Achieving Total Power


The SA was a Threat to Hitler

1) The SA had helped Hitler come to power, but he now saw it as a threat.

2) Its members were very loyal to Ernst Rohm, the SA's leader. Hitler was worried that Rohm was becoming too powerful - by 1934 the SA had more members than the German army.

3) The SA was also unpopular with the leaders of the German army and with some ordinary Germans.

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Night of the Long Knives

1. Ernst was the biggest threat to Hitler, but Hitler was also worried about other members of the Nazi Party who disagreed with his views.

2. On the 29th-30th June 1934, Hitler sent men to arrest or kill Rohm and other leaders of the SA. He also used this opportunity to remove some of his political opponents. Altogether, several hundred people were killed or imprisoned.

3. He claimed that those who were killed had been plotting to overthrow the government, so he declared them legal murders.

4. This became known as the 'Night of the Long Knives' and was a triumph for Hitler.

5. It stamped out all potential opposition within the Nazi party and sent a powerful message to the party about Hitler's ruthlessness and brutality. It also shown the Hitler was now free to act above the law.

Most Germans wouldn't have known exactly what had happened on the 'Night of the Long Knives' until a few days later, when Hitler declared the events legal. Even then, there was little outcry. It's likely that some people believed Hitler's claims that the violence was necessary to protect the country. Others were too scared to speak out.

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National and Local governament

1. August 1934, Hindenburg died. Hitler used this opportunity to combine the posts of Chancellor and President, and also made himself Commander-in-Chief of the army.

2. He called himself Der Fuhrer (the leader) - this was the begining of the dictatorship.

3. At this point, Germany was reorganised into a number of provinces. Each province was called a Gau (plural: Gaue), with a Gauleiter (a loyal Nazi) in charge of each.

4. Above them were the Reichsleiters, who advised Hitler, e.g. Goebbels who was in charge of propaganda, and Himmler who was chief of the German police.

5. At the top and in absolute control was the Fuhrer- Hitler.

  • The Fuhrer
  • Reichsleiters
  • Gauleiters ( Were appointed by Hitler, which ensured he had control over the lower levels of the party).
  • Other officials (These included local and district party leaders.
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National and Local government 2

6. Every aspect of life was carefully controlled, and only loyal Nazis could be successful.

When the Nazis took over, some Germans were glad that someone was at last taking control after the chaos and political weakness of the Weimar years.

The army had to swear an oath of allegiance to Hitler, instead of pledging to protect Germany. Some German workers were also forced to take an oath of obedience, promising loyalty to Hitler. Those who refused could lose their jobs.

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