Hitler’s Rise to Power

After Chancellor Papen left office, he secretly told Hitler that he still held considerable sway with President Hindenburg and that he would make Hitler chancellor as long as he, Papen, could be the vice chancellor.

On 30 January 1933, Adolf Hitler was appointed chancellor of a coalition government of the NSDAP-DNVP Party. The SA and SS led torchlight parades throughout Berlin. In the coalition government, three members of the cabinet were Nazis: Hitler, Wilhelm Frick (Minister of the Interior) and Hermann Göring (Minister Without Portfolio).

With Germans who opposed Nazism failing to unite against it, Hitler soon moved to consolidate absolute power.

Having become Chancellor, Hitler foiled all attempts by his opponents to gain a majority in parliament. Because no single party could gain a majority, Hitler persuaded President Hindenburg to dissolve the Reichstag again.

Elections were scheduled for early March, but on 27 February 1933, the Reichstag building was set on fire. Since a Dutch independent communist was found in the building, the fire was blamed on a communist plot.

The government reacted with the Reichstag Fire Decree of 28 February which suspended basic rights, including habeas corpus. Under the provisions of this decree, the German Communist Party (KPD) and other groups were suppressed, and Communist functionaries and deputies were arrested, forced to flee, or murdered.

Campaigning continued, with the Nazis making use of paramilitary violence, anti-communist hysteria, and the government’s resources for propaganda.

— Coca, Jimmy. Adolf Hitler Biography: The life and Death of The Führer of Germany (Kindle Locations 555-571).

As can be seen here, Hitler took power with a minority of the votes. He then used fear and hatred, had his thugs set fire to the Reichstag (the German equivalent of the U.S. Capitol) and blamed it on communists. This enabled him to move quickly and grab absolute power. In the background, his supporters campaigned, hassled minorities and created terror. The entire country was in fear.

Within a month of taking office, he held absolute power, all opposition was eliminated, arrested, killed or tyrannized. All was unconstitutional, but what did that matter to him at that point?


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