Hitler passed the Enabling Act on March 24th which gave him the power to pass any laws without the Presidents or the Reichstag’s contribution. It gave him the power to basically be a dictator for four years. He was also able to arrest and place anyone he felt a threat into a concentration camp. Germany’s plans to be a democracy had basically failed. However at the time Hitler passed the law Germany was still a democracy and after the four years, he could be voted out. If Hitler was to have full power and change the fact he could be voted out, he needed to become president.
Presidents at the time could not be voted out. If he became president he would have stayed in power until death, or if overthrown. The enabling act triggered a six- month period of rapid change through Germany, which is known as the Nazi revolution. Before the law passed (27th February) a fire mysteriously started at the Reichstag building which sent it to the ground. The fire was believed to have been started by a communist terrorist. After the fire in the Reichstag Hitler’s requested that Hindenburg granted him the Emergency Decree, his reason was accepted as after this event as the Reichstag was in fear.
The Decree gave Hitler power to arrest and hold anyone without trial anyone he ‘believed’ were the suspects of the torching of the Reichstag. Over the next couple of days he arrested over 4000 communists and other Nazi opponents only. Not only that but the Decree gave Hitler power to close down the regional governments in all eighteen states. Of course he closed all the state governments and appointed new state governors-all of which were Nazis. Every state governor had the power to make new state laws.
With this new change in place it meant that not only was the Nazis the largest party in journey, but they were effectively in charge of the whole country. Once Hitler had complete control over the regional governments he started to dominate the other parties. By the 10th of May 1933 the Nazis occupied the Social Democrats offices. They destroyed the Democrats newspapers and took all its funds. Over the next couple of months the Nazis dispersed every other political party in Germany, including the Communist party. Germany was now a one party state.
This agrees with the statement. Without the enabling law, the Nazis would not have been able to do this. Yet Hitler still did not feel secure. Army leaders were not completely confident with him or his SA and its leader Ernest Rohm. Hitler also though Rohm was a threat to him as he had the 4 million SA men in his control, even though Hitler appointed him as the leader, his dis-trust became so strong that he acted swiftly. On the 29th and 30th of June, Hitler had his SS men, kill the leaders all leaders of the SA, including Ernest Rohm.
Hitler had Rohm and other leaders of the SA arrested and executed for accusations of plotting to murder him. Over the following days 400 were murdered, one of which was former Chancellor von Schleicher who was a critic of Hitler. This event, was named the Night of the Long Knives. On the 2nd of August 1934 87 year old President Hindenburg died. Hitler took this as an opportunity to again increase his power. Hitler united the positions of President and Chancellor and allotted himself as new President. Hitler’s new label was “Fuhrer and Reich Chancellor”.
During the same day it appeared Hitler had been creating a plan, and today its actions came out. He made every soldier swear on an oath to oblige to him. This meant that the only people, who could eventually oppose him, had sworn an oath saying they couldn’t. The people that did oppose Hitler were sent to concentration camps set up by the SS and the SA. In the camps, prisoner’s were worked, beaten and tortured to death. Social democrat and Communist officials were some of the many politicians groups slaughtered.
The Nazis denied torturing their prisoners and sheltered their tracks by inviting the reporters and influential people to the concentration camps, where they would display the healthy prisoners (perhaps not even prisoners) who were at the time being treated very well. They were simply ‘criminals’ to the rest of Germany. By the late 1930s, deaths camps were increasingly common and few people came out. The criticisers of the Nazis were the people in there, and the people Hitler had prejudices towards. The people came under; Jews, socialists, communists etc.
The disturbing thought is that, another point to Hitler’s power was that his opinions and promises are what the public wanted, so his hatred towards the Jews and Communists is actually what a large quantity of Germans thought as well. Hitler would not have been able to persecute as many Jews etc as he did if Germans didn’t actually agree with it. There hatred came from them thinking that Jews were all rich and had stolen all their jobs. Germans effectively blamed the whole war guilt, unemployment rate etc on the Jews.
And when Hitler realised that his campaign against the Jews was a popular one, he acted on it. Once again becoming more powerful. The German people became so infatuated with Hitler that they agreed to the law in which they should greet one another by saying ‘Hail Hitler’. They saw him as not only as the government leader but as a commander of the people. They relied on him and his promises. In argument to the enabling act gaining Hitler power, his actions seemed to gain him not just power but supporters. Hitler seemed to be on a rampage of banning things.
So the public didn’t realise he also introduced new things he knew they would enjoy. On the 2nd May trade unions were banned, Hitler saw them as a threat, however in June he brought in a public works programme to provide jobs. Banning the trade union brought Hitler more than power, it brought him authority, and it meant everyone knew he meant business. However by then bringing in something for the public meant he still had them on his side, even though he had effectively just bribed them out of one of the only things remaining that gave them rights. However the enabling act did start all these events.
In the end the infatuation of Hitler almost became a religion, the whole country celebrated his birthday as though it were a public holiday. Thousands came to hear him make his birthday speech, with everyone donating to his birthday funds and buying edelweiss emblems. He became a godly figure. And since the Fuhrer came in. the countries level of patriotism rose. Yet another argument against the enabling law being the point of where Hitler could dominate Germany is the propaganda the Nazis used. People were encouraged to support him by means of propaganda, and if anyone opposed they were sent to concentration camps.
Nonetheless the propaganda really did seem to work. People were sucked in by the patriotic posters and the promises that were on the posters. In conclusion the enabling law did help Hitler to dominate Germany. It gave him the power to make laws without the approval of the Reichstag or the president. The Reichstag had in effect voted itself out of existence. It had voted to introduce a Nazi dictatorship. Through the next eleven years of Nazi rule the Reichstag met twelve times- but simply to listen to Hitler speaking. They never had a debate. They had no say on policies.
However without other actions he would not have had as much power. His propaganda methods gained him power as people agreed with him. His banning of trade unions and bringing in of the public works programme meant people saw things changing which is what needed to be happening and it wasn’t when Hindenburg was alive. Without Hindenburg’s death Hitler wouldn’t have become president by 1934, which was one of the actions helping him dominate Germany, as well as the night of the long knives, which helped as it gave him power and authority and left the people he had prejudices for scared, but showed the German public he means what he says.
I also believe without the torching of the Reichstag, the emergency decree wouldn’t have even been thought about. And it wouldn’t have been voted for, but since the Opera house (where the voting was taken place as the Reichstag had been burned down) was full of SS men, perhaps effecting peoples voting. They were already positioned in the opera house when everyone arrived. I believe this was a big role in the enabling act passing.
Without the enabling act, Hitler would not have been able to appoint himself president after Hindenburg dying. He wouldn’t have been able to remove all other opponents and replace them with the Nazis so Germany became a one party state, he would not have been able to influence the education department or the courts, both very important. The education department meant new generations of supporters. Without the enabling act those actions would not have been able to take place. Therefore not gaining as much power, or dominating Germany.