- Ideology was designed to appeal to a broad mass of patriotic Germans
- i.e those who longed for national unity & an end to the humiliation caused by the treaty of Versailles
- Hitler's world view relied on his Social Darwinist outlook
- Vision of a Volksgemeinschaft was central to ideological beliefs
- Ideas of a 'Master race' also covered those whose personal practices the Nazis deemed 'unnatural' (homosexuals, criminals, alcoholics etc.)
- The Fuhrer myth was used to portray a strong, charismatic leader
- Believed democracy was weak and did not work
Nazi Ideology was:
- Incoherent and contradictory
- backward looking
The 'Legal revolution'
- Nazis blamed the Reichstag fire on the KPD
- They were able to use this to pass the 'Reichstag fire decree' (28th Feb 1933)
- This took away rights to free speech, freedom of assembly and freedom from arrest
- this allowed Nazis to arrest and harass political opponents for no reason
5th March new elections:
- Nazis called elections to gain the 2/3 majority needed to pass a law changing the constitution
- Nazis only gained 44% of the vote
- the SA stopped certain political opposition enterin the building in order to stop them voting at all
23rd March enabling act:
- Hitler could pass laws without consulting the Reichstag
- Hitler could establish a dictatorship/one party state
'Legal revolution' based on manipulation of Weimar constitution
July 1933: The creation of the one party state
- KPD and SPD banned
- Conservaive and liberal parties voluntarily disband
- Main Nationalist party merge with Nazis
- 14th July 1933: Law against the formation of new political parties
Terror and the opposition
- Nazis also consolidated their power through violence
- Goering issued the following order tothe Prussian police on Feb. 17th 1933:
- Authorised them to shoot communists
- After recruitment of 50,000 auxillary police, 100,000 political opponents were imprisoned.
- Concentration camps are established. (Dachau: March 1933)
Gaining control of the Nazi party
- 1933/34: The party is a mix of conservatives and radicals
- Hitler needed the support of the conservative elite.
- However, the SA and their violence were becoming more and more of an embarassment to Hitler as they undermined his respectable image.
- Rohm wanted to create 'the people's army' - Hitler refused as elite army officers were horrified by this
- The army increasingly see Rohm as a threat. This leads to Night of the Long knives
Night of the Long Knives
(For more info, see mindmap)
- 30th June 1934
- Hitler orders the purge of the SA in order to ensure conservative support and therefore the future of his own government.
- The SS brought the SA under it's control
Hitler's actions consolidated his position of leader by:
- Removing a threat within the party
- Winning over conservative critics
- Winning support from the German people; the purge seemed to save Germany from Rohm's 'social revolution
Compromise with the Churches
Hitler recognised the Christianity was important to the majority of Germans, despite Nazi views opposing the Church.
- In a speech immidieately after becoming Chancellor, he claimed to admire the work of the Churches.
- The day of Potsdam included a Protestant sermon
July 1933 Concordat with the Catholic Church:
- Nazis would not interfere with religious freedoms/ educational practices of the Catholic Church
- Catholic Church would stay out of politics, the Centre party would voluntarily disband and the Papacy diplomaticaly recognises the German government
The concordat helped to win support of Germany's Roman Catholics (30% of the population)