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The Legal Revolution. How the Nazis consolidated their control over the German Government. Promising Peace – through the use of Violence!. Munich Putsch Legal Means Threat of Revolution from below Marxist Revolution Impose order Subvert existing Weimar Constitution.

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The legal revolution l.jpg

The Legal Revolution

How the Nazis consolidated their control over the German Government


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Promising Peace – through the use of Violence!

  • Munich Putsch

  • Legal Means

  • Threat of Revolution from below

  • Marxist Revolution

  • Impose order

  • Subvert existing Weimar Constitution


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The Appeal to the Conservatives

  • “The National Government will preserve and defend the foundations on which the strength of our nation rests. It will take under its firm protection Christianity as the basis of our morality, and the family as the nucleus of our nation. Standing above estates and classes, it will bring back to our people the consciousness of its racial and political unity, and the obligations arising therefrom. It wishes to base the education of German youth on respect for our great past and pride in our traditions. It will therefore declare merciless war on spiritual, political and cultural nihilism. Germany must not and will not sink into Communist anarchy.”

    Adolf Hitler 1st February 1933 in a Radio broadcast


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Structure of Weimar Government

  • President

  • Chancellor and Cabinet

  • Reichstag

  • Reichsrät (Länder)

  • Reich Chancellery (Civil Service)

Gau(e)


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The Role of Prussia A Case Study in Subversion

  • Berlin

  • Heartland Germany

  • SPD/KPD Heartland

  • Banning of SA / Public Meetings

  • Von Papen’s Coup

  • Goring as Minister of Interior


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Timeline of key events

  • Jan 30 Hitler Chancellor – Harzburg Front

  • Feb 27 Reichstag Fire

  • Feb 28 Emergency Decrees

  • Mar 5 Elections 288

  • Mar 13 Ministry for Public Enlightenment & Propaganda

  • Mar 24 Enabling Act

  • Nov 12 Plebiscite

  • Jan 30 1934 Second Enabling Act


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Decree for the Protection of the People and the State

  • 28th February 1933

  • Article 48

  • Removed Freedom of Speech

  • Protective Custody

  • Ability to take power from Länder to ‘Restore Order’

  • Sold to Conservatives as Temporary Measure to deal with Communist threat

  • KPD still allowed to stand although repressed

    • – still got 5 million votes

  • Remained in force throughout Third Reich


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March 5th elections

  • Government uses control of radio, police, government offices to maximise exposure and intimidate opponents

  • Nazi Slogan

    • The battle against Marxism

  • Highest ever turnout

    • 88%

  • Nazis only get a disappointing 44%

    • Nationalist allies a further 8%


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Enabling Act

  • 24th March

  • 2/3rds majority by banning KPD

    • Massive intimidation of opponents

    • Centre party supports (pressure from Vatican in return for religious education)

      • 441 to 94

  • Gave emergency powers for 4 years

  • Cabinet could bypass President

  • Renewed in 1938


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Post March 1933 Elections

  • The Destruction of Marxism

  • Rush to secure official posts

  • Purges of unreliable civil servants

  • Reich Commissioners to remaining 9 non-Nazi Lander

  • Reich Ministry of Information and Propaganda

  • Reichstag – not abolished – Nuremburg laws – Announcements – propaganda tool

  • Länder maintained but without assemblies

  • Reich Governors appointed to coordinate with centre


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Goebbel’s views on using the Weimar Constitution

  • “We go into the Reichstag in order to acquire the weapons of democracy from its arsenal. We become Reichstag deputies in order to paralyse the Weimar Democracy with its own assistance. If democracy is stupid enough to give us free travel privileges and allowances for this services, that is its affair. We’ll take any legal means to revolutionise the existing situation. If we succeed in putting sixty to seventy agitators of our party into the various parliaments in these elections, then in future the state itself will supply and finance our fighting machinery. We come as enemies! Like the wolf tearing into the flock of sheep, that is how we come!”

  • Goebbel’s 1928 Der Angriff


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Treatment of Civil Service

  • Conservative, authoritarian tradition

  • Law for Restoration of professional civil service

  • Jews

  • SPD

  • Rush to join Nazi party

  • Hitler promised that the party would not take over the organs of State


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Political Parties – Eliminate Enemies, Jettison Allies.

  • KPD hounded out of existence

  • SPD flee to Prague – outlawed

  • Nationalist defections to Nazi party

  • Centre party – undercut by Vatican Concordat

  • Schools instead of political activity

  • July 14th Law against the Formation of New Parties

  • One Party State


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November 1933 Elections

  • The Fuhrer’s List

  • Plebiscite

  • Intimidation and threats to non and anti voters

  • 92% support


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Second Enabling Act

  • January 1934

  • Law for the Reconstruction of the State

    • Reichsrät Abolished

    • Länder subordinate to central government

      • Gauleiter to replace local government

    • Constitutional amendments at will

  • President – six months later


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The Weimar ConstitutionLeft to wither but not to die.

