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