Nazis' Consolidation of Their Power in Germany
When Hitler became chancellor in January 1933, he was far from
achieving the amount of power that he ultimately gained during the
course of the Nazi regime. There were various obstacles to overcome in
order to gain total power and to fully consolidate the rise of the
Nazis. Thus, the Nazis came to power in 1933 through various factors
ranging from their use of violence to the use of propaganda in gaining
support, as well as the ability to exploit opponents and their
weaknesses, particularly the previous Weimar government. Despite these
tactics, it is evident that the Nazis legally came to power as seen
with the elections held in March 1933 to secure the people’s votes, as
well as the Enabling Act, which legally declared and allowed Hitler to
exercise dictatorial powers.
Firstly, it can be seen that the role of terror contributed greatly to
the Nazis consolidation of power 1933-34. Opponents needed to be
eliminated in order to access full control, and this elimination was
necessary in order to secure Hitler’s power. This was most evident
with the mass purging of the SA and its leader Ernst Rohm during the
Night of the Long Knives in June 1934. As source D states ‘If disaster
were to be prevented at all, action must be taken with lightening
speed. Only a ruthless and bloody intervention might still perhaps
stifle the spread of revolt’. This statement from Hitler’s address to
the Reichstag following the Night of the Long Knives implies that the
purges were necessary in order for Hitler’s power to get stronger.
‘…thereby I became the supreme judge of the German people’. Hitler
uses terror to consolidate his role as the fuhrer and exercise the
leadership control by embodying and becoming the ‘will of the people’,
in which the German people should follow him with blind faith. Source
E also discusses the role of terror during the Night of the Long
Knives. It suggests that Hitler ‘had saved the German people from
civil war’ and that the purges were ‘necessary for the self-defence of
the state’. Hitler’s will was considered by the German public to be
the law and they accepted the view that as their Fuhrer, he would only
act for the good of the nation.
The Night of the Long Knives occurred on 30th June 1934 whereby SS
guards shot many SA leaders such as Rohm, and other people seen as a
threat to the regime such as Gregor Strasser and Hitler’s old rival
General von Schleicher. This was in order to get rid of any obstacles
and opponents that were a potential threat in the growing power of the
Nazis, and the SA in itself was also a potential threat to Hitler.
Although he had used the SA to exercise violence leading...