  • Reichstag - re-instated Enabling Act every four years - Nuremburg laws

  • Cabinet - non-Nazi members

  • President and Chancellor roles combined

  • Reich Chancellery (Civil Service) - designs and implements its own laws

  • Länder - Reich Commissioners / Gauleiter p198

  • Judiciary - People’s Courts and Special Courts if regular legal system too inconvenient


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How did the Nazis remodel Germany?

  • What is a dictator?

  • Nazi party vis-à-vis Communist party in USSR


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FührerPrinzip - The Cultivated Image

  • Personified the Nation

  • Understood the German People

  • Architect of German Economic Renaissance

  • Representative of German Justice

  • Defender of Germany from internal and external threats

  • Responsible for all successes


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FührerPrinzip - Reasons for Credence

  • A reaction to Weimar

  • Emotional need for strong government

  • Authoritarian tradition

  • Extension of Nazi Party ideas on leadership

  • Sustained by Economic and Foreign successes

  • Enhanced by Propaganda


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The Polycratic StateGleichschaltung!

  • Working towards the Fuhrer

  • Guidelines - Fuhrer’s Will

  • Dependable Acolytes

  • Departmental Competition

  • Access to Hitler is key to power

  • Diagram page 188 and 89 of Germany 1919-1939


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Advantages of Hitler’s style of government

  • Strong emotional attachment to regime

  • Failures can be blamed on underlings

  • Rivals played off against each other

  • No dominant individual can challenge Hitler

  • Success vindicates system


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Disadvantages of Hitler’s style of government

  • Few constraints - no checks or balances

  • Radical momentum

  • Yes men promoted

  • Believe own Infallibility

    • cunning political skills lost

  • Failures question system

    • Military disasters


  • Decision making in nazi germany l.jpg
    Decision Making in Nazi Germany

    • Page 191

    • Nuremburg Laws

    • Kristallnacht

    • Euthanasia

    • Horse Racing

    • Who was running Germany?


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    When is a Socialist not a Socialist? When he is a National Socialist.

    • What happened to the Strasser Radical wing?

    • Socialisation of industry?

    • Parallels with USSR?

    • May Day rebranded

    • Entrepreneurs / Supporting Industries

    • Unions / DAF

    • Only one true secret economic desire


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    Socialist.Everything for the Armed Forces”

    • “Every publicly sponsored measure to create employment has to be considered from the point of view of whether it is necessary to render the German people again capable of bearing arms for military service. This has to be the dominant thought, always and everywhere”

      • Hitler


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    Socialist.Throwing off the Shackles of Versailles”

    • Promises of Rearmament popular with army

    • Reasons for it kept vague

    • Problem of rival SA - huge - communist threat removed

      • Kept deliberately separate from army

      • “To complete the Revolution”

      • Revolutionary phase debate


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    Socialist.Say what you mean Röhm”

    • “Adolf is a swine. He will give us all away. He only associates with the reactionaries now. Getting matey with the East Prussian generals. They’re his cronies now. Adolf knows exactly what I want. I’ve told him often enough. Not a second edition of the old imperial army. Are we revolutionaries or aren’t we? We’ve got to produce something new, don’t you see? A new discipline of organisation. The generals are a lot of old fogeys. They never had a new idea. I’m the nucleus of the new army, don’t you see that? Don’t you understand that what’s coming must be new, fresh and unused? The basis must be revolutionary. You can’t inflate it afterwards. You only get the opportunity once to make something new and big that’ll help us lift the world off its hinges. But Hitler puts me off with fair words”

      • Röhm in a private interview with a local party boss, Rauschning.


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    Victims of the Socialist.Night of the Long Knives

    • Health of Hindenburg

    • April meeting on Deutschland

    • Himmler and Göring support

    • June 30th 1934

    • Röhm , Shleicher, Von Kahr, Jung (von Papen’s adviser) 400 total

    • Brüning escaped


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    Reaction to the Socialist.Night of the Long Knives

    • Radical event to please conservative army establishment

    • Surprisingly popular

    • Hitler removed serious ‘second’ revolutionary threat

    • President Hindenburg dies two months later

    • Army content to see offices combined

      • New oath

    • “The Revolutionary Phase is over”

      • Actually - the cautious phase was over

      • Hitler now more confident of his position

      • He can afford to become more radical and daring



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    Why did the Third Reich become more Radical post 1934? Socialist.

    • Decay of Weimar institutions

    • Administrative confusion led to no responsibility being assigned

    • Hitler’s increasing popularity

      • Success breeds success

      • Propaganda


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    The Police State Socialist.

    • Himmler’s fiefdom

    • SS rewarded for night of the Long Knives

    • Prussian Gestapo

    • municipal Police centralised in 1936

    • SD (SS’s Security service)

    • Diagram on page 201


    The ss enforcement of volksgemeinschaft l.jpg
    The SS enforcement of Volksgemeinschaft Socialist.

