How Hitler consolidated power 1933-1934
In January 1933 Hitler became chancellor of Germany and by August 1934, he had declared himself Führer - the leader of Germany.
27 February 1933 - Reichstag Fire: the Reichstag building is set on fire. A Dutch Communist, van der Lubbe, is caught red-handed in the burning building.
5 March 1933 - General Election: 44 per cent of the population vote for the Nazis, who win 288 seats in the Reichstag.
23 March 1933 - Enabling Act: the Reichstag votes to give Hitler the right to make his own laws.
26 April 1933 - Local government is reorganised: Germany split into 42 Gaus, each run by a Gauleiter. Hitler sets up the Gestapo.
2 May 1933 - Trade unions: abolished and their leaders arrested.
20 June 1933 - Concordat: Hitler makes an agreement with the Catholic Church. This agreement allows Hitler to take over political power in Germany as long as he leaves the Catholic Church alone.
How Hitler consolidated power 1933-1934 cont.
14 July 1933 - Political parties: banned and only the Nazi party is allowed to exist.
24 April 1934 - People's Court: Hitler sets up the Nazi people's courts where judges have to swear an oath of loyalty to the Nazis.
30 June 1934 - Night of the Long Knives: Hitler must chose between the SA or the army, and choses the army. The SS murder around 400 of the SA members, including its leader Röhm, along with a number of Hitler's other opponents.
19 August 1934 - Führer: when Hindenburg dies, Hitler declares himself president, chancellor and head of the army.
Reichstag Fire - 27 February 1933
Hitler used this event to his advantage:
- gave him the opportunity to imprison communist leaders, which stopped them campaigning during the election
-allowed the Nazis to say that the country was in danger from the communists during its election campaign
These advantages gained the Nazi party more seats.
General election and Enabling Act
General election - 5 March 1933
Nazi party did not gain a majority, however it gave them enough seats to get the Enabling Act passed, which is all Hitler needed.
Enabling Act - 23 March 1933
Gave Hitler absolute power, allowing him to pass his laws.
Local government and Trade Unions
Local government reorganised - 26 April 1933
Put the Nazis in control of local government, and allowed the Gestapo to rule by terror.
Trade Unions abolished - 2 May 1933
Allowed Hitler to destroy a group that might have opposed him. It also gave Hitler the opportunity to set up the German Labour Front, which gave him control over German workers.
Political parties and People's Courts
Political parties are banned - 14 July 1933
Made Germany a one-party (Nazis) state anddestroyed democracy.
People's Courts - 24 April 1934
Gave Hitler greater control over the judgements made in courts. Hitler was furious because the courts did not sentence the communists to death for starting the Reichstag fire.
Night of the Long Knives and Führer
Night of the Long Knives - 30 June 1934
Destroyed all opposition within the Nazi Party. It gave power to the SS. Showed the rest of the world what a tyrant Hitler was.
Führer - 19 August 1934
Made Hitler the absolute ruler of Germany.
Hitler and the army
In 1934, the army was not subject to Hitler's authority. At this point, he still needed the army's support, which is why he destroyed the SA in the Night of the Long Knives.
In 1938, army leaders hoped Hitler's plan to conquer the Sudetenland would fail and give them an opportunity to depose him. When he suceeded, their attempt to get rid of him fell apart, and Hitler dismissed the chief of staff and 60 other generals. Thereafter, the army was also subservient to Hitler.
The structures of control in the Nazi state
The way Hitler consolidated power in 1933-1934 meant that the Nazis had absolute control of national and local government.
Hitler believed that religion was a threat to the Nazis' control over people's minds, so he tried different ways to reduce the power of the church over people.
Hitler ordered Nazification - the imposition of Nazi values - on all aspects of German life.
Dr Robert Ley, head of the DAF (German Labour Front), boasted that he controlled workers' lives from the 'cradle to the grave'.
The structures of control in the Nazi state cont.
Education and youth (working)
The lives of young people were controlled both in and out of school to turn them into Nazis.
Terror (method of control)
Germany became a country where it was unsafe to do or say anything critical of the government.
Propoganda (method of control)
Josef Goebbels controlled the Propaganda Ministry, which aimed to brainwash people into obeying the Nazis and idolising Hitler.
Points that allowed Hitler to gain control of the government:
- Enabling Act
- Local government reorganised
- Political parties banned
- Hitler became Führer
- Non-Nazi Catholic priests and Protestant pastors such as Martin Niemöller and Dietrich Bonhöffer were sent to concentration camps.
- Jews and Jehovah's Witnesses were openly persecuted.
- Hitler set up a state Reich Church, which banned the Bible and the cross.
- Nazis encouraged people to revive the old Viking myths and ceremonies.
- Artists had to produce acceptable paintings that portrayed Nazi values.
- Jazz music was banned.
- Books written by Jews were publicly burned.
- Homosexuals were persecuted; they did not fit the Nazi image of the ideal family.
- The Olympic Games of 1936 were a huge Nazi propaganda success.
Education and work
Education and youth
- Non-Nazi teachers and university professors were sacked; teachers had to join the National Socialist Teachers' League.
- Textbooks were re-written to include Nazi political and racial ideas.
- History was taught to glorify Germany.
- There was a concentration on physical fitness.
- Girls were taught cookery; boys were taught science and maths.
- The Hitler Youth was compulsory; it indoctrinated boys and prepared them for war.
- The Nazi Girls' youth organisation - the BDM - was compulsory; it indoctrinated girls and prepared them for church, children and cooking.
- The RAD (National Labour Service) sent young men on public works.
- Hitler introduced conscription in 1936; most men went into the army after the RAD.
- The DAF (German Labour Front) controlled workers' conditions at work.
- The KdF (Strength through Joy) movement regulated their leisure time.
Methods of control
- SS and Gestapo investigations.
- Arrests of thousands of people terrified opponents.
- Set up Nazi people's courts.
- Concentration camps.
- Mass rallies at Nuremberg.
- Newspapers were censored.
- People's radios were sold very cheaply, but broadcasts were controlled.
- Films were controlled to make films that glorified war and pilloried the Jews.
- Loudspeakers in public places blared out Nazi propaganda.
- Cult of personality - Hitler's picture was everywhere.
Women in the Nazi state
The role of women
Hitler wanted a high birth rate, so the population would grow. The Nazis even considered making it law that families should have at least four children.
The Law for the Encouragement of Marriage gave newly wed couples a loan of 1,000 marks, and allowed them to keep 250 marks for each child they had. Mothers who had more than eight children were given a gold medal. Unmarried women could volunteer to have a baby for an Aryan member of the SS.
- The Catholic Archbishop of Munster, von Galen.
- The White Rose group was formed by students at Munich University. They published anti-Nazi leaflets, but were discovered and executed in 1943.
- During the war, 'swing' groups were formed. These were young people who rejected Nazi values, drank alcohol and danced to jazz. More violent groups were called the Edelweiss Pirates. They daubed anti-Nazi slogans, sheltered deserters and beat up Nazi officials.
Who did the Nazis persecute?
- Black people
- Mentally disabled
- Physically disabled
- Deaf peopl.
- Homosexuals, prostitutes, Jehovah's Witnesses, alcoholics, pacifists, beggars, hooligans and criminals
How the Nazis persecuted the Jews: key dates
- Boycott of Jewish businesses.
- Jewish civil servants, lawyers and teachers sacked.
- Nuremberg laws (15 September) Jews could not be citizens. They were not allowed to vote or to marry a German.
- Kristallnacht (9 November) - attacks on Jewish homes, businesses and synagogues.