Lesson objectives By the end of this lesson you should: • Understand the strengths and weaknesses of Hitler’s position in 1933 • Have begun to think about how Hitler consolidated his position as Fuhrer by 1934
January 1933 • Hitler’s first cabinet Only included 3 Nazis (in a cabinet of 12) • Hitler as Chancellor • Wilhelm Frick as Minister for the Interior • Herman Goring as Minister without Portfolio • Right wing coalition with Hugenburg of the DNVP (German National Peoples Party) in charge of the economics ministry and Franz Seldte as Minister of Labour • Hitler’s coalition government did not have a majority in the Reichstag • The post of chancellor was dependent on President Hindenburg who openly resented Hitler • How would you describe Hitler’s position? List the strengths and weaknesses
weaknesses • Only 3 Nazis in a cabinet of 12 (outnumbered) • Most important man in Germany openly distrusted and disliked Hitler • Hindenburg and Von Papen wanted to use Hitler for his popularity then push him aside once WR had recovered
strengths • Leader of the largest political party in Germany, Nazis most popular party in the Reichstag • Holds second most important position in government • Did the conservative elites need him more than he needed them? Conservative cabinet will be open to some of his beliefs • The Nazi Party had now gained direct access to the resources of the state • Goring was also Minister of the Interior in Prussia with responsibility for the police • Hitler had the drive and also the tactical knowledge to exploit the inadequate Von Papen and the ageing conservatives • Hindenburg was an old man
Von Papen • In two months we’ll have pushed Hitler into a corner so hard that he’ll be squeaking.’ • BUT…
Führer (2nd August 1934) • Hitler took over the office of President and leader of the army (the soldiers had to swear to die for Adolf Hitler personally) • The army agreed to stay out of politics and serve the Fuhrer • Germany was now a one party state • 19th August – vote held on whether the German public approved of Hitler becoming Fuhrer – 43 million voted – 89.93% voted in favour • How then did we get to this situation?
The events • Prepare a timeline of the key events between January 1933 and August 1934 • Write a short description of what happened and its significance • Comment on the nature of each event – was it legal? Was force required? Was there a compromise? • SHP p.170-1 as main source, Layton p.8 onwards to add detail
Step 1 – The Reichstag Fire (27th Feb 1933) • The Reichstag (the German Parliament) burned down. A Dutch Communist named van der Lubbe was caught red-handed with matches and fire-lighting materials.
Decree for the Protection of People and the State. • Allowed for imprisonment without trial. • Ending of a number of freedoms.
Step 2 – The General Election March 1933 • Hitler held a general election. • Only 44% of the people voted Nazi, which did not give him a majority in the Reichstag, so Hitler arrested the 81 Communist deputies (which did give him a majority).
Step 3 – The Enabling Act (23rd March 1933) • With his majority he intimidated the Reichstag into voting on an Enabling Act. • This would give him the power to make laws without consulting the Reichstag. • Nazi stormtroopers stopped opposition deputies going in, and beat up anyone who dared to speak against it. • The communists had been banned. • The Catholic Centre Party decided to co-operate of they retained control of Catholic schools. • Only the Social Democrats (SPD) voted against him and the Enabling Act was passed.
Step 4 - Local government (26 April 1933) • The Nazis took over local government and the police. • The Nazis started to replace anti-Nazi teachers and University professors. • Hitler set up the Gestapo (the secret police) and encouraged Germans to report opponents and 'grumblers'. • Tens of thousands of Jews, Communists, Protestants, Jehovah's Witnesses, gypsies, homosexuals, alcoholics and prostitutes were arrested and sent to concentration camps for 'crimes' as small as writing anti-Nazi graffiti, possessing a banned book, or saying that business was bad.
Step 5 - Trade Unions banned (2 May 1933) • The Trade Unions offices were closed, their money confiscated, and their leaders put in prison. • In their place, Hitler put the German Labour Front (DAF). He also set up a public works programme (road building – autobahn) to create jobs.
Step 6 - Political Parties banned (14 July 1933) • The Law against the Formation of Parties declared the Nazi Party the only political party in Germany. • All other parties were banned, and their leaders were put in prison.
Step 7- Night of the Long Knives (30 June 1934) • The SA were the thugs who Hitler had used to help him come to power. They had defended his meetings, and attacked opponents. By 1934 there were more than a million of them. • Historians have often wondered why Hitler turned on the SA. But Hitler was in power in 1934, and there was no opposition left - the SA were an embarrassment, not an advantage. Also, Rohm, the leader of the SA, was talking about a Socialist revolution and about taking over the army. • On the night of 30 June 1934 - codeword 'Hummingbird - Hitler ordered the SS to kill more than 400 SA men. • Why do you think Hitler turned on the SA?