The Nazis Come to Power, Consolidation of Power

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Once Hitler became Chancellor on January 30 1933, he set about consolidating his power.

EVENT 1: THE REICHSTAG FIRE - NIGHT OF 27 FEBRUARY 1933

The Reichstag building is set on fire.  A Dutch communist named van der Lubbe is accused by the Nazis and found guilty.  

Hitler used this event to whip up opposition against the communists in Germany.  He played on people's fears of a revolution like the one that had occured in Russia.  

The Emergency Decree was issued by Hindenburg using Article 48 on February 28.  It had been pushed through by Hitler.  It suspended constitutional civil rights, so the secret police could hold people indefinitely without trial in protective custody.  It was used to repress the KPD - many communist leaders were imprisoned to stop them campaigning during the election.

EVENT 2: GENERAL ELECTION - 5 MARCH 1933

Hitler called for fresh elections in March in order to strengthen the Nazis' postition in the Reichstag.  Despite heavy intimidation tactics from the SA against the communists and SPD, the Nazis only gained 44% of the vote.  This wasn't what Hitler had hoped for - it didn't give the Nazis an overall majority.  Therefore, he joined the Nazis with the Nationalist Party and banned the KPD.  This increased the Nazis percentage of the votes.  He also agreed the Concordat with the Catholic Church to assure them that they wouldn't interfere with their matters if they came to power.  This gave the Nazis more votes from mainly the Zentrum Party.  Hitler needed this majority to pass the Enabling Act.

EVENT 3: ENABLING ACT - 23 MARCH 1933

The Enabling Act was an amendment to the Weimar Constitution…

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