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HI136 The History of Germany Lecture 11 The Coming of the Third Reich: Nazi Consolidation & Terror.

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Presentation on theme: "HI136 The History of Germany Lecture 11 The Coming of the Third Reich: Nazi Consolidation & Terror."— Presentation transcript:

1 HI136 The History of Germany Lecture 11 The Coming of the Third Reich: Nazi Consolidation & Terror

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3 The 1933 Election New elections called within 24 hours of Hitler becoming Chancellor. New elections called within 24 hours of Hitler becoming Chancellor. The election campaign took place in an atmosphere of violence and intimidation. The election campaign took place in an atmosphere of violence and intimidation. The Nazis used their access to the organs of the state to get their message across & intimidate their opponents. The Nazis used their access to the organs of the state to get their message across & intimidate their opponents. 31 Jan. 1933: Hitler’s ‘Appeal to the German People’ – blamed Germany’s problems on the Communists and presented his government as a ‘National Uprising’ that would restore German pride & unity. 31 Jan. 1933: Hitler’s ‘Appeal to the German People’ – blamed Germany’s problems on the Communists and presented his government as a ‘National Uprising’ that would restore German pride & unity. As Minister of the Interior of Prussia Göring recruited 500,000 extra police in Germany’s largest state, most of them drawn from the ranks of the SA and the SS. As Minister of the Interior of Prussia Göring recruited 500,000 extra police in Germany’s largest state, most of them drawn from the ranks of the SA and the SS. Violence & intimidation of political opponents – SPD and KPD meetings broken up, voters intimidated etc. 69 people killed during the 5 week campaign. Violence & intimidation of political opponents – SPD and KPD meetings broken up, voters intimidated etc. 69 people killed during the 5 week campaign.

4 The Reichstag Fire 27 Feb. 1933: The Reichstag burned down. An unemployed Dutch bricklayer named Marius van der Lubbe arrested. The Nazis claimed this was part of a Communist plot. ‘Decree for the Protection of the People and the State’: suspended civil liberties & increased the power of central government – the Nazis rounded up political opponants. Van der Lubbe & Bulgarian Communist Georgi Dimitrov put on trial for the fire. But on-going debate about who was responsible.

5 PartyVotes NSDAP43,90% DNVP8,00% DVP1,10% BVP2,70% Zentrum11,20% Deutsche Staatspartei0,90% SPD18,30% KPD12,30% Other1,60% Election Results, 5 March 1933

6 The ‘Day of Potsdam’, 21 March 1933

7 The Enabling Law (Ermächtigungsgesetz) Without the two-thirds majority in the Reichstag necessary to change the Constitution, Hitler proposed an ‘Enabling Law’ that would enable him the government to pass legislation without the approval of either parliament or the President. Without the two-thirds majority in the Reichstag necessary to change the Constitution, Hitler proposed an ‘Enabling Law’ that would enable him the government to pass legislation without the approval of either parliament or the President. 23 March 1933: ‘Law for the Removal of Distress from People and the Reich’ 23 March 1933: ‘Law for the Removal of Distress from People and the Reich’ Article 1: In addition to the procedure prescribed by the constitution [i.e. decision by parliament], laws of the Reich may also be enacted by the government of the Reich. This includes laws as referred to by Articles 85 sentence 2 and Article 87 of the constitution. Article 1: In addition to the procedure prescribed by the constitution [i.e. decision by parliament], laws of the Reich may also be enacted by the government of the Reich. This includes laws as referred to by Articles 85 sentence 2 and Article 87 of the constitution. Article 2: Laws enacted by the government of the Reich may deviate from the constitution as long as they do not affect the institutions of the Reichstag and the Reichsrat. The rights of the President remain undisturbed. Article 2: Laws enacted by the government of the Reich may deviate from the constitution as long as they do not affect the institutions of the Reichstag and the Reichsrat. The rights of the President remain undisturbed.

8 Gleichschaltung After the passage of the Enabling Law the Nazis acted to ‘co- ordinate’ as many areas of German life as possible and bring them into line with Nazi ideology. After the passage of the Enabling Law the Nazis acted to ‘co- ordinate’ as many areas of German life as possible and bring them into line with Nazi ideology. April 1933: Laws passed enabling Nazi-dominated State governments to pass legislation without the approval of provincial parliaments. April 1933: Laws passed enabling Nazi-dominated State governments to pass legislation without the approval of provincial parliaments. Jan. 1934: State parliaments abolished & local government subordinated to the federal Minister of the Interior. Jan. 1934: State parliaments abolished & local government subordinated to the federal Minister of the Interior. 2 May 1933: Leading Trade Unionists arrested & workers’ organizations merged to form the Deutscher Arbeitsfront (German Labour Front, DAF). 2 May 1933: Leading Trade Unionists arrested & workers’ organizations merged to form the Deutscher Arbeitsfront (German Labour Front, DAF). 22 June 1933: The SPD officially banned. 22 June 1933: The SPD officially banned. June-July 1933: Other political parties dissolved themselves. June-July 1933: Other political parties dissolved themselves. 14 July 1933: The Nazi Party proclaimed the only legal political party in Germany. 14 July 1933: The Nazi Party proclaimed the only legal political party in Germany.

