consolidating his position

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After he became chancellor in January 1933, Hitler transformed his democratic position into dictatorial power. Calling an election – and taking advantage of the Reichstag fire – he got the Reichstag to pass the enabling act. Then, using the power this gave him to make his own laws, he set up the Gestapo, banned trade unions and opposition parties and on the night of the long knives, removed even the opposition within the Nazi party.

The Reichstag burned down. A Dutch communist called van der Lubbe was caught red handed with matches and fire lighting materials, Hitler used it as an excuse to arrest many of his communist opponents and as a major platform in his election campaign of 1933. The fire was so convenient that many people at the time claimed that the Nazis burned it down, and then just blamed the communists.

The general election on March 5th 1933 was appealing to the German people to give him a clear mandate. Only 44% of the


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