Hitler's Germany

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How and why was Hitler able to become Chancellor i

  • When the wall street crash hapened in the USA, Hitler and the Nazis had little national support. However, as unemployment in Germany soared, so did support for extremist political parties- the Communists and the Nazis. Both promised solutions to Germany's economic and social problems.In January 1933, Hitler became the leader of the largest party in the Reichstag. Within 18 months, he had become a dictator.

The Weimar system of Government

  • Weimar Germany always had coalition governmets. Using article 48 of the constituation, the Reichstag. This mean't that he could pass laws by decree, which could dangerous if missused.

Hitler's appointment as Chacellor

  • In May 1932, Hindenburg appointed Franz von Papen as Chancellor. But he didn't have enough support to keep his power. Von Papen needed more support so called for a vote in November 1932. As a result he lost votes so resigned and Von Schleicher became Chancellor.
  • He failed to keep support so resigned and Hindenburg had to do the opposite of what he wanted and appoint Hitler as Chancellor. In January 1933, Hindenburg appointed Hitler as Chancellor
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The election of March 1933 and the Enabling Act

The Reichstag Fire, February 1933

  • Hitler blammed this on the communists so him and Goebbels raced by car to the burning building. Dutch communist Marinus van der Lubbe was caught at the scene and arrested then 11 months later was beheaded.
  • This gave Hitler an oppotunity to act against communists.

The election of March 1933 and the Enabling Act

  • Although the Nazis were by far the largest party, they did not have an overall majority- just 44 per cent of the seats.
  • The Reichstag members passed the Enabling Act, which gave Hitler the power to make his own laws without the Reichstag.
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The elimination of political opposition, 1933-34

Hitler acted swiftly to get rid of all political opposition to the Nazi Party. His biggest threat, the Communist Party, had been after the Reichstag Fire. Between May and July, all the other parties were banned, including those that had helped him to become Chancellor. Using his powers following the Enabling Act, Hitler passed a law against the formation of parties. This menat that the Nazi party was the only plitical organisation allowed in Germany. Many prominent Socialists and Communists.

Trade Unions, which had contained many communist supporters, were closed down in May 1933 and were replaced by the Nazis' own trade union, the German Labour Front.

In July 1933, Hitler also signed an agreement with the Pope, known as the Concordat. Catholics agreed to accept Hitlers' promise that he would not interfere with Catholicism in Germany. This agreement with the Pope gave Hitler international prestige.

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Hitlers' elimination of the SA

He was not fully in control of the SA ( the Brownshirts ), who were under the leadership of Ernst Rohm. The SA had a reputation for violence and causing chaos, which continued to give the Nazis a bad name. Hitler wanted a professional army.

Hitler had the SS ( the Blackshirts ) and he wanted them to replace the SA. He was told that Rohm and other SA leaders were plotting against him and planning to seize power immediatly. On the night of 30 June 1934, Hitler used the SS to arrest and shoot leading members of the SA. Just before 7am a number of SS cars careered into the village inn near Munich. Hitler was in one of them. He lept out, marched inside and woke up Rohm with the words, 'You're under arrest'. The same process was repeated in other bedrooms. By 10am the SS began to round up other leading SA members in Berlin. Some were shot answered the door. Rohm himself was shot in hos prison cell after he refused to commit suicide. The process continued for the next few days and nights.

Not all of those shot-in total about 200-were SA members. The opportunity was taken to get rid of some other opponents in the process- for example, the previous Chancellor, Von Schleicher.

Hitler told the Reichstag that he acted swiftly to save the nation from a potenial civil war. The Reichstag, consisting of only Nazis, accepted this version of events without question.

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One-party State

Hitler was all-powerful; he was the Fuhrer. However, he was alsopersonally lazy. He usually got up late and was very reluctant to read through routine paperwork. Much of the detailed work and decision making was left to others. He preferred to dream up grand schemes about the geatness of Nazi rule and his plans for the expansion of the German State. Hitler's chief subordinates were allowed a great deal of flexibility, but they knew what Hitler wanted.

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Law and Order

The Nazis abolished the right to trial before imprisonment. The justice system became part of the Nazi State.

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