Consolidation of Power, 1933 and 1934

Consolidation of Power, 1933 and 1934

Consolidation of Power (1933-1934)

Initial Steps

  • Adolf Hitler became Chancellor of Germany on 30 January 1933.
  • Hitler manages to consolidate his power through various political manoeuvres, acts and events.

The Reichstag Fire (27 February 1933)

  • Fire broke out in the Reichstag building; Dutch Communist Marinus van der Lubbe was arrested for the act.
  • Hitler used the fire to convince President Hindenburg that the country was in danger from Communists, leading to the Reichstag Fire Decree.

Reichstag Fire Decree (28 February 1933)

  • This decree suspended many civil liberties and enabled Hitler and the Nazis to arrest their Communist rivals, which helped the party in the upcoming election.

The Elections (March 1933)

  • Despite suppression of the Communist Party, the Nazis did not win a majority and had to form a coalition with the Nationalist Party.
  • Once in power, Hitler proposed the Enabling Act to get rid of political opposition.

The Enabling Act (23 March 1933)

  • Passage of this act gave Hitler and his government the power to enact laws without the need for approval from the Reichstag.
  • Hitler was now effectively a dictator, having legally established his control.

Night of the Long Knives (30 June - 2 July 1934)

  • Major purge intended to consolidate Hitler’s power by eliminating potential rivals inside the Nazi Party, particularly the SA.
  • Purge gave Hitler the support of the German Army, which he needed for his plans of expansion and also for maintaining control within Germany.

Death of President Hindenburg (2 August 1934)

  • President Hindenburg died, and Hitler merged the offices of Chancellor and President to become “Führer and Reich Chancellor”.
  • Hitler now controlled all aspects of the German government.

Remember Consolidation of power is about creating a stable and uncontested rule. Hitler achieved this mostly through a mix of legal processes (Enabling Act), suppression of opposition (arrest of Communists), and outright brutality (Night of the Long Knives).