Hitler's Rise To Power

Why did Hitler come to power?!

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Long Term Bitterness- Deep anger about WW1 and treaty of Versailles made Hitler's vicioussness seem appealing.

Ineffective Constitution- Weakness in the constitution cirppled the government which made many people want a dictatorship. When the time came, there was nobody who was prepared to stop Hiter.

Money- The support of rich businessmen gave Hitler the money to run propaganda and election campaigns.

Propaganda-Nazi propaganda indoctrinated the Germans into believing that jews were to blame and Hitler was their last hope.

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The Night of Long Knives

The Night of Long Knives

By 1934, Hitler had almost total power, but Hindenburg was stil alove and had full support of the army, the they coud easily overthrow Hitler at Hindenburg's command. Also, Hitler had the problem of Ernst Rohm, who wanted the SA to become Germany's official army, but this horrified army generals. If Hitler sided with Rohm, then he woud never get the support of the army and if he sided with the army, Rohm woud rebel.

But Hiter didn't want Rohm to have so much power, so he sent his ** men to arrest Rohm and the SA leaders on the night of 30th June 1934 and were taken to prison and shot over the course of the next week, along with other potential threats to Hitler.

So most of Hitler's rivals were killed and he gained the total trust of the army officials, therefore becoming the most powerful man in Germany. And when Hindenburg died a month later, all armys soldiers took oath of loyalty to Hitler, who combined the roles of chancellor and president and made himself "Fuhrer".

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The Night of Long Knives

What did Hitler gain from the night of long knives?

  • It gave Hitler the chance to build up his new group, the **.
  • Made Hitler appear ruthless and more feared among other Nazi leaders.
  • The embarrassing and out of date SA was removed- which gave Hitler more support from ordinary Germans.
  • Complete loyalty of the army.
  • Allowed him to become Fuhrer when Hindenburg died, as he now had the army's support.


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Programme- Hitler promised everybody something, so they supported him.

Attacks on other parties- Stormtroopers attacked Jews and other opposing people, so people just kept quiet because they were scared and judges turned a blind eye.

Personal Qualities- Hitler was an excellent public speaker, organiser and politician. He was passionate, driven, unstable and believed in himself. This confidence made others believe in him.

Economic Depression- After the wall st crash, Hitler offered somebody to blame so people supported him and Nazi success grew. Their seats in the Reichstag went from 12 in 1928, to 230 in 1932.

Recruited by Hindenburg- In Nov 1932, Nazi seats fell again to 196, but Hitler was rescued by Hindenburg, being offered the post of vice chancellor. But Hitler demanded the role of chancellor, so Hindenburg took a huge risk and offered him the job in 1933, and this backfired.

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The Reichstag Fire

The Reichstag Fire

Less than a month after becoming Chancellor, the Reischtag building was burnt down by an arson attack. Inside was a Dutch man names Marinus Van Der Lubbe who was once a communist! Van Der Lubbe confessed and was executed- but Hitler used the situation and said that it was all part of a Communist plot to destroy the German government.

Hitler went to Hindenburg to ask if Article 48 could be used to deal with the "emergency", and he consented. So Police were given emergency powers to search houses, confiscate property and imprison people without trial. Hitler was also brought into censorship so he could decide what was printed in papers. The communist party was made illegal and the SA went on a violence spree- beating up the communists.

How Hitler Benefited from the Reichstag Fire

  • Communist Party was banned.
  • Working class more likely to vote for nazis.
  • Street fights between SA and communists gave hitler another reason to use artice 48.
  • Hitler had powers over police and looked like defender of nation.
  • Got to use article 48 for first time
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The Enabling Act

The Enabling Act

Article 48 allowed the president to govern by decree (to make laws without consuting Reichstag). And Hitler had been allowed to use it once, but to become a dictator he needeed to be able to use it without having Hindenburg's permission. Hitler used the violence as an excuse for the enabling act, which basically gave most of Hindenburgs power to Hitler.

This was a change in the Weimar constitution, so it needed 75% of the reichstag to vote for it. 30% were aready nazis, and the SA intimidated, threatened and bribed many other politicians. The act was passed (just) and Hitler was almost totaly in charge!

How this helped Hitler become a dictator

  • He could use Article 48 all the time, without needing approval.
  • He had powers over the police, taxes, economy and calling elections.
  • Only Hitler could make new laws
  • He could change the constitution again or scrap it at any time he liked.
  • Hitler bans all other political parties in 1933, meaning only he could win the election
  • All trade unions were banned in 1933
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