Consolidation of power
Hitler’s Rise to Power
- Hitler was appointed as Chancellor of Germany in January 1933 by President Hindenburg.
- Hitler’s Enabling Act of March 1933, passed by the Reichstag, gave him power to enact laws without the involvement of the Reichstag.
- The Night of the Long Knives in June 1934 saw the purge of the SA, Hitler’s own paramilitary organisation, enhancing his control over the army.
- Hitler declared the Führer principle and made himself Führer (leader) of Germany after President Hindenburg’s death in August 1934.
Consolidation through Propaganda and Censorship
- Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels ran an extensive propaganda campaign to glorify Hitler and the Nazi ideals.
- All media, including newspapers, radio, and film, were controlled and used to depict the Nazis positively.
- Censorship was imposed to ensure only Nazi-approved information was available, suppressing any opposing views.
Conformity and Repression
- Hitler condemned opposition and dissent through institutions like the Gestapo and the SS.
- Concentration camps were established for political opponents, communists, and later for Jews and other groups deemed undesirable by the Nazis.
- The Nazi Party controlled every aspect of life, from schools and universities to the arts and the workplace, ensuring Hitler’s ideology permeated all levels of society.
Economic and Social Policies
- Introduction of the Four Year Plan in 1936 aimed at preparing Germany for war and making it economically self-sufficient.
- Implementation of policies like Strength Through Joy and Beauty of Labour aimed at winning the support of the working class.
- Hitler’s autarky policy aimed at achieving self-sufficiency for Germany, focusing on rearmament and agrarian self-sufficiency, but was only partially successful due to lack of resources.
- Hitler’s racial purity law, known as the Nuremberg Laws of 1935, excluded Jews from German citizenship and prohibited marriages between Jews and non-Jews.
- Kristallnacht, or the Night of Broken Glass, in November 1938 saw violent attacks on Jews, their businesses and synagogues, effectively marking the beginning of the Holocaust.