The Reichstag after the fire

ZIMSEC O Level History Notes: Dictatorship in Europe: Dictatorship in Germany: Hitler’s Consolidation of Power

  • He was appointed Germany chancellor when he was released from prison and he began his consolidation plan
  • Hitler convinced the Germany president during that time to hold other elections
  • His main aim was to ensure that the Nazi gain more seats in the Reichstag
  • The period to the elections was characterized by high levels of violence by Hitler’s supporters
  • They disrupted other parties’ rallies and beat up the members whilst the police just looked
  • The Nazi rallies went by undisturbed and they also took advantage of the radio and newspaper to spread their propaganda
  • A Dutch Communist named Lubbe set the Reichstag on fire on February 27 1933 and the Nazi knew about this and had left him to do it so as to use it to their advantage
  • They argued that the event signaled the spread of communism which was feared by the Germans
  • The Communist party was banned in 24 hours and 4000 of its key members arrested
  • Hitler was then given an emergency decree to suspend basic human rights of citizens
  • This gave him powers to arrest, imprison, detain and execute many citizens without trial at his will
  • He began to use these powers to intimidate citizens and restrict opposition parties’ rallies
  • The Nazi did not win the majority despite all their efforts
  • Hitler then pushed for the Enabling bill which enabled the government to make laws without consulting the Reichstag and Hitler used this to his advantage as he became independent and a dictator
  • Many trade unions were banned as a result of the laws passed by Hitler
  • Multi-partyism was banned and many opposition party leaders were arrested
  • Hitler then organized The Night of Long Knives or Blood Purge whereby he killed most of his opponents
  • He went on to kill the leader SA Rohm who was the remaining opponent and ordered the arrest of the remaining leader
  • When President Hidenburg died, Hitler took this an opportunity and took over the supreme power of the country
  • He became both president and chancellor also assuming the Commander in Chief of the Defence Forces role
  • Elections held two weeks after the death of Hidenburg saw Hitler gaining 90% of the votes

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