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Hitler consolidates power

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1 Hitler consolidates power

2 German Worker’s Party Being a naturally skilled political agitator and an orator, he moved up in the party quickly. In 1921, Hitler led that party, renamed the National Socialist German Workers’ Party (NSDAP or Nazis). In 1923, there were 55,000 supporters At this point, Hitler saw himself as the propagandist to help to power the extreme nationalists who would rescue Germany from “Bolshevism,” the Jews, and the Versailles Treaty

3 The early years Beer Hall Putsch
In November 1923, Hitler sought to seize power and attempted the Beer Hall Putsch (coup) The coup failed when the police and army didn’t join Hitler’s putsch (refer to your Weimar notes and readings for more details) Hitler’s trial gained him notoriety amongst the German people and his 9 months in jail allowed him to rethink his strategies and write Mein Kampf

4 Gaining Power Legally In 1925, Hitler judged that the government was too strong to be seized by illegal force, so he would follow the legal path to power He never showed anything but contempt for the Reichstag, and though leader of the majority party, would never himself take part in its proceedings During the period from 1925 to 1928, he built up his party and made a propaganda machine Party membership reached 97,000 in The economic crisis helped the Nazis

5 Reichstag Fire After a series of ineffective chancellors, Hindenburg granted Hitler the chancellorship in (again see your notes for more detail) Occurred on February 27, 1933 The Nazis blamed the Communists and used this charge to crack down on Communist party officials and suspend civil rights as well


7 New Elections As a condition for accepting office, Hitler had insisted on new elections, intending to gain an absolute majority Because of the Reichstag fire and under cover of emergency decree, the Nazis terrorized their opponents. Joseph Goebbels manipulated the press and radio to help secure a Nazi victory However, the Nazis didn’t gain a 2/3 majority needed to pass an Enabling Bill that would give Hitler dictatorial powers in times of emergency With the Nationalist Party, the Nazis could gain a majority, but not 2/3 So how did they get the Enabling Act?

8 Well… All communists were arrested by the Gestapo (secret police) or were being hunted down. In addition, more than 20 Socialists were under arrest or prevented from attending the Reichstag vote. On the day the vote took place, SS personnel surrounded the building in which the Reichstag met, while SA troopers stationed themselves inside and chanted, “We want the bill or fire and murder!” Eventually, the Center Party gave in to Hitler and agreed to vote for the Enabling Act Only the Social Democrats voted against the bill. It passed by 347 votes on March 23, 1933 Hitler proclaimed the Third Reich

9 Lets define Totalitarianism…
totalitarian state - a government that subordinates the individual to the state and strictly controls all aspects of life by coercive measures

10 Gleischaltung Means coordination (firmly established a dictatorship)
Nazi bodies were set up to supervise all the activities of society, which were to be forcibly subordinated: Government Administration Press Trade unions Education Hitler insisted on his own final say and to maintain some of the traditional structures of German society if he needed to overcome doubt He decided not to interfere with the army at first, but later applied Gleischaltung to them as well

11 Not Being Too Bold Knew the German people would need to accept the harshness and brutality of his regime in stages Would use euphemisms Becoming dictator – “an act for relieving the distress of the nation” Invading a country – “protecting it” Destroying a town – “pacifying it” Concentration camps – “preventative detention” or “reeducation” Death camps – “final solution” or “resettlement” Although he was breaching civil rights against Jews with the Nuremberg Laws, he gave the outward appearance of acting mildly and reasonably, and always in conformity with proper laws

12 Consolidating Power German states - In March 1933, Hitler abolished independent powers of the federal states Jews - In April, a decree purged the civil service “unreliable elements” - Jews and those of Jewish descent Political parties - By the summer, the remaining parties were disbanded. Communist leaders were already in the new concentration camps Religion - The Vatican decided to conclude a treaty – the Concordat – with Hitler in an effort to protect Catholic interests

13 Consolidating Power Labor unions - The trade unions were quickly suppressed, and the workers enrolled in the Nazi Labor Front Mass media - The press and broadcasting were placed under Goebbel’s direction Education – The universities did not put up any resistance. Many professors out of opportunity and for the sake of their careers supported the Nazis Curriculum from the elementary through the university level fell in line with Nazi ideas; stressed character building and physical skills the Nazi way (volkisch themes)

14 Book Burnings Academics participated in the famous burning of the books by Jewish and anti-Nazi authors Scientists, writers, and artists joined the “national revolution” of the Nazis Theologians made Christ an Aryan.

15 Heinrich Himmler Dachau was the first concentration camp, established near Munich in 1933 It was headed by Heinrich Himmler, head of the Bavarian political police It became a model for others. By the end of the summer, 30,000 Germans were held in concentration camps Himmler soon advanced to become the head of the SS and the police throughout the Reich Knowledge of concentration camps was a deterrent to any thought of opposition from all except the courageous

16 Nazi Groups Gestapo – secret police that tracked down enemies of the regime SS – original purpose was to serve as Hitler’s bodyguard; later took the SA’s place SA (Brownshirts or Stormtroopers) – remember the first SA members were former Friekorps paramilitary members that was to: Discourage opposition with violence Staff concentration camps Protect the Nazi party

17 Night of the Long Knives
Hitler decided to get rid of some sources of opposition He feared Röhm might use the SA to seize power Some SA members were still keen on the original ideas of the Nazis – a Socialist Revolution They wanted rich landowners and big businesses to be swept away or taken over

18 Ernst Röhm Ernst Röhm, the leader of the SA, also clashed with Hitler
Hitler wished to draw on the young stormtroopers (SA) who would be trained as a large armed force that could quickly augment the regular army in time of crisis Röhm wanted his Brownshirts to become the new German army. With him in charge, of course

19 Getting Rid of the SA He got his friends to compile hit-lists of disloyal SA men. Himmler (SS leader), Heydrich (Director of Gestapo and SS, Holocaust mastermind) and Goering (Second-in-command, at various points was commander of Gestapo and the Luftwaffe, economic minister…) were keen to do this.

20 Night of the Long Knives June 30, 1934
The SS and the police arrest dozens of SA leaders. Many are shot dead in their homes, others are taken to camps for execution. Röhm is jailed, and shot the next day. Hitler even takes the opportunity to have von Schleicher, the ex-chancellor, killed. Over 1,000 opponents were killed.

21 Hindenburg On August 2, 1934, Hindenburg dies. He was the only other man still more popular than Hitler After Hindenburg died, Hitler announced that the offices of president and chancellor were merged in one person, Hitler, who now became Fuhrer and Reich Chancellor This violated Article 48, but the people approved through a plebiscite Hitler also had the army on his side because he promised to increase the size of the army and provide it with modern equipment As a result, they took an oath of allegiance and loyalty to Hitler

22 Hindenburg’s Burial - Tannenberg, East Prussia (today: Stębark, Poland) – His coffin was dig up as the Soviets approached and was later found by American troops at a salt mine

23 The Führer Oath I swear by almighty God this sacred oath:
I will render unconditional obedience to the Fuehrer of the German Reich and people, Adolf Hitler, Supreme Commander of the Wehrmacht, and, as a brave soldier, I will be ready at any time to stake my life for this oath.

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