    • Body Guard function

    • Policing to protect the Nazi Regime

      • Protective Custody

  • Spying/informing

  • Economic activities of SS

  • Military role – Waffen SS

  • Enforce Master Race ideals

    • Einsatzgruppen

    • Cocentration Camps

  • Pages 202/3


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    Hitler Socialist.’s Weltanschauung

    Giving Germany a ‘distincitive’ direction


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    Hitler Socialist.’s plans required the support of:

    • Army

    • Business

    • Civil Service


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    The Dual State Socialist.

    • Regular Civil Service

    • Supreme Reich Authorities

      • Organisation Todt

      • SS and Police Himmler

      • 4 Year Plan Göring

  • Goebbels Ministry of Propaganda


  • The dual state37 l.jpg
    The Dual State Socialist.

    • Regular Civil Service

    • Supreme Reich Authorities

      • Organisation Todt

      • SS and Police Himmler

      • 4 Year Plan Göring

  • Goebbels Ministry of Propaganda


  • The dual state38 l.jpg
    The Dual State Socialist.

    • State Bureacracy

      • Established

      • No coercive power

    • Nazi Executive

      • Privileged

      • No finances available

        • Ministry of Finance

          • Krosigk (Non-Nazi)


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    The German Economic Miracle? Socialist.

    • Unemployed reduced from 6 million to 1.8 mn

    • Low inflation

    • Steady growth

    • Low wage growth

    • Construction boom

      • Housing

      • Infrastructure

    • Rearmament

    • Comparison to Weimar


    Directing the nazi economy schacht and the ministry of economics l.jpg
    Directing the Nazi Economy: Socialist.Schacht and the Ministry of Economics

    • Respected industrialist/banker

    • Ex President of Reichsbank

    • Re-negotiated Young Plan

    • Influenced by Keynes

    • Anti-semite - sympathetic with fascism


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    Trying to square the Nazi economic circle: 2 + 2 = 5 Socialist.

    • 1934 Currency Crisis

      • Balance of Trade imbalance

      • Devaluation politically impossible

      • Introduced complicated bilateral agreements

        • Variable exchange rates

    • Rearmament costs

    • Autarky versus International Trade

    • Meat and Fat shortage

      • Bad planning (Schacht)

      • Currency problem (Darré)

        • Göring’s Intervention


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    Schacht Socialist.’s Miracle cures?

    • Wages and Prices controlled

      • No Trade Unions - no wage demands

        • Real wage rates fall between 1933 and 1936

      • “I will ensure that prices remain stable - for that I have the SA. Woe to the man who puts up prices!”Hitler to Rauschning

      • “The first cause of the stability of our currency is the concentration camp”Hitler to Schacht

    • Debt and Reparations payments solved by Bruning and von Papen

    • Cyclical depression?

    • Weimar Germany hit hardest - bounced back furthest?

    • MEFO bills to put off inflation p216


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    The Four Year Plan: Socialist.Preparation to a War Economy

    • Goring finding a role for himself (Police to Himmler)

    • Influence of Stalin’s Five year plans

    • Army (Blomberg) and Schacht over-ruled and ignored

    • I therefore set the following tasks:

      • 1) The German armed forces must be ready in four years

      • 2) The German economy must be fit for war within four years

    • Autarky

      • Increase production of war commodities

        • Food, iron, coal

      • Developing ersatz materials

        • Buna from acetylene for rubber

        • Oil from coal

    • Target setting - across ministries

    • Massive investment for armed services (Luftwaffe in particular)


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    The Four Year Plan: Socialist.The Politicisation of the Economy

    • Controls Dictated

      • Production

      • Investment

      • Location of plants

      • Raw material allocation

      • Prices

      • Wages

      • Profit

      • Reinvestment


    The four year plan the nazification of the armed services l.jpg
    The Four Year Plan: Socialist.The Nazification of the Armed Services

    • Goring controlled and directed all military funds

    • New intake of soldiers

    • Investment in new military technologies

      • Tanks, luftwaffe

      • Challenges existing army expertise


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    The Four Year Plan: Socialist.Goring’s Empire

    • Responsible for 66% of all investment in 1937/8

    • Big Business v Small Business

    • Herman Goring Reichswerke p228

    • Ruhr Cartel

    • Schacht’s resignation and humiliation


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    The Four Year Plan: Socialist.Guns or Butter?

    • “Would you rather have butter or guns? Shall we bring in lard or iron ore? I tell you, guns makes us powerful. Butter only makes us fat.” Goring

    • But

    • Hitler sensitive to reports of any food shortages

    • Extensive use of Propaganda

    • Autarky and Ersatz could not satisfy consumer or strategic demands

      • Lebensraum


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