increased.
  • Planned a national revolution put had to fix the economic crises.
  • Army was only independent institution as Hitler wanted army as only force that could remove him.
  • February 3rd 1934, Hitler met army's senior officers and outlined his plans for rearmament. 
  • Also said he wouldn't undermine armys role as most important institution which allowed army leaders to support Hitler's dictatorship.
  • February 20th 1934, Met with industrialists for financial support and donations of 3m RM.
  • Stopped Nazi attacks on big capitalists to gain business support to fix the economy.
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State of Germany in March 1933:

  • Nazis wouldn't allow any opposition to stand infront of them.
  • Conservative forces in the army and big businesses retained it's influence and authority.
  • Hitler knew they couldn't be ignored. 
  • Pact of 1933, army and big businesses agreed to cooperate with Hitler. 
  • No written agreement, but Hitler had to make sure these institution were untouched by Gliechshaltung.
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