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Was Hitler's Dictatorship Established By Legal Means

1082 words - 4 pages

Was Hitler's dictatorship established by legal means'.The career of Adolf Hitler was marked by a spectacular rise to power. He went from being a nobody in the streets of Vienna to the supreme leader of one of the most powerful nations on earth. Hitler came to power through a combination of legal means and backroom politics. The events leading up to the rise of the Nazis and Hitler are prime examples of the myriad of factors intertwining in the area of social action. Economists view the economic conditions as the major reason for the downfall of the Weimar republic and the rise of the Nazis but political scientists like to point out the constitutional structure of the Weimar constitution. According to some it is one of the great ironies of history that (they think that) Hitler came to power through legal means.Nazi domestic policy can be broken into three phases beginning with 1933-34. During these years, Hitler consolidated his authority through the destruction of all other political parties, "co-ordination" of all aspects of German life, and the liquidation of dissent among Nazis and conservatives. After taking office as chancellor, Hitler quickly out maneuvered Papen and the conservative nationalists.The Reichstag Fire, February 1933A new Reichstag election was scheduled for early March 1933. Only a few days before the election, on February 27, the Reichstag building was partially destroyed by fire. The Nazis may well have set the blaze, but they blamed the Communists, charging that the Communists were plotting to seize power. Hitler convinced Hindenburg to take strong action against the supposed Communist threat, and the president suspended freedom of speech and the press and other civil liberties.March 1933 ElectionThe Nazis stepped up their harassment of their political opponents, and the March 5 election was held in an atmosphere of fear and intimidation. Polling 44 percent of the votes, the Nazis won 288 seats in the Reichstag. With the support of their conservative nationalist allies, who held 52 seats, the Nazis controlled a majority of the 647 member Reichstag. The Nazi majority was even more substantial, since none of the 81 Communist deputies were allowed to take their seats.The Enabling Act, March 1933On March 23, 1933, the Reichstag passed the Enabling Act, which gave dictatorial authority to Hitler's cabinet for four years. Armed with full powers, Hitler moved to eliminate all possible centers of opposition. His policy is known as Gleichschaltung, which translates literally as coordination. In this context, however, it meant more precisely subordination, that is, subordinating all independent institutions to the authority of Hitler and the Nazi Party.It was the Enabling Act of March 23, 1933, which in a legal way conferred dictatorial powers on Adolf Hitler. Only 94 Social Democratic votes were cast against it. The date for its abrogation (see Article 5) was never kept. Indeed, the Enabling Act is the last measure which the...

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