Nazi Germany - Dictatorship (within 24 hrs
after fire, no press, assembly or speaking out)
before the election was due to take place, the Reichstag
building burned down.
immediately declared that it was the signal for a
communist takeover of the nation.
knew that if he was to convince President Hindenburg to
give him emergency powers - as stated in the Weimar
Constitution - he had to play on the old president's fear
of communism. What better than to convince him that the
communists were about to take over the nation by force?
communist - Marianus van der Lubbe - was caught near the
Reichstag building immediately after the fire had started.
Those that arrested him - Nazi officials - claimed that
Lubbe confessed to them that the fire was a signal to
other communists to start the revolution to overthrow
democracy in the country.
were allegedly found on van der Lubbe and those who
arrested him claimed that he smelt of petrol.
asked Hindenburg to grant him emergency powers in view
of the 'communist takeover'.
the constitution, Hindenburg agreed to pass the Law for
the Protection of the People and the State.
law gave Hitler what he wanted -
ban on the Communists and Socialists taking part in an
election campaign. The leaders from both parties were
arrested and their newspapers were shut down.
'keep the peace' and maintain law and order, the SA (the
Brown Shirts) roamed the streets beating up those who
openly opposed Hitler.
election took place in March - though Hitler was
convinced it would be the last. Hitler did not get the
number of votes he wanted but he did get enough to get
over a 50% majority in the Reichstag:
4.8 million votes Social Democrats 7.2 million votes
Centre party 5.5 million votes Nationalists 3.1 million
votes Other parties 1.4 million votes Nazis 17.3 million
12 million people voted for what were effectively two
outlawed parties is remarkable when the intimidation of
voters is taken into account.
the burning down of the Reichstag, politicians had
nowhere to meet.
Kroll Opera House in Berlin was chosen. This was a
relatively small round building - perfect for meetings.
On March 23rd, elected officials were due to meet to
discuss and vote on Hitler's Enabling Law.
politicians neared the building, they found it
surrounded by SS and SA thugs who tried to ensure that
only Nazi or Nationalist politicians got into the
vote for this law was crucial as it gave Hitler a vast
amount of power. The law basically stated that any bill
only needed Hitler's signature and within 24 hours that
bill would become law in Germany.
only Nazis and other right wing politicians inside the
Kroll Opera House, the bill was quickly passed into law.
The act gave Hitler what he wanted - dictatorial power.
he wanted would become law in Germany within 24 hours of
his signature being put on paper.
7th April 1933, Nazi officials were put in charge of all
local government in the provinces.
May 2nd 1933, trades unions were abolished, their funds
taken and their leaders put in prison. The workers were
given a May Day holiday in return.
July 14th 1933, a law was passed making it illegal to
form a new political party. It also made the Nazi Party
the only legal political party in Germany.
became a nation of snoops. People were employed in each
street, in each building complex etc. with the sole
purpose of keeping an eye on others in their 'area' and
reporting them to the authorities if they believed that
something was amiss.
reputation of the Nazi police and the secret police lead
by Himmler was such that no-one wished to cause offence.
kept their thoughts to themselves unless they wished to
invite trouble. In this sense, Nazi Germany was a nation
run on fear of the government. Hitler had created a one
party state within months of being appointed chancellor.
only remaining problem from his point of view was
loyalty within his own party ranks. In June 1934, he
overcame this with the Night of the Long Knives.