Hitler Consolidates Nazi Power

Andrew Burke
Note by , created almost 2 years ago

This Hitler study note forms part of our series looking at the rise of Hitler and the Nazi party and the events leading up to WW2. I@n this note we look at how the new Chancellor Hitler consolidated power through a number of events; the Reichstag Fire, the Enabling Act and the Night of the Long Knives.

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Andrew Burke
Created by Andrew Burke almost 2 years ago
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Page 1

The Reichstag Fire

Once Hitler became chancellor he took a number of measures to complete a Nazi takeover of Germany.  He called another election in March 1933 to attempt to get an overall Nazi majority in the Reichstag Hitler used similar tactics to previous elections, but now with controlling the media he could shut down opposition newspapers  He had control of the streets, as SA went around beating up opposition that interrupted Nazi rallies Then, on 27 February, the Reichstag building was set on fire Hitler blamed the communists and claimed it was the beginning of a communist revolt  He demanded emergency powers to deal with the situation  Hindenburg granted Hitler these powers - these powers were utilised to arrest communists, break up meetings and frighten voters Many historians suggest that the Nazis may have started the fire themselves 

Page 2

The Enabling Act

In the March 1933 election, the Nazis won their largest-ever share of votes. With the support of the Nationalist Party, Hitler finally got an overall majority.  He immediately banned the Communist Party  Using both the SA and SS, he intimidated the Reichstag to pass the Enabling Act  This gave Hitler the right to make laws without consultation  The Catholic Centre Party decided to cooperate with the Nazis, rather than receiving treatment like the Communist Party  The Enabling Act made Hitler a dictator; Hindenburg could do nothing  Hitler continued to consolidate his power over the next year 

Page 3

The Night of the Long Knives

Within a year of the election, most opponents of the Nazis had either fled Germany or been taken to concentration camps run by the SS. Other political parties had been banned, but Hitler was not fully secure. Leading officers of the army were particularly suspicious of Hitler's SA and its leader Ernst Röhm. Hitler was also suspicious of Röhm - his control over 4 million SA men meant he was a potential rival. Therefore, Hitler acted ruthlessly to this threat.  29-30 June - squads of the SS broke into the homes of Röhm and other SA leaders and arrested them  Hitler accused Röhm of plotting to overthrow him  Röhm and around 400 others were executed that weekend  This purge became known as the Night of the Long Knives Hindenburg thanked Hitler for his initiative here The SA from here remained as a Nazi paramilitary organisation  The Army Oath:  Soon after the Night of the Long Knives, Hindenburg died and Hitler took over as supreme leader (Führer) of Germany. On 2 August, 1934, the entire German army swore an oath of personal loyalty to Hitler.