Little Bits of History

January 30

Posted in History by patriciahysell on January 30, 2017

1933: Machtergreifung begins. On November 9, 1923 the Beer Hall Putsch failed in its attempt to seize power, but was instrumental in teaching Adolf Hitler new tactics. His lawyer and adviser, Hans Frank, developed a legal strategy for the “National Revolution” and the takeover of the government by the Nazi Party. In the 1930 elections, the Nazi Party saw great successes even as Chancellor Heinrich Brüning worked to keep both the constitution and the state itself alive under a minority government supported by the Social Democrats. His efforts served to increase mass unemployment as he brought in austerity measures to attempt to create a balanced budget. In 1932, President Paul von Hindenburg ousted Brüning and replaced him with Franz von Papen, Hindenburg’s confidant.

It was hoped that Papen would sway the growing Nazi Party members to support Hindenburg against up and coming factions. In the next month, another federal election found the Reighstag (Congress) filled with even more Nazis and Papen’s attempt at a coalition government failed. More elections were held in November and while the Nazis lost some seats, they were successful in keeping Papen’s coalition from forming. Papen resigned and twenty representatives of agriculture, finance, and industry intervened with President Hindenburg and requested he replace Papen with their own choice for Chancellor, Adolf Hitler. On this day, the 84-year-old President did just that and with Hitler and the Nazi Party in this leadership position, they began to consolidate their power base, or Machtergreifung.

In under a month, the new regime was working assiduously to control everything. On February 27 the Reighstag was set ablaze by a Dutch council Communist and unemployed brick layer, Marinus van der Lubbe. Hitler requested President Hindenburg to issue the Reichstag Fire Decree (based on emergency powers granted by the Weimar Constitution). This decree suspended most citizen rights and allowed the Nazis to arrest political opponents, mostly Communists. March had another election which had the Nazis with less power. But Communists were not permitted to take any seats won since their party had been banned earlier in the month. The new Reichstag passed the Enabling Act which gave the government, but specifically Hitler, the power make his own laws without the Reichstag. He continued to consolidate his power base.

Within six months, Hitler established the National Socialist German Workers’ Party, aka the Nazi Party, as the only legal political party in Germany. The next phase, Gleichschaltung, was the process of bringing all of Germany under the totalitarian control of the Nazis. They wished to control the economy, all trade associations, the media, the culture, and education. Their relentless pursuit of these goals culminated in the resolutions approved during the Nuremberg Rally of 1935. The symbols of the state and the party fused and the German flag became the Nazi flag. Jews were deprived of citizenship. And the path was set for the Holocaust. World War II would follow.

All great movements are popular movements. They are the volcanic eruptions of human passions and emotions, stirred into activity by the ruthless Goddess of Distress or by the torch of the spoken word cast into the midst of the people.

All propaganda has to be popular and has to accommodate itself to the comprehension of the least intelligent of those whom it seeks to reach.

By the skillful and sustained use of propaganda, one can make a people see even heaven as hell or an extremely wretched life as paradise.

Hate is more lasting than dislike. – all from Adolf Hitler


Hitler Jailed

Posted in History by patriciahysell on April 1, 2013
Adolph Hitler's Mein Kampf

Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf

April 1, 1924: Adolf Hitler is sentenced to jail. Hitler was born in 1889 and was just shy of his 35th birthday when he was sentenced. The full name of the Nazi Party was National Socialist German Workers’ Party (Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei or NSDAP). The party was active from 1919 to 1945. At its inception, the party believed “Social Welfare was the business of the State.” Corporal Adolf Hitler was sent by German army intelligence to investigate the small political party. Hitler argued with leaders who were impressed with his oratorical abilities. They invited him to join. He was listed as the 555th member, but the 500 was added for appearance sake to make the group appear larger.

Hitler became the 7th executive member of the party. His speaking style was used to gain new members. He became party chairman on July 28, 1921 and named himself Führer or leader. After dissolving the Board of Directors, there was only Hitler in charge. Their ranks swelled. Hitler’s party adopted a black uniform and a one-armed Roman salute. He was a huge fan of Benito Mussolini and the Fascists. When they seized control of Italy with a coup called the “March on Rome” Hitler began to dream of his own overthrow of the German government.

Putsch is the German word for coup d’état which is French for a sudden, forceful overthrowing of a government. The Beer Hall Putsch took place November 8-9, 1923. Hitler was backed by Erich Ludendorff, a member of the General Staff of the German Army during World War I. Gustav von Kahr, the Prime Minister of Bavaria, was making a speech when Hitler and 600 stormtroopers entered the venue – a beer hall. Hitler took the PM and two other officials into a small room and threatened them with death if they didn’t back him as the new leader of Germany.

Hitler did not guard radio or telegraph stations and so news of his putsch was sent to Berlin. As he and his followers marched through Munich, the police stopped them at a roadblock. In the ensuing confrontation 16 storm troopers and 4 police were killed. Hitler went into hiding but was arrested two days later. He could have received the death penalty for treason. Instead he was sentenced to five years in prison. He served less than a year due to Nazi Party sympathizers working on his behalf. The time in prison was spent dictating his book, Mein Kampf.

“I have three bullets for you, gentlemen, and one for me!” – Adolf Hitler to Gustav von Kahr and two others

“By means of shrewd lies, unremittingly repeated, it is possible to make people believe that heaven is hell – and hell heaven. The greater the lie, the more readily it will be believed.” – Adolf Hitler in Mein Kampf

“There must be no majority decisions, but only responsible persons, and the word ‘council’ must be restored to its original meaning. Surely every man will have advisers by his side, but the decision will be made by one man.” – Adolf Hitler in Mein Kampf

“(When Adolf Hitler spoke) it was a rhetorical masterpiece. In fact, in a few sentences he totally transformed the mood of the audience. I have rarely experienced anything like it.” – Karl von Muller

This article first appeared at in 2010. Editor’s update: Mein Kampf (My Struggle or My Battle) was part autobiography and part political ideology. The book came in two parts with the first published in 1925 and the second one a year later. It was edited by Bernhard Stempfle, a former Hieronymite friar who was killed during the Night of the Long Knives. The Night of the Long Knives was a purge that took place from June 30 to July 2, 1934 in order to get rid of political dissidents. Mein Kamfp was to be more than two volumes as Hitler needed to pay off quite a few debts incurred during his trial. He stopped at just two volumes, the first with 12 chapters and the second containing 15. Volume One was called A Reckoning and Volume Two was The National Socialist Movement.

Also on this day: Money, American style – In 1778, the $ was invented.
Wrigley Company – In 1891, the soap and baking powder company was founded.
Spaghetti Trees – In 1957, the BBC played and April Fool’s trick.