The Nazi Party: Rise and Consolidation of Power 1933-1934

The Nazi Party: Rise and Consolidation of Power 1933-1934

The Nazi Party: Background and Early Developments

  • The Nazi Party, also known as National Socialist German Workers’ Party, was created in the aftermath of WWI, capitalising on the discontent resulting from the Treaty of Versailles.
  • The prominence of the party began to rise following the economic crisis of 1929, as their propaganda blaming Communists and Jews for Germany’s problems resonated with many.
  • One key figure, Adolf Hitler, becomes party leader in 1921, and by 1930, the Nazis are the second largest party in the German Reichstag.

The Appointment of Hitler as the Chancellor

  • The key turning point was the appointment of Hitler as Chancellor in January 1933 by President Paul von Hindenburg, in a bid to control the upstart Nazis.
  • Hitler’s appointment was also influenced by political backroom deals and pressure from conservative politicians, who underestimated Hitler’s political machinations.
  • Once in power, Hitler began to centralise the power around himself and the Nazi party, employing a strategy known as Gleichschaltung (“coordination”).

The Enabling Act and Consolidation of Power

  • Power consolidation occurred rapidly, beginning with the Reichstag Fire in February 1933 that led to the Reichstag Fire Decree, suspending civil liberties and political rights.
  • In March 1933, Hitler used the Reichstag Fire to pass the Enabling Act, granting him the authority to pass laws without the Reichstag, essentially making him a dictator.
  • Opposition was removed through laws like The Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service, dismissing non-Aryans (primarily Jews) and political opponents from the civil service.

The Night of the Long Knives and the Death of President Hindenburg

  • The Night of the Long Knives in June 1934 saw Hitler eliminate rival factions within the Nazi party and consolidate his hold over the army by purging its leadership.
  • Following the death of President Hindenburg in August 1934, Hitler declared himself Führer, uniting the role of chancellor and president, marking the end of the Weimar Republic.
  • Hitler’s regime, now effectively a dictatorship, came to be known as the Third Reich.

Key Concepts of Nazi Ideology

  • Key fundamentals of Nazi ideology included anti-Semitism, anti-communism, the push for Lebensraum (living space), and the vision of a pure Aryan race.
  • Nazi policy saw a regimented economy, vast public works projects, and the remilitarisation of the Rhineland, breaking restrictions of the Treaty of Versailles.

Remember, it’s important to understand not just the timeline of events, but also the political, social, and economic circumstances surrounding the rise and consolidation of Nazi power. Train yourself to think critically about the causes and consequences of each event to earn top marks.