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Analyse The Process By Which Hitler Transformed

Himself From Legal Chancellor To Legal Dictator By 1 Essay, Research Paper `?In two months we?ll have pushed Hitler into a corner so hard that he?ll be squeaking.? This was the widely held view among the German

Himself From Legal Chancellor To Legal Dictator By 1 Essay, Research Paper

`?In two months we?ll have pushed Hitler into a corner so

hard that he?ll be squeaking.? This was the widely held view among the German

conservatives voiced by Von Papen in 1933. He emphasised their perceived

position of dominance over Hitler when they were forced to appoint him as

chancellor in January 1933. However by August 1934 Hitler had complete

dominance over every sector of Germany and had become a legal dictator. This

essay will examine and analyse Hitler?s rise from legal chancellor to legal

dictator. On January 30th 1933 Hitler became Chancellor of

Germany, this however was not the position of power which it appeared to be as

only four of the fourteen members of the cabinet were Nazis. The rest was made

up of conservatives like Von Papen. Hitler realised that he was weak in this

situation and needed to rectify it. So he called new elections within his first

twenty-four hours in power. The aim of this was to give the Nazi party a

majority within the Reichstag. Hitler

believed that new elections could only serve to increase the Nazi vote and

increase his profile within Germany. The Nazi?s campaign for the Reichstag was bloody and contained few characteristics of a

democracy. The Storm Abteilung

(Stormtroopers ?SA) using violence and terror broke up socialist and Communist

meetings. Hitler blamed terrorist activities of the Communists for the way in

which the election campaign was undertaken. The Nazis were confident of winning

a majority in the Reichstag by using

the large sums of money donated to them by leading industrialists and Goebbels?

expert manipulation of the media. The Nazis? position was strengthened by a

strange incident, which occurred on the night of 27th February 1933

five days before the election. The Reichstag

building was set on fire by a Dutch Communist named der Lubbe. Many believed

this to be a Nazi plot but it has never been proved either way. Hitler did

however exploit the incident to his advantage. The next day he persuaded

Hindenburg the German President to sign the ?Decree for the Protection of

People and State.? This document suspended most civil and political liberties

and strengthened the power of central government over that of local

authorities. This meant that the last week of the election campaign saw an

increase in violence with hundreds of the Nazis? political opponents arrested. The elections were held on March 5th 1933 and the

Nazis surprisingly only increased their majority from 33.1 per cent to 43.9 per

cent. This meant that they still did not have a majority in the Reichstag and could only claim majority

via the help of the Nationalist party. Hitler?s next step towards full control of Germany was to

control the media. He decided that the best way to do this was to create a

Ministry for Public Enlightenment and Propaganda. This ministry was lead by

Joseph Goebbels whose ?cynical understanding of mass psychology? made him a

formidable figure. The aim of the ministry was to control and censor all the

sources of mass media and use them to work for the Nazis. In this way the Nazis

eradicated freedom of speech on a wide scale legally. Despite Hitler?s problems with majority within the Reichstag he decided to propose the passing

of an Enabling Act which would suspend parliamentary procedure and legislation

for a period of four years. If this were passed the dictatorship which Hitler

aimed to create would be grounded in legality. However in order to pass this

decree he needed to gain the support of other parties in the Reichstag to give him two thirds of the

vote. The first meeting to discuss the passing of the Enabling Act on 23rd

March 1933 was an ugly affair with Communists being refused admittance and

arrested and other members of the Reichstag

facing badgering from the assembled masses of the SA who surrounded the

building. The Nazis realised that they still needed two-thirds

majority and as they could assume that the Social Democrats would vote against

them they looked to gain the support of the Catholic Centre party. Hitler

promised in a speech made on the 23rd March to respect the Catholic

Church?s rights and to uphold moral and religious values within Germany. So on

the 24th March it was only the Social Democrats who voted

against the Enabling Act and it was passed by 444 votes to 94. Germany had by

now succumbed to what Bracher called ?legal revolution?. Hitler did not hold

full power in Germany yet though he spent the next seventeen months

consolidating his power until he had created a ?legal dictatorship?. Hitler?s next major step toward complete power was to

finally remove any influence the Communists might have within Germany by on 7th

April 1933 introducing the Restoration of Professional Civil Service. This

aimed to purge all public jobs such as courts, schools and universities of

known political opponents particularly Communists, and also of Jews. On the 2nd

June all trade union offices were seized and incorporated into a German Labour

Front, which could be easily controlled by the Nazis. Hitler completely eradicated the influence other political

parties had in Germany when on 14th July 1933 he passed the law

on the formation of new parties. This law forbade the creation of new political

parties and as the Communist party the KPD and the Social Democrat party the

SPD were already banned and many other parties had dissolved themselves Germany

essentially became a one party state. This policy was complemented by the

signing six days later of the Concordat between the State and the Catholic

Church. In this Concordat the Vatican promised to not become involved in

politics in return for protection of Catholic religious freedom and an

allowance for the church to administer its own affairs. The final major conflict in Germany, which was preventing

Hitler gaining overall power in Germany, was that between the army and the SA.

Hitler was by July 1933 becoming increasingly concerned by the actions of party

activists, which were damaging his relationship with the conservative elite

whose support he still needed. In a speech made on July 6th 1933

Hitler warned of the threat a permanent state of revolution would cause and

formally declared an end to the revolution asking for all energies to be

channelled into evolution. This speech demanded that the Nazi party accept the

current compromise situation between the Nazis and the conservative elite. These calls were ignored by many within the party

particularly within the SA. These groups called for a second revolution

attacking the forces of the German establishment. The SA was made up of working

class people many of whom could not understand the need for the compromise with

the conservative elite. They were also disappointed by the small personal gain

they were getting now the Nazis had gained power. The leader of the SA Ernst

Rohm began to become increasingly disillusioned with Hitler?s politics during

this period and was one of the major supporters for the ?Genuine National

Socialist Revolution?. The main concern for Rohm was the future of the SA; he

did not want to see the SA become merely a propaganda weapon for the Nazis now

that the street fighting was over. Rohm wanted the SA to become integrated with

the army into a people?s militia, which he would command. Hitler was caught in a difficult position. On one side was

two and a half million loyal Nazis led by his oldest political friend Rohm and

on the other was the army who were the only threat to Hitler left in Germany.

The army although being small (100,000 men as stated in the Versailles treaty

of 1919) had the military skills to overthrow Hitler. Hitler also needed the

army if he was to ever complete his ambitious foreign policies. The army?s

support was also necessary if Hitler was to become Head of State when President

Hindenburg died. Another factor in the problem was that President Hindenburg

still had power over Hitler and he was a major supporter of the army who saw

their traditions and standing being threatened by the proposed merger. So he

forbade Hitler from completing the merger lest he be removed from his position

as Chancellor. Hitler attempted to avoid the issue but the crisis finally

came to a head in the spring of 1934 when it became apparent that Hindenburg

did not have much longer to live. It was therefore a necessity for Hitler to

gain the army?s unequivocal support for him so that he could ascend to the

position of Head of state with no opposition. The army desired the elimination

of the SA as a powerful force. By agreeing to this Hitler could gain their support.

On 30th June 1934 the SS under the orders of

Hitler responded to the rumours spread by Hitler of a SA coup by removing the

major leaders of the SA. This was done with ruthlessness and in all four

hundred people were executed. This period of Nazi history became known as the

?Night of the Long Knives?. The consequences of the ?Night of the Long Knives?

were that the SA never again became an influential force within Germany. Hitler

also gained the support of the army. This was emphasised by the speech made by

the leader of the army Blomberg on the 1st July in which he thanked

Hitler and promised to support from then onwards. Consequently when Hindenburg died on 2nd August

1934 Hitler merged the offices of Chancellor and President with no opposition

and in the space of seventeen months Hitler had gained complete power in

Germany. In conclusion it can be seen that there were many stages towards

Hitler?s transformation from legal chancellor to legal dictator. Each one of

these stages was key to his overall success but overall the ?Night of the Long

Knives? was the most important stage in the development. This was because it

showed that Hitler was willing to sacrifice something of his own, the SA and

Rohm, to gain overall power within Germany. Bibliography Dictionary of Twentieth Century History??????????????????????? Alan Palmer Modern Europe 1870-1945???????????????????????????????????????? Christopher

Culpin & Ruth Henig Hitler & Germany???????????????????????????????????????????????????????? William

Simpson Germany: The Third Reich 1933-45????????????????????????????? Geoff Layton Nazi Germany 1933-1945??????????????????????????????????????????? John

Laver The Nazi Dictatorship

Problems and Perspectives of Interpretation????????????????? Ian

Kershaw The Third Reich??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? D.G.

Williamson

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