9 The Night of the Long Knives, 30 June 1934 Pressure from the party rank-and- file (and particularly from within the SA) for a ‘second revolution’. Fears that the radicalism of the SA would bring about a military coup against the Nazis. This led to a purge of the party on 30 June 1934 – the SS carried out raids against targets across Germany. Critics of the regime such as Vice-Chancellor Papen were arrested, while old enemies such as Gregor Strasser & Gustav Ritter von Kahr were summarily executed. Over 1000 people were arrested & at least 85 killed. Ernst Röhm ( )

10 Party and State In theory Germany was a one party state & that party had a monopoly on power. In theory Germany was a one party state & that party had a monopoly on power. Dec. 1933: ‘Law to ensure the Unity of the Party and the State’ declared that the party and state were inseparably linked, but exact relationship still vague. Dec. 1933: ‘Law to ensure the Unity of the Party and the State’ declared that the party and state were inseparably linked, but exact relationship still vague. In practice parallel organizations & institutions. In practice parallel organizations & institutions.

11 Party and State Soucre: R. Overy, The Penguin Historical Atlas of the Third Reich (1996)

12 Party and State In theory Germany was a one party state & that party had a monopoly on power. In theory Germany was a one party state & that party had a monopoly on power. Dec. 1933: ‘Law to ensure the Unity of the Party and the State’ declared that the party and state were inseparably linked, but exact relationship still vague. Dec. 1933: ‘Law to ensure the Unity of the Party and the State’ declared that the party and state were inseparably linked, but exact relationship still vague. In practice parallel organizations & institutions. In practice parallel organizations & institutions. Attempts to extend control over the organs of the State from the mid-1930s onwards: Attempts to extend control over the organs of the State from the mid-1930s onwards: In 1935 Deputy Fuhrer Rudolf Hess given special powers to vet the appointment & promotion of civil servants. In 1935 Deputy Fuhrer Rudolf Hess given special powers to vet the appointment & promotion of civil servants. From 1939 all civil servants had to be Party members. From 1939 all civil servants had to be Party members. Department of Internal Party Affairs. Department of Internal Party Affairs. Department for Affairs of State. Department for Affairs of State.

13 The Role of Hitler August 1934: After the death of Hindenburg the posts of President & Chancellor were combined & Hitler formally adopted the title Fuhrer. He was both Head of State & Head of Government, as well as Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, head of the civil service & party leader. In theory he had unlimited power. But the demands of running a country as large as Germany & Hitler’s personality and lifestyle meant his actual influence was more limited. One of the central debates surrounds Hitler’s role.

14 “I swear by God this sacred oath: I will render unconditional obedience to Adolf Hitler, the Führer of the German nation and people, Supreme Commander of the armed forces, and will be ready as a true soldier to risk my life at any time for this oath”. Military Oath of Allegiance

15 Relations with the Army The Army one of the few institutions with the power to challenge the Nazi regime. It enjoyed a degree of independence until Feb. 1938: War Minister Werner von Blomberg & Commander-in- Chief of the Army General von Fritsch dismissed. Reorganization of the Army command to bring it under Nazi control. The post of War Minister abolished, Hitler assumed personal command of the armed forces. 16 generals retired & 44 transferred. General Werner von Fritsch (centre) and General Werner von Blomberg (right), 1 June 1934

16 Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler ( ) SS-Obergruppenführer Reinhard Heydrich ( )

17 Himmler Reichsführer SS Chief of Police SS Ordnungspolizei (order police) Municipal police Sipo Security Police Heydrich Kripo Criminal Police Gestapo Secret state police SD Security Service Heydrich Foreign intelligence Domestic intelligence

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19 The Debate on the Functioning of the Third Reich Intentionalist InterpretationFunctionalist Interpretation 1.Hitler's role Strong dictator; can implement his will Weak dictator; depends on competing organizations 2.Structure of the state Obedience to the dictator Four competing and relatively independent power blocks: economy, army, Nazi party/SS, state administration 3.Implementation of policies Hitler's will Long-term planning Realization of long-term goals Primacy of ideology Spontaneous initiatives of organizations, improvisation, primacy of opportunism 4.Critique Too personalistic, too much centred on Hitler, too rational, too apologetic of Germans in general Ignores deliberate policies and the popularity of Hitler, overestimates independence of single organizations and apparatuses, too much focused on anonymous structures

20 Synthesis (according to Bracher and Jäckel): Hitler derived much of his strength from the rivalry and the overlapping responsibilities of state and party institutions. He thus could assume the role of a mediator. Single offices competed to win him over to their policies. Often they tried to implement what was considered to be his wish... Current consensus (Ian Kershaw) (see Hinton: Weimar & Nazi Germany, p. 190) Hitler is the key activator Policy reflects Hitler‘s overall vision His decisions are accepted by rivals Mobiliser and legitimator but not necessarily initiator of many policies


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