How Did Hitler Consolidate Power And Keep Control Between 1933 1939?

1486 words - 6 pages

Like most the countries in Europe in the beginning of the 1930s, Germany was suffering from the consequences of the Great Depression. In this period of economic and political difficulty, Germany had become susceptible to extreme parties who offered any solution to their continuing problems. Consequently, through luck and perseverance, Hitler became Chancellor in 1933 with the promise of making Germany self sufficient and providing relief from the pains of the Depression. Between the period of 1933-1939 Hitler adopted a policy of consolidating his power in order to achieve complete control over Germany. It can be suggested that the Nazis had to use both force as well as to make concessions in order to consolidate their power.

Due to Hitler's unsteady rise to power, opposition still posed a threat even though he was Chancellor. It is debated whether the Nazis started the Reichstag fire in order to use it as a political weapon but either way it was successfully used to their advantage showing the Communist threat. After the fire, Hitler declared a state of emergency and persuaded Hindenburg to allow him to use part of Article 48, which stripped people of their civil rights and allowed the police to make arrests without warrant. Arresting around 4,000 communists, Hitler was therefore seen as a man of action, which is what people were looking for to pull Germany from the Depression.

Hitler's consolidation of power furthered by March of 1933 with the Enabling Act being passed. In order for Hitler to have achieved this Act to have been passed it shows the diminishing ability for opposition to take a stand against him. The Communists could not vote against the bill for fear of being arrested. The Socialist party would vote against it and so Hitler needed to convince the Catholic Centre Party to vote for the bill in order to balance it out and he did so by saying he was in the process of signing a concordat with the Pope. This Act gave Hitler virtually complete dictatorial powers as in effect he no longer needed Hindenburg to pass decrees. By July 1933 a law was passed against the formation of New parties turning Germany into a one party state, free from new parties and consequently opposition arising.

In order to achieve such a successful suppression of his opposition Hitler had to use force through the means of his secret police and SS. The Gestapo and the SS played a significant role in Hitler's consolidation of power through maintaining a sense of fear and awe at the party. As said by historian Gray, Germany under Hitler was 'a dictatorship which was being maintained with the most ruthless methods of terror.' With the Gestapo spies, individual political opinions could not be expressed without fear of being arrested or killed. The SS was a radical elite where Himmler would only accept perfect Aryans and they were only allowed to marry women of 'good German